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B-24 Liberator 1/72

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  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: Georgia
B-24 Liberator 1/72
Posted by gpal on Saturday, July 12, 2008 11:49 AM

Hello,

Does anyone know anything about the B-24 1/72 scale kits from Academy? I see some on Ebay but not anywhere else for a review on them. I know Hasegawa has one out but very expensive.I am looking for a good 1/72 scale kit but do not want to break the bank.

Thanks George 

  • Member since
    July 2003
  • From: Bicester, England
Posted by KJ200 on Saturday, July 12, 2008 12:44 PM

I've never built the Academy B24, but from what I have heard these pretty decent kits, if not in quite the same league as the new Hasa kit.

Karl

Currently on the bench: AZ Models 1/72 Mig 17PF

  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Posted by chris hall on Saturday, July 12, 2008 2:07 PM

I have a Poletsi Raid version in my stash. To me it looks perfectly OK, and I don't recell the reviews flagging up any major problems when they were released, a decade or so ago. Here's an in-box review of the Hasegawa kit:

http://www.aeroscale.co.uk/modules.php?op=modload&name=Reviews&file=index&req=showcontent&id=3028

and there's another one in the new edition of TMMI.

This is very much something you'll have to decide for yourself, but from my own point of view, although the Hasegawa kit would appear to be better than the Academy kit in terms of surface detail, I can't see what, apart from the Hasegawa label, would justify paying 50%  more. Better it may be. Half as good again it isn't.

Cheers,

Chris.

 

Cute and cuddly, boys, cute and cuddly!
  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: Georgia
Posted by gpal on Saturday, July 12, 2008 7:27 PM

Chris,is the kit you have an Academy kit? I wonder if the current Minicraft kits are the old Academy kits? Maybe retooled? I noticed some of the old academy kits have the Minicraft name along with the Academy name.

George 

  • Member since
    August 2005
  • From: Sydney, Australia
Posted by Phil_H on Saturday, July 12, 2008 8:08 PM
As far as I am aware they are the same kit - just a different label.
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Saturday, July 12, 2008 8:26 PM
The Academy and Minicraft kits are the same, I have both boxings.  The Hasegawa kit is nicer, especially the clear parts.  It has all the turret combinations normally found on any Liberator, including Emerson and Consolidated nose types and the ball turret, even though the kit I have is of an early D with no ball turret.  The surface detail is the best I have seen on a 1/72 kit, while the Minicraft kits have slightly overdone panel lines.

John

To see build logs for my models:  http://goldeneramodel.com/mymodels/mymodels.html

 

  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Posted by chris hall on Sunday, July 13, 2008 12:23 AM
 gpal wrote:

Chris,is the kit you have an Academy kit? I wonder if the current Minicraft kits are the old Academy kits? Maybe retooled? I noticed some of the old academy kits have the Minicraft name along with the Academy name.

George 

Hi George,

I just checked my stash list, and I have the Academy boxing of the 1/72 B-24D. As others have noted, the Academy, Minicraft and Academy-Minicraft kits all stem from the same tooling. The kits originate from a time when Academy and Minicraft were both parts of, or brands used by, the same company. They have now gone their separate ways, and all current boxings have the Minicraft label.

Be aware that Minicraft also do a 1/144 B-24. This has nothing to do with the 1/72 kit, is not very nice, and should be avoided:

http://www.moduni.com/popup_image_script.php/IID/31562?osCsid=08d84fbe4b48572be1210fcc0ce1c5bd

As far as the Hasegawa B-24 is concerned, yes, it's undoubtably more finely-detailed than the Academy etc kits. How much difference this will make under up to a dozen coats of primer, paint, Future and varnish must, I would suggest, be something of a moot point. And yes, an individual Hasegawa boxing will include several parts not needed for that particular boxing,and which will go to swell your spares box. Less so with the Minicraft kit.

The point is that in the UK, the Minicraft kit retails for £19.99 (approx $US39.60) while current boxings of the Hasegawa kit will set you back £36.99 (Approx $US73.30), though HLJ have it for just over $US50, which is rather more reasonable, so long as you don't get stung for import duties and sales tax:

http://www.hlj.com/product/HSGE28

For me, an important minus point, as far as the Hasegawa kit is concerned, is that the weighting and bulging of the undercarriage wheels is seriously overdone. While B-24 wheels did tend to bulge and flatten under the heavy weights they had to bear, the Hasegawa wheels look as if they haven't been inflated enough. there is a picture in the in-box review in the current issue of TMMI which illustrates this point. Far more realistic to simply file flats on the Minicraft wheels.

The engines are also rather generic. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see Hasegawa Liberators on competition tables soon, where the aftermarket cost as much or more than the kit. In which case, they might as well have started from the Minicraft kit in the first place...

Cheers,

Chris.

Cute and cuddly, boys, cute and cuddly!
  • Member since
    March 2005
  • From: Georgia
Posted by gpal on Sunday, July 13, 2008 6:15 AM

Thanks to all for the replies.

George 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Sunday, July 13, 2008 7:45 AM

This is sort of related to the thread. I had noticed hasagawa realiseing several B-24 at around £37 pound and thought they must be takeing the p**s. Then i notice they have an He 111H-8 due out which is priced at £40. Is there really anything that can justify sucth a high price for a 1/72 plastic areoplane. Some of these kits i would deffinatly buy is priced more reasonably, but at this price i will deffo think long and hard.

I know people will buy them, but surley the amount of sales they will loss won't be covered by the few they will sell at sutch a price.

I am a Norfolk man and i glory in being so

 

On the bench: Airfix 1/72nd Harrier GR.3/Fujimi 1/72nd Ju 87D-3

  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Posted by chris hall on Sunday, July 13, 2008 8:21 AM
 Bish wrote:

(snip) Then i notice they have an He 111H-8 due out which is priced at £40.  (snip)

This must be very special indeed then, since their basic 1/72 He.111H-6 sells for a mere £24 - or £15, with better decals, in a Revell Germany box.

There again, remind me how much Airfix, a firm which are in the same league as Hasegawa in the same way that Hull City are in the same league as The Arsenal, charged for this:

Cheers,

Chris.

Cute and cuddly, boys, cute and cuddly!
  • Member since
    September 2005
  • From: North Pole, Alaska
Posted by richs26 on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 1:22 AM
If the Hase D model is of an early model w/o the ball turret, then what block of D model production is the Minicraft kit?  I would like to build an USAAF LB-30B, (or Lib II) and would need an early block D as a start.  I will use PBY-5 cowlings from QuickBoost as they would be a natural as Reuben Fleet used a lot of parts from his other aircraft for the B-24.  I don't really want to spend the money for the Hase when I am going to cut and slash for scratchbuilding anyway. 

WIP:  Monogram 1/72 B-26 (Snaptite) as 73rd BS B-26, 40-1408, torpedo bomber attempt on Ryujo

Monogram 1/72 B-26 (Snaptite) as 22nd BG B-26, 7-Mile Drome, New Guinea

Minicraft 1/72 B-24D as LB-30, AL-613, "Tough Boy", 28th Composite Group

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 2:27 AM
I don't know what block number the ball turret started with, but it wouldn't be too hard to just blank off the hole in the bottom on the Minicraft kit.  If you plan on doing the Goon, it didn't have the ball turret.

John

To see build logs for my models:  http://goldeneramodel.com/mymodels/mymodels.html

 

  • Member since
    February 2004
  • From: Weymouth, Dorset, UK
Posted by chris hall on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 3:39 AM

My memory is - without going out to the garage to check - that the Minicraft 1/72 B-24D has the ball turret opening blanked off. Even if it doesn't, blanking the opening off would be five miinutes' work with plastic card and a compass cutter.

Cheers,

Chris.

Cute and cuddly, boys, cute and cuddly!
  • Member since
    August 2003
Posted by bboyd on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 4:14 PM

This is very true - the Academy/Minicraft B-24D versions all come with a blanking plate to cover the ball turret area.  In fact, if you want to do a later -D with the ball turret (such as the B-24D sitting at the National Museum of the Air Force), you actually have to buy an Academy/Minicraft B-24H, -J or -L to K-ball the requisite ball turret parts!

Not so the Hasegawa -D.  The instructions don't tell you, but the kit has all the parts needed to build either type, early or late.  And it's actually the most accurate representation of the actual B-24 ball turret assembly ever kitted, at least in the One True Scale.  It won't retract or traverse without some serious modification (in this case, completeing the real ball turret mechanism), but on the other hand, the ball turret on a parked B-24 was always retracted, anyway.

 As it just so happens, I have both the Hasegawa B-24D and B-24J (What did P.T. Barnum say was "born every minute"?), as well as at least one of every variant of the Academy/Minicraft series.  If anybody is truly interested, I can comment at some length as to what jumps out at me as the main strengths and weaknesses and relative merits of each.  But not until I get home and finish cutting the grass.

Regards,

Byron 

  • Member since
    June 2004
  • From: Tucson
Posted by cardshark_14 on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 4:39 PM
Howdy Bboyd, and Sign - Welcome [#welcome]

I would like to hear your thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of these kit runs. I have a few Academy B-24s and a PB4Y-1, and have considered getting one of the Hasegawa B-24s so that I have parts options for my builds.

Cheers,
Alex
Never trust anyone who refuses to drink domestic beer, laugh at the Three Stooges, or crank Back In Black.
  • Member since
    August 2003
Posted by bboyd on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 10:55 PM

Hi Alex,

First, let me point out several excellent sources for your investigation:

1) don f started a very extensive and detailed forum thread on the Hasegawa B-24D at the Aircraft Resource Center website. I highly recommend it to you:
http://www.arcforums.com/forums/air/index.php?showtopic=155278&hl=hasegawa+b-24d

2) Paul Boyer has a very nice build and review of the Has. B-24D in the current issue of Finescale Modeler (July 2008).

3) Nick J. Wigman has a more in-depth build (ie, lotsa photos) in the May 2008 issue of Model Aircraft International. Really very inspiring!

4) Libor Jekl just posted the Has kit built up as a Liberator GR V on Hyperscale a couple of days ago:
http://www.clubhyper.com/forums/plasticpixframe.htm

5) And of course, you should read Nick Pearsall's build at IPMS/USA's website:
http://www.ipmsusa2.org/Reviews/Kits/Aircraft/Kits_Air.htm

I want to give credit where credit is due, and give you some places to look at built-up examples of Hasegawa's new kits.

That being said, from my perspective, the Minicraft/Academy kits are nice, but the Hasegawa kits are the bee's knees. For now. With any luck, RoG will take notice, and in a couple more years, we will see a new generation of reasonably-priced B-24s. No kit, including Hasegawa's are perfect.

Generally speaking, the Minicraft/Academy kits suffer from two main flaws: undersized engine nacelles, and undersized turrets. I have represetative example of every 1/72 B-24 ever produced: Revell, Airfix, Matchbox, Academy, Hasegawa. Every one of them (except of course, the PB4Y-2, which has a different engine arrangement altogether) have engine nacelles that are the same size except the Academy kits, which are noticably smaller diameter affairs. This is not exactly new or even controvesial news, as Ron's Resins long ago produced a set of correct-sized engine nacelles for the Academy kits, which are now being produced and sold under the High Planes label. Apparently, the wing fairings are correctly sized - you just slap on replacement nacelles and you're good to go. For that matter, one could use Revell or Airfix nacelles, suitably cleaned up and detailed.

The nose/tail turret issue is something else, though. Again, Revell, Airfix and Hasegawa turret assemblies are pretty much the same size-wise, but the Academy nose and tail turrets are noticably smaller. The tail turret so much so that the fuselage is about 2 mm shorter, and a little pinched to accomodate the smaller sized turret. This can be at least adequately addressed by extending the turret support about 2 mm, and using a larger turret, preferably from somebody else's kit, as the shapes leave something to be desired.

There are, of course, the usual host of lesser issues, for example, the Emerson-turreted B-24H contained nose parts characteristic of the Consolidated-turreted B-24J, and vice versa. The tunnel gun windows on all the Academy kits are molded as part of the fuselage, and not opened as on the Hasegawa kits. The Hasegawa landing gear are more accurately molded, although the Academy LGs could be modified.

Still, with sufficient attention to detail, one can build a credible B-24 form the Academy kit. And it is still a fraction of the cost of the new kid in town.

Now, the Hasegawa kit:

State-of-the-art 2008 level detailing. Very impressive. The control surfaces, particularly on the horizontal and vertical stabilizers appears more realistic on the Hasegawa series than those of the Academy, although this complaint can be equally applied to thier B-29/50 series, as well. The waist gun wind deflectors are accurately portrayed on the Hasegawa kit (at least in the closed position), but only scribed into the Academy series. The tunnel gun windows are opened, with clear windows.

The thing that really got my attention, almost as soon as I opened my -D (and oh-by-the-way hooked me to spring for the -J, P.T. Barnum or no!) was clear sprue F, whcich contained not only two Consolidated A-6B nose/tail turrets, but an absolutely gorgeous, properly-shaped, to-die-for Emerson A-15 clear top. A little more investigation revealed the parts to build the entire turret, consisting of at least 11 separate pieces, internal framing, armored glass, and even the lower tub!!!!! Mind you, nobody, in any scale (well, other than the '50's Revell box-scale kit), has ever molded the Emerson turret glass parts in a single casting - it's always molded in two halves, leaving a very unsightly seam down the middle of the turret. Impossible to fix - even Falcon refused to mold a replacement for the Academy kits, stating that the piece would be too deep to vacuform. And Hasegawa got it in one!!!!!!

Similar to the Academy offering, Hasegawa offers flat and 'blown' sliding canopy section, but the Hasegawa pieces actually look 'blown', while the Academy pieces simply look like blobs.

As I mentioned above, the Hasegawa -D has all the pieces to allow you to install a ball turret if desired, although the instructions don't tell you how to do it. This does provide a level of flexibility above that of the Academy -D, which only allows you to make an early, non-ball turreted B-24D.

Additionally, the machine guns are very, very nice. All of the turret guns come complete with the wind strips appropriate to the particular turrets, including the top turret!

Sadly, though, not everything is perfect in Hasegawa land:

Several of the posts I quoted at the top detailed some of the more obvious compromises that Hasegawa made to kit multiple versions of the B-24.  In reality, the Academy kits suffer from many of the same compromises.

The Consolidated A-6B turrets are not detailed to the same level as the Emerson A-15, although they are head and shoulders above either the Airfix or Academy equivalents.  All versions of the Consolidated/MPC hydralic turrets had a definate internal structure that Hasegawa simply did not capture.  Basically, A-6 turrets enclosed the gunner in a smaller interior 'shell' over which the larget turret plexiglass rested.  On the plus side, the Hasegawa glass part is thin enough that one could srcatchbulid these two sides without too much angst. Moreover, the fully-enclosed A-6B tail turrets did not appear on -D series Liberators, at least not in the tail position. (a number of Pacific Theater B-24Ds were both field and depot modified to incorporate the A-6A turret in the nose, and these are clearly fully enclosed units.  As a side note, if you want to model one of these Liberators, use the Airfix nose, which correctly has the B-24D nose line, entirely different from production -Gs, -Hs, and -Js.) At this point, there is no really good open A-6A tail turrets on the market, although this could change in the aftermarket world.  An absolutely fantastic 'open' A-6A turret was included as a part of Cobra Companiy's PB4Y-2 conversion, but unfortunately, Cobra Company seems to have closed their website again. Hopefully, this will be only temporary, and we can convince them to produce those tail turret parts as a separate release.

The tires are, as have already been ponted out, are 'way too flat. The tread detail is lacking, too. I would either build up the bottom area with Evergreen strips, or replace with Academy or True Detail wheels. Doubtless, one of the Czech aftermarket companies will be offering some soon.

I'm not at all sure that I agree with Hasegawa's interpretation of the bombadier's station. At least Academy included a Norden bombsight.

Academy, while molding the tunnel gun windows as part of the fuselage, provided a reasonably accurate tunnel gun door/mount, which is molded as part of the fuselage in the Hasegawa kit (who molded the tunnel gun windows clear!?) You need to use the Academy piece for an early -D. Fortunatly, this particular piece appears in every single Academy version of B-24, so there's plenty to be had!

The engines are somewhat generic, but Quickboost has already released 'drop in' replacements, for both Academy and Hasegawa kits. Alternatively, you could simple spruce up the engines yourself - thy're not really that bad.

The Hasegawa B-24J is identical to the B-24D, with the exception of clear sprue J, which contains the two halves of the -J nose. The nose turret wind fairing looks as if it is the Emerson fairing, (and suspiciously similar to the Academy shape, which isn't quite right but can be fixed relatively painlessly) rather than the Consolidated wind fairing. It's not mentioned in the instructions, but Hasegawa has provided three different upper nose window configurations. The upper nose windows, as molded, are the flat rectangular type. However, you can cut them out and replace them with either 'blown' rectangular window inserts or 'blown' oval window inserts. Additional flexibility. The bottom section of the nose pieces look as though they might be pre-scribed windows for the F-7 Photoreconnaisance version, but I haven't quite decided on that one yet.

It looks very much as though one could mix and match nose parts from the Academy kits with the Hasegawa kits, although one would also have to use the Academy cockpit canopies, as the Hasegawa versions are molded integral with the top portion of the nose parts. (this is a particularly nice feature, as it allowed Hasegawa to integrally mold the navigation blister, and it turned out a lot thinner and clearer that if it would have been molded as a separtate part!) That might not be the worst thing in the world, either, as there were several syles of B-24 canopy framing.

So, from my perspective, I really like the Hasegawa kit, but have seen some really nice Academy B-24s built up, too. (B-24Ds, at any rate) No matter how you cut it, though, if you're going into the nose-turreted B-24 business, you're going to be wanting some Hasegawa turrets (especially those really nice Emersons), and anybody else's engine nacelles, at a bare minimum. With the two of them together, I see the potential to add serious flexibility to the ability to model the B-24 series, and that can't be a bad thing!

Now, for a brief "pox on both your houses" diatribe: 

1)  Nobody makes parts to allow for accurate modeling of late Pacific Theater B-24s, almost all of which were depot-modified to remove the ball turret and replace it with a lighter arrangement of twin .50s on a scarf and ring mount, with additional 'tunnel gun' windows added right above where the ball turret used to be.  It's a pretty much standard mod, and even appears on 'Cocktail Hour', Hasegawa's main version of the -J.  Ahhrrrgggg! (sound of gnashing teeth here)

2) Nobody makes even a crude representation of the light hand-held tail turret fitted to late model B-24s, again, mainly serving in the Pacific.  It's a fairly complex affair, and my hat's off to the modeler whose skills are good enough to fabricate by hand.  Mine aren't.

3) Arguably, the Academy B-24M has something that kinda looks like the (in)famous Ford S-Nose, but it's the only one that does.  Not so frustrating to me, as all the B-24s I personally want to build didn't actually have the S-nose, but a whole bunch did.

Hope this helps.

Byron












  • Member since
    June 2004
  • From: Tucson
Posted by cardshark_14 on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:12 PM
Fantastic, Byron! It sounds like you are a real B-24 guru, which is something I am definitely not. I'd like to build a few different B-24s in the near future, and I think I will pick up at least one Hasegawa kit, just to test the waters and expand my options.

Cheers,
Alex
Never trust anyone who refuses to drink domestic beer, laugh at the Three Stooges, or crank Back In Black.
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 11:25 PM

Thanks for the write-up, Byron.  Well done, saved to the B-24 bin.

John 

John

To see build logs for my models:  http://goldeneramodel.com/mymodels/mymodels.html

 

  • Member since
    August 2003
Posted by bboyd on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 11:30 AM

Thanks, Alex for the kind words.

My Dad was a Radio Operator on B-24s, and flew 26 combat missions over occupied Europe and Germany as part of the 488th Squadron (Reorganized), 467th Bomb Group(H), out of Rackheath, England. So I've always been kinda partial to the B-24.

On the other hand, the guys I referenced at the start of my post - they're the true B-24 gurus, and my hat's off to them! 

On the Hasegawa kits - if you're going to the IPMS Nats this year, I've heard a rumor that Hobbylink Japan has a 'We don't want to take this stuff back to Japan' sale on the last day, with serious discounts across the board.  Truth is, I don't have unlimited resources, either, and unless the Money Fairy actually pays me a visit and hits me on the head with her magic wand, I probably won't be buying a whole lot more - not at those prices. But they are really nice, and are the kits to beat.

Byron 

  • Member since
    August 2003
Posted by bboyd on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:08 PM

Hi John,

 Better check again - I just expanded the write-up a little. 

Byron 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Northern California
Posted by jeaton01 on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 12:15 PM

Got it, Byron.

Thanks,

John 

John

To see build logs for my models:  http://goldeneramodel.com/mymodels/mymodels.html

 

  • Member since
    April 2013
Posted by avauthor on Sunday, January 21, 2024 6:16 AM

Yes, George, I do know quite a bit about them. I provided research for Minicraft, particularly on the B24M

Jim

  • Member since
    November 2023
Posted by Fisherman Dave on Sunday, January 21, 2024 7:12 AM

Airfix has a new kit coming that looks pretty dang good maybe worth a look.

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