Hasegawa 1/72 B-24J Liberator

KIT: Hasegawa 1/72 B-24J Liberator
KIT #: 01559
PRICE: $5400 yen or less at www.hlj.com
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Base B-24J Kit


There is a friendly rivalry between B-17 and B-24 crews as to which was the better aircraft. Really, it is somewhat like comparing apples and oranges as the B-24 was a much newer design. It was also the most built 4 engine bomber in the US and perhaps of all time with 18,000 aircraft of all variants produced during WWII. Over 6,600 of those were J models.

Getting back to the two planes, the B-17 was probably able to absorb more battle damage and was easier to fly in formation, but the B-24 could carry more bombs, was faster, and had greater range. For this reason, you did not see many B-17s in the Pacific or in the Mediterranean, where range was considered to be of paramount importance.

In fact, in the Pacific, you often found Liberators in smaller formations and flying at lower altitudes. Japanese fighter defenses were a pittance compared to the Luftwaffe in Europe. Often times the ball turret was removed and replaced with a simple flexible mounting. Crews often flew in shorts due to the heat at lower altitudes. One plus of all this is that bombing accuracy was better.

The Liberator was flown by the RAF and the RAAF in the CBI and Pacific, some of these planes finding their way to India in the post war period.


The B-24D was much appreciated by modelers, but many were really waiting for the B-24J. This aircraft had a bewildering number of versions that would even confuse a Bf-109 fan. While I don't know them all, it seems that Hasegawa has taken that into consideration for this kit.

The kit itself is almost identical to the B-24D version aside from the new clear nose section. Though many B-24Ds were retrofitted with tail turrets in the nose, the H and later J models had a number of different turrets used depending on who made the planes as much as anything else. Anyway, the kit has the usual superbly done panel lines, a few ejector pin marks to deal with and what seems to be a nicely engineered kit as one can install all the turrets after the airframe is completed.

Options include a stowed or open ball turret, an A-15 or A-6A nose turret, and the ability to pose the bomb bay doors open or closed. Optional cockpit side windows are also given with one set having tear drop sections molded in place. The kit includes a fully detailed bomb bay and a very nicely done cockpit (decals for instruments, of course). There is also detail in the gunner's section. Hasegawa provides a stub wing spar to help mount those long wings and keep them from drooping while the cement dries.

Finding space for the nose weight will be a bit of a challenge. The B-24 is a definite tail sitter, but the compartment behind the cockpit that holds the upper turret seems to have a lot of additional space to be used for weight. I should also mention that the turrets themselves are not divided in half so no ugly cement seams on the blisters.

Instructions are very well done, if not a bit on the dense side. One will have to pay attention while going through the various steps. Hasegawa has pointed out what bits go with what version as well as any hole drilling or other alternations may be needed. Gunze paint references, of course. Two markings options are given. One is the box art plane from the 43rd Bomb Group in the Philippines during 1945. "Cocktail Hour" is in unpainted metal and while the instructions missed it, the upper nose is painted OD. Much less colorful is the 22 BG plane for the second option. This one is OD over Neutral Grey with the units badge 'Red Raiders' on the nose. Decals are very nicely printed and seem to be the new version so no worries on application.

It would be redundant for me to say that this makes the Airfix and Academy kits obsolete, but I'll say it anyway. This should be available in the States soon, but www.hlj.com has it right now for you to order.

June 2008

My thanks to www.hlj.com for the preview kit. You really do have a friend in Japan so visit him and check out the other Japanese hobby kits he has to offer.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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