Minicraft 1/72 PB4Y-1 Liberator






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Looks like an Academy kit to me.


When WWII started, the US Navy used flying boats for patrol and anti-submarine work. What was needed was a long-range land based patrol bomber. Initially, the USAAF was tasked with this mission, but it became obvious that they were not going to be able to meet the need and build up squadrons for overseas use at the same time. Therefore, the Navy was 'given back' this particular mission.

The best available plane for this task was the B-24 Liberator. It's long Davis wing was perfect for the long over-water flights that these planes were to undertake and soon B-24s started entering Naval service. The initial Liberators were exactly like their Army counterparts and were quickly shipped overseas to Pacific bases and along US coasts and Atlantic islands. These planes kept their OD/Neutral grey colors. Of course, no Navy plane can be EXACTLY like their Army counterparts, so in late 1943 a special nose turret was developed by ERCO that was larger and a bit more aerodynamic than that on Army B-24s. About the same time that this new nose turret was used, the planes started coming off production lines in Navy colors. Those used in the Atlantic were painted in the dark gull grey over white scheme while those headed for the Pacific were in the three tone scheme currently in use.


This particular kit is basically the same as the other Minicraft or Academy B-24s.  Well, almost the same (other than being in white plastic). You see, the only difference is the nose section with turret and the accompanying clear bits. Because of that, the only sprue I'm going to put on this page is the different one. For the rest of the kit sprues, check out this preview.

From talking to those who have actually built the Minicraft B-24s, it seems as if they are very nice kits, with good fit and relatively good accuracy. Many of the differences between subtypes are well done and consist mainly of nose and turret differences. Instructions for this kit are well done showing proper painting colors and other bits of info. These will be major tail sitters so be sure to load up the nose with a great deal of weight. Fortunately, there is lots of room for that just above the nose wheel well. Markings are rather boring consisting of insignia and a number. However, it is quite typical of many Atlantic PB4Y-1s, which were generally devoid of cool nose art. You have to head for Pacific squadrons to find that stuff!



It is great that Minicraft have decided to do a PB4Y-1 as it just adds to that already large collection of B-24s that they do. Now, how about going for the big one and doing a PB4Y-2? The Matchbox kit is nice, but not easily available. I'm sure that a Minicraft version would be gratefully accepted by modelers everywhere!

Kit courtesy of my inability to pass up buying a cool kit. Especially when it is on sale!

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