Category Archives: Heavy Bomber

Heavy Bomber

Consolidated B-24D “Liberator” “The Little Gramper”, 491st BG (H), 8th USAAF (Airfix)

TYPE: Heavy long-range bomber, in service as Assembly ship

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of four

POWER PLANT: Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 Twin Wasp radial engines, rated at 1,200 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 303 mph at 25,000 ft

COMMENT: The Consolidated B-24D “Liberator” was the first variant to be qualified for combat. Under the original Production Pool plan, Consolidated/San Diego was the prime manufacturer, supplying components to Fort Worth and Douglas/Tulsa for assembly. In May, 1942 the first of 2,738 B-24D’s rolled off the assembly lines.
Due to rapidly changing needs, especially for defensive armament, there were many variations within the B-24D model, these differences identified by “production blocks” (e.g B-24D-70-CO). Nevertheless, B-24D’s have been very successful in the first years of bombing offensive in the European theater but later are replaced by B-24H and B-24J. These variants had more powerful engines and better defensive armament. Some bombardment groups used phased-out B-24Ds as assembly (formation) ships until the end of the hostilities. The B-24D Assembly (Formation) Ship “The Little Gramper” shown here belonged to the 491th Bombardment Group (H) „The Ringmasters“, stationed at North Pickenham. (Ref. 2)

NOTE: This model is not the Hasegawa kit. It is an Airfix kit I built many years ago. All is hand-painted direct on the model. Polka dots are used as mentioned with the Consolidated B-24J Assembly Ship of the 458th Bombardment Group (H)

Consolidated B-24H “Liberator” “The Spotted Ass Ape”, 458th BG (H), 8th USAAF (Airfix)

TYPE: Heavy long-range bomber, in service as Assembly ship

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of four

POWER PLANT:  4 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp, rated at 1,200 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 290 mph at 18.482 ft

COMMENT: The Consolidated  B-24 “Liberator” was a four-engine, heavy long-range bomber designed by the Consolidated Aircraft Company in the late 1930s. For that time it was a modern design compared with its main competitor, the better-known Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress”.  The first flight took place on December, 29th, 1939. The “Liberator” had a higher top speed, greater range, and a heavier bomb load than its rival. On the other hand the “Liberator” was more difficult to fly, with heavy control forces and poor formation-flying characteristics. Nevertheless, the B-24 provided excellent service in a variety of roles thanks to its large bomb load and long range and was used in the European as well as the Pacific campaign. When the production ended in 1945 more than 18.480 aircraft have been built, more than of all other bombers during WWII. (Ref.: 4)
The Consolidated B-24H Liberator shown here is an assembly (formation-) ship “The Spotted Ass Ape” of the 458th  Bombardment Group (H), 8th USAAF, stationed at Horsham St Faith, England. (Ref.: 2)

NOTE: This aircraft is hand-painted direct onto the models surface, except the black dots. For these Polka (donut) dots I used Bishop precut tape shapes, solid donut pads, Bishop Graphics. Inc., Westlake Village, Ca 91359 U.S.A. These are self-adhesive, extreme thin, in black, and easy to apply. More work is required to red and yellow Polka dots. Here I used the solid donut pads from the same company, but in red. Unfortunately, these are transparent. So they need to be painted dot by dot before being applied.

Consolidated B-32 “Dominator” (Anigrand, Resin)

TYPE: Heavy bomber

ACCOMMODATION:  Crew of ten

POWER PLANT: Four Wright R-3350-23A radial engines, rated at 2,200 hp each

PERFORMANCE: 357 mph at 30,000 ft

COMMENT: The Consolidated B-32 “Dominator” was a heavy bomber made for the USAAF  during WWII, and had the distinction of being the last Allied aircraft to be engaged in combat during World War II. It was developed in parallel with the Boeing B-29 “Superfortress” as a fallback design should the B-29 prove unsuccessful. The design on which Consolidated based its proposal was similar to the Consolidated B-24 “Liberator”. Like the B-24 it was originally designed with twin fins and a large Davis-type wing, but with a longer, rounder fuselage and a rounded nose. The aircraft was designed to be pressurized, and have remote-controlled retractable gun turrets with fourteen .50 in machine guns. The turrets were remotely controlled from periscopic sights in aiming stations inside the aircraft. The sights were coordinated by a sophisticated analog computer system. The inboard propellers’ pitch could be reversed to shorten the landing roll or to roll back in ground maneuvers. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 7 September 1942. In 1943, the initial contract was signed for 300 B-32 but development problems continued. In order to resolve stability problems a B-29 style tail was fitted to the aircraft after its 25th flight. But this did not resolve the problem and a Consolidated-designed 19.5 ft vertical tail was added and first flown on the third XB-32 on 3 November 1943. By 1944 testing of the three prototypes permitted the USAAF to place orders for over 1,500 B-32s. The first production aircraft was delivered on 19 September 1944, by which time the B-29 was in full combat in the Pacific Area of Action. Beginning on 27 January 1945, 40 B-32A-5, -10 and -15 aircraft were delivered as unarmed TB-32-CF crew trainers. The B-32 only reached units in the Pacific Area during mid-1945, and subsequently only saw limited combat operations against Japanese homeland  before the end of the war. Most of the extant orders of the B-32 were cancelled shortly thereafter and only 118 B-32 airframes of all types were built (Ref.: 23).