Detail & Scale originally published an illustrated book on the B-24 at the turn of this century. Twenty-three years on we have a new revised book with lots more monochrome and color images.
The chapters include:
- Liberator History
- Liberator Variants
- XB-24 & XB-24B
- YB-24 & LB-30A
- LB-30B Liberator Mk.I
- Liberator Mk.II & LB-30
- Liberator GR Mk.V, GR Mk.VI &GR Mk.VIII
- XB-24K & XB-24N
- C-87 Liberator Express
- F-7NPhoto Reconnaissance Liberator
- C-109 Tanker
- C-31 Liberator Liner
- Liberator Details
- Defensive Armament
- Cockpit Greenhouse and Astrodome
- PB4Y-2 Privateer
- Privateer Details
- Modelers Section
One of the first things I check receiving any book from Detail & Scale is the list of contributors and sources. There are eighteen individuals and four organisations including the USAF National Museum, US Naval Aviation Museum, US National Archive, and the US Library of Congress. Detail & Scale do a fantastic job of utilising contributors and sources to produce some of the best reference material for modelers and aviation historians alike. Under the list of contributors and sources there is a poignant and fitting dedication to B-24 pilot Easley Smith along with a color profile of ‘Rocky’ the B-24H he flew 25 combat missions with.
The book treats the B-24/PB4Y-1 Liberator and the PB4Y-2 Privateer separately with the Liberator understandably receiving significantly more coverage. The chapters on the Liberator has sixty-four pages compared to the Privateers thirteen pages. In reality its not really that weighted in favour of the Liberator as the PB4Y-2 shared many parts.
The first chapter provides a brief overview of the planning, development, and deployment of B-24. Strategic bombing was a new role for aircraft with only the US and UK developing and employing the strategy. The story of how Consolidated was selected to build the second strategic bomber is an interesting one. Particularly as they were better known for their flying boats. The Liberator would turn out to be a most adaptable aircraft, Consolidated drawing on its experience of long-range sea planes. Although its role in strategic bombing alongside the B-17 is well known. Its maritime role in the Battle of the Atlantic was crucial.
The following chapters looks at the many variants in great depth. As you can tell from the index above, there are quite a few variants. There is even a ‘F’ variant [photo reconnaissance]. The cargo/fuel ferrying/ transport variants are interesting and the lack of armament is quite a contrast to the combat aircraft. The author documents the changes in the airframe from variant to variant in a way that makes it easy to follow. There are line drawings of each variant providing a useful quick visual cue to the changes found on each variant, particularly the armament. The installation of the various turrets: Consolidated, Emerson, Martin, and ERCO is noted in the line drawings as well as the appendages for the installation of radar. The inclusion of several color side profiles highlights some of the more interesting paint schemes.
The sections focusing on areas of the Liberator external and internal detail is fascinating. The images of the internal detail will be invaluable for any modeler wanting to super detail their model. Many of the factory or in service images are in color. They provide critical clues of what paint to use, without trawling through the internet.
As mentioned, the section on the PB4Y-2 Privateer is short, but its none the less interesting. Detail and Scale list the differences between the Liberator and Privateer, which is a little more than the obvious change in the appearance of the vertical tail. Of particular interest on the Privateer are the revised engine nacelles, waist blister turrets and tail.
If you have been suitably inspired looking at this book to start building a B-24 or two, then you will find the modelers section at the end is very useful. It provides a quick overview of the kits and some notes about building them. Also reviewed is a selection of decal releases from PYN-up and Cutting edge that are available.
As you would expect from Detail & Scale the book is packed with excellent quality monotone and color photographs. It’s well worth perusing the superb range of photographs and the quality of the reproductions, particularly if you want to include that bit more accuracy or something different with your build. A few things that jumped out was how stressed the skin of the airframe could become. The various styles and artistic quality of the nose art. Also, the intriguing use of drones on the Privateer. All the images are backed up by informative text that is easy to follow and helps to get the most information from each image.
Whether you’re a modeler or a aviation historian this is a fantastic one stop reference book for this venerable aircraft. Its considerable influence during WWII and its role in some of the post WWII air forces is chronicled very well. There is a mother load of images to look and delight over at length. For the modeler there is plenty to inspire which ever variant you chose to build. For the super detailer there is so much additional detail to get your teeth into. Not to mention the numerous vignettes that could replicated in dioramas. Highly recommended.
B-24 Liberator [Includes Navy PB4Y-1 Liberator & PB4Y-2 Privateer]
Detail & Scale Volume 16
- Authors: Bert Kinzey
- Illustrator: Rock Roszak
- ISBN 9798398626537
- Print: 102 pages
- Photos: 290 [163 in color]
- Illustrations: 12
- Profiles: 6
- Available in Print, Apple Book and Kindle digital formats.
Many thanks to Rock Roszak for providing this review sample.
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