1/48 Monogram B-24H (Converted from J) German Captured “Sunshine”
February 23, 2013 in Aviation
Ever since I have been a little boy I was infatuated with captured aircraft whether it was for the good or bad of the United States. This plane would be my first captured aircraft that I have built, I chose this one for many reasons, the story behind it was rather interesting (at least to me) and I found the decals on ebay dirt cheap (I picked them up for like three dollars), and most of all I love bombers.
You can see some obvious mistakes such as a bad mask with the yellow stripe towards the rear of the plane, and some spots where I accidentally removed paint from, as well as the poor sawing job I did in the front of the plane so I could use the vacuform canopy that I found online.
Another thing to note is if you look at the top of my plane you can see a rough crack sort of, I tried using contour putty it held until I put the wings in when I applied some pressure and it broke the seal. Any suggestions on better putties? I was using testors stuff (grey tube). I’m trying to learn how to make it appear as if there isn’t any seems in the plane.
Here is some brief history on the plane.
The odd history of “Sunshine”
“Venegono Inferiore, near Varese, Lombardy, March 29, 1944. Over this airport occupied by German and Repubblica Sociale Italiana’s forces appear an American bomber. It’s the Consolidated Vultee B-24J Liberator serial number 42-52106, tail number 05, “Sunshine” of 719th Squadron, 449th Bomb Group of the 15th Air Force based on Grottaglie, Southern Italy. After few minutes the large four engine bomber land on the airport. Only after the landing the crew realize the grim reality: the landing site is an enemy airport, but it’s too late. The aircraft is captured intact and the entire crew became prisoner and spent the rest of the war on a Stalag in Germany. That’s in brief the odd history of “Sunshine”.
The official history of 449th say: “Circumstances of Loss: On 29 March 1944, between 0740 and 0821 hours, thirty-eight 449th B-24s took off to make an attack on the marshalling yard at Bolzano, Italy. The last ship to take-off ship #5, Sunshine, with Hemphill’s crew aboard — was destined on this day to a fate which was unique among 449th aircraft. Thirty-six of the aircraft reached the target and dropped 87-1/2 tons of bombs on the target area. By 1530 hours, thirty-five of the 449th aircraft had returned to base. The missing aircraft was Sunshine. Its fate was a mystery to Group personnel. In the months to come, it would be learned that Sunshine, flying at the very rear of the 449th formation, was hit by flak over the target which knocked out two engines. Hemphill’s crew knew they could not make it back to southern Italy. The safe haven of Switzerland, however, was less than 75 miles away. Therefore, rather than bail out, the pilots turned westward and began trading distance for altitude in an attempt to make it to a Swiss airfield. A few minutes later, what was believed to be an airfield in Switzerland was located, and Hemphill brought Sunshine in for a safe landing. Ironically, it was not Switzerland. It was northern Italy. The entire crew was immediately taken prisoner, and turned over to the Germans. Sunshine, completely intact, was taken over by the Luftwaffe for propaganda purposes. Among 449th aircraft, it was a unique fate”. Note a mismatch in the story: the first part tell “knocked out two engines”, the final part tell “completely intact”. And in effect in the photos the plane appear intact like in this picture showing the moment of arrival at Venegono with the engines still running and the Germans and Italians approaching to arrest the crew. Victor Sierra” (Source: JCFalkenbergIII, Histomil.com)
The last pictures are of the actual plane, the last one is a picture when they were captured which is quite interesting because they had to re-enact the capture for news reels as a propaganda purpose.
Sorry if this article is a little long or has too many pictures :/
12 additional images. Click to enlarge