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Billy Smith
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1/48 Monogram B-24H (Converted from J) German Captured "Sunshine"

February 23, 2013 · in Aviation · · 12 · 3.7K

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 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,

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 :/

Reader reactions:
1  Awesome

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

12 responses

  1. Some of the pictures are odd in color :/ Here is a link to my flickr where you can see them in full resolution.

  2. Nice job on that, Billy...I've never had the "urge", I guess you'd call it, to put national insignia on an aircraft where it didn't "belong". Dunno why. Just haven't. I think they DO look 'cool', though...and we all know it DID take place. Maybe I'll take that first step and do one up sumthin' like you did. Or that P-47 that was posted the other day. Too bad some of your fine detail got hidden inside, too. Keep 'em comin'.

  3. i have recently have gotten into captured and what if planes, first ive learned of this one. as for the seam lines ive found that if its a small crack super glue works pretty good, dont use it to glue the two pieces together, but afterward apply a small amount in the seam, let it cure for an hour or so then sand away as you would with putty. if its a large crack try filling it with strip styrene first using a thin poly, like tamiya's thin glue, to glue the strip in place, after its cured then use the super glue method.

    hope it helps ...keep at it!

  4. I did this model back in 1982 for IPMS Nationals. Without the internet I did my research and did my best. I had to make my own decals and overall I was very happy with the results. I had this model till 2011 when some kids snuck into my garage and took it. Its funny when I checked the internet about it I found out that I got a somethings right and somethings wrong. I think its really cool that there is a decal sheet for it and I would love to get it. I may still even have my vacuum form mold for the H Bombadier glazing. I commed you for your effort. You did a good job with it and it looks like you had fun with the kit. As for putty, everybody has their preferences, but don't use the Testors in the gray tube. It does not bond to the plastic. I would recommend Tamiya White, I like it better than the Squadron. It has a finer grain and cures to a harder material. It bonds well with the plastic and should not crack out so easy like the testors did. give it a try I think you will like it. I would be very interested in knowing where you got the decal sheet. I would love to do this bird again.

    Again, good job Billy, on an interesting subject.

  5. Nice work, Billy. Very nice work.

  6. The article is not too long and the pictures aren't too many 🙂
    Thanks for sharing an inspiring build and telling the story behind it.

  7. Very Nice Build. I remember seeing a picture of "Sunshine" in The Log of the Liberator". I use Bondo for seam filling. I have several models over 10 years old and show no sign of cracking. For long joints, like on the Liberator, you can use an old vaccumn form bulider trick. Run a piece of strip styrene the lenght of the joint to reinforce the weld. Super glue works just as well, run along the seam and shot with accelerator

  8. Very good work!

  9. said on March 12, 2014

    Nice work! I love the lines of the B-24, and the kit although pushing 40, is still remarkable, affordale an accurate. I have an ongoing build article on the venerable B-24: check it out at I am also posting an article on "how to" make your own photo etched parts!

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