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Louis Gardner
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1/48 Monogram / ProModeler B-24 D Liberator “Teggie Ann”

November 8, 2017 · in Aviation · · 42 · 7.3K

Here's another one of my older builds. I am definitely going to have to build a photo light box... This plane is too big for my current setup, so the quality of photographs are not up to par... She has some hangar rash and is missing a few .050 caliber gun barrels now. I noticed a few seams have cracked open on her as well... but overall not too bad considering the moves over the years.

I grabbed this one up when it was a brand new release at the local hobby store... It has several "firsts" for me:

The first time I ever used photo etch parts... they were included in the kit

The first time I ever mixed paints using my FS colors book... I custom mixed the "Desert Pink".

but it was a part of the ever present learning curve that we all go through. I have since learned that top turrets didn't have metal painted frames like I depicted on this one... The top turret will be mentioned again later in the story...

Here's a few pictures I took of the "real deal" full scale top turret plexi glass. Notice the frames are clear... not like the ones in my build.

After I built the model, I brought it over to my Dad's house. He looked it over and pointed to the top turret, and told me about one of his childhood friends who flew in these planes during WW2. This prompted me to do some research...

My Dad's friend was named Clark Ingram, and he was a radio operator / top turret gunner in a B-24D.

Clark originally trained in B-17's but volunteered to fly in B-24's. I found this photo and a story about Clark at another website called the Mount Zion Historical Society. They have articles and listings of numerous veterans and photos of people who served from my Dad's hometown area in Pennsylvania. (My Dad is listed there too, as a Korean War veteran)

Clark was assigned to the 345th Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomb Group "The Pyramider's" out of Benghazi, Libya in 1943. He flew in a plane named "Chief" and it was serial number 41-11774.

I was extremely lucky to find these actual pictures of Clark's plane on a website called B24 Best Web. (They have a lot of great wartime pictures...). It was damaged in a landing accident but repaired to flight status again afterwards.

Here's a photo of an unknown airman (or ground crew) standing next to the plane: You can see the nose art behind him.

This picture shows the original nose art on the Port side just above the nose wheel of Clarks plane.

The nose art was changed to this on at least the Port side. It's quite possible this was done after the landing accident...

SSG Clark Ingram participated in the raid on Ploesti in August 1943.

Clark was shot down over Italy on Sept 3rd, 1943 by a pilot named Johannes Burda. Burda flew with 11/ JG3 and was flying a Bf-109G6. At this time, 11/JG 3 was flying from San Severo which is near the "heel" in the boot of Italy. Some sources state the combat occurred at 18,000 feet above Italy. There is also reportedly gun camera footage of Clark's plane being downed from Burda's 109 still in existence in a German Archive in Munich.

Clark and his crew was Burda's 7th confirmed victory. Most of Burda's other victories were made on the Eastern Front. It would be Burda's last victory. He died in a landing accident in Germany a year later, since the rest of JG 3 transferred to "Defense of the Reich" duties. Almost to the day...on October 3rd, 1944.

Only 6 of the 10 crew members survived the shoot down and managed to safely bail out after their plane started burning. Four perished. Clark was captured by the Italian Police and handed over to the Germans. He spent the rest of the War as a POW in Luft Stalag 6 and later Luft Stalag 4 until April 1945. He was part of the "Shoe Leather Express" where the Germans force marched the POW's in freezing weather for 44 days.

He was liberated on April 16th, 1945, by the 2nd British Army that was led by "Monty"...

Clark weighed a meager 100 pounds at the time of his liberation...

I have several more of the B-24's in the stash. Eventually I want to build one up as "Chief" for as a remembrance for Clark, who died in 2011, and my Dad who followed him a year later. I have already built a 109 as flown by 11/JG3 during the time frame that Clark and his crew were shot down.

Freedom isn't free.

Enjoy this older build, and as usual, comments are encouraged.

PS: We still need some B-24's for the Kasserine Pass GB ...

Reader reactions:
13  Awesome

21 additional images. Click to enlarge.

42 responses

  1. A great build Lou. nice back round info. I think an old friend I had's father was a tail gunner in B-24's, amazing how cramped those positions were, especially the ball turret.

    • I was amazed at just how little room is actually inside these planes. I have been fortunate to crawl inside a later "J" model B-24, and it was very cramped. One can only imagine how much more so when you consider the fact that I didn't have on a heated crew suit or parachute ! These guys were brave to state the least... Thanks for the kind words Bob.

  2. A great build with an equally great story, they don't make them like that any more, a true hero. Nice job.

    • You're correct Marc about these guys being a hero. But if you ask any of them, they will say they were only dong their job. They call them the "Greatest generation" for a reason in my book. Thanks for "liking" the article and the model too my friend.

  3. Nice work, Lou. Great job on the paint mix.

  4. Great looking B-24, Lou! Those "Pinkies" are interesting.

  5. Louis, Good looking build on an old classic kit (I built 2 of these, their are no survivors !), I really like the scheme and am still waiting for a good 1/72 scale kit D to save space.

    • Thanks Terry. Years ago as a kid I built the Revell 1/72 kit as a Naval version in three tone camouflage. I ended up building a second one as "The Blue Streak" which was also a D model. These two models are no longer with us either... It would be great to see someone release a set of decals for the "Blue Streak" in 1/48... I'd grab up a set in a heart beat. The 1/72 kits are more compact, but my eyes are not as good as they once were, so I shy away from anything in this scale.

  6. Impressive build Louis. It sure must take up some space in this scale. Thanks for sharing the interesting history, which shows that our hobby is far more than just putting plastic parts together.

    • Thank you Ferry. This is a rather large plane for sure in 1/48 scale. Surprisingly my PBY Catalina is almost as big... Yes our hobby is more than just grabbing a tube of glue and a bottle of paint. I like to get the history part included in my builds whenever I can. It helps bring them to life and reminds us of what these men experienced.

  7. Louis, thanks for sharing this story. Beautiful job on the B-24D. The Ploesti story has interested me since the book in the 60s. My birthday is August 1st. More Medal of Honors in one place and time than any other.

    • Thanks Bernard. It is one of my favorite history subjects too. I remember reading about it as a child, and the subject has captured and retained my interests every since then... You're correct about the number of MOH awarded...

  8. Thanks Louis! The model is really nice; great work from you as usual. The history is the cherry on top. You know how I feel about those WWII vets, and what they did for us. As I used to tell my students, every thing they had in their life was due to their efforts. I am touched sir.
    Thanks again! 🙂

    • You're welcome Gary, and I appreciate the kind words. This is one of my older builds and is close to twenty years old now. I built it shortly after my return to the hobby.

      I feel the same way as you do towards these veterans, (from any era). You hit the nail on the head with the comment about their efforts... Thanks my friend.

  9. At first glance, I thought "Oh...'Strawberry B***h'..." (only because I did one of these in the same color as just that - and's gone now). As always, a good background story accompanying a pretty nice lookin' build. 🙂

    • Thanks Craig ! I think I have a set of decals for that one and was really impressed by the actual plane when I saw it for the first time as a kid at Wright Patterson many years ago...

  10. Louis I like your style. Family,friends and veterans. Your modeling is built around the lives and history of people. Its not all about the plastic or engineering. What better way to honor these folks too. Two thumbs up.

    • Thanks Stephen. You summed it up rather nicely... Family, Friends, and Veterans... To me I try to include something personal with my articles when I can. It helps to bring life to the models, and helps to keep the memories alive for these individuals who sometimes gave it all.

  11. I love this plane, Louis. There's also something romantic about the D model, which I like much better than the J (although if I had to fly in one I'd prefer to have those nose guns!).

    • A few years ago I saw a very early B-24A model called "Diamond Lil" that was restored to flying status. Over the past numerous years, I have seen the Collings Foundation B-24J during it's annual inspections, and I agree the early "D model" nose looks better to me too...

      Thanks for the compliments my friend.

  12. Fond memories of the Monogram B-24, though my first multi engine build was the B-25H Mitchell and P-61. But I did eventually get to the Liberator. I remember all the interior components, I think I had the kit that supplied the bomb trolley and the extra detail brochure from Shep Paine included in the kit. Those were the days. In fact I was pondering a Liberator in this scheme using the Academy 72nd scale kit. But it takes me forever to build a heavy in any scale. Well done Louis thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Chuck ! I never got around to building the P-61 you mentioned that Monogram has, but I did build the others you talked about, and they do take considerable time for sure.

      Recently I picked up several of these 1/48 P-61 kits as they are still available brand new.

      The older kits have more appeal to me, since the instructions were easier to understand (for me), and I'm sure the molds were in much better shape back then too, so they didn't have as much flashing present.
      Yes those were the days... I liked the Shep Paine diorama brochures too.

  13. Great model Louis, and a great story to go with it. I remember seeing a
    B-24 at a couple of air displays. I think her name was Strawberry Blonde, but I'm not really sure. I have a few photos of her, so will have to look at the nose art. It was over 20 years ago.

    • Thanks for the compliments Julian. Seeing one of these actual "real life" planes in person is a treat and is something to cherish for a lifetime. Take care my friend.

    • Julian - one of my teacher friends had a grandfather that served aboard the Strawberry Blonde. I've been tasked with building a B-24D for her to present to her father. Do you have any of the pictures of Strawberry Blonde available? Contact me at [email protected] if you do! Thanks in advance.

  14. Very enjoyable post, Louis, both the story and the model are truly impressive.

    • I'm glad you "liked" the article George. The old girl has seen some better days, but still looks OK to me. Eventually I plan on building another one as a tribute to my Dad's friend Clark. But this time I will pay more attention to the little details on fit and finishing.

  15. Louis - You're clearly as interested in individual histories as I am. My Dad had nothing like as interesting a military career as yours (Army Pay Corp) but the detail of all these historic events stimulates my ailing brain cells. As you're perhaps aware, the USAF involvement hasn't been my main focus but you may be interested in the memorial to the 10 crew of a B-24D from 506 Sq, 44th bombardment group that sadly crashed not far from where I live. Ruth-less (41-24282), piloted by Lt James Brolin, who named his a/c after the wife he missed back home, had been assigned to attack an underground V-1 assembly factory at Watten in the Pas de Calais on 2 Feb 1944. the a/c lost one engine to flak and a second was damaged. Limping back to England, Brolin chose to approach one of the emergency landing fields near Eastbourne at Friston, just a mile from my house. The field was backed up with other damaged USAF bombers and he had to circle back out to sea and come in over Eastbourne which is ringed by downland hills to approach the field again. Viz was bad due to low cloud and the crew ditched whatever they could to climb over the hills surrounding the town. Despite this, the a/c clippied the top of the hill above Eastbourne, flipped over and burst into flame, killing 8 of the 10 crew. 2 crew escaped only to be killed by debris from the bomber rolling down the hill. A group of locals got together to erect a suitable memorial and an annual ceremony is held at the site to remember those who sacrificed their lives - Ruth-Less and far from home. The a/c had also been involved in the Ploesti raids earlier. Memorial pic available to anyone interested.


    • Paul, thanks for sharing the story. How very kind for the folks to remember the crew and their sacrifice. Gives me a big lump in my throat. In a corner of a foreign field, far from home.

      • Hi Louis - I got so carried away with talking about this episode in 1944 that I forgot to ask why your B-24 has British cockades on the fin as it obviously did from your pics. Was this normal at that time or had the a/c been with the RAF at some point?

    • Hello Paul, and thanks for sharing the story of the crew with us. It is very considerate of what the locals did to honor the memories and sacrifices made by this crew.

      One can only imagine what was going through the last two crewman's minds who escaped the crash with their lives, only to be killed by rolling debris. What a tragic story indeed...

      I would like to see any photos you have on this subject. It sounds like a worthwhile future build for me too.

      As far as the RAF flashes on the fin, many US Army planes had them painted on as a recognition feature. However according to Dana Bell, most of the B-24 planes in the "Halpro" group were originally built under contract for the British. So that might also explain the fin flashes.

      • Louis - It's a sad but eventually rewarding story probably typical of many such tragedies during WW2 throughout the world. The guy that mows my hair is a fellow historian and collector of books. When I was writing my own book about aircraft casualties during the BoB and the rest of the war around my local town, he lent me a book about this B-24 written by a guy called Kevin Watson. I thought it was now unavailable but it's on the Amazon website - Ruth-less and Far From Home. It tells of the sircraft and the crews service life throughout WW2 including their Ploesti exploits in great detail. I can't see how to add pics to this comment but if you send me an email address, I'd be happy to send you the odd pics I have and the link to a video of the ceremony dedicating the marble plaque on the site of the a/c's crash. All the best - Paul

  16. Great story and a great model. I did a B-25 in desert scheme after seeing a pic of Dirty Girty from Bizerty (or something like that), and then decided I wanted to try it again on a B-24. I haven't gotten to it yet, but hope it turns out as nice as yours.

  17. Great story, great build and great kit, another Monogram winner!

    • Man Rob, Monogram was on a roll back in the late 70's! The three heavies, a good selection of twins, but I wonder why we never got an A-20 or (for the navy guys like you) a Neptune. At least now we have a Ventura, if only they follow with a Harpoon!

    • Thanks guys for the kind words. Yes Monogram was cranking them out back then. They have stood the test of time, and as far as I'm concerned a great value still to this day.

  18. Louis, as usual this is excellent work, the quality of the build and the beauty of the words. As you note, "freedom is not free"; on this day of the year we all try and remember this.
    There are few brands that stimulate nostalgia like those Monogram kits, so intimately connected to our childhoods and youth.
    Thanks for sharing, Lou. Made me smile, made me think.

  19. The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month... 1918. It does make you think... and appreciate the freedoms we have today, that were unselfishly provided by the young men and women before us.

    Thanks for liking the article and the kind words David. It's good to hear from you my friend.

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