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The Dragon and His Tail

I started this build with the intention of doing “Cocktail Hour” of the 43rd Bomb Group, 64th Bomb Squadron of the 5th Air Force based on Le Shima in 1945. The artwork of SSgt Sarkis Bartigian graced many of the aircraft in this Squadron and there are markings for several aircraft carrying his artwork available.

The build started out per usual, using the venerable Monogram 1/48 B-24J. Using brass wire I added brake lines to the main gear struts, added a little detail to the turrets using brass wire and Evergreen Sheet Plastic. I have tried the Vacuform turrets but am not happy with the results so I use the kit provided ones. I cement them together, sand the seam to get an even surface, polish and paint. There is nothing the modeler can do about the seam so it’s just part of the model. I drill out the exhaust ports on the engines as well as the exhaust for the turbo superchargers, just something I do. I did some work on the bomb bay but it’s not noticeable. The model is basically correct for this version being a Consolidated built B-24J-160-CO_44-40428. Cocktail hour featured the Consolidated nose turret vice the kit supplied Emerson Turret. Haply I had a spare turret that I picked up from my buddy Scott Harvieux on Ebay. So, all set and ready to go. Started the final painting and really messed up the right side of the forward fuselage section by trying to buff the paint. (See above) I used ALCLAD Primer, let it set up for a week, but it remained tacky throughout the build. So I had a mess on the forward part of the starboard fuselage Sadly, the artwork is on the port side; so what to do? I managed to get it sanded down a bit and then repainted the forward portion. I still didn’t like it, plan “B”, you have to have a plan “B”. I had SSgt Bartigians “The Dragon and His Tail” decal so I went with that.

I had to cut the decal in several strategic places for ease of application and using the photographs off the website, applied the decal. I Used the Kitsworld Decal sheet and it went on quite good. No issues, it took Solvaset without destroying the decal. I opted for the open bomb bay doors and using another set of doors as templates cut the pieces for an exact fit. The decal covered the errant portion of the forward fuselage very nicely and I am quite pleased with the overall result. I plan on doing a few more as a tribute to SSgt Bartigian, and his artwork. I post this stuff on the B-24 Modeling, and Monogram sites on Face Book. A guy from Australia liked the one photo, photo shopped it as if it were flying and then sent it back to me. Pretty neat I thought. As mentioned I have more of the Bartigian artwork and will be accomplishing some of those in the not too distant future. Stay tuned for more Liberator excitement as it occurs.

20 additional images. Click to enlarge.


28 responses to The Dragon and His Tail

  1. Oh, just stunning! As you may know I am a huge huge Monogram fan and will almost always chose a Monogram kit over a new kit when I go to my local dealer…er…hobby shop! You did this one proud, very well done!

  2. Nice build. I’ve always wanted a B24. Cant afford it though, I dont have a job yet to buy my own things.

  3. Beautifully done!! looks great.

  4. Wow…..awesome job, Mark – came out really well. Yessir!

  5. Another excellent B-24 you have here. I am building one of these right now. I originally was going to build it as A Dragon and His Tail, but changed the paint scheme to an assembly ship. It’s currently listed in the Teeth and Fangs group build here on Imodeler.

    I’ll build up another one soon.

    I like your style. Monogram kits are what I grew up with.

    Two thumbs up and a “Liked”.

  6. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    This model looks great Mark. It is colorful in it’s markings and in it’s silver paint, it looks so somewhat refreshing and different. The details added are a big plus in it’s overall look.
    Prof again that MONOGRAM can not be counted out.

  7. Excellent result. I have always been a fan of Monogram kits.

  8. Wonderful job Mark, I’ve built one Monogram B-24 and the only issue I have is they are BIG models. So displaying them is an issue. Terrific job on this one.

  9. Congratulations, Mark.
    Really a beautiful finished model, and a good inspiration to me, so I intend to build this same model in 1/72 scale.

  10. Outstanding work, and those markings are a favorite. “The Dragon And His Tail” is the cover art for “Ken’s Men Volume II” which promises to be the definitive history of the 43rd Bomb Group. I’ve rad Vol. I and it is exceptionally well researched. https://airwarworldwar2.wordpress.com/2019/09/05/kens-men-against-the-empire-volume-ii-is-coming-soon/

  11. Really great looking Liberator. Excellent detail work!

  12. This is really nice! I did this once long ago with the now-extinct SuperScale sheet. You’ve really done this nicely. This is probably the most amazing artwork ever put on a US bomber.

    One small note for your future builds of B-24s: none of the plexiglass turrets on US aircraft have metal framing. What we have long thought was metal framing is sunlight on the glued-together seams – they used MEK, which “crazes” the plastic along there, giving the impression of metal. I can confirm seeing this on the turrets aboard “Witchcraft.” (Not a complaint – just information your B-24 factory needs to know)

    • Tom,
      You’re not correct with the statement about none of the turrets………….. Those made by Bendix in fact had the frames. We recently had a big discussion about this.

      Martin turrets didn’t have framing. Bendix did. What about Emerson ????

      Here’s a link that shows this.

      http://www.maam.org/airshow/b25_turret.htm

      This next link will provide you hours of study material. It covers all kinds of turrets and how to operate them.

      http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/AirGunnery/index.html

      I must extend credit where it’s due. You can thank Stephen Towe for providing this information to us.

      Also here’s a few pictures that I took that shows the Martin style frameless plexi glass.

      I have spent hours around and inside of the restored B-24 “Witchcraft” and took countless photos of her. I’ve been around Diamond Lil too………………. This is a photo of the nose turret.

      The tail turret:

      Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any reference materials…………. I’d be glad to help.

      I like your plane as it is. Don’t lose any sleep over it……………… Life’s too short to worry. Maybe on the next build. But it’s your choice on how you build it.

      I hope that my version of the “Dragon” turns out half as nice as yours did.

      • Thanks for the info on the turrets. I noticed too that “Framing” is absent on these turrets on the B-24’s. That being written, it is a model. I think not having “framing” gives the effect of being incomplete. As the turrets are fairly bare of any detail on the inside, and to “mask” the split in the turret halves, I do paint the seams. I will take your comment under advisement and proceed accordingly. I look forward to seeing your “Dragon and His Tail” on the forum. It is always fun to see other modelers works of the same aircraft and how they differ. I appreciate the comment and advisement and your looking in on the build blog.

  13. A great build! Nicely done.

  14. Wonderful work.

    I was able to board a “real” ‘Dragon and his Tail’ (not the WWII original) years ago when the Collins Foundation’s flyable B-24 was painted in this scheme and toured the U.S. She came into Stratford Connecticut and I was able to climb in side to check it out. It’s been since repainted as another B-24 from WWII because the ‘Dragon’ paint scheme was found to be objectionable for touring as an attraction.

    • I’ll bet that was a real treat to see it painted up in that scheme. Plus, it wasn’t 8th Air Force. It’s too bad that people find artwork like that objectionable rather than the significance of the art work as a morale booster to the troops and crew on a remote island in the Pacific during WWII. Sad reflection on our P.C. Society of today. But I digress.

  15. Geez Marine, you done an outstanding job on this Liberator. Took on a kit that can be quite fussy on a good day. Nailed a well done natural metal finish. And topped it off with a difficult but beautiful art work. As I looked at each photo in how well done the attachment points are, the seams or lack of after excellent prep work needed for a natural metal finish. Difficult on a Monogram kit, they may be great kits, but did need some real work to achieve the result we have here. Real passion here in your work. As my friend Louis pointed out, your good on the turrets. I love these Monogram kits, I have quite a few. Yes the new stuff coming on line are good but funny it’s how a lot of veteran modelers compare accuracy to a Monogram kit and despite the new methods in molding, the Monogram kits still stand up well against them. I for one don’t even let the raised panel lines deter the value of the model itself. it was the times then. Today we see some amazing details. Plastic with resin like quality it’s good times in the kit world today. Still Monogram to me is the standard. Well done Mark, looking forward to see what ya have next for us. Welcome.
    Chuck
    Fly Navy

    • Thanks Chuck for scoping out the build and your nice comments. You are correct in that they do take some work but that is what modeling is about. For me as well the raised panel lines aren’t a factor. Retired Navy living the dream in So Cal? Way to go. My dad was a sailor in WWII on a troop transport, and I have been a guest on many ships from the USS Sanctuary to the USS Inchon and many in between. This seems to be a neat site.
      I have several more B-24’s in the stash to display the artwork of SSgt Sarkis Bartigian.
      Semper Fi

  16. Mark, This looks great, wonderful work on the paint scheme and the art work. Large decal work is always an extra challenge, however rewarding when it turns out well.
    I have pictures of the Collins Foundation aircraft painted in this scheme from a few years ago as it visited the Hillsboro Oregon airport. Its always fun to see a nice model of something you’ve seen in real life.
    Well done !

  17. Great job, Mark. I think this is your 2nd B-24, and they both look great. I love this kit and have a couple Monogram B-24D’s, but every time I think of how much paint it will take to cover them, I have second thoughts about building them. Decals look great. Will we see more B-24’s in the future, or are you running out of display space?

  18. Thanks George and Terry for your interest in the model. Yes, I have two posted on here right now. I have two more on the shelf not yet posted. I will get to those when I get the time. In the meantime, I am in the middle of an RAF Ventura II in 1/48 scale by Revell of Germany. Nice kit. I finally landed a set of decals for the outrageous nose art “It Ain’t so Funny” by Bartigian. That will be my next build. Stay tuned.

  19. Mark, great work and my inspiration to build a 72nd ” Dragon….” Thanks for sharing.

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