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Walt
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Review: Hobby Boss 1/48th B-24J Kit #81774

February 26, 2024 · in Reviews · · 9 · 2.1K

The history of the has been written many times by people far more knowledgeable than me. During World War Two, it was used in every theater of the war, and produced in greater numbers than any other American aircraft. A historically significant aircraft that if a favorite of many modelers. For those of us that build 1/48th scale there has only been one offering, the Monogram kit first released in 1976. Monograms B-24J and later B-24D kits are good kits, but for a kit of this size the parts count is small, and some details were sacrificed. Modelers have for a long time been asking for a new mold B-24 in 1/48th scale.

has a history of missing the mark on their kits, and while producing much desired kits often falling short of the mark in the execution. That can be said when Hobby Boss released a new 1/32nd kit in 2018 many complained about a number of issues, one of which was a badly shaped Davis Wing, the was one of the key features of the plane, along with an inaccurate interior. In 2023 Hobby Boss announced that it would be producing a new tool 1/48th scale B-24J kit. The ‘J' version makes sense considering it is the most produced version of the aircraft and offers lots of fantastic markings.

In the different model forums, the news was greeted with a range from enthusiastic to guarded optimism. Many were taking a wait and see attitude towards this new release. I decided to preorder the kit, even selling my last Monogram ‘J' kit to help defray the cost of the kit and believing that it would be good enough.

Today my Hobby Boss 1/48th B-24J, Kit number 81774 arrived from Andy's Hobby Headquarters. These are my observations of the kit for those taking the wait and see attitude. The first question that should be answered is am I happy I got the kit. I can answer that easily with a Yes. There is a lot to like about this kit and when it is built, no one will mistake it for anything else than a B-24. It is not perfect though and Hobby Boss does seem to have done some things that do not seem right.

What's in the Box:

  • 20 Sprues of plastic, including two clear (5 x the Monogram kit) that are very well packed and protected.
  • 1 photo-etch.
  • 1 sheet of decals.
  • 1 vinyl sprue of ammo belts.
  • 3 vinyl tires.
  • 1 sheet of masks for the clear.
  • 1 instruction booklet.
  • 1 ledger sized color profile sheet for the three markings options for the kit.

Let us start with the good stuff first. The molding is incredibly crisp with no flash, and the surface details are very nicely done. The surface of the kit has a light texture and there are lots and lots of rivets, but they are petite as are the panel lines. The attachment points are designed not to affect the surface detail but are on the mating surfaces.
The shape of the wing is much better than the 1/32nd kit and seems to have the right curvature to the airfoil. There is also a nice stout spar stub that will help support the wings. The wings also have molded in structure to help keep the straight. The wing outline and span also seem to be pretty good, and the engine nacelles are the correct length. There is an issue with the shape of the nacelles though, but more on that later.

There is a complete interior in this kit from nose to tail, with nicely detailed bomb bay, waist section and ball turret area. The cockpit is complete, and the nose section has some details, but the detail in the nose section really cannot be seen once the plane is built.

A nice addition is the complete detailed wheel well in the wings for the main gear, and the nose gear section also. The nose gear is much more accurate than the Monogram kit gear. Unfortunately, for some reason, Hobby Boss chose to include vinyl tires instead of molded plastic ones.

Along with the vinyl tires there are other issues with the kit. The failure of Hobby Boss to mold the turrets in such a way that there would be no seam in the clear part is very disappointing. While the turrets on the Hobby Boss kit have complete interiors the front Emerson turret has a seam that matches the Monogram kits. The turret has a front and rear half. The real question mark is why Hobby Boss decided to mold the rear Consolidated turret with left and right halves. This is a huge disappointment for me and I am guessing that it is for many others also.

The nacelle cowls also appear to be shaped incorrectly. The B-24 engine cowl has two air intakes, one on each side. These inlets give the cowl an overall oval shape. When you look at photographs of the cowl you can see this, but it does not appear to be a true oval having more a rounded rectangle look. That is what the eye sees, and the photos seem to indicate, and the way Monogram molded their cowl. Scale drawings show a purer oval nacelle and cowl, which is the way Hobby Boss molded theirs. While it may match drawings it just does not look right.

Inside the nacelle, there is a very generic and rather lightly detailed engine front. The Monogram engine looks much better than what Hobby Boss produced 48 years later. They do supply a photo-etch ignition harness which may help.
The fuselage appears to be the correct length and height but I am not sure about the bomb bays openings. Someone with better knowledge and measurement can confirm or deny, but I think they bomb bay openings are too big. It may also be true for the vertical stabilizers. They may be taller than they should be.

The main gear legs look a bit thick and I am just not sure about the offset for the wheel. The offset for the wheel is much larger than that of the Monogram kit as well and that is due to the fact that the vinyl wheels are 1/8th” of an inch larger in diameter than the Monogram kit and 1/16th” larger than resin after market. That is a big discrepancy in size, scaling out to somewhere between 3” and 6” larger diameter.

So, after it is all said and done, what do I think? I think this will be a fun build, but it is a shame that a mainstream model company with all of today's technology can't get some of the simple things right. I will build this kit and enjoy it, the interior will be fun and the surface detail is very nice and will save me hours of scribing and riveting that I would have spent on the Monogram kit. It will look like a B-24 but, just like Hong Kong Models missed the shape of the B-17 fuselage, Hobby Boss missed some things on their B-24. This is unfortunate and I am sure for some, it will be a deal breaker. I am sure the forums will be filled with those that will complain, it is their right. I will just enjoy the kit and make the most of it, just as I try to do with all my kits.

I have included pictures of some, but not all, the sprues, the decal sheet, color profile, photo-etch and the vinyl parts. The directions have already been scanned and uploaded to Scalemates and can be viewed and down loaded here: https://www.scalemates.com/products/img/8/2/1/1468821-18-instructions.pdf

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9 responses

  1. Great review Walt but I think Hobbyboss may have missed the mark here too, looks like it might be an H model...
    https://www.americanairmuseum.com/archive/aircraft/42-52534

  2. Thanks for this wonderful review, Walt!
    Looking forward to your build!

  3. Nice review, Walt, not really my thing but I enjoyed reading it very much.

  4. 264331, "Over Exposed" was converted to an F-7 and would need camera ports under the fuselage

  5. Looks like a fantastic kit, Walt @luftwaffe-birdman
    Love to see it built.

  6. Thanks for the review, Walt.

    According to those who pay attention to detail, Sloppy Boss also screwethed the poocheth in the overall shape of the nose, particularly the area around the cockpit and the shape of the canopy.

    Sorry, Sloppy Boss, I see nothing here that would make me spend 4x what I spent to get the Monogram kit.

  7. Walt (@luftwaffe-birdman)
    Thank you for taking the time to post an honest review with a lot of pictures. It's a shame they missed some of the details that you pointed out. I don't think this will be a deal breaker for me though, as I'm a big fan of the B-24, and have been inside and out of the Colling's B-24 on numerous occasions. If anything, I'm wanting one of these simply for that reason alone. Sentimental value I guess.

    This one has an excellent interior, and this alone will save us countless hours of scratch building. I wonder if someone could use some parts from the Monogram kit to make this one better ? Like the cowlings as an example... Engines and wheels are readily available too. But it's sad a person would have to spend more money to correct a kit that should have been done correctly in the first place. They missed a golden opportunity here... We have needed a new tool B-24 in 1/48 for a while now.

    I do plan on getting one of these in the future. I think it will be a better fitting kit than our beloved Monogram kits are. This combined with some very nice looking surface and internal details will be a win in my book.

    Who knows ? Maybe they will follow on with a Privateer ! That would be COOL !

  8. Great review Walt, looks like they improved a lot over the Monogram kit but missed the mark on some essential details. Look forward to seeing you build her.

  9. Appreciate your thorough HB review, Walt. Why am I not surprised there are issues with their new Libby? And disappointed in HB once again.

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