I promised myself I would start this kit during the month of February, and while this may not be technically a start to the kit, it is a start. I am jumping back into another 1/48th B-24D and Ploesti veteran “The Blue Streak”.
I remember way back when I was in the 5th or 6th grade and just beginning my life long love affair with models when I built the Revell 1/72nd scale B-24D in the markings of “The Blue Streak”. As I remember it for my skill level and experience it was a pretty good job, and I proudly showed it off to one of my dad’s friends when I was encouraged to do so. That visitor offered me some very kind but constructive criticism and encouragement. My next model was no show winner but it was better.
During that time and all through high school and college I read my history books an built models, and also came to appreciate and like the B-24 bomber, more than its streamlined B-17 partner in high altitude precision daylight bombing on the part of the United States.
The model is again the Monogram B-24D kit that I used for building “The Squaw”. I have chosen to incorporate the some of the same upgrades I used before including the Vector Resin Engine Nacelle and Main Gear Struts and Well kits. I will also be doing some scratch building and using my own resin improvements. I will not be using the Lone Star resin B-24 wheels that I used before. I ordered a set and when they arrived the wheels had voids and worse, they weren’t round. I was sent another set at no cost, and while they had no voids, they still weren’t round. I have since ordered a set of Armory AW48341 Wheels from the Ukraine. I am hoping the will arrive before I need them later this year.
“The Blue Streak”, B-24D, 41-11613 originally named “Florine JuJu” it was one of the original 23 B-24’s of the Halverson Project, more commonly known as Halpro. This group of planes were originally built for the British under contract but taken over by the US. Sources agree about the top color being Olive Drab, which when delivered would have had the Earth Brown added to for the British two-tone scheme. There is disagreement on the bottom color though. Some say it was Neutral Gray and other say it was a US interpretation of RAF Sky (Blue), called Deep Sky Blue. Dana Bell describes it as a “light pastel blue”, which he states is “reasonably” similar to the 1930’s temporary Light Blue camouflage color. That color is listed as FS-35109. On my monitor that blue does not look very pastel, but more in the Blue-gray range.
Color issues aside, this group of planes was supposed to fly from the US to China by routing through South America and Africa so that it could bomb Japan. Prior to shipping out some modifications were done. The pitot tubes were moved from their high mount to the earlier lower side mount. The waist gun positions had twin 50 caliber machine guns installed, and two machine 50 caliber machine guns mounted in the floor of the nose section. These two guns fired through the glazing near the bottom. They were controlled by the pilot.
The initial mission was canceled and when the Japanese Army over ran the bases the B-24’s would have launched from. Instead, the Halpro B-24’s ended up in North Africa and became the foundation of the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group. “Florine JuJu” was later renamed “Teggie Ann” but another “Teggie Ann” showed up in the group and a new name was assigned “The Blue Streak”. This name may in part be explained by the blue colored bottom of the plane.
It is that final name and eventual markings is what I am planning on building. This plane had an incredible story and record. In short it flew 110 missions without losing a crew member in combat. During it’s time in service it was credited with:
1 Merchant Ship
1 Oil Tanker
23 Enemy Fighters
110 Missions (297 Tons of Bombs)
During that time it required 19 engine replacement and due to damage had two new wings and one new rudder.
The one good thing about such a famous plane is that there are lots of pictures showing this plane in various stages of its life in the US Army Air Corps. I know from my research that the national markings started as the simple blue circle and white star. Later a yellow outer boundary was added then white bars and a red surround and finally the red was overpainted in blue. I have a picture showing the damage wing presumably about to be replaced with the yellow surround. All this means is that the possibilities are endless for markings, and painting will be very subjective. Did the new wings get painted blue on the bottom, or were they Neutral Gray because that’s what they were painted from the plane they were pulled off of. If they painted it blue, I am sure it didn’t match exactly. This is a chance to have fun with painting and colors, and get away with a lot on a truly war warn plane in a very harsh environment.
Partial list of references other than websites with pictures.
Bell, D. (1979). Air Force Colors Vol. 1 1926-1942. Illustrated by Greer, D and Stern, R. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications.
Bell, D. (1980). Air Force Colors Vol. 2 1942-45. Illustrated by Greer, D. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications.
Birdsall, S. (1975). B-24 Liberator in Action. Illustrated by Greer, D. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications.
Birdsall, S. (1973). Log of the Liberators, An Illustrated History of the B-24. Color Illustrations by Preston, J. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.
Freeman, R. (1983). B-24 Liberator at War. Osceola, WI: Motorbooks International
Kinzey, B. (2000). B-24 Liberator in Detail. Detail in Scale. Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications.
White, I. (2014). Consolidated B-24 Liberator. Warpaint Series No. 96, Includes Color Artwork and 1:72 Scale Plans by Caruana, R. J. Bletchley, Buckingshamshire: World Class Publications.
(May, 2011). History: Mission Centurions. Info Eduard, Vol. 11, Issue 5, pgs. 17-20. https://www.eduard.com/out/media/InfoEduard/pdf/info-2011-05EN.pdf
5 additional images. Click to enlarge.