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 A Tribute Build: Academy 1/72 B-24D "Lady Be Good"

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Posts : 320
Join date : 2017-02-18
Location : Somers, Connecticut, USA

PostSubject: A Tribute Build: Academy 1/72 B-24D "Lady Be Good"   Mon Feb 20 2017, 11:53

Manufacturer: Academy / Minicraft

Model: B-24D, serial # 41-24301, “Lady Be Good”, 514th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group, Soluch, Libya, 1943

Scale: 1/72

History / description: Courtesy of Wikipedia and

Lady Be Good was an American B-24D Liberator, AAF serial number 41-24301, which flew for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Based at Soluch Field in Soluch (today Suluq and Benina International Airport, Libya) with the 514th Bomb Squadron, 376th Bomb Group.

As part of an April 4, 1943, 25-plane high-altitude daylight raid on Naples, Italy, it failed to return. At the time, the plane was assumed to have crashed into the Mediterranean Sea and its nine crew members were classified as Missing in Action.

On February 27, 1959, British oilmen found the Lady Be Good in the Libyan Desert some 440 miles from Soluch. The American search that followed answered many mysteries, but others still persist. All the remains of the Lady's crew were subsequently found in the desert except those of one crewman.

Mission 109 began with takeoff from Soluch Airfield at 1:30 p.m. in the midst of a sandstorm blowing north from the Sahara. The sandstorm created many problems for the Liberators and the two sections that comprised it were scattered. Many of the ships in the Lady Be Good's section were forced to return to base with bad engines. The Lady Be Good was one of the last bombers to take off at 3:10 p.m., but her engines seemed to have none of the problems of the preceding planes.

Severe winds caused the Lady Be Good to be separated from the other ships, changing her route to Naples to an arching approach from the east. By the time she had reached Naples it was night; the other Liberators had come and gone.

Just before 9 p.m. she turned for home, and at 10 p.m. she dropped her bombs in the Mediterranean. At this point she was right on course for Soluch.

At around midnight, April 4-5, 1943, the Lady Be Good flew over or very near Soluch and continued southeast over the Libyan desert. She had called her base for help but somewhere at this juncture a critical mix-up occurred. Flares, however, did go up from Soluch.

By 2 a.m. the Lady Be Good had flown 400 miles since overflying her base and she was now running out of fuel. So her crew bailed out into the darkness thinking they were still over the Mediterranean. Having hit the desert floor and not the Mediterranean, the surprised crew gathered in the desert gloom to discover that they were all unhurt, and that John Woravka, the bombardier, was missing. It was clear to everyone what had happened; they had over flown their base. It had to be near they thought, so they decided they would walk northwest. But they had little water and no food to speak of.

The crew, now down to 8, discarded what they didn't need and moved on. They didn't realize that their ship, with food, water and a radio on board was only 16 miles to the south of them. With little to sustain them and with the hot desert sun draining their lives away, the flyers struggled northwest for five days.

By Friday, April 9th, five of the crew could go no further and collapsed. They had walked 78 miles and were close to the Calanscio Sand Sea and its tall, menacing dunes. At this point, only three of the crew had the strength to go on. They thought their base lay just beyond the sand dunes, so into the dunes they went. They didn't realize that their base was still hundreds of miles away, and that they and their comrades should have walked south after bailout and not northwest. Within three days they and the rest of the ship's crew would all be dead.

The war raged on for a few more years, and then ended. The Lady Be Good and her crew vanished into the cracks of aviation history until 1958 when the nearly intact Lady Be Good was discovered 710 km (440 mi) southeast of Soluch.

Examination of the wreckage showed that after the crew abandoned the aircraft, it continued flying southward. The mostly intact wreckage and evidence showed that one engine was still operating at the time of impact, suggesting the aircraft gradually lost altitude in a very shallow descent, reached the flat, open desert floor and had self landed on its belly.

Modeler’s Notes:

I read Lady Be Good: Mystery Bomber of World War II by Dennis E. McClendon. I found the story of this plane and her crew to be both compelling and tragic. When Hobby Master announced that it would be making this plane as a part of their 1/144 scale B-24 tooling, I really wished it would be done in 72nd scale. I then decided to build my own tribute model to this sad story.

This project has taken me over two years as I worked on it in brief spurts of a few hours at a time here or there. Personally, I’m happy it is finally done. The final effort is one I’m proud of and this plane will sit proudly in my cabinet with my other WWII bombers.

1) I purchased this model kit two years ago for the express purpose of building this tribute model. The kit was partially started and had several broken pieces (primarily guns, propellers, and landing gear) that had to be fixed or replaced. The bomb bay doors were glued in the closed position and I had to cut them out. Otherwise, the build was straight forward with no difficulties.

2) The kit itself features no crew members. I used figures from my spare parts box for the pilot, co-pilot, and bombardier.

3) With no decals for this particular plane, I hand created the white “64” flight number and the “Lady Be Good” name using photos and HM’s own artwork. The serial number was created on my computer and printed on decal film. National insignia were from spare decals.

4) Because one of the landing gear struts was broken, I decided to build the plane in flight with the bomb bay doors opened. I used a Corgi B-24 stand to display the model in flight. The bomb bay features 4 racks of bombs and the interior bulkheads.

5) Weathering was done by using a light wood stain that I applied over the entire model. Then I wiped off the stain from different places, leaving some stain in the recessed panel lines and control areas. I then sprayed sections with Testors Dullcote and added a few silver paint chips. Lastly I applied some Tamiya soot pastel to show exhaust and staining.

Paints: Tamiya color enamel XF-59 (Desert Yellow), Testors Model Master Neutral Gray, Tamiya acrylic semi-gloss black and yellow - green


On display on my 72nd scale desert bomber shelf:

The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad"
Alice: “I’m afraid so. . . you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. . . All the BEST people are.”
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