Hobby Master HA9100 USAAF Consolidated B-24D Liberator Heavy Bomber - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", 343rd Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, Ploesti Raid, August 1943 (1:144 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
Life for the B-24 heavy bomber began in 1939, when the Army Air Corps initiated a request for a new bomber designed to exceed the performance of the B-17. Consolidated Aircraft responded quickly with its proposal, labeled Consolidated Model 32 and, on March 30th, 1939, was awarded the contract. One day short of nine months later, on December 29th, 1939, the first flight of the XB-24 bomber prototype took place.
Slightly smaller than the B-17, the turbosupercharger-equipped B-24 flew farther with a bigger bomb load than the much more publicized Boeing aircraft. Of seven service-test YB-24s, six were sent to the Royal Air Force (RAF) under the export designation LB-30A. Because they lacked turbosuperchargers and self-sealing fuel tanks, the RAF found them unsuitable for combat duty over Europe. Instead, they were stripped of their armament and put into service as transports on the Trans-Atlantic Return Ferry Service, which had been established to send air crews to Montreal to take delivery of American aircraft consigned to the British war effort.
Flying for the Army Air Corps as the B-24, and the U.S. Navy as the PB4Y-1, the plane also saw service in the Royal Air Force where it was known simply as the Liberator. There was also a transport version known as the C-87, one of which was Winston Churchill's personal aircraft, carrying him to historic meetings at Moscow and Casablanca, among other locations.
Pictured here is a 1:144 scale replica of a USAAF Consolidated B-24D Liberator heavy bomber nicknamed "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", which was attached to the 343rd Bomb Squadron, 98th Bomb Group, during 1943.
Length: 5-1/2 inches
Wingspan: 9-1/4 inches
Release Date: February 2012
Historical Account: "Black Sunday" - Operation Tidal Wave was an air attack by bombers of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on nine oil refineries around Ploiești, Romania on August 1st, 1943, during World War II. It was a strategic bombing mission and part of the "oil campaign" to deny petroleum-based fuel to the Axis. The mission resulted in "no curtailment of overall product output", and so was unsuccessful.
This mission was one of the costliest for the USAAF in the European Theater, with 53 aircraft and 660 aircrewmen lost. It was the worst loss ever suffered by the USAAF on a single mission, and its date was later referred to as "Black Sunday". Five Medals of Honor and numerous Distinguished Service Crosses were awarded to Operation Tidal Wave crew members.