1:48th B-24J "Queen of Hearts"

Your forum dedicated to 1/32nd and smaller plastic and metal figures and vehicles.
Post Reply
Warbird Kid
Sergeant
Sergeant
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:59 am

1:48th B-24J "Queen of Hearts"

Post by Warbird Kid » Thu Dec 30, 2021 2:30 pm

So after building a 1/48th scale Jeep for my father last year for X-MAS, I was wondering how to top it this year. At the same time my parents bought a pre-built shed that was supposed to be the Jeep's home in the case of an emergency. Well that went out the window, and its quickly become a club house of sorts. In the process of decorating, a couple of 1/48th B-24s in 320th markings (that were built by my grandfather back in the day) were hung up, and we figured we needed one more to lead the group. So what better way than to build a near accurate version of my grandfather's B-24? This was to be a gift to my dad for Xmas to hang up in the clubhouse cabin in the backyard.

This was to be a build B-24J in the markings of my grandfather's aircraft: "Queen of Hearts" from the 90th BG "Jolly Rogers", 320th "Moby Dick" Squadron. The aircraft my father and I have come to identify most with his father's (my grandfather's) service while with the 90th BG. Peter J. Soltis flew over 40 missions in 1944-45 in the South Pacific aboard various B-24s in the 320th BS. But it's 0185 we see him most around in pictures. So it's become "his plane" to us.

First, a collection of most of the pictures we have of 0185 to showcase how I went about researching.

How the aircraft we've identified with his time in the 90th BG the most, 0185 named "Queen of Hearts".
This is an earlier image of her before the nose art was applied.
Image

Another early shot of her. Probably when she first arrived. Note the polished fuselage. It is assumed this is still from the factory.
Image

A rare port side view of the aircraft. Or at least we believe it to be 0185. There were a few aircraft with near similar shark / whale mouths. We know that the "Queen of Hearts" had bomb tallies later in her career on the port side, and it was the one thing I didn't have confirmation at the time when I built the model. But I am planning on adding then in the future.
Image

Some sort of PR shot with locals.
Image

Close up view of the "Heavenly Body" Vargas artwork with hearts in her cape.
Image

Side profile shot after the nose art was added.
Image

And finally a lovely painting by an unknown artist that coincidentally featured "Queen of Hearts"!
Image

So a little info to go along with the pictures. My father has be researching the 90th for years. And we've gotten lucky a few times. Year's ago received the typed transcripts from one of Pete's fellow crewman, Anthony Cerelli. We have my grandfather's diary from during the war and where he kept all the info about each mission. But the descriptions are pretty short, cut & dry, and matter of fact to say the least.

We get a slightly clearer picture when we add Anthony's accounts into the mix.
Image

The Crew
Image

On Mission 3, the number four engine is hit, and had to be feathered.
Image

On Mission 19, engine four is hit again and feathered. I decided I would model the B-24 after this mission.
Image

So with that out of the way, I started on this build. I found a trusty Monogram 1/48th B-24J and dove in. I approached this build as if a 20-something kid would have, back in the late 70's when this kit first came out. Trying to accurately represent a real aircraft that has personal family history, but not letting myself get bogged down in the weeds or sweat the small stuff.

Shot of the decent interior. Nothing special done inside except for some basic painting and adding a pilot and copilot.
Image

All the major subassemblies before being glued together. (Note: if I ever build another 1/48 B-24, I'm going to try the subassembly technique. This monster proved to be a handful in my tight workspace.)
Image

The two pilots: "The Ed's". I scrounged for some decent figures out of the extra box. I found enough for the two pilots and three turret gunners. No ball turret in this Liberator as far as we know.
Image

I did some hacking on the # 4 engine (as we know this engine was hit and feathered on multiple missions).
Image

After major assembly. The fuselage windows were masked, canopy masked and glued in place. All major holes plugged, and it was ready for paint.
Image

The skull and cross bombs were designed in Illustrator and cut out on a cricut machine. They are oversized to the original, but I was so pleased with the rough example after all the tape was pulled, I figured it'd be fine if it was a little bigger.
Image

The inboard rudders did not come out great. Alot of touchups were needed.
Image

After touching up the red and white, I applied the vertical blue band on the front of the rudders. After removing very sticky masking tape, it removed some of the red. DOH! Like I said, there was a lot of touchups on this bird.
Image

I was going to use the Cricut machine do the same for the shark (whale) mouth, but due to the dwindling days until Christmas, I figured it would just be easier to hand paint it. I drew the design in pencil, then thin marker. And then just started applying paint. It was a back and forth process to try and get it as close to accurate as possible.
Image

I photoshopped the nose art to have the hearts on her cape and printed it out on white home printer decal paper. I made the name in Illustrator and printed it on clear home printer decal paper. I still need to add small bombs on the port side.
Image

I bought aftermarket props to switch out the inaccurate ones that come with the kit. I also bought a stencil detail set to add small stencils all over the plane.
Image

I did suffer a pretty major setback during the build though. I foolishly assembled the entire plane before any of the detail paintwork on the tails or fuselage was done. That led me to trying to use a box as a sort of paint shield to spray paint the various sections. While trying to awkwardly handle the plane in my paint booth (aka the backstairs to my apartment building) the model slipped and fell to the floor. The fuselage splitting down the center, with the tail section coming off and cracking in one place. Everything else was fine. Without skipping a beat I picked up the pieces, went back into my office, and started gluing. I had no time for grief or being upset. I was on a deadline!
Image

I've only ever done a few other 1/48th scale models (this being the largest by far) as I usually stick to 1/144 or 1/72 but I was certainly a challenging build. I might try and build my grandfather's aircraft again, but in a diorama setting on the ground, with alot more detail and trying to get it as close to 100% historically accurate as possible. But that won't be for awhile as I've got alot of other projects in the works.
Image

Needless to say I do believe the old man liked his present. I received these shots a day after X-MAS.
Image

The other J and D model were built by my grandfather back when the kits were probably first released. I think he'd be quite proud of the result. I also have two replacement props for the other J model.
I have alot of bombs that came with the 24 and plan on creating a similar dropping technique like the D model in the back.
Image

Hope you enjoyed. Happy modeling!
Image
Keep Em' Flying,
Christopher Soltis

Dedicated to the preservation and education of The Sikorsky Memorial Airport

CASC FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/ctairandspace
Warbird Wear: http://warbirdwear.com/

Chicks Dig Warbirds.......right?

dannyc
Officer - Captain
Officer - Captain
Posts: 654
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:04 pm
Location: miami

Re: 1:48th B-24J "Queen of Hearts"

Post by dannyc » Thu Jan 06, 2022 10:23 am

Beautiful tribute to your grandfathers service.

slogan
Officer - 2nd Lieutenant
Officer - 2nd Lieutenant
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:25 pm
Location: Las Vegas, NV.

Re: 1:48th B-24J "Queen of Hearts"

Post by slogan » Thu Feb 03, 2022 4:12 pm

Nicely done.
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity

normandy
Officer - Brigadier General
Officer - Brigadier General
Posts: 5910
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 6:30 pm
Location: L.I., N.Y.

Re: 1:48th B-24J "Queen of Hearts"

Post by normandy » Fri Feb 04, 2022 8:09 am

Very nice job and it looks great hanging with the two your Grandfather built!
I'm sure He's happy with it.

Post Reply