What a time to be alive as a scale modeler; at least that’s the perception. This is especially true if you like to build in the manscale and have an affinity for heavy bombers it seems. We all knew HK’s Lancaster kit was going to drop (after they already kicked off the market demand with their B-17s). But it was a real shock when Wingnut Wings came out of left field and announced their own Lancaster kit which looks to be destined to take the mantle of greatest injection molded kit ever.
The Hobby Boss B-24 hasn’t been as much of a surprise. The TrumpyBoss tag team has kind of been teasing this one for years (along with some other high demand 32nd projects). It has actually become kind of an inside joke in the industry – much like AMK’s failure to release their F-14 – but not nearly as fervent simple because TrumpyBoss doesn’t toot their own horn like AMK has.
A new hope
The recent show in Japan (where WNW stole the spotlight with their Lancaster announcement) featured some shots of a test build of the soon to be release Hobby Boss B-24.
From this lone image (and a couple others from slightly different angles) the kit looks acceptable. The village idiots over at the Monogram group on Facebook decided to call it a clone of the old Monogram kit. Apparently their evidence was both kits look like B-24s. Shocking I know. However, it was exciting to see this. It meant the kit is finally actually coming.
The wind from my sails
But now some test shots have hit the internet. A website by the name of “Fil Scale Models” has posted some better photos of test shot sprues. The sad reality is it looks like this kit is going to be a major disappointment.
I am not going to lift all the photos from the original site, but I will post a few below to discuss some of the disappointing aspects of this kit.
Shitty interior detail is the first real bummer. You’re talking a bomber with a lot of glass and open views into the airframe. I know a lot of people get lazy in these areas with the “it won’t be seen” nonsense, but in this scale you need more detail. But the interior isn’t the only place it’s lacking.
Surface texture blows. Look, I don’t expect stressed skin on this. The presence of that effect on WNW’s Lancaster does not mean that every kit released/announced around the same time needs to also have it to be considered a worthy kit. Some people are actually trying to argue this, which is stupid. WNW is way ahead of the curve, and like Doogs’ Models, I think we are headed in the direction where it will be more and more common, but we aren’t there yet.
That said, there is some irony in this kit featuring no riveting detail beyond the perimeter of the panel lines. I am going to complain profusely about this, but I can because I’ve never jumped on TrumpyBoss’ ass about their “mad riveter.” However, it’s interesting to note a lot of the people that have complained about “over-riveting” on other kits are now complaining about none here.
I have two HK B-17 kits sitting in my stash. They are adorned with beautifully recessed rivets; a detail that brings 32nd scale kits to life. There is no reason this one shouldn’t have it.
Don’t worry. There are bigger disappointments to come. This is the fucking engine people. This is not a joke.
What is the most lovely and prominent part of any radial engined aircraft? The fucking engines. That’s what. Not only are they highly visible, they are some of the most detailed parts of a good radial driven aircraft kit. This absolutely boggles my mind. Trumpeter has done a great job with other radials. I can attest to the engine of their 32nd P-47 kit being damn solid. It doesn’t live up to Tamiya’s Corsair engine, but it’s solid. Also, the engines in their Black Widow kit are damn nice from what I’ve seen. These look like something that you’d find in the old Minicraft Liberator kits in 1/72 scale! This is just unacceptable.
Another epic fail are the clear pieces. Look how these turrets are split down the middle. This just does not bode well for clean assembly, and these pieces are prominent on the airplane; they will draw plenty of attention. The better route would certainly have been to mold the frames in normal plastic and provide inserts.
Yeah I’m mad
Let’s go back to the Hobby Boss P-61 for a minute. This kit has been built masterfully by a number of people, including the one above. However, it’s also gotten a lot of praise for it’s quality. In fact, a friend is building one currently. As he shares photos with me I am seeing just how detailed and well engineered the kit is.
It was what I know about the quality of the Widow that led to some great expectations for the B-24 kit. That apparently has not translated. Now, I will admit that there have been some rublings about accuracy issues with the P-61. This is always the case with TrumpyBoss kits, however. I am sure they are there, the rivet counters are usually right in their obsessiveness. As I’ve said many times, detail and engineering is more important to me that small accuracy niggles.
I have not gone into any accuracy problems with the B-24 kit here because I’m not a subject matter expert, but many of your typical rivet counting knuckleheads have called out several issues. This is not at all what ruins the kit for me personally, but it may very well fuel your own disenchantment.
I’d implore you to check out Fil’s website closer. As I said, I don’t want to repost every photo here, but I feel like if you have a close look at all the test shot photos posted there you will see just how underwhelming this kit is. It just does not look at all worthy of a 32nd scale bomber kit.
B team is embarrased
It’s often joked that Trumpyboss has an A team and B team. This is certainly funny, and it’s borne out in the wide ranging quality of their kits. Kit’s like their Intruders are certainly A team. Other kits don’t live up to the same standards and these are labeled B team builds. If this B-24 kit were a 1/48 offering I’d be hard pressed to put them even in the B team; certainly not the A team. This kit – as represented in these test shots – feels like it was pawned off to the benchwarmers in the last minute of the 4th quarter after the team found itself in a 35 point hole. This level of work is embarrassing. It’s bush league.
Some folks are arguing that it’s low price and simplicity will make it a “great canvas” for aftermarket and scratchbuilding. Sure, maybe? Scroll back up and look at that terrible engine and tell me how you figure someone like Eduard is going to make a Brassin replacement that’s going to not require significant surgery to make work with the way the kit is designed.
Sure, there’ll be plenty of shitty photoetch to throw at things that are not best represented by flat pieces of metal. You may consider that an upgrade. I’m sure there will be resin. This is why I don’t sweat the vinyl tires. No one with sense uses kit wheels.
However, I just don’t see it as an excuse for a very basic kit of a subject this size. This isn’t a model that should be targeted to people as a basis for more spending. If they put the kind of effort into it that HK put into their Forts (however flawed) and B-25s (which are magnificent) then I’d gladly pay 2x as much for the kit. I’m not keen to buy it and live the shoehorning aftermarket into places I shouldn’t need to nightmare.
This kit should be so much better; it deserves to be. And as much as I’ve looked forward to it, it’s turned out to be the most disappointing model kit of my lifetime.
P.S. If you’re an SMCG member who follows the blog please share to the group. Day 2 of a 3 day FB jail sentence is taking it’s toll.