page describes a model project that is nearly finished. The
model is a
Franklin Mint diecast model of an historic B-24 Liberator
called the Queen Mae. The model,
which I purchased on eBay,
has a 27 1/2 inch wingspan. My goal is to transform
the model from the Queen Mae paint schematic into a Liberator that was
flown in the 15th Army Air Force, 460th Bomb Group, 763rd Bomb
idea to include this as part of my web page did not come to me
until I had already started the project, consequently true "before"
pictures are no longer available. However, below
left is a stock photo of the same model prior to any
Note the red, white, and blue graphic on the right rudder.
This same graphic appears on the left rudder as well. Also
note the nose art on the front of the model. This artwork
also appears on the left side of the model. The other
picture, below right, is an actual photo of the original nose art from
the aircraft the unaltered model commemorates, the Queen Mae of the
90th Bomb Group, 319th Bomb Squadron. She looks like quite
the woman! Very regal. While this paint schematic
it has no significance for me. So, I will transform it into
aircraft my father had flown in during his tenure in World War II.
next photos were taken after I had removed the rudder and nose art
graphics and had already painted the outside faces of the rudders gloss
old graphics came off amazingly easy with some light scraping with only
fingernail. I was prepared to use a solvent or stripper, but
noticed entirely by accident that some tape I had applied pulled off
flakes from the edge of the graphic when removed, leaving the base coat
pristine. The blue tape is painter’s tape and is
designed to pull away easily, leaving clean lines between painted and
unpainted borders while leaving no tape residue behind.
Theoretically, this tape would also prevent paint from bleeding under
masked surfaces. That’s the theory
have placed a narrow band of tape horizontally
across the rudders with the bottom edge of the tape representing the
mid-line of the rudder, effectively splitting the rudder in
half. This tape line then helped me to accurately place tape
that will mask out areas of the black paint I did not wish to paint
over. The rudders will be painted with a graphic to designate
the correct bomb group, in this case I will paint a yellow and black
graphic to designate the 460th Bomb Group. You can see that I
have also masked off the front of the engine cowls. During
the war, the fronts of the cowls of aircraft in the 460th Bomb Group
were painted a color to designate the
bomb squadron to which the aircraft belonged. For the 460th
Bomb Group, those colors would be red, white, blue, or
yellow. The fronts of these cowls will be painted yellow to
designate the 763rd Bomb Squadron.
Here is another view of the engine cowls taken from the front of the
I am beginning to set masking tape shaped in the form of the
desired graphics to mask out areas I do not wish to receive
yellow paint. Actually, after having created all the graphic
I decided I did not like their scale, so I redid them all in a slightly
smaller version. I’ve marked this tape disk as
“Place” simply to remind me that it is only to be
used temporarily to optimize placement, as the disk is
the negative of the actual tape I need. Once placed properly,
then placed the portion of the tape the disk had been cut from over the
disk and then removed the disk, leaving tape with a circular
on the bottom half of the rudder. Into the center of this
smaller disk was then placed using a similar procedure to accurately
locate it. Onto the top half of the rudder a square portion
masking tape was also placed. The dimensions of the square
equal to the diameter of the large circle.
an Exacto knife
to place decals, small pieces of tape, etc. makes placement much more
easy and accurate. That is a trick I learned from a drafter I
had worked with long ago.
create the taped graphic masking shapes, I had experimented with a
few methods to cut them out accurately. Small circular shapes
do not lend themselves to being cut with scissors in a precise manner,
and even an Exacto knife has its limitations on such shapes even when
using a template.
I found that if I used my drafting dividers, or what is commonly called
a compass, and inserted another needle point end into the side where
lead would normally go, I could scribe out very precise circular shapes
of any desired diameter and that I could also achieve precise
concentric circles. Using a metal straight edge along with
divider, I could
also scribe straight pairs of parallel lines that enabled me to create
perfect squares of
exactly the same dimension as the circles, regardless of size.
scribe the shapes in tape, I found that the best approach
is first to lay down a length of masking tape on a cutting
the back of a spiral bound notebook). I then placed a second
layer of the
same tape on top of the first layer. Using the dividers, I
through the first layer (even the second layer, that did not
matter). Using two layers of tape then allows the top layer,
in the shape of the desired graphic, to be pulled easily from the
bottom layer while retaining all of its adhesive qualities.
Here are pictures of some tape graphics after they had been scribed
an aside, below is a view of the work area. As you can see
orderly arrangement of tools is crucial! This photo was not
posed. OCD can be fun, productive, and
rudders having been masked, it was time for some gloss yellow
used spray paint and was sure to cover the entire aircraft to avoid
unwanted overspray. The photo below shows the right rudder
it had been masked and spray painted yellow. If you look
you can see the square masked area on the top half of the rudder and a
circular cutout with a smaller concentric circular masked area on the
bottom half of the rudder.
the photo above, note the finely pointed brushes. These
are used for touch-up that always seems to be necessary even when using
high quality masking tape and paints.
is the end product as far as the rudder goes. The other
side is identical. Note that the leading edge of the rudder
matte black from about the six o'clock to the twelve o'clock position.
This represents the rubber boot on the aircraft that was used
de-icing those edges during flight. If you look closely at
of the other pictures, you will see the the leading edges of the wings
and the rear stabilizer (the horizontal section to which
the rudders are attached) also have the same black matte paint
applied representing the rubber boot material.
on the left,
is a picture of the
cowls after receiving one coat of paint. The cowls
required three coats of paint to achieve an even, consistent coverage,
as shown on the right.
aircraft is not done yet. I still need to paint the
drab area in front of the cockpit a
add a letter in yellow paint at both sides of the rear of the aircraft
(I need to research letter styles and size), and add the Black Panther,
the insignia of the 460th Bomb Group, to both sides of the nose of the