21 November, 2014

Profile 95: JUST STARTED—"176" the B-24M as flown by the RAAF

It all begins here—a quick pencil sketch.

It's pretty crude, but if you think about it, this scrawl is crucial because it marks the all-important first step.  It means I'm committed and there's no moving back...and when it comes to drawing B-24s, I have cowardly tendencies to toss what I've done and go back to simpler things like P-40s and U-2 spy planes.

See, B-24s are complicated airplanes. With nearly 18,500 made, the B-24 is the most produced multi-engine bomber, ever.  But within that number are a bewildering assortment of variations, sub-variations and field modifications that make doing a specific airplane with any kind of accuracy, difficult.

But, there's good news in that "176" doesn't just exist on paper, it also exists in metal, too!  Right now, she's being restored by The B-24 Liberator Memorial Fund of Australia Incorporated as a testimony to their country's WWII history and the people behind it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about my task.  Mine is easy.  the LMFA's is...not so much. Founded in 1988, they've been cutting, scouting, riveting, polishing, begging, borrowing and whatever else you do to bring their bonafide RAAF B-24 into public view.   That's nearly 30 years!  Yet, when she's complete, "176" will be the only B-24 in the southern hemisphere and one of only about 16 in existence (that's a .0009% survival rate)!

Over the next 5-6 weeks, I'll be sharing my progress and also my conversation with RAAF B-24 crew.   I can guarantee my rendering of 176 will be ready for public viewing before the real thing is ready.  But, judging by the smiling faces and glimmering aluminum in the picture below, Australia won't have that much long to wait.

You can find a TON more photos of the restoration project by clicking on 176's Facebook page.

In the meantime, I've got a little catch-up to do with folks Down Under...I'm only about 10% done.