1/72 Matchbox PB4Y-2 Privateer

Gallery Article by Marcello Rosa on July 19 2021



Here are the first photos of my 1/72 Privateer. This was a 40+ years old kit, from the original Matchbox release, which I found on eBay. It is a pity that these have become so rare, as I think it is a great looking plane. 

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After operating modified B-24s in anti submarine and anti ship interdiction roles (as the PB4Y-1), the US Navy commissioned a fully navalised version, which entered service in 1943. This involved visible differences such as a longer fuselage (to accommodate an extra crew member), a single large vertical stabiliser (for better performance at low altitudes), different engine cowlings (no need for superchargers) and the signature "blisters" (aka Erco tear drop turrets) on the sides of the rear fuselage. I think these changes made the PB4Y-2 look a bit more elegant, at least in flight (nothing can help either the Liberator or the Privateer look graceful on the ground).

This model was built out of the box, with some home-made additions like the aerials, ventral recognition lights, and gun barrels (the latter, from hypodermic needles). The decals are the originals - even though the decal sheet was warped and yellowed, it could be recovered by a few weeks of exposure to sunlight. The original panel lines were faint and raised, and did not survive the multiple cycles of sanding needed to build this model. I scribed everything.

Building this kit was a great reminder of how good current kits are, in comparison with those from my adolescent years. This was a not an easy build, which surprised me a bit (since my childhood memory was that the Matchbox kits were actually the best). I won’t bore you with a list of problems; if you are really interested, there is a full build report at https://www.marcellorosa.com/1-72-pby4-2-privateer. If you manage to find this kit (or the subsequent Revell release, which comes from the same plastic mold) these can hopefully save you some trouble.

Marcello Rosa

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Photos and text © by Marcello Rosa