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Consolidated Mess

The illustrated guide to nose-turreted B-24 production variants in USAAF combat service

White • 2012
AuthorsAlan Griffith
IllustratorAlan Griffith
ISBN978-83-61421-16-0
Release date2012-02-28
SeriesWhite
Cat. No.9115
CategorySold Out CategoryWyprzedana
FormatA4, pb, 192 pages (8 in colour)
Price120.00 PLN Price24.99 GBP

The B-24 Liberator was built in greater numbers than any other US WW2 aircraft, and served in every theatre of WW2, as heavy bomber, anti-submarine aircraft, reconnaissance and transport. Produced in several factories, there were many variations, both minor and major, and existing literature is confusing and inaccurate. This book describes the development of nose-turreted versions of the B-24 as used by the USAAF, from field modification of early variants through to the many production versions built by Consolidated, Ford, and others, up to the definitive single-tailed B-24N. All aspects of the airframe are covered, from nose to tail, and the bewildering variety of turrets, guns, windows and other areas are described and illustrated. Much of this information has never been published before, and much that has been published is incomplete or inaccurate. Profusely illustrated with photos and detailed scale drawings, this book provides aviation enthusiasts and modellers the first complete guide to this major warplane. Future volumes will cover early versions without nose turrets, transport and anti-submarine versions, and non-USAAF variants.

“Consolidated Mess” Erratum

We managed to miss out of Appendix 1 (p135) the most important of the camouflage profiles, that of the Ford/Willow Run factory-applied scheme! Apologies to all readers – please download the extra information in this pdf, and print out to add to your copy of the book.

To err is human….. however many times one proof-reads, something slips through.

From the author & publishers, with apologies.

Pdf file with missing scheme

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  • Hyperscale.com • 2013-11-28

    Reviewed by Jim Maas

    F i r s t R e a d

    MMP Books has a well-deserved reputation for bringing out well researched labors of love - like Alex Crawford's Gladiator books, and Morosanu and Melinte's work on Romanian fighter colors. Their new release, Consolidated Mess, is firmly in that tradition.

    Built in five different plants, the 19,000 plus B-24's (all variants) were the most-produced U.S. military aircraft. It served in every theater with the USAAF, USN and Commonwealth air forces. With that many aircraft, and multiple manufacturers, detail differences inevitably occurred. This was particularly true after combat experience proved that a nose turret was vital for forward protection. The actual turret mounting was subject to several different solutions. Unfortunately, the nose turret added to existing visibility problems, requiring more fixes. These are the issues that Alan Griffith focuses on, and describes their resolution, in meticulous detail.

    The author explains that this book does not address the early 'glass nose' versions (though happily he suggests these would be covered in an upcoming volume), it is not a combat history, nor (primarily) a camouflage and markings treatise. It focuses on USAAF versions with nose turrets. But within that compass, Griffith has provided a comprehensive examination, first of early nose turret installations done at Air Depot level, and then descriptions of detail variations in production aircraft, by manufacturer and production block. Drawings and photographs explain the several versions of the Consolidated A-6 turrets, the Emerson A-15 turret, and the Martin 250 top turret (clarifying the development of the Martin's glazing) as well as previously obscure hand-held tail gun installations. While hand-held ventral guns are illustrated, the Bendix ventral ball turret is not emphasized since ample coverage already exists. Other variables discussed and amply illustrated include:

    progressive development of waist window gun stations including the eventual enclosed positions;

    canopy window changes and the use of appliqué armor;

    making sense of the many different window configurations on the nose area, as well as noting production blocks that omitted the lower rear fuselage windows;

    changes in pitot installations, trim tabs and even tail skids;

    inwardly retracting vs. outwardly retracting nose gear doors.

    Several appendices cover related topics such as:

    complete serial block listings in serial order and then cross referenced by manufacturer and block number;

    a listing of known glass-nose aircraft to which forward turrets were added at the Air Depot level;

    an explanation of the bomb-bay door structure;

    illustrations of camouflage and, for natural metal aircraft, antiglare panel demarcations, which varied by production source (the drawing for camouflaged Ford B-24's was omitted due to a layout mistake, but is included with this review and is also available at the MMP website). Regretably, this section does not also include a discussion of related variations in the location of the fuselage national insignia.

    a couple of "you just gotta include these" items, like the grafting of a B-17G nose onto a B-24J, and a private proposal for a twin fuselage Liberator (think B-24Z)

    So what does this book do for modelers? Despite the author's note that the book "is not intended as a modeler's manual per se", it is an essential reference for anyone contemplating a B-24G through M model. Let's say you decide "I want to do one of those Zodiac B-24's". You settle on "Gemini" and, knowing the serial number is 252490, can easily determine that is a Ford-built B-24H-15-FO. Find the illustration for that version on page 89 and you know the nose configuration, type of nose, top and tail turrets, the fact that the rudder has 'long' trim tabs, and armored cockpit side windows and appliqué armor. Of course, due diligence research of your subject is still needed, because once in the field all sorts of interesting modifications could occur. And the author is refreshingly honest in identifying areas where details are still elusive.

    Conclusion

    Mr. Griffith is generous in his appreciation of the many other B-24 researchers who provided material for this book, and it represents an exceptional addition to the field of aviation research.

    Long ago, the great Harry Woodman wrote of aviation research literature: " What is very apparent is that only a few hard workers have brought the coal up to the top whilst a myriad of others are carting it away in bucketsful on the surface."

    Mr. Griffith has done some deep digging indeed.

  • ArmyAirForces.com • 2013-11-28

    In a photograph of B-24J-100-CO, 42-100429, with the “nose art” name of “CONSOLIDATED MESS,” Alan Griffith begins taking the aviation aficionado thru the myriad of confusion, changes and modifications that beleaguered the B-24 making even a simple picture “difficult to identify.” Produced in the greatest numbers of any World War II bombers at five different plants in the United States and with several variations, much of the information is confusing at best. Griffith deftly navigates the reader through the “nose-turreted” Liberators dealing with all topics from armament, windows, glazing, paint, design and individual characteristic peculiar to each one of the five facilities referred to as the “Liberator Production Pool.” He writes extensively on the activities of the four Modification Centers as well as discussing “field modifications” of the “greenhouse” nose to the turrets. The book is extremely well supplemented with black & white as well as colored photographs depicting examples of all changes. His ample use of charts, diagrams, drawings and copies of pages from “parts lists” and “exploded views” are outstanding. Griffith has also included copious Appendices and addenda within the book as new last minute information surfaced. The one drawback from this extensive research is the lack of an Index, also not seen in some other MMP books. While not deterring from its overall value, it does pose a little “extra work” for the person doing a quick reference while researching. This book is well worth "the read" and having on the bookshelf of any aviation enthusiasts but most especially for anyone who loves the history of the B-24. Also modelers will definitely enjoy the photographs for “detailing tips.” In the words of author, Al Blue, in the Forward: “There is more new material in these pages than has appeared in years…. It is a feast of new facts to be read and enjoyed.” The book is currently available through select Vendors.

    Best Regards!

    Steven P. Puhl

    Willow Run Historian (Ret.)

    Moderator: ArmyAirForces.com

  • Air Modeller, Issue 41 • 2013-11-28
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  • Aerostories.org • 2013-11-28

    This is what I call an original book and very useful as far as you find an interest in the Consolidated B-24 and its various turrets that were installed on the Liberator. For sure this book is not going to tell you a story, but it will certainly give new insights and information to properly identify a B-24 equipped with turrets, and without a doubt one will quickly realize that this is a puzzle without a name. Looking through the book, we are surprised of the complexity of the issue, because if we have to keep in mind that, if the B-24 was the bomber most ever built in the Second World War, many mistakes have been written about the technical side of B-24, often later duplicated by subsequent authors. Thus, with respect to the B-24 and even if a lot of books have been written of this aircraft, they often remain unclear, imprecise and sometimes contradictory. But then, this book fills a lot of gaps with many diagrams and photographs which help to guide us in this maze of turrets and windows as well many other details that allow us to (almost) certainly identify a turret-equipped B-24 otherwise by the serials, especially when the latter is not visible ! ... in short a very nice surprise and this book remains an essential investment if we want to understand the B-24.

    Highly recommended

    Phil Listemann

  • Amazon.com customer review (6th) • 2013-11-28

    5.0 out of 5 stars ESSENTIAL GUIDE FOR MODELERS,

    April 8, 2013 By daren t. killam

    The B-24 liberator was the most produced US aircraft in history, over 19 thousand! (And the third most produced aircraft in history). Although it was designed by Consolidated it was license manufactured by multiple different companies. This combined with a large amount of modifications throughout the war, produced a bewildering amount of often subtle variations. Much of the previously published information is either incomplete or inaccurate. For the serious modeler, trying to build a historically accurate representation of a B-24 can be very frustrating to say the least. Alan Griffith to the rescue! His book “Consolidated Mess,” is a modelers dreams come true. The book is filled with diagrams and pictures that make sense of a complicated subject. Mr. Griffith has definitely done his “homework”. It is an excellent book, simply "top shelf" work! I have over 100 books in my aviation “library”. I seem to enjoy research more than actually modeling. Anyway, I KNOW a good book when I see one and I wish even a fourth of my library was as well written as this book. If you are a modeler who wants to build an accurate turret nosed Liberator this book is as essential as glue or paint – a must have! (Note: the publisher goofed and left out a diagram, it is available for free from their web site.)

  • ScaleModelling.com • 2013-11-28

    Review by: Geoff Coughlin

    The B-24 Liberator was built in greater numbers than any other US WWII aircraft and served in every theatre of that War; as a heavy bomber, anti-submarine aircraft, reconnaissance and transport.

    Produced in several factories, there were many variants, both minor and major and it has to be said that existing literature can appear confusing.

    This title describes the nose-turreted versions of the B-24 as used by the USAF, from field modifications of the early variants through many production versions built by Consolidated, Ford and others, up to the definitive single-tailed B-24N.

    All aspects of the airframe are covered, from nose to tail and the bewildering variety of turrets, guns, windows and other areas are described and illustrated. vWhat’s interesting and genuinely exciting is that much of this information has never been published before and so will bring much-needed clarity to what is so far often confusing.

    Useful for scale modellers…

    This is a hugely welcome title that will prove invaluable for any B-24 modelling project. The depth of coverage, with the excellent line drawings, illustrations and colour profiles, will provide plenty of scope for influencing your choice of model.

    This is so in terms of both subject and modifications that you feel you want to make or are needed to the manufacturer’s kit.

    The period images will certainly give you much to contemplate in terms of finish and weathering, but you should take a long look at the words. The writing gives great insight into the development and detail differences that affected the type through its service.

    It’s probably timely to give the last word here to Al Blue – noted B-24 researcher who comments in his foreword to the book:

    “It has been over 70 years since the B-24 Liberator was conceived and first flown.

    “One would think that seven decades would be sufficient time to unearth and tell the total story of the airplane, but author Alan Griffith has proven this to be far from the case. In spite of the plethora of books on the B-24 that have appeared, none has presented this level of detail described in this volume.

    “There is more new B-24 material in these pages than has appeared in years. For the master model builder this book presents a fertile field of new challenges. For the rest of us, it is a feast of new facts to be read and enjoyed.”

    Recommended. Geoff C.

  • Airfix Model World 20 • 2013-11-28
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  • Amazon.com customer review (7th) • 2013-11-28
    >p>5.0 out of 5 stars Aviation History Benchmark, April 18, 2013

    By John S. - See all my reviews

    Considerable amount has been said about the accuracy and depth of this book and I echo it. So often these types of military aviation books give little effort the technical specifics of the machines themselves, and if they do you often can find some fairly confusing information where details are incorrect or incomplete. Allen has set the benchmark for this type of publication and with a very complicated subject. Living in the Metro-Detroit area, we have always had a bit of an affinity for the B-24 since quite a few of them were built down at Willow Run. Great to learn all of the significant details of this historically important aircraft. In addition to a great book Allen is also very helpful with the occaissional question too ! This is a "must-have" if you are interested in military aviation !

  • Model Aircraft volume 11 number 5 • 2013-11-28
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  • InternetModeler.com • 2013-11-28

    By Chris Banyai-Riepl

    The Consolidated B-24 Liberator was one of the most numerous bombers of the USAAF during the Second World War, serving in all theaters. While superficially similar, the aircraft underwent many changes throughout its life, and keeping track of all those changes has been challenging for the aviation historian. When the B-24 added the nose turret, it marked the beginning of variant and sub-variant changes that could drive a researcher to madness. The author of this latest title in the Mushroom Model Publications White Series aims at making sense of all that confusion, and the result is excellent. The book title truly sums up the challenge of the subject, as it really is a Consolidated Mess. There are B-24D, G, H, J, L, and M variants, all with their designation differences. Then inside each variant there are sub-variants that introduce even more changes. To properly document all of this, the book gets in-depth on the subject and the result can be a bit dry to follow. But this isn't an action adventure novel; it's a comprehensive analysis of an aircraft that has a convoluted construction history. And while the text might not be a page-turner, it is hugely informative and very thorough.

    While the text is thorough, it really helps to have a visual representation of all these changes, and this book does not let the reader down in that regard. There are excellent scale drawings that clearly document all the changes between the variants. To help show the differences from one mark to the next, the changes are denoted in red line work, which stands out quite nicely. As some of the differences are quite subtle, this technique is very useful indeed. In addition to the line drawings, there are quite a few photographs spread throughout that also show the differences. Those present more of a three-dimensional view that helps illustrate some of the more complex shapes.

    For anyone interested in the B-24 Liberator, this book is a must-have. Keeping all the differences straight is challenging, and this book sorts the Consolidated Mess in a superb manner. The quality of presentation and depth of research will please even the strictest researcher.

  • IPMSUSA.org • 2013-11-28

    Reviewed by: Paul Mahoney, IPMS #8943

    This is probably one of the best, and most descriptive, titles for a modeling/aircraft reference book I have seen. To quote the author: “The B-24 went through more turret changes than any American combat aircraft before or since.” This books attempts (quite successfully) to guide the reader through these various changes on all of the turret-nosed B-24 models. There was an absolutely dizzying combination of nose turrets, tail turrets, waist guns, belly turrets and guns, and other modifications/design changes made to the B-24. The book goes into great detail of each step in the process, and the author makes every attempt to explain the differences clearly for each new piece of this puzzle. Crystal-clear photos (unless the only one available is less than clear), many previously unpublished, as well as a huge number of line drawings (with differences highlighted in red) accompany a very clear descriptions.

    The amount of research this author has conducted is admirable, and the results show. As much as possible, he provides the reader with everything necessary to figure out how any particular B-24 was fitted out (or at least to make a very good guess).

    Initially, B-24Ds were converted to incorporate nose turrets at specified air depots in the US and Australia. These standardized conversions were anything but standard, and the differences are described in depth.

    All defensive armament aspects of the nose-turreted B-24s are covered. The author starts at the tail and works his way forward. Different types of turrets, as well as many versions of open gun positions, were used in the tail, and each is discussed. Two main styles of top turrets were utilized, and, again, each is discussed. Waist gun stations were initially open-air, but later a variety of sealed hatches was employed. Belly turrets were sometimes removed (or never installed). And, of course, a variety of turrets was employed at the nose of the aircraft. Different styles of navigator and bombardier windows were also installed, often dependent on the type of nose turret. Each of these aspects is covered in depth by the author.

    Besides the armament, there are other little tidbits of interesting information within this book. New to me was the information that small wheels were often fitted to the tail skid of the B-24. Apparently, towing the plane on the ground from the tail quite often resulted in the rear fuselage coming down hard on the skid, causing severe damage. The wheel prevented that. This wheel is pointed out in several photos and illustrated with line drawings, much like everything else in the book.

    The appendices of this book are just as full of information as the body of the text. One appendix deals with camouflage paint. The author shows profiles of each of the different B-24 manufacturers’ painting styles. Demarcation lines and patterns on camouflaged B-24s varied quite a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer, but each individual company was pretty consistent in its own paint application. This type of variance also applied to the anti-glare panels painted on natural metal-finished B-24s. Again, the author provides profiles highlighting these differences. Following this is a brief description of the actual camouflage colors, some sample color profiles (of generic B-24s), and a few color pictures.

    The second appendix has a table of B-24 serial numbers, broken down by year of manufacture and production block ID. Next comes a table of all B-24D (non-nose turret) aircraft that were modified in field depots or factories to have a nose turret.

    A description of the construction of the bomb bay door panels follows.

    The last appendices are dedicated to various one-offs or non-production models, such as single-tail B-24s (not the PB4Ys), and a few other interesting proposals (including a proposed twin B-24 – think Zwilling!)

    I did find a few small editing errors in the book, but in a volume of this reach, that is almost unavoidable. One line drawing does not have the area highlighted in red that is referred to in the text. Early on in the book, the author uses a set of 3 drawings to highlight the differences in the Davis airfoil used by the B-24. It is compared to a B-17 and a P-51, yet the B-17 wing cross section (I believe) is labeled as a B-24. It is a little confusing, but obviously just a small error. Finally, I did note that there is no Ford/Willow Run B-24H camouflage demarcation pattern drawing in the appendix. The author is already aware of this and an errata profile is available on MMP’s webpage for downloading. This author is on top of things, and that demonstrates his devotion to this subject (in case reading this book didn’t already show that to you!). That is first-rate service from the publisher and the author.

    This book is an absolute treasure trove for anyone wanting to build an accurate turret-nosed B-24. Armed with this, you should be able to (somewhat easily) figure out, with reasonable certainty, how exactly a particular B-24 would have been outfitted. The author alludes to a Volume 2, and I am certainly looking forward to it.

  • Kitmaniac.com • 2013-11-28

    The decisive action to put allied forces on the way to victory was the great air bombing campaign made by USAAF and RAF against the Germany industrial park. Although the great fame by this actions are with B-17 and Lancaster bombers, none him as more important and have more capacity that the Liberator B-24 from Consolidated.

    The book:

    The new release from MMP Books is a excellent historical manual from the white series and will cover the technical development, design, field conversions and changes applied in the B-24 Liberators variants used during WWII. This is another great title of the famous series from MMP Books, the books from this series is known as one of the most complete technical titles about aircraft history. The high quality of research and technical drawings become the book a historical reference for modelers and aviation history researchers. Inside the book we find dozens of image and drawings explaining with details thway to improve the B-24 combat qualities. The color schemes are presented in side views and color wartime photos, a great add to the book.

    Conclusion:

    This book is a full technical history of this important bomber of the World War Two. I have no doubt that we could make reference to it like the definitive book about technical and history of the Consolidated most important and famous aircraft. This book keeps the tradition of the white series and gives us an excellent research base for modelers interested to build an original and historically correct Liberator. The high quality of edition and the deep research are something inherent to MMP Books. This book is highly recommended.

    Special thanks to MMP Books for the sample review.

    Pompeo

  • Scale Aircraft Modelling May 2012, Vol 34 no.3 • 2013-11-28
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  • Model Airplane International 06/2012 • 2013-11-28
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  • AIR Modeller 41 • 2013-11-28
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  • Amazon.com customer review (2) • 2013-11-28

    Promises to be an outstanding and informative series of books

    May 31, 2012

    By Jim Davis TOP 1000 REVIEWER

    This book is in MMP's White Series, being number 9115. The book, like others in the series, is the full A4 size (8-1/4" x 11-3/4"). The book has 192 pages and is a square bound card cover. Most of the book is black and white. Color is restricted to three photos and four profiles in the camouflage appendix. The front and rear covers both feature (sigh) colorized photos. Is this really necessary for a plane as ubiquitous as the B-24? Were there no suitable color photographs to be had?

    The book proper however is a "rivet counter's" dream. The author goes through in painstaking detail the external appearance differences of the various nose turreted B-24 variants in USAAF service. All details discussed are well illustrated either photographically, with contemporary technical manual illustrations, and/or the author's own high quality profiles. The variants covered begin with the depot modified B-24Ds and continue through the G, H, J, L, M, and N. The author is not content just to point out changes but also delves into the tactical, technical, industrial, and/or political reasons for the various changes. The author makes it clear that there are numerous unanswered questions remaining and is quite clear where fact ends and speculation begins.

    Throughout the book a "Volume II" covering the greenhouse variants is referred to. This is very welcome news and I look forward to reading it. Also mentioned are possible volumes on US Navy and British versions. Bring them on.

    It should be mentioned that one of the profiles was accidentally omitted from the book but is available on the MMP website and can be printed out and slipped into the book.

    Complaints are few and are more in the line of what I would have preferred to have than actually deficiencies. There are no plan views in the book (except for an interesting twin B-24 concept) and no color profiles for modelling subjects. These are unusual editorial choices for MMP and highlights how different this book is from their usual fare.

    It can be deduced from the author's writing style that he is an American which is also a first for MMP which usually feature British or Polish authors. It would be interesting to know if MMP was the author's first choice for publisher. It seems more a Specialty Press or Midland kind of book.

    All in all, the book is outstanding, and can be highly recommended to anyone with the slightest interest in the details of this aircraft. It is literally packed with information.

  • Amazon.co.uk customer review (1) • 2013-11-28

    By Jimmy

    Fabulous piece of research and presentation; highly recommended. I look forward to Volume 2 which I hope will include the B24 in British and Commonwealth service

  • Amazon.com customer review (8th) • 2013-11-28

    5.0 out of 5 stars

    Very insightful read., May 29, 2013

    By Ben Fulcher

    I really enjoyed reading this book. Learned a lot about the numerous variations. Very helpful to anyone whole wants build an accurate model of the B-24. Can wait for part two! Highly recommended.

  • IPMS (UK) Magazine 03/12 • 2013-11-28
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  • Amazon.co.uk customer review (2nd) • 2013-11-28

    4.0 out of 5 stars one for the modellers 26 July 2013

    By M. Steedman

    This is really a "coffee table" book for those with a passion for the B24.

    I would have preferred less discussion on the number of bolts surrounding windows and more discussion on the "throw away remark" that the 8th USAAF got rid of the B24's in 1944. Why? In spite of being the most produced US heavy bomber of the 2ww, it has always been overshadowed by the inferior B17, and I would like to have seen more of its combat history, even most of the illustrations are drawn from the 7th USAAF in the Pacific theatre.

    This is a very good modellers guide though, and the illustrations are excellent, while the attention to detail is breathtaking. However it is not an operational record of the plane.

  • Cybermodeler.com • 2013-11-28

    By David L. Veres

    Editor Note:

    The author Alan Griffith is the same person that previously owned and operated AMtech Models before he followed the calling of researching and writing historical references like this one. Review

    Don't let the title fool you: this amazing assay in aviation history hardly contains "chaos" or "confusion".

    Far from it, in fact. Consolidated Mess from MMP BOOKS distills the bewildering array of assorted armament and apertures on "turreted" Liberators into one handy, helpful tome.

    Over 18,400 B-24 versions rolled from American assembly lines during World War II. And Alan Griffith masterfully maneuvers through archival and manufacturing minutiae to produce a truly trusty spotter's guide.

    Fact-check your old Liberator references with MMP's authoritative account. This valuable volume not only reveals hitherto unpublished information, but also corrects previously incomplete or inaccurate tales of B-24 variants.

    Griffith seasons his sumptuous study with over 180 B&W photos – including dozens of interior and exterior shots. And don't let the lack of color profiles bother you: over 100 beautifully executed B&W drawings clearly and conveniently delineate B-24 detail differences in red.

    Tip to tail, everything's there. From early field modifications through all production versions. Consolidated. Ford. Douglas. Twin-tail and single-fin. Even precise camouflage demarcations by panel lines. Amazing!

    Appendices alone justify the admission price. And Griffith nearly gave me whiplash with the "B-24 'Zwilling'" – a genuine May 1943 design patent for 2-fuselage, 6-engine, 6-fin Liberators! What a Crackerjack Prize!

    One Gremlin haunts this otherwise outstanding account. MMP failed to include the Ford/Willow Run factory-applied scheme in Appendix 1. Readers can acquire the addendum here.

    Get Consolidated Mess. MMP's exhaustive effort deserves a spot on every World War II aviation enthusiast's bookshelf.

    Rabidly recommended!

  • Amazon.com customer review (3) • 2013-11-28

    A technical history and analysis that is long overdue

    October 2, 2012 By Arthur R. Silen

    For those interested in the design and production history of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Alan Griffith's new book, Consolidated Mess; The Illustrated Guide to Nose-Turreted B-24 Production Variants in US AAF Combat Service, is an indispensable reference. Modelers will love it. The sheer breadth of information and detail, including photographs, extracts from B-24 maintenance and erection manuals, and two-color scale drawings (that's right; details of component changes are shown in red!) make this book a must-have for modelers who want to get it right. Not only can modelers re-create model-specific aircraft that were produced by individual manufacturing plants operating within the B-24 production pool (Consolidated, San Diego and Fort Worth; Ford, Willow Run; Douglas, Tulsa; and North American, Dallas), but also changes made at B-24 Modification Centers in Hawaii, Oklahoma City (OK), Dayton (OH), Middletown (PA), and Townsend, Australia. The author points out that the principal changes that these modification centers made were to provide better protection in the nose, belly, waist guns, and tail, and resulting in distinctive configurations in design shape and glazing. Additionally, there were distinctive differences between Consolidated-manufactured B-24s, and those manufactured by Ford and North American.

    There were differences in turret design, both nose and tail, that differed from manufacturer to manufacturer, and in theater of operation. There were significant differences in cockpit glazing and navigation observation windows. All known variants are discussed in great detail. Then, and with modelers in mind there is extended discussion about paintwork and camouflage patterns, including a discussion about why olive drab paint proved to be so unstable and faded so rapidly. vLastly, there is a section on the B-24's final design configuration, the B-24N, with its single vertical tail and revised nose glazing, and oddities, including Allen O. Kelly's patent application, dated June 13, 1944, for a twin fuselage, six-engined B-24, zwilling that is bound to tempt the most jaded modeler. Somebody will do this one, I guarantee.

    The author indicates that a second volume is currently in preparation to pick up where he left off. I can't wait.

  • Amazon.com customer review (9th) • 2013-11-28

    5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable tool for the reseacher / reference library, August 25, 2013

    By Alan Starcher - See all my reviews

    I suppose that I qualify as "armchair historian" as described by one of the professional reviewers above. Yet, I find Alan Griffith's treatise on the B-24 to be an essential addition to my reference sources as I research the Liberators of the 308th Bomb Group in the CBI. The subtle changes between production blocks of the bomber, as well as among the factories that produced them, are aptly described and usefully illustrated; the photos are well-researched and well-chosen to help illustrate the variants. For one who attempts to identify B-24s from old photos or research records, "Consolidated Mess" is my go-to guide nearly every time. Griffith builds and expands upon the work of those who have gone before, such as the incomparable Allan Blue. And like his predecessors, he is quite approachable, friendly and helpful -- per his note in the book liner, I contacted him regarding a question that I had, and he responded immediately, expounding on the information offered in his excellent study. -- Alan, nephew of 1LT Kenneth Starcher, command pilot B-24J "Trouble Maker," 308BG/373BS Kweilin, China. 28 May 1944

  • Catalina News 78 • 2013-11-28
    An even more esoteric subject is covered by the same publisher’s Consolidated Mess – the Illustrated Guide to Nose- turreted B-24 Production Variants in USAAF Combat Service by Alan Griffith. The name Consolidated Mess was carried by at least six different B-24s apparently, one of which is pictured on the front cover of this book. To the uninitiated (most of us I would imagine!), the term could also be applied to the plethora of different nose configurations worn by the Liberator in USAAF service. It seems incredible that the author can fill no less than 192 A4 pages with text, photos, tables and drawings on the topic but he has done just that! The result is an extraordinary reference source for the historian and modeller alike, a real treasure trove of information. The book starts by explaining the connection between what would become the B-24 L i b e r a t o r a n d i t s C o n s o l i d a t e d predecessors, the Model 31 flying boat a n d t h e P B 2 Y a n d M o d e l 2 8 PBY/Catalina family. From the former came the wing and tail section whilst the PBY influenced the powerplant choice and the earlier PB2Y provided the waist gun on the B-24 mock-up. Thereafter, the gun positions became more and more advanced and disparate. Perhaps too specialist for some readers, nonetheless this must be the reference book of choice for anyone with a need to know more about the Liberator and WWII USAAF gunnery. The author should be applauded for writing it and the publishers for releasing it! It retails at £24.99, ISBN 978 8361421 16 0…..
  • Amazon.com customer review (4) • 2013-11-28

    5.0 out of 5 stars Book-Consolidated Mess

    January 6, 2013 By bentley's mom

    Bought it for my husband. He enjoys books on this subject and this is no different. He has an avid interest in military and all things military. This book did not disappoint. He was happy with this purchase.

  • Hyperscale.com • 2013-11-28

    Reviewed by Brad Fallen

    F i r s t R e a d

    If you want to build an accurate model of a late production B-24, then you need Alan Griffith’s “Consolidated Mess” – full stop. Before reading this book I knew there were many different versions of nose-turreted B-24s, but I had no idea of how numerous, varied and in many cases subtle these differences were. Turrets, gun installations, windows and camouflage finishes are only some of the variations addressed in what is clearly the result of many years’ research and analysis.

    The author has done well to organise this information into an interesting and coherent narrative, and the book is structured as follows.

    Chapter 1: Why the B-24? – a useful explanation of the B-24’s design origins.

    Chapter 2: Protection. A study of nose-turreted B-24 armament which opens by noting that the aircraft covered in the book were fitted with “three different nose turrets, three belly gun configurations, four different models of the Martin A-3 top turret, and five different tail gun turrets/configurations [as well as] four different production variations and two modification packages for the waist gun position”. Each of these features is then analysed in detail, accompanied by a series of very clear photographs.

    Chapter 3: In the Beginning There was Glass…The HAD/FAD-MAD/OCAD Mods. This chapter explains the modifications made to B-24s in depots across the United States and overseas, including the first nose turrets fitted to previously greenhouse-nosed B-24Ds.

    Chapter 4: The “Fiddly Bits” – Changes in Nose Windows, Canopies, Glazing and Others. These are one of the hardest bits to get right in a B-24 model, particularly for kit manufacturers, because there are so many variations. This chapter makes an excellent attempt at describing these differences, through a combination of explanatory text, photographs and scrap drawings.

    Chapters 5 through to 9 provide a commentary on the differences between and within B-24G-NT, B-24H, B-24J, B-24L and B-24M production variants. As before, the text and illustrations complement each other perfectly, with the author using port-view line drawing profiles to indicate the differences between each version.

    The final 60 pages of the book are devoted to seven appendices, which examine paint recognition features, list production block and other identification information, and provide further details on armament modifications. Also described is the final B-24 variant, the N, as well as a bizarre ‘zwilling’ design proposed in 1943 but – perhaps thankfully – never developed.

    The book’s production quality is excellent. The text is well edited and highly readable, and the photographs and drawings are clearly reproduced and well presented (the A4 format helps here). The author’s and publisher’s commitments to quality are best expressed, I think, through the three addenda which have been added to the end of chapter 3 to incorporate important new information, and the Ford/Willow Run paint scheme profile that was accidentally omitted from the book but which MMP has made available for download from its website.

    Conclusion

    Mr. Griffith is generous in his appreciation of the many other B-24 researchers who provided material for this book, and it represents an exceptional addition to the field of aviation research.

    Long ago, the great Harry Woodman wrote of aviation research literature: " What is very apparent is that only a few hard workers have brought the coal up to the top whilst a myriad of others are carting it away in bucketsful on the surface."

    Mr. Griffith has done some deep digging indeed.

  • Amazon.com customer review (5th) • 2013-11-28

    5.0 out of 5 stars Everything you ever wanted to know about The B-24....Part I, February 16, 2013

    By David Hansen

    I bought this book because i had fairly limited references on the Liberator, and a lot of what has been published up to this time had been incomplete, or filled with factual errors. This is an entirely fresh, original effort by Alan Griffith, the end result of much time poring over photos and documents from the National Archives. Many interesting facts that i never knew about the B-24 were revealed, such as tail wheel modifications to assist the aft CG problem, the various nose and tail turrets developed, tested, and deployed on the Liberator, and some very good details about the last B-24s that rolled off the Ford assembly line which had the re designed canopy and longer engine nacelles. Some attention is paid to the Single Tailed Liberators which were cancelled due to War's end as well.

    More B-24s were produced than any other US aircraft during WWII, and with 3 Different companies producing the aircraft (Consolidated, North American, Ford) the planes development took many twists and turns and was full of detail nuances as different manufacturers chose different ways to mass produce and modify the aircraft to meet the needs learned from bloody combat experience.

    The book is dedicated to the B-24, but i understand subsequent volumes will cover the C-87 and C-109 transport/ tanker variants. A title on the Navy PB4Y-1 may be in the works; i can't remember.

    Those seeking an authoritative reference on the later Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer are advised to check out Nicholas Veronico's book on the Privateer in the Steve Ginter Naval Fighters series.

    Highly recommended to people who like the B-24. Excellent value for money as a modelling reference tool.

  • Cybermodeler.com • 2013-11-28

    Editor Note:

    The author Alan Griffith is the same person that previously owned and operated AMtech Models before he followed the calling of researching and writing historical references like this one. Review

    Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) is based in the U.K. All their books are printed by their partner Stratus in Sandomierz, Poland in the English language. Stratus also prints their own books in Polish. This new book was sent to me directly from Stratus heavily wrapped in layers of cardboard to protect it.

    The book is soft cover and 192 pages in 8 ¼” x 11 ¾” format.

    The book gets its title from the fact that there were 6 different B-24’s named Consolidated Mess. However, if it had been me naming it, I would have chosen some other name. But that’s just my opinion.

    The B-24 Liberator was built in greater numbers than any other US WWII aircraft, and served in every theatre of the war. It was used as a heavy bomber, anti-sub aircraft, reconnaissance and transport.

    Produced in several factories, there were many variations, both minor and major, and existing literature is confusing and inaccurate. This book describes the development of nose-turreted versions of the B-24 as used by the USAAF, from field modification of early variants through to the many production versions built by Consolidated, Ford and others, up to the definitive single-tailed B-24N.

    All aspects of the airframe are covered, from nose to tail, and the bewildering variety of turrets, guns, windows and other areas are described and illustrated. Much of this information has never been published before, and much that has been published is incomplete or inaccurate.

    The book is profusely illustrated with 180 black and white photos, but only the front and back covers and two photos in the book are color photos. 59 of these black and white photos are of turret variants (shown inside and out) vMMP’s aircraft books usually have full color profile paintings in them. This book is sadly lacking of those. Only some color illustrations showing 4 different variants of OD41 over Neutral Gray, as new, slightly faded and two badly faded B-24’s.

    The rest of the illustrations in the book are in black and white. These include:

    Seventy-seven 1/144th scale side profiles of different versions

    Five illustrations of camouflage demarcation pattern variants

    Four illustrations of anti-glare panel variants vSix illustrations of nose variants

    Three illustrations of tail variants vFour illustrations of .30 caliber window mounts vFour illustrations of blown type observations window variants vFour illustrations of cockpit variants vThree line-drawings of a proposed (but never built) B-24 zwilling. A joining together of two B-24D’s vThere are 5 data lists and 19 pages of the appendices. vThe black and white photos show close ups of these different nose arts:

    Connell’s Special

    Pistol Packin Mama (with pinup girl) vHeaven Can Wait (with pinup girl)

    Morbid Moe (a fellow with a razor)

    Upstairs Maid (with pinup girl)

    Snafu II (with pinup girl)

    Tiger heads on noses, 3 different aircraft “Wolf” (with wolf head)

    Lady Kaye (with pinup girl)

    Bull of the Woods (with bull) vWitchcraft (with a witch holding a bomb)

    “Betta Duck” (with Donald Duck holding a bomb)

    Sleeping Dynamite (with a black cat on a fence)

    I Yam Wot I Yam (with Popeye the sailor figure)

    Night Mission “Ford’s Folly”

    Gypsy Queen (with pinup girl)

    Target for Tonight (with pinup girl)

    Boomerang (with pinup girl and sharkmouth on nose)

    Rum and Coke (with pinup girl)

    Liberty Belle (with pinup girl)

    Screw Ball Heavenly Body (with pinup girl)

    “Long Distance” (with pinup girl)

    The Henry Ford Rowdy Dowdy (with Disney character)

    Fargo Express V Packet Tail Wind (with pinup girl)

    Beautiful Takeoff (with pinup girl)

    Wee Willie Here’s to You (with pinup girl)

    Rubber Check (with picture of a check)

    Poop Deck Pappy (with Popeye the sailor)

    “Satan’s Sire” (with pinup girl)

    Damifino (with a penguin figure)

    That’s All Brother (with Bugs Bunny)

    Mission Belle (with pinup girl)

    Double Trouble (with 2 pinup girls)

    The Big Az Bird (with shark mouth)

    Four Fan Fanny (with pinup girl)

    Lil’ Blow-Dee Gravel Gertie (with pinup girl)

    Nipponese Clipper (with figure of a Japanese man getting his head cut off with a scissors)

    I was surprised to not see The Dragon and His Tail aircraft that had a dragon clutching a girl painted all down the side in one of the photos in this book.

    This book is loaded with information about B-24’s and will be of great interest to enthusiasts, historians and modelers alike. This book provides them with the first complete guide to USAAF versions of this major warplane.

    Highly recommended.

  • ModelingMadness.com • 2013-11-28

    Reviewer: Scott Van Aken

    It was a few years back when I was researching building a B-24 model that I came to realize that to do a totally accurate B-24, one had to really know their stuff. There was a myriad of differences in terms of turrets used, window size and type as well as other small things like the direction of the retraction of the nose gear doors. Little did I realize that this is only the tip of the iceberg with planes manufactured by Consolidated as well as those built by Ford being so different in their parts that units operating planes made by both manufacturers had to pretty well have two parts chains. Many of the seemingly same parts were not interchangeable. As the title suggests, it is quite a maze and one that no one had been able to successfully master.

    That has now all changed. Author Alan Griffith has done a herculean task of rounding up documents and photographs to put together the complex puzzle of which aircraft was equipped with what in terms of things like nose turrets, tail turrets, upper fuselage turrets, lower turrets (or lack of), and side gun openings. This also includes a bewildering number of modifications to navigator and bombardier windows as well as smaller details such as tail bumpers/wheels, pitot tube mounts, and nose gear doors. Add to that differences in windscreens and the length of engine nacelles in late B-24s and you can see that things are not as simple as they might seem.

    Early in the war, particularly in the Pacific where the B-24 was the defacto heavy bomber until the B-29 showed up, combat with the Japanese showed the need for changes. Most of these changes were made at Air Depots in Hawaii and Australia as well as some in the US prior to modifications being introduced on production lines. The biggie was the nose turret. Japanese fighters always attacked from the front and from below as that is where there was the least chance of getting hit by return fire. While the B-24 had a turret in the belly, it was not all that effective and often removed and replaced with what was essentially a twin gun Scarff ring. In the nose, a tail turret was grafted on as an experiment. While it greatly improved defensive protection, it also cramped up the navigator's position. An unexpected benefit is that it decreased the tail heaviness of the B-24 and improved performance! More improvements were made in Pacific B-24s by eliminating the tail turret and putting in a pair of hand held .50s in an open housing.

    This was the beginning of the many mods and updates made to these planes. I'd tell you more, but that would sort of ruin the fun of discovering much of this by reading the book.

    Some of the major sections of the book are on the modifications done by the various Air Depots, This then goes into what are titled 'Fiddly Bits', those windows and canopy glazing I mentioned earlier. Then there is a look at North American produced B-24Gs, Ford produced B-24Hs (by the way, Ford was so efficient at producing B-24s that the supply far outstripped the ability of the USAAF to absorb the new builds), and sections on the B-24J, B-24L and B-24Ms. Privateers are not covered and will be in another volume.

    There are appendices on Paint recognition features (complete with diagrams), B-24 Serials, Known Air Depot mods, the never built B-24'Zwilling', Bomb bay door structure, Experimental turrets, and a section on the B-24N.

    The book is simply crammed with photos used to illustrate the various mods as well as excellent drawings that highlight what has been changed. I have included a sample section of one page to show what I mean.

    MMP has a deserved reputation for providing superbly researched and usable books that are a delight for both the enthusiast and modeler. This one has raised that bar another notch in terms of the amount of research done and the sheer wealth of information that has been provided. It is an absolute must have for any modeler and a book that gets my highest recommendation. You need to get this one before it sells out.

    March 2012

  • Skrzydlata Polska 04/2012 • 2013-04-13
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