This is a conversion of the Airfix B-17G Flying Fortress kit to represent B-17E 41-9244 “Honi Kuu Okole”, which served with the 19th and 43rd Bomb Groups in the Pacific. She was one of a group of four B-17Es requisitioned from a Royal Air Force order by the USAAF, the others being serial numbers 41-9196, 41-9234, and 41-9235. The aircraft were finished in the RAF Temperate Sea Scheme and British markings, the insignia were replaced with U.S. markings but the camouflage was retained.
There was a fad among U.S. aircrews in the Pacific to give their aircraft Hawaiian names. According to Lawrence J. Hickey’s “Kens Men Against the Empire”:
“Sometime during its combat service with the 19th and 43rd Bomb Groups the aircraft acquired the nickname HONI KUU OKOLE. Whoever named it thought the name meant “up your ass” or perhaps “kiss my ass” in Hawaiian; a more literal translation of the phrase would be “massage my buttock.”
The aircraft was in the thick of the action, racking up a total of 87 combat missions and an impressive scoreboard. Her luck ran out on the night of 21MAR43 over Rabaul when she was shot down by a J1N1 Gekko (Irving) nightfighter piloted by SFPO Shigetoshi Kudo of the 251st NAG. Only two of the crew survived the crash. Bombardier MSGT Gordon Manual evaded the Japanese until he was rescued by the USS Gato (SS-212) on 05FEB44, waist gunner SGT Robert Curry was captured and executed by the Japanese at Rabaul. SFPO Kudo would go on to become the first nightfighter ace of the Pacific War.
Photographs of HONI KUU OKOLE focus on her scoreboard. I have depicted her with replacement parts in U.S. colors and touch-ups in Olive Drab along the locations where the de-icer boots would have been removed, all probable but the specifics are speculative. Her U.S. insignia are in the sizes and locations of the RAF insignia they replaced. Decals are from Starfighter Decals #72-162 “Fortress of the Skies Part 3: E Models”.
This is a conversion of the Monogram F4B-4 kit which back-dates it to the earlier F4B-1 using the RareBits vacuform fuselage and a Radial Engines & Wheels resin Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp radial engine. Not overly difficult and the result is version which you don’t see much at the model shows. I scratchbuilt a cockpit and added lots of plumbing to the engine. The aircraft is marked as the Squadron Commander’s aircraft from VF-5 “Red Rippers” assigned to the USS Lexington (CV-2) in 1932. The decals were sourced from several Starfighter Decals sheets.
Another build of Monogram’s venerable F4B-4 kit. This is one of the easiest biplane kits to build, the landing gear legs and fuselage struts are molded as part of the fuselage which results in a strong assembly and proper alignment. If you struggle with biplane kits you will be pleased with this one, it is a joy to build. The markings here came from Yellow Wings sheet 72-011 and represent an aircraft operated by VB-5 from the USS Ranger (CV-4).
29 May 1943 – attacked submarine pens and locks at Saint-Nazaire. Smaller strikes were made at Rennes naval depot and U-boat yards at La Pallice. In the attack, seven YB-40s were dispatched to Saint-Nazaire; they were unable to keep up with B-17s on their return from the target and modification of the waist and tail gun feeds and ammunition supplies was found to be needed. The YB-40s were sent to Technical Service Command at the Abbots Ripton 2nd Strategic Air Depot for modifications.
15 June 1943 – four YB-40s were dispatched from Alconbury in a raid on Le Mans after completion of additional modifications.
22 June 1943 – attack on the I.G. Farben Industrie Chemische Werke synthetic rubber plant at Hüls. The plant, representing a large percentage of the Germany’s synthetic rubber producing capacity, was severely damaged. In the raid, 11 YB-40s were dispatched; aircraft 42-5735 was lost, being first damaged by flak and later shot down by Uffz. Bernhard Kunze in a Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-2 of JG 1 over Pont, Germany. The 10 crew members survived and were taken prisoner.
25 June 1943 – attack on Blohm & Voss sub shops at Oldenburg. This was the secondary target, as the primary at Hamburg was obscured by clouds. In this raid, seven YB-40s were dispatched, of which two aborted. Two German aircraft were claimed as destroyed.
26 June 1943 – scheduled but aborted participation in attack on the Luftwaffe air depot at Villacoublay, France (primary target) and also the Luftwaffe airfield at Poissy, France. The five YB-40s assigned to the attack were unable to form up with the bombing squadron, and returned to base.
28 June 1943 – attack on the U-boat pens at Saint-Nazaire. In the raid, the only serviceable lock entrance to the pens was destroyed. In this attack, six YB-40s were dispatched, and one German aircraft was claimed as destroyed.
29 June 1943 – scheduled participation in attack on the Luftwaffe air depot at Villacoublay, but aircraft returned to Alconbury due to clouds obscuring the target. In the raid, two YB-40s dispatched, one aborted.
4 July 1943 – attacks on aircraft factories at Nantes and Le Mans, France. In these raids, two YB-40s were dispatched to Nantes and one to Le Mans.
10 July 1943 – attack on Caen/Carpiquet airfield. In this raid, five YB-40s were dispatched.
14 July 1943 – attacked Luftwaffe air depot at Villacoublay. In this raid, five YB-40s were dispatched.
17 July 1943 – YB-40s recalled from a raid on Hannover due to bad weather. In this raid, two YB-40s were dispatched.
24 July 1943 – YB-40s recalled from an attack on Bergen, Norway due to cloud cover. In this raid, one YB-40 was dispatched.
28 July 1943 – attack on the Fieseler aircraft factory at Kassel. In this raid, two YB-40s were dispatched.
29 July 1943 – attack on U-boat yards at Kiel. In this raid, two YB-40s were dispatched.
Altogether of the 59 aircraft dispatched, 48 sorties were credited. Five German fighter kills and two probables were claimed, and one YB-40 was lost, shot down on 22 June mission to Hüls, Germany. Tactics were revised on the final five missions by placing a pair of YB-40s in the lead element of the strike to protect the mission commander.
Serials from Freeman:
41-24341 XB-40 prototype
42-5733 Peoria Prowler
42-5734 Seymore Angel, later renamed Red Balloon, Old Ironsides
This is the Monogram F4B-4 kit first released in 1968. This is a classic kit which still holds up well by today’s standards. I scratchbuilt a cockpit and added rigging from 0.004” Nitenol wire. There are several ejector pin marks which will require filling, but the kit goes together well and still is regularly seen at model shows. The markings for this one came from Yellow Wings sheet 72-011 and represent an aircraft operated by VF-6 from the USS Saratoga (CV-3).
Another build of the classic Matchbox kit, I couldn’t decide which markings I liked best so I decided to build two! These markings are also from Starfighter Decals sheet 72-122 and represent the P-12E of the commander of the 8th Pursuit Group based at Langley Field, Virginia.