The PV-1 Ventura was the result of the British Purchasing Commission seeking an upgrade/replacement for the Lockheed PBO Hudson light bomber and coastal patrol aircraft. The Hudson was a derivative of the Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra Airliner.

       To accommodate the increased payload and range requested by the British Lockheed chose to modify the Model 18 Lodestar transport to meet the requirement of countering the increased German submarine threat. The new, improved militarized version of the Lodestar was named Ventura, or Lucky Star.

       Choosing Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp R-2800s over the Wright Cyclone R-1280 almost doubled the available horsepower for the new Model L-37. The new Ventura now had 4,000 hp versus 2,560 for the Lodestar. Luckily a far sighted engineer had designed the Model 18 so that it could accommodate differing engines, one of which was the Double Wasp. The new engines increased the top speed to 300 mph over the Lodestars maximum of 250 mph.

       The new bomber was fitted with a bomb bay that could internally accommodate 2,500 Lbs. of varied ordinance, a glazed nose to aid the bombardier as well as a Boulton-Paul turret in the dorsal position and a twin machine gun stinger in the ventral position. All told the Ventura had 8 defensive .303 machine guns, 2 in the dorsal turret, 2 in the ventral position and in the nose 2 fixed and 2 flexible guns.

       In February 1940 the British ordered 25 examples of the new bomber. After witnessing the first flight of the Ventura I on July 31, 1941 the British Purchasing Commission ordered an additional 650 aircraft. Lockheed made the decision to produce the Ventura at its Vega subsidiary so in the Navy designation system it was known as the PV-1 (P for Patrol, V for Vega as opposed to O for Lockheed). At the time of Pearl Harbor, only 394 examples had been delivered to Britain and her Commonwealth forces. At this point the US Navy requisitioned all further production and no more examples were delivered to Britain. Approximately 1600 examples were produced for the US Navy before production was terminated in May of 1944.

       While the US Navy did use some of the “as is” British Venturas, the American Venturas were quite different. Instead of a glazed nose the US Navy mounted an ASD-1 search radar in a solid nose. Fuel tanks were increased from 1,345 gallons to 1,607 gallons thereby increasing range. Perhaps the biggest change was the removal of the 30 caliber machine guns and replacing them with 50 caliber Brownings. Later Venturas were fitted with a tray under the nose which housed and additional 3 fixed 50 caliber machine guns.

       Instead of using the Ventura in its intended role the British opted to use it as a daylight assault aircraft. It did not fare well in this role and gained a bit of a bad reputation. The American Navy learned from the British experience, making the changes listed above, and used the Ventura in its intended role of coastal attack and anti-submarine patrol aircraft. In its intended role it was known as fast and hard hitting and to the crews who manned the Ventura it was the best allied aircraft in its role.

       In 2005 after finishing the PB4Y-2 Privateer project I went looking for another World War II US Navy patrol bomber to build. At the time there weren't many choices if I wanted to continue my collection in 1/48th scale. Having just worked with vacu-formed parts when converting the B-24 to a PB4Y-2, which was made from an injection molded Monogram B-24J Liberator and a vacu-formed Koster Aero Enterpises conversion kit, I purchased Koster Aero Enterprise's PV-1 Ventura kit. The kit sat in my inventory until March of this year (2013) when I started building it, finishing it it August of the same year.

       The kit is multi-media made up of 33 Resin, 57 vacu-formed, 23 metalparts, decals for 7 aircraft and a complete set of instructions.

       The first step in assembling a vacu-formed kit is to seperate the pieces from the large sheets that they are molded into. I score the sheets along the outline of the components with an #11 X-acto blade until I am able to break away the sheet plastic making sure that some excess material is left on the edges of each part. Once the parts are seperated, I place a sheet of 220 grit emery cloth/sandpaper on a flat surface and sand each piece until the edges I left when scoring the parts fall away.

       After airbrushing the interior of the fuselage and using both airbrush and hand brush on the forward crew compartment area, I started putting together the various sub-assemblies. Begining with the crew area and then moving on the the engine pods and the wing interior. I added strips of white paper to represent seat belts to the pilot and co-pilot seats. It turns out I had cut away a little to much of the sheet plastic in the area of the wing root of the left wing so I glued plastistrut styrene tubing, with a matching radius, to the wing root to the interior of the wing and then blended in the area with putty. This same technique was used on one of the engine nacelles in the area of the oil cooler on the bottom of the nacelle. The vacu-forming process had left the area very thin, so I glued a small piece of tubing to the interior to strengthen the area.

       The resin parts in this kit required quite a bit of clean up as there was quite a bit of flash on them. But once cleaned up the parts assembled into a very nice crew compartment as can be evidenced by the pictures. The supplied resin parts were used in the landing gear bays, for the engines, upper turret and leading edges of the engine nacelle. I did buy after market propellers and main wheels.

       Once the various sub-assemblies were completed it was time to put the fuselage and wing halves together. A technique I used to aid in matching up the fuselage halves was to glue small strips of sheet stryene all along the edges of one half of the fuselage. Not only does this aid when aligning the two halves the strips act as a backstop when it comes time to fill in any gaps between the halves. Strips were also placed later in the assembly process when fitting the clear window sections in the cockpit and ventral window areas.

       Once assembled painting began. I chose the tri-colr schem that was prevalent thru the middle years of World War II, the time when Venturas saw most of there service. There were seven different schemes available with the kit. I usually like to find out as much as I can about the history of the particula aircraft I am modelling, but try as I might I could not find any information on the scheme I had chose. It does look accurate, but I cannot attest to its accuracy.

       I am very pleased with the outcome of this model it was a challenge but the outcome is well worth the effort. I will fit in well with my PB4Y-1 Liberator and PB4Y-2 Privateer.

      

Bibliography:

       PV Ventura/Harpoon Units of World War 2

             Osprey Combat Aircraft #34

             By Alan C. Carey

             ISBN 1-84176-383-7

       PV-1 Ventura in action

             Squadron/Signal Publications #48

             By Charles L. Scrivner & Capt. W.E. Scarborough, USN Ret.

             Illustrated by Don Greer

             ISBN ISBN 0-89747-118-0

       Vega Ventura – The Operational History of Lockheed’s Lucky Star

             By John C. Stanaway

             A Schiffer Military History Book

             ISBN# 0-7643-0087-3

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