Kit: TBD-1 Devastator (1942) Scale: 1:72 Kit type: Injection moulded, with resin and etched-metal parts
Decal options: (two) ‘5’, Wake Island, February 1942 and ‘8’, USS Enterprise, April 1942
This is the second issue of the TBD-1 Devastator by Valom in 1:72 scale. The previous issue was released in colourful pre-war US Navy markings. The latest TBD-1 kit represents either an aircraft that was based on Wake Island in 1942 or another based on USS Enterprise in the same year. A quick glance at the model shows it to be a typical short-run product that includes resin detail parts and requires care when separating the parts from their thick runners. The kit comes in a standard Valom box with a striking artwork of a Devastator in blue-grey and light grey camouflage with early-war US markings overflying Wake Island at medium altitude. There are three sealed bags provided within the box. The first bag contains 30 injection-moulded parts in medium-grey plastic. These include the fuselage halves, main wing and tailplane parts, bomb bay door, undercarriage legs, cockpit detail parts, bomb racks, propeller and other parts. Another smaller bag contains detail resin parts that are in a cream colour. These include the cockpit floor that comes complete with two seats and side controls, with space for the gunner at the rear. Further detail parts are provided for the cockpit as separate items, including a seat, gun mounting and gun. Also provided in resin are an engine cowling, two 500-lb bombs, cockpit instruments, a two-row radial engine, exhaust pipes, undercarriage wheels, rear gun and other items, making 19 pieces in all. Another plastic bag contains fine etched-brass frets, which comprise an instrument panel, rudder pedals, antenna, seat belts, a sight for the rear gun, a loop antenna (this is repeated as an injection-moulded part), and two tiny three-bladed windmills to fit at the front of the bombs. In the same bag is a decal sheet for two aircraft. This has stars for one aircraft of your choice and rudder stripes of two different styles. The pack also contains an injection-moulded clear cockpit canopy and another clear part for the landing light.
A four-page instruction booklet in Czech and English contains 12 stages of assembly. These are shown as a series of exploded views that can be followed with ease. There is also an A4 colour sheet illustrated on both sides with four views for decal positioning. A brief history is printed on one page and colour references and equivalent paint numbers on another. These latter include Agama, Humbrol, Model Master, Gunze Sangyo and F. S.595a. Deciding which of the two TBD-ls to produce makes little difference, variation being restricted to the size of star and bars on the fuselage sides and rudder, respectively.
The ejector pin marks on the inside of the fuselage halves need to be removed as these will foul with the resin cockpit interior fittings. Some dry runs were also needed before part No. 1 (the resin floor) could fit well. This meant removing 1 mm from each side of the floor in order for it to fit. When it comes to the bomb bay blanking panel, plastic pieces must be added to the interior of the bay to prevent the blank bay door from falling in during fitting. There is a gun access opening to allow the rear gun barrel to be raised. This area can either be blanked off with a piece to fit in the aperture, or cut in two parts that should open downwards, allowing the gun to be fixed in the raised position. The wing to fuselage joint was treated with putty to produce a gradual smooth joint and panel lines were refreshed by scribing. During this process it is advisable to protect the finely reproduced corrugated airframe with masking. The etched-brass parts, 14 and 15, are apparently the rear torpedo fins. I assume that a torpedo-carrying version exists or is planned, but for this version only bombs are carried. The antennas (one fitted on the forward fuselage and another on the starboard wing leading edge) had to be replaced with metal substitute of a thinner section and identical length to those in plastic. One other observation is that while the instructions indicate that the propeller tips should be yellow, the box art shows them in three colours (red, yellow and blue), and I elected to paint them in the box-art style. The decal sheet is first class and the transfers take the shape of the corrugated wing surfaces. My only reservation concerns the serial numbers that are carried by the two different aircraft. These had the transparent carrier film offset so that the portion of the decal without the film was brittle, and these items had to be replaced by decal numbers from my spares box.
The end result produced a very satisfactory representation of the Devastator. It features a fully detailed cockpit interior that is clearly visible through the thin cockpit transparency. This is not a complex model to build and is definitely recommended to all enthusiasts of the air war in the Pacific theatre.
mended, and the Sabre must be among the top five iconic fighters. For me it’s the combat fighter of the 1950s. The final book of this trio is the 64th in the Combat Aircraft series, and is one where perhaps the text is of more consequence than the colour profiles.
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