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nightiemission

Building Tips for The 48th Scale P-61 Black Widow

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Hi Folks,

Due to the number of requests I've had the last several days for my P-61 Building Tips write up and my relative computer illiteracy, this seemed to be the easiest way to get the write up to all who want it. Please feel free to download, printout, cut& paste, etc.

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Building Tips For The 48th Scale Black Widow

The first thing I check upon opening the kit is the clear parts sprue. In the later issue kits parts # 79L and 79R can be and often are incomplete moldings(short shots). The two options here are, contact RM for replacement parts or dig through your spares box for appropriate sized clear pieces to scratchbuild replacements. The main and R/O's canopies do not fit well at all. This is my fix for the problem. I use styrene strips(from Evergreen) .015x.060 and .010x .060 to build up the sills the canopies mount to. Once the sills are built up to the right height,I sand them flush with the crew nacelle. I also round the upper, rear corners of the cockpit opening to match the canopy. Vector Models has a beautiful but pricey clear resin canopy set that is available from Linden Hill Imports.

Tires & wheels: The kit tires are correct only for the two XP-61's and the first couple YP-61's. All others used diamond tread tires. True Details has two different sets; early style for P-61A's thru mid-production P-61B's and a late style for Late production P-61B's, C's and F-15A Reporters.

Cockpit: It needs attention. As it is in the kit, it's incorrect for any variant as it's a hodge-podge of A, B and C cockpits. True Details, Eduard and Lone Star Models has this covered pretty well. Lone Star's resin cockpit is for a P-61A but can be used for a B model as there is little visual difference.

Wing/Boom alignment: Typical twin-boom a/c, time and patience are key to getting it right. When alignment is right the outer wing panels should lay flat, giving the bird a slight gull-winged look. Filler will be needed at the wing/boom joints. In fact, filler will be needed at just about every major joint on the model.

Flaps: you're on your own here. I've seen photos with flaps in every position from full up to full down, usually full up.

A note on the PE sets. One of the bigger sets contains the spoilers. DO NOT, repeat , DO NOT install both spoilers in the full up postion(couldn't happen). The spoilers were strictly for roll control and were rarely seen as the controls were usually centered.

Drop Tanks: NO drop tanks on OD/Gray aircraft(P-61A-1's). Drop tanks were not used until the P-61A-10 and then only one outboard of the boom on each side. Four drop tanks were first used on the P-61B-2's.

Engine Cowls: A sore point for some, left side closed flaps, right side open flaps. On the ground both flaps were ususally open. Cutting Edge had a correction set out. With Cutting Edge gone, I have brought out my own cowl set and a couple other small items. My cowls are a direct copy of the right side cowl. Contrary to what some folks think, it is not necessary to replace both cowls. Vector Models has released a cowl/engine set(both cowls/engines) and a propeller set. The casting is absolutely flawless. not a hint of a bubble or flash anywhere to be seen. The builder will need to do a bit of surgery on the booms to install the cowl/engine sets. The builder will also need to supply his/her own small wire for the pushrod covers on the engines and the sactuator rods for the cowl flaps(very nice touch). take great care when installing the prop blades onto the spinners. While the locating pins are substantial, there are no flats on them to set the pitch of the blades. I highly recommend these sets. They're a bit spendy but, IHMO, worth it.

Conversions: Lone Star Models has conversions out for a P-61C(turbo,charged variants), F-15 a Reporter , F-15A Reporter tanker and has rereleased his XP-61E conversion.

Wheel wells: You're pretty much on your own here except for the nose gear well(included in Lone Star's cockpit set.) Color is open to interpretation. I go with unpainted wheel wells(have seen photos of unpainted wells).

Decals: Try to find aftermarket sheets as the kit decals are junk. they're stiff, hard to use and inaccurate. Aeromaster, SuperScale and Pyn-up have a number of sheets out but, all but the Pyn-up sheet are OOP now. They can be found on line and at swapmeets. The Revell/Germany kits has a very nice sheet with accurate markings. Zotz Decals has released two new sheets. They look great.

Paint: This has been pretty well covered here and on HS lately. Only the first 40-some P-61A's were OD/Gray. All other production a/c were overall Gloss Black except for the F-15A Reporters which were all in a NMF. Several Experimental a/c were in a NMF with yellow cowls.

If anyone runs into problems or questions while building their Widow's, shoot me an e-mail or call and I'll be more than happy to help out.

As soon as I can get my hands on the new GWH P-61A, I will post some comments here.

Terry

(Certifiable P-61 NUT!!) :thumbsup:

As of 05-15-2011, I've built 10(8 for myself), have 5 on the bench and an additional 31 waiting in the stash.

Edited by nightiemission

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Terry,

Many thanks! I have one on the shelf along with a few details sets. This will help me out immensley!

Rocky

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Terry:

I am very greatful for the advice. I am just starting one and I had heard about the cockpit issues, but I was not sure how I was going to fix it. I am going to use your method.

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Hey Terry,

Thanks so much for the suggestions and tips! I have a Widow waiting to be built (just need a new set of decals) but was too afraid to tackle it. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Aaron

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I have noticed in comparing the kit to photographs that the front canopy seems a little squashed, and slanted too far backward (perhaps an optical illusion from the squash). However, I cannot figure out how to raise the canopy line without throwing all the other nacelle lines off. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this.

Dennis Pemberton

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I have noticed in comparing the kit to photographs that the front canopy seems a little squashed, and slanted too far backward (perhaps an optical illusion from the squash). However, I cannot figure out how to raise the canopy line without throwing all the other nacelle lines off. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this.

Dennis Pemberton

From what I can tell after studying a number of photos is that the pilot's hatch is a bit too flat across the front edge. The back end seems ok. The windshield's slant is right. Outside of a vac canopy, I'm not real sure how one would go about correcting the hatch. I'll give some thought and see what I can come up with. Any ideas will be given due consideration.

Terry

Edited by nightiemission

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Wow. Thanks for the tips, Terry! I just dusted off my P-61 and was toying with the idea of putting it together soon. I also have a question about the props, though. The kit provides 2 pairs of props, what look like standard Curtiss Electric props and a paddle-bladed version. Which variants used which props?

Edit: Ooops. My bad. I Had my Tamiya Mosquito out at the same time as the Widow and the mossie had 2 variants of props. Must've been that anti-histamine I took earlier. :woot.gif: One other question, though. are there any aftermarket decals available in 1/48 that depict an olive drab P-61 stationed in the Philippines? Primarily because I'd rather not use the kit provided decals because a lot of the reviews said that they don't cooperate very well and i like building aircraft there were stationed here during the war. :thumbsup:

Edited by shrikes

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Okay I have three kits in my stash,one of them is started. But I do have one question,what is the true color of the interior?Is it green zinc chromate or is it yellow zinc chromate? I don't know if this was asked but I'm just curious.

Pete

p.s. Great info.

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Okay I have three kits in my stash,one of them is started. But I do have one question,what is the true color of the interior?Is it green zinc chromate or is it yellow zinc chromate? I don't know if this was asked but I'm just curious.

Pete

p.s. Great info.

Crew occupied areas; interior green, unoccupied areas(gun bays) yellow zinc-chromate. Wheel wells and inside of gear doors, unpainted.

HTH, Terry

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Glad I read this before I started either one of the Widows I was planing on building. Hopefully with this knowledge they will not give to much trouble.

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If anyone's interested, take a look at the P-61 going complete restoration at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum. You'll find a lot of photos showing the aircraft as it looked when recovered, at the museum and going under complete restoration. From the photos I downloaded, there's NOTHING not being shown. Talk about a modelers dream. Anyone up to doing a factory diorama? That's how many photos there are.

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Howdy.. New guy here, so that's why the late reply to this..

Just a couple thing regarding the 1/48th Monogram/Revell P-61, if you don't want to drop a ton of money on the after-market parts available.

The engines and cowls: Rather than spending a lotta money to "fix them", I simply bought four kits. Actually, I've bought about 11 of them over the years since it was first released, but since Revell released them, I've bought four more... With the "40% off any purchase" coupon at Hobby Lobby, each kit costs about 14.00, IIRC... You can print the coupons out at the Hobby Lobby website.

What I did for the two recent builds is cut and swap engines and forward boom parts, with one kit getting the "complete" engines and "open" cowls, the other getting the engine facades and "closed" cowls. This allowed me to build an "Able" model, and a "Baker", one OD over Neutral Grey, one Black... The third & fourth kits get the same treatment, engine-wise, only one is getting a Natural Metal Finish (The Widow flown as a "Hack" aircraft by MG Earl W. Barnes, commander of the 13th Air Task Force), the other is getting converted to the F-15 Reporter.

Regarding the flaps, the Pilot's Operating Handbook states that the aircraft will be taxied with the flaps in the "UP" position only, so they'd only be in the "DOWN" position during take-off & landing, or when parked, chocked, engines off, and undergoing maintenence, if that kinda thing's important to you. That said, the P-61 is kinda like a Corsair.. It looks better when it's "Dirty", with everything hangin' out and down...

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For those interested in a restoration of a P-61, the Mid-Atlantic air museum has LOTS of photos of before, during and after the restoration.

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Hi Terry, thanks for starting this thread, some very useful info in here. I'm just about to start on my Widow, which is going to be "Little Audrey", a 9th AF bird in France - a later attrition replacements I believe, and as such rare in the ETO in having the top turret. Anyway, regarding the earlier question about aftermarket sheets, I have this one by Kits-World - nose art only, you'll still need everything else.

Question: the rocket installation for night intruder ops appears to be standard HVARs, but where are they positioned? Are there any plans or dimensions at all? I just have a hankering to mount some. I have tried google which throws up some photos, but any exact locations would be good.

Thanks,

Edited by MikeC

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Hi Mike,

Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I got tangled up getting a HUGE weight order packaged and shipped.

Now for your Question, Ifound a few pics of '61s with the 5" HVARs. The installation is outboard of the outboard drop tank(by about 1 1/2-2')and is a 4 round setup. The three-tube bazooka set up was at about the same location. I would guess that the 5" HVAR set up was used more than the Bazooka as the Bazooka was fairly universaly disliked.

HTH, Terry

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Many thanks Terry, that's great. The Widow's box is already open, just got a 109 to finish then off we go!

Thanks again,

Mike

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I dont know if you guys have seen

or not, but its very interesting.

About 30 minutes long.

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Snagged a 1/48 Monogram P-61 at a show today for $3. I was really looking for a Dragon 1/72 kit, but $3 as too great of a deal to pass on. (Never did spot a 1/72 kit)

I remember a long while back, some guys in Florida used the cowls from either a Corsair or Bearcat. Any further info on this? Is this even correct?

Thanks!

Jeff

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