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Monogram 1/48 TBD-1 Devastator Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2007 Manufacturer Monogram
Subject TBD-1 Devastator Scale 1/48
Kit Number 7575 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicest TBD in 1/48 scale Cons Only TBD in 1/48 scale
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


When Douglas introduced the Devastator into the US Navy's carrier air groups in 1937, they had created the blueprint for future naval aviation. The aircraft was the first monoplane to go to sea. With the exception of the flight control surfaces, the aircraft was all-metal in construction. Most importantly, the wings could be folded to facilitate dense parking on the limited real estate of the flight deck or in the hangar deck.

By the time war erupted a few years later, the TBD-1 was on the other end of the technology spectrum - virtually obsolete. As Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said: "You don't go to war with the forces you want, you go with the forces you have." Such was the case with the TBD-1, and its crews fought hard. In the Battle of Coral Sea, TBD-1s helped to sink the carrier Shoho, but in the Battle of Midway, the Devastators experienced devastating losses and were soon replaced with the TBF Avenger.

This re-release of the Monogram TBD-1 is from the Classic Series reissue several years ago and sported the same box art on one of their short-term fold-to-open boxes. This kit is a sleeper as it used to be available on a regular basis before Revell-Monogram adopted the short-run release technique used by other model manufacturers. Now when the kit gets re-released, it gets a little more attention, but it hasn't be out of production long enough to become hard to find nor gain significant value on the collector's market. At the time of this writing, there are quite a few available on eBay at under $10.00 USD.

This kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The kit features raised details, but given that the aircraft's wings were corrugated, this seems a natural for this subject.

As with many of the kits from this generation of Monogram designs, this kit is FULL of details. The cockpit is absolutely gorgeous out of the box, with only seat belts needed to really set things right. Adding any other photo-etched details in here would be nice, but not necessary.

The kit provides a number of options for your TBD:

  • Positionable landing gear
  • Positionable flaps
  • Folding wings
  • Choice of bomb load or centerline torpedo
  • Positionable forward fuselage step for access to engine crank start port
  • Starting crank
  • Three-piece closed canopies or multi-piece open canopies

While the kit is a bit dated by today's Tamiyagawa standards, in the right hands, this model is still a show-stopper.

Markings are provided for four aircraft:

  • TBD-1, BuNo 0200, 2-T-1, VT-2, USS Lexington, 1939 (Yellow Wing)
  • TBD-1, BuNo 0324, 6-T-3, VT-6, USS Enterprise, 1939 (Yellow Wing)
  • TBD-1, BuNo 0338, VT-8, USS Hornet, 1941
  • TBD-1, BuNo 0308, VT-6, USS Enterprise, 1942

So how many of you have one of these stashed away forgotten in your collections? With the variety of new kits coming on the market with varying levels of detail, don't forget this gem that is very detailed and still very affordable.