Trumpeter 1/32 TBF-1C Avenger Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||December 2004||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Kit Number||2233||Primary Media||Photo-Etch, Styrene|
|Pros||Excellent scribed detailing throughout||Cons||Photo-etched flight control hinges|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$129.95|
Built in response to a 1939 requirement for a carrier-based torpedo-bomber to replace the TBD Devastator, the TBF Avenger proved one of the most versatile aircraft of World War II. Equipped with an electrically powered gun turret and an internal bomb bay, the aircraft carried a crew of three. Powered by the 1,700 horsepower Wright R2600 twin-bank radial engine, the Avenger could carry 2000 pounds of armament over 1,000 miles, cruise at over 270 mph and was still agile enough to operate from the Bogue-class Jeep carriers.
All told, a total of 9,842 production versions rolled off assembly lines. The Avenger was the primary torpedo bomber of the US Navy during most of WWII. It earned a place in history during the Battle of Midway when almost all of the first TBFs to see combat were completely demolished before reaching their targets. Despite this, the TBF went on to have far greater success than the Battle of Midway later on, earning its place in history as a valuable torpedo bomber.
Ironically, Grumman produced the Avenger for a limited time. Due to the demand for its fighters, production of the Avenger was turned over to the Eastern Aircraft Division of General Motors along with another Grumman mainstay, the F4F Wildcat. GM-produced Avengers were designated as TBM and were virtually identical to the Grumman build aircraft until GM evolved the TBM-3. (The GM-built Wildcats were designated FM.)
Unlike other World War Two carrier air wing veterans, the Avenger was not turned out to pasture at the end of the war. The airframe had so much versatility that it was used as a submarine hunter, then modified into a hunter/killer team configuration, while others served as carrier on-board delivery (COD) aircraft.
In standard Trumpeter style, this kit is quite impressive straight out of the box. The kit is presented on twelve trees of light gray injection molded styrene and two trees of clear styrene transparencies. The detailing of the kit consists of finely scribed panel lines and recessed rivet details.
The R2600 is a nicely detailed kit which is only visible from the front of the cowling, though you do have the option of leaving the cowling completely off to reveal all of this detail.
The instrument panel is the standard transparent face that sandwiches acetate instrument faced between it and a back plate. Photo-etch handles and levers are added to the panel to complete the assembly.
The remainder of the cockpit is equally as detailed with photo-etched throttle/propeller/mixture levers, trim wheel, and seat belts/harness. The completed cockpit tub mounts to the rear of the engine firewall.
Assembly continues with an avionics bay that contains a number of black boxes that is located behind the cockpit.
The weapons bay gives you some interesting latitude. You have a choice of leaving it empty (and nicely detailed in its own right), or you can install a extended range fuel tank, torpedo, or four bombs.
The top of the completed weapons bay serves as the mounting point for the cockpit/engine assembly and the avionics bay.
The turret assembly is yet another nice model that would look impressive on its own. The single 50 caliber machine gun comes complete with ammo feed and shell ejector chutes, photo-etched sights, and even a gun camera mounted to the armored glass.
The weapons bay doors are actually those two huge pieces of photo-etched brass. These are folded to represent the doors open, then the styrene door exteriors are glued onto the brass. Interesting.
A set of wing spars are run through the cockpit/weapons bay assembly before the whole lot is trapped inside the fuselage halves.
You have the option of open or closed cowl flaps and there is even a photo-etched air filter in the carburetor intake.
The wings are hinged and positionable, but fortunately the hinges are a more rugged nylon with steel pin hinge. You still have the standard photo-etched hinges for the ailerons, flaps, elevators and rudder.
The landing gear is a robust affair that should easily handle the loads and handling that this beauty will get. The main gear and tailwheel tires are rubber.
For external stores, you have your choice of drop tanks or bombs on the inboard pylons and rockets out on the launch stubs. The fit is completed with yagi radar antennas on the outboard wing panels.
The kit includes parts to position the cockpit open or closed and the avionics bay open or closed as well.
If you opt to pose the aircraft with the wings folded, there are positionable access doors on the wingtips where the attachment cables are locked onto the lugs on the leading edge of the horizontal stabs (simulated with included rope). There is also a set of locks inserted into the wingfold to keep the wings parked as well.
Markings are included for two examples - aircraft 21 of VC-42 assigned to USS Bogue and wearing the Atlantic Gray over White camouflage, and aircraft 95 of VT-2 of USS Hornet during the summer of 1944.
This is going to be a huge model when completed and I am glad that the wings fold so nicely as it will be hard enough to park this on the shelf as it is. I think Trumpeter has a real winner with this kit and you'll have loads of fun building this model!
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!