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P-61 Black Widow In Action

P-61 Black Widow In Action Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2013 Title P-61 Black Widow In Action
Author David Doyle Publisher Squadron/Signal Publications
Published 2013 ISBN 978-0-89747-719-2
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95


The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was the first purpose-built night fighter in the world which combined sufficient airframe size to house the radar set, firepower to quickly knock down its victim, fuel to operate over long range and loiter in a patrol area, and performance to remain the hunter and not become the hunted. This title looks at the development of this aircraft and its combat operations, even as it was still working out some of the bugs.

One problem that took time to overcome was the remotely operated, quad .50 caliber dorsal turret. Rotating the turret and/or elevating the guns created significant turbulance and strain on the airframe. A number of aircraft were sent into the field with either the dorsal turret locked into forward boresight position or with the turret removed and the hole faired over. The ventral 20mm cannons were still quite effective. This title looks at these variations in the field and at the final solution that was put into operation on later blocks of the P-61B. The title also covers the higher performance P-61C and P-61D variants as well as the very sleek P-61E and F-15 variants.

The title is heavily illustrated with period photography and a significant portion of that are in full color - an excellent resource for modeler and historian alike. If you have the new HobbyBoss 1/32 P-61, the relatively new Great Wall Hobby 1/48 P-61, or one of the older kits 'out there', this title will provide a one-stop resource to help you with your next Black Widow project. This title is definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to Squadron/Signal Publications for this review sample!