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Building Northrop’s XP-61C/D

July 15, 2016 in Aviation

About a zillion years ago when Monogram first released their 48th scale
P-61 Black Widow, I built the black version but I have no recollection what ever happened to it. Over the years I always wanted to do the natural metal version, which required doing a P-61C, so I got my hands on the Lone Star conversion set and put it in the Monogram kit where it resided for years. Recently however, Hobby Boss released their 48th scale P-61C kit, so it became time to finally build the Bucket List project at last.
The silver widow was a pretty rare bird as only two were built with the standard fuselage, and were subsequently destroyed after outliving their usefulness as test platforms. The Black Widow was a purpose-built night fighter from Northrop that needed a performance boost, which led to the
XP-61C/D. Basically a standard P-61A model, with an engine upgrade to a single stage turbo-supercharged R-2800 and Smith propellers; the changes made for these two test aircraft.
The Hobby Boss kit was an easy build with tight fitting parts that allowed me to build it in four sub-assemblies. Due to the size of this model, sub- assemblies made for ease of handling during the construction, painting and decal process. I still held my breath when the time came to pull it all together. The only problems I encountered during this entire project were of my own making
I added resin wheels from True Detail to get a tread pattern and a turret with guns from Quick Boost, as the kit did not provide one. I also added MV lens to the nose gear landing lights. The kit nose wheel had the nose wheel fender molded to the wheel, so I borrowed a fender from the Monogram kit and used a resin wheel and tire. I also decided to place the nose wheel at an angle because I thought it would look better. All this turned out to be more work than I bargained for. I added two extra wing tanks from the Monogram kit as this was how this test aircraft was usually equipted.
One of the great features of this kit is it provides all the weight you’ll need to keep in sitting on all three wheels without a support. Of course I added some Mike Grant rivet detail here and there, as well as some pastel powder for the exhaust stains. I made my own markings using Woodland Scenics sheet MG746. I rubbed off the numbers onto a clear decal sheet, and then transferred it to the model. I used Alclad paint for most of the natural metal finish along with ModelMaster Zinc Chromate for the interior and wheel wells. Finally,the antenna was made with Dia-Riki Velvet

12 additional images. Click to enlarge

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21 responses to Building Northrop’s XP-61C/D

  1. That’s a great looking bird Jack. Real show stopper for sure.

  2. Great work Jack, NMF looks great.

  3. Good job, Jack….I like it!

  4. Nice Jack, very attractive scheme, and very well done.

  5. Wow, what a fantastic colour choice. Beautiful work.

  6. First time I see a natural metal Widow, nice subject and very nica build.

  7. Another superb build Jack. Some natural metal eye candy. One niggle, the the two Goodyear modified XP-61C/D’s where not only characterized by the natural metal finish but,had one large air scoop for the turbocharger hung underneath the engine. Also, two air scoops where built along the engine cowling for the carbs. These two characteristic modifications where done for the type to use the R-2800-57s and boost the top speed of the a/c up to 430mph. It would be great to see this rare subject in modeling show off those cowlings with some more photos.

    Two thumbs up on some strong work.

  8. Very nice finishes, Jack.

  9. Interesting unusual choice for the realization Monogram Widows.


  10. I really enjoyed this posting, Jack, just the right amount of history, build info, photographs, and the finished model looks just great.

  11. Wow – I’d never seen the NMF Widow, and it just looks fantastic in that scheme (besides which you did a fantastic job rendering it!). I’ve built the black version, but like the Widow so much that I’d considered getting another for a Pacific Theater olive drab scheme. However, seeing yours, if I can find a 1/72 version I may go with the NMF (as much as I hate trying to paint NMF…!).

  12. Absolutely STUNNING. I like this one very much!!! Well done!!!

  13. Absolutely beautiful Looking P-61. The overall finish is excellent 🙂

    Cheers Brian

  14. Thanks Brian….all we need is one done in Olive Drab and we will have the complete Widow pallet.

  15. Fabulous result with NMF Jack: really brings it to life!

  16. The last photo say’s it all …a silver finish,with the new props, the turbo intakes, and carburetor intakes say’s this is a XP-61C/D. Two thumbs up. Can you imagine what it would have been like doing the old Monogram standard to get to this level of finish.

    Two thumbs Jack.

  17. Enjoyed the posting and the information on this type of aircraft.
    Compliments to the constructor.

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