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1/48 Accurate Miniatures Grumman TBF-1 ”Early” Avenger, VT-8, Torpedo Squadron 8 (56 posts)

  • Although I started this kit a little over 3 months ago, I have been working on this Accurate Miniatures TBF-1 Avenger model on a fairly regular basis only recently. I finished building my three F4U-1 Corsair models in December and January, and the SB2C-4 Curtiss Helldiver build was also finished in January. These 4 other planes were taking up all of my model building time.

    This will be my second entry to our Midway Group build. It will be easier for me to keep track of them this way, and probably much easier for you to follow along with the build as well.

    I am planning on building this plane as it was delivered in Norfolk, with red and white rudder stripes and red centers to the US National insignias, or possibly as it was when it was crash landed after it’s “Baptism of fire” at the Battle of Midway.

    The Avenger made it’s combat debut at Midway. There were 6 planes on a mission. 5 of them were shot down by Japanese Zeros. The 6th one returned shot full of holes, with one dead crew member and the other two men were wounded. This last remaining Avenger from this group of six, crash landed on a beach since it had the elevator control cables shot away. The pilot although injured, was able to barely fly the plane by adjusting the elevator trim tabs……………… but it got the men home.

    The Grumman TBF Avenger was not off to a good start………… but this gives you some indication as to why the company became known as the “Iron Works”.

    I simply haven’t decided which scheme to go with just yet………………..

    I have been very fortunate to have had access to several real TBF Avengers in person. One is just like my model, an early dash 1 that was recovered in Lake Michigan, and is now being restored to a static display. The other was a later dash 3E that was having it’s annual inspection and maintenance performed.

    These planes are HUGE in real life. It makes one wonder how they operated them off the smaller escort carriers……………

    My kit started out as a TBF-1C, which had several changes built into it, which were not present on the initial “Early” TBF-1 model. The most notable differences that are visible are quite numerous. They involved filling in side windows on the fuselage, cutting a gun trough in the cowling above and on the Starboard side of the engine, removing the wing mounted machine gun breach bulges and filling in the ammo tray doors, filling in the empty shell casing and link ejection holes under the wing, and so on…………..

    I have started a build thread that you can see by using this link.

    http://imodeler.com/groups/work-in-progress-aircraft/forum/topic/148-accurate-miniatures-tbf-1-avenger/

    There are quite a few pictures over there, and a good description as to what all has been done to the model so far.

    Meanwhile, here are some pictures to get you a little more familiar with the build.

    24 attached images. Click to enlarge

    Tags: 1/48, Avenger, Grumman, Midway Group Build, TBF, Torpedo 8, VT-8

  • Thats more than a great start, Louis.
    Its a great kit and the Squadron books are a good help.

  • I’ll bet you’re NOT looking forward to masking those canopies, though…are ya? Especially the rear turret. I remember what a pain they are – even with an aftermarket masking set.

  • You’re right Craig, I’m not looking forward to this. I have some frisket film to try out and the regular old stand by of some clear “Scotch” invisible tape that I will use for masking off the clear parts.

    Believe it or not, this is my first Avenger build since I was a kid. Way back then I built the old original Monogram version that had all of the operating features……………….

    I picked up the books several years ago Bernd. You’re correct there’s a lot of great info inside them……………….. I’m hoping to keep plugging away at this one. Unfortunately today I was way too busy out in the shop and didn’t get any build time…………..

  • I found some really cool pictures showing an early TBF Avenger shortly after Torpedo 8 took charge of the plane. It has everything that I was looking for. I think I may have decided on a final paint scheme.

    Check it out, and see what you think. It has the “8-T-1” markings I was looking for.

    1 attached image.

  • Here are a couple of pictures of 8-T-1 after it made it back to Midway. It’s the only Torpedo 8 aircraft to survive the battle.

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • I think they had to survey the aircraft, due to the damage.

  • Rick, thanks for sharing these pictures !!!!! That’s exactly what I was looking for.

    Bernard, after looking at the damage in the photos, I’m sure they did relegate it to the scrap pile……………………….

    There were some very good photos taken of a FAA Grumman Wildcat and posted here on Imodeler.

    FAA Grumman Wildcat AL426 being stripped, restored & preserved at Yeovilton, UK

    I’m posting these pictures of the interior portion of my early TBF to help answer questions about the FS color call out numbers. Honestly, the “Modern” FS color chips don’t really match the Grumman “Bronze Green”. The closest thing was FS 34058, and the next runner up was FS 34092, which was a little bit too light.

    I hope this may help someone out there who is trying to replicate the Grumman Bronze Green, which was used in the early TBF’s as well as the F4F’s.

    My Avenger colors are a pretty close approximation to the real ones. My Grumman Bronze Green was a custom mixed blend. I used the Colling’s Foundation B-24 for a color source. This plane was not manufactured by Grumman, but the color is very close to the early TBF cockpit color. You can see how it changes appearance based on the natural light surrounding it.

    7 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • Cool photos Louis buddy! – I made the AM kit a few years ago myself and was amazed at the detail inside as well as the clear & concise instructions on painiting!
    I’ll try & get some pics this weekend if you like? I seem to recall some disaster with the canopy aerial mast though…..

    Cheers dude!

  • Thanks my friend. This is my first Accurate Miniatures TBF build. I really like it. The instructions are very nice too. I would like to see pictures of your plane. Please post them up when you can.
    Take care bud.

  • I ordered a set of “Airscale” instrument decals for the Avenger since the original decals were missing when I purchased this kit. The instrument panel is clear, and I thought it would look good if I installed the decals behind the panel, allowing the clear plastic to act as “glass” for the instrument dials. I will post up a picture of these instrument decals when they arrive. There are supposed to be 26 different instruments depicted in the set.

    I also just finished up my “Koga” Zero, so I will be getting back to work on this TBF, and my companion build the Dauntless.

  • Earlier today the new “Airscale” instrument decals arrived. They also included a small sheet of clear plastic to use as lens material.

    Since this is the smaller 1/48 scale set, there are two sets of instruments included on the decal sheet.

    I’m hoping that I can get something done on the Avenger this weekend. Meanwhile here are some pictures.

    4 attached images. Click to enlarge

  • Tonight’s progress was good. I managed to get the interior portions of the fuselage patched where the original side windows were located. I used some thin sheet styrene and square plastic strips to replicate fuselage stringers.

    Then I masked off the Grumman “Bronze Green ”

    And sprayed the rear interior portion of the fuselage with interior green FS 34151.

    I think that the glue I used to adhere the sheet styrene was too hot. It looks like it melted the thin sheet material. If you look closely at the last two pictures you can see where the plastic took the shape of the original side windows.

    Hopefully this will not be too noticeable once everything is buttoned up.

    Next I’ll be tackling the instrument panel.

    Stay tuned……….

  • I drilled out the instrument holes.

    I used the picture in the book on the Avenger called “In Detail and Scale”.

    Then I went online and found a very cool color picture of a TBF cockpit instrument panel. This picture looks like it could be of a later model Avenger since the cockpit color is interior green and the instrument layout is different from the early TBF-1. My best guess on this picture is that it may be from a TBF-1C or possibly an Eastern built aircraft.

    Next step was to spray the clear plastic with black paint.

    This is how it started to look once the paint was starting to dry.

  • WOW Louis that is looking fantastic buddy . Sweet job on drilling the instrument panel out 🙂

    Brian