Building Northrop’s XP-61C/D
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.