1/48 Monogram Douglas TBD Devastator, USS Enterprise, 04 June 1942
This is the picture that inspired the markings for my build, which was part of the recent Midway Group build. This plane has interior green paint inside the cockpit. More on that in a few…
There were a series of color photographs taken for the “LIFE” magazine in 1940. You can tell by the lower half of the cowling (by it having white markings), that the plane in the foreground of this second photo below is also “6-T-6” which served on the USS Enterprise. If you look closely at this picture, you can see the interior green here too.
I believe these photos below were taken near Hawaii. “6-T-6” is in the right hand middle of this picture.
and “6-T-6” may be the third plane up from the bottom of the echelon formation. It is mostly hidden by the second plane, which appears to be “6-T-5” per the colors used.
The reason I chose this plane was simple. I had painted the interior of the model “Interior Green” and I wanted to build a “Yellow Wings” plane. (plus I found these really cool original color photos to use as a reference).
Most of the Devastators flying during the Yellow Wings period still retained their aluminum colored interiors. That’s how they were delivered by Douglas when new. In fact, most of the early build TBD’s were delivered with full Squadron markings applied from the factory ! The interiors were painted in various shades of green (or possibly even black) during Depot Overhauls later. This was done because there were complaints of sunlight reflecting from the interiors that caused glare that affected the flight crews. I believe these complaints were initially filed by crew members from VT-2 onboard the Saratoga.
Some of the planes shown here in this factory assembly line photo below are destined to serve with VT-2. This picture is dated January 7th, 1938.
During the “Yellow Wings” era as it has been referred to, the US Navy had a methodical set of markings that were specific for each plane in a section. The section leader had a full colored cowling and fuselage band, the “number two” slot had the upper half of the cowling painted in their assigned color, and the “number three” had the lower section painted.
In addition to this, there were colors assigned. Red, White, Blue, Black, Yellow, and Green, were used for specific planes. The color “White” was used for the number #4, #5 and #6 planes.
This is why “6-T-6” has a White colored paint on the lower half of the cowling.
If you look close at the plane in the back ground of the second photo, it is number 16. Yellow #16 happens to be a section leader’s plane. That’s why there’s a yellow stripe behind the “T” and the entire cowling is painted yellow. The remaining planes in this section were #17 and #18.
The first number six (6) on the sides of the fuselage denotes VF-6, which flew from the Enterprise. The “T” is for the Torpedo Squadron, VT-6, and the last number denotes which plane it is in the section.
It really sounds a little more complicated than it actually is… Here a picture would really explain things easier.
This particular plane, Bureau Number 0327, was lost in combat 75 years ago today, while flying from the USS Enterprise as “T-14”. The plane was by now painted in the Blue Gray over Light Gray color scheme, as the more colorful Yellow Wings Era had been stopped as War clouds loomed on the horizon.
Both crew members, Ensign Brock and ARM3C Blundell were “Killed in Action” on that fateful day.
I actually started building this plane by accident. I was spraying some “Interior Green” on another build and didn’t want to waste what I had mixed up in my air brush. So I looked over at the stash pile and my eyes fell on the Devastator.
Here’s a link to the build log:
My Devastator was an original 1974 boxing. These kits can still be found online and build up into a pretty nice looking TBD.
I did add some details to the wing fold areas, as these places are highly visible.
Other than that, it’s pretty much right out of the box.
A combination of “Yellow Wings” and various later released TBD kit decals were used for the build. I didn’t even want to try any of the “1974 vintage” decals that came in the kit…
Overall I had a good time building this one, and it went together fairly quick. There were some fit problems on the lower nose by the bomb bay doors. Check out the build thread to see.
I think it’s a fitting tribute to the men who lost their lives later in this plane during the Battle of Midway. Who could have known when these original color photos were taken for “LIFE” magazine, that this exact plane would be lost in combat, along with it’s crew not even two years later?
The Devastators suffered serious losses on this date in history, 75 years ago.
As usual, comments are encouraged. Thanks for looking.
25 additional images. Click to enlarge.