Douglas TBD-1, “Devastator”, ‘Torpedo Eight’, USS Hornet-Part Two

June 5, 2017 · in Aviation · · 13 · 2.5K

“Many of my friends are now dead. To a man, each died with a nonchalance that each would have denied as courage. They simply called it lack of fear. If anything great or good is born of this war, it should not be valued in the colonies we may win nor in the pages historians will attempt to write, but rather in the youth of our country, who never trained for war; rather almost never believed in war, but who have, from some hidden source, brought forth a gallantry which is homespun, it is so real.”

“When you hear others saying harsh things about American youth, do all in your power to help others keep faith with those few who gave so much. Tell them that out here, between a spaceless sea and sky, American youth has found itself and given itself so that, at home, the spark may catch. There is much I cannot say, which should be said before it is too late. It is my fear that national inertia will cancel the gains won at such a price. My luck can’t last much longer, but the flame goes on and on.”

–Ensign William R. Evans, USN, Pilot of 'T-3', Torpedo Eight, USS Hornet, Killed in Action with his Radioman/Gunner, Ross E. Bibb Arm3, Midway, 4 June 1942.

The previous quote, was taken from a letter written by Ens. Evans, to his parents on the eve of battle, June 1942. Within a few days of it’s posting to the states, he and twenty-eight of his squadron mates would be dead.

The model I have built, is in the honor of Ens, Evans and the entire “Torpedo Eight” contingent who perished at Midway.

Model is the Great Wall kit, in 1:48 scale

Last picture: Took a second place award at the IPMS/USA Region One Contest in Batavia, NY, 19/20 May, 2017.

Reader reactions:
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10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

13 responses

  1. A little more on the pilot, Ens. Evans. He was a child of wealth and privilege. Educated at Wesleyan University, he was aspiring to be a writer. He chose to enlist in the US Navy and become a pilot, rather than take the deferments offered. One can only imagine what he might have accomplished, had he survived the war...

  2. Another beautifully done aircraft Freddie! Congrats.

  3. A great build. Such prophetic words..

  4. What used to be called noblisse oblige, folks. Currently on hiatus, unfortunately.
    Freddie, another outstanding build! Inspirational.

  5. The letter Ensign Evans wrote home was indeed very prophetic. Almost as if he had a premonition of sorts. Your build turned out very well Freddie. Two thumbs up to you, and a hand salute to Ens. Evans...

  6. That's really a nice job Freddie, and a well deserved award at the Region One Show.

  7. And after I go making unkind comments about the Great Wall kit over on your Monogram TBD, you put this up.
    Great job Freddie, beautiful model and a compelling back story.

    • I realize this may be a bit late but...

      The kit was a bear to build, and there were many bridges that needed crossing to where she wound up. The Monogram kit is older, but still a very good model, and SO much easier, stress wise.

      That being said, the Great Wall kit is worth the build, and I will again defer to our friend on this site, Tom Cleaver. Tom wrote an article on the Modeling Madness website, after he fought and build this same kit. He points out the kit's shortcomings, and possible ways to circumvent them. IF you plan on tackling this kit READ it. He hits every nail on the head as far as what you are going to run into.

      From my own observations, I would get the Eduard masks, because the kit's masks SUCK. The decals are OK, but Yellow Wings are better, as are many other aftermarket sets, so check around for them also.

      I found the kit IS worth the effort, and you will turn out a fine model, but it will not fall together like a Tamiya, Hasegawa or the later Airfix kits.

      So, I hope I didn't scare you, get your glue out and model on brother!

  8. Every time I read this letter from Evans I have a hard time fighting back the tears. It is men like him from that time period and those battles that drive my passion for WW2 Naval History, especially the details of this crucial and bloody battle. This passion is what drives me to build these monuments in the form of scale models. You have captured this particular subject well and with justice with your beautiful representation of his TBD. Wonderful job on the model and wonderful thought provoking article.

    How was your experience building this particular kit. I have had my eye on it for some time now but have not purchased yet. It is obvious that it turns out to be a wonderful kit but was the experience enjoyable with good fits and engineering? Did u build OOB?

    • Hello Paul,
      Thank you for the kind words on my model. To pay respect to those men and women who have given their lives defending our country, is the very least any of us can do. If you google Frank Capra's film about Torpedo Eight, you can see Ens. Evans, taxiing 'T-3' along the flight deck, a scant few days before the battle.

      Now, I'll try to answer your questions, concerning the building this model.
      Yes, I built it as an OOB build. I like to build that way, because frankly I'm getting too old to fuss with stuff like I used to. Just being honest. I don't want to fix or correct things, I just want to build them.
      Overall, it is a terrific model to build. Having said that, it is also a challenge. Would I build it again? Absolutely I will, and now with a bunch of knowledge, she'll come out MUCH better.
      As far as what to look for with the build, I will defer to an article written by Mr. Tom Cleaver, (Who also posts on this sight) for the Modeling Maddness website. In it, Tom very accurately, spells out all the traps and potential trouble spots, that might make this build a lot tougher than it should be. I wish I had read it before hand myself. I could go over it all, but Tom is a terrific writer, and he will make a LOT of sense for you.

      I will tell you this, get the kit, and when you open the box, take the decals and the masks, and throw them right in the trash. Do NOT bother to try with them, because they, to use a phrase, SUCK. Use after market. Eduard for the masks, and Yellow Wings for the decals. Both are available through Sprue Brothers or Squadron.

      She's a tough build, but so worth the effort in the end, so I would encourage you to pick one up and give her a whirl.
      PS, the old Monogram kit is STILL very nice, in spite of it's age, is a wee bit easier...and looks like a TBD!
      Pleasure to make you acquaintance, Sir.
      Model on Dude! 😉

  9. Frederick, that sentence, 'One can only imagine what he might have accomplished, had he survived the war…' is one of the saddest realities of this modern era. What could those men have gone on to achieve? What skills did the world lose? I think of the holes left in generations of families, and the potential and possibilities left unfulfilled. How the world could have been so different.

    Your Devastator is lovely and a great tribute.

  10. I remember reading somewhere that there is a British memorial at Imphal. It says "We gave our yesterdays for your tomorrows".

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