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

  • 58 posts
  • Last reply 2 years, 1 month ago
  • 1/48, Avenger, Grumman, Midway Group Build, TBF, Torpedo 8, VT-8
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  • Louis Gardner said 3 years, 1 month ago:

    Thanks Brian. Your builds are coming out very nice too!!!

    Tonight I was able to get more work done on the instrument panel. I dry brushed some of the details.

    The next step was to glue the clear plastic sheet over the areas where the instrument gauges were drilled out.

    This picture shows how the clear plastic will look when light hits it at the proper angle. Hopefully this will replicate the glass lens covers that were over the gauges.

    It should look better once the white glue dries completely.

    The next step will be to dry brush some wear and paint chips on the rudder pedals and then start affixing the instrument decals.

  • Louis Gardner said 3 years ago:

    It’s been a while since I have worked on the Avenger. I decided that I would attempt to cut in the different side windows that were found on the very early TBF-1’s.

    Here’s the picture that inspired me to build this early Avenger. It came from my book on the Avenger “in Detail and Scale “.

    First order of business was to drill out the window that is located in the rear crew entry side door. It’s a very prominent feature of the early variant. Here’s how it looks placed on the opening.

    If you look closely at this picture you can see that there was also a square shaped side window. I had to carefully cut the opening out. You can see the results of the surgery in this picture. I still have to do some minor cleanup around this spot.

    The back side of the door. I’m tempted to pose it open as seen in the first color picture that I posted tonight.

    This photo is of the Port side. Here I had to mark and drill out a round side window. It is located one set of frames rearward from the original side window that I covered. Here again another square window was present. This time I was lucky. I checked out how the interior frames and stringers were placed. I found out that the window located perfectly inside one of the squares created by the stringers and frames.

    This really helped me to properly locate the position of the side square window.

    And this final picture shows the frame work that allowed me to get a good idea as to where this window should be.

    Pictures of the real plane and scale drawings indicate that the “Port” side round window and the square side windows were not perfectly centered in the opening created by the fuselage frames and stringers. Instead they were located closer to the aft end of the opening on each side. One the Port side the square window is located one set of stringers lower than on the Starboard side. This causes one window to look lower than the other. In all actuality it is. It’s supposed to be.

    I tried to replicate this with my build.

    Thanks again for watching. Comments are encouraged.

  • Louis Gardner said 3 years ago:

    A few days ago when I was painting the engine base colors on my Devastator, the PBY and my A-20 Havoc, I painted the cylinders on the engine of the Avenger.

    Tonight’s work involved painting all of the little details on the Dauntless and the Avenger engines.

    I haven’t posted any progress photos on this build for a while now. I have been pre occupied with finishing up the Devastator. Now that it’s done, I’m back to work on the TBF and the SBD.

    Here’s a picture of tonight’s progress on the engine for the Avenger.

    As usual, comments are encouraged.

    Take care.

  • Bernard E. Hackett, Jr. said 3 years ago:

    Those windows you did look like they belong there. Good work! Accurate Miniatures did some really fine work, shame they are now history.

  • Louis Gardner said 3 years ago:

    Thanks Bernard for the compliments on my windows. I agree that it is a shame that we lost Accurate Miniatures.

    They produced some very nice models. Some of the best in the 1/48 scale on many subjects.

    I really enjoyed the P-51 series and this Avenger is my first one I have built that they produced. I have about 5 more of these kits, between the-1C and -3 series. The SBD is another gem. I have been enjoying that build too. Luckily for us, some of the kits are available through various manufacturers like Italeri or Academy, but AM had some of the best model boxes and packaging with the small lift out tray …….. Their B-25’s were very nice too. It’s really hard to pick a favorite.

    Since I had all of the engine parts detail painted, I decided that I would assemble the engine.

    Here’s how it looks now.

    I wanted to see how it looked inside the cowling. So I temporarily placed it inside the cowling. This is the result.

    I think that it looks pretty decent.

    Another Imodeler friend of mine, Martin Dytrych, sent me some very useful information about the early TBF dash ones. Apparently the landing light was in a different location for the early Avengers than is molded into the kit parts .

    I’m pretty sure that AM got it right, since the kit is actually a dash -1C and I am back dating mine.

    So I have to move the landing light from this location (pointed out with the wooden pick)

    To here:

    Martin also pointed out that the radio was different than what is in the kit. This will be another change that I will have to make.

    Martin was kind enough to send me photos of what I needed to help me with this conversion.

    Thanks again Martin !!!!!!

    I sincerely appreciate the help with this back dating conversion…………………..

  • Bernd Müller said 3 years ago:

    Thats a lot of good work also good research for converting, love the engine !

  • Louis Gardner said 3 years ago:

    Thanks Bernd for the compliments.

    Tonight I sprayed all of the wheels for the planes I have started in the Midway Group build.

    I know it’s not much progress, but I spent some time removing the seams where the wheels were glued together. Then I attempted to re-scribe the lost tread pattern, but was unsuccessful. In the end I sanded the wheels down a little more using a finer grit sand paper, and decided to spray them as is.

    Here’s how they look now………………

    It’s not much, but it is a little progress………..

    I’m calling it a night.

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 11 months ago:

    I really haven’t built up much of the cockpit areas on the Avenger over the last few days. Instead I have been doing a lot of research about the center cockpit section where the radios were located.

    My friend Martin Dytrych sent me a few photos and information about the details of the radio installation on the very early TBF-1’s. He also told me that the plane I am building, “8-T-1” was one of the first 10 TBF-1’s that were built right after the prototype for the Avenger.

    Apparently the radios were different from what is molded in the later dash -1 “C” version of the kit that Accurate Miniatures produced.

    That’s when I had an idea …………………

    My online research showed that the 1/48 Hobby Boss Avenger TBF-1C kit had the radio I needed to back date the AM kit to the early “Dash 1”. (and I just happened to have a sealed kit in my stash……………….).

    so I had to crack it open …………

    and here’s the radio part I was after…………………..

    Here’s the radio set from my AM kit……………..

    as they were on the plastic trees………………

    and after I removed the two parts…………….

    Coincidentally this HB kit also had the “8-T-1” markings……………. another good score.

    Here’s how they show the kit markings for “8-T-1” on the side of the box…………..

    I simply swapped these radio parts out, since the Hobby Boss kit is actually the same “Dash 1C” version as my Accurate Miniatures kit is. The landing light was molded in the same position on the HB kit too, which isn’t correct for an early TBF-1, which “8-T-1” was.

    Neither kit will make an accurate “Early” TBF-1 right out of the box……………….. but they were not intended to. I was very pleased to find out the early style radio was included in the HB kit.

    I also scavenged a second seat that was sometimes used for the radio operator. I “borrowed” this seat from a 1/48 scale Hobby Boss FAA Corsair Mk.2. (I have a resin replacement seat for the Corsair kit, with the proper British style harness, for use in the FAA Corsair). This seat was an extra.

    It looks like some of the early TBF-1’s had a seat very similar in appearance to the one found in the Corsair, that was located here in the radio compartment. There were also some rudimentary flight gauges mounted on the back of the pilot seat bulkhead, similar to what was used on the earlier Douglas TBD Devastator.

    But I have ran into conflicting information about this………………

    Some sources have stated that the seat was removed by the time these planes reached the Pacific. So far I haven’t been able to confirm this, or even exactly where the seat was located…………….

    So here is where we are right now: I built a small section of the cockpit. It has been test fit into the fuselage to make sure the angle was correct for the pilot’s seat bulkhead.

    In the middle / right hand side of this photo you can see the F4U seat, and the correct style of radio for use in and early TBF-1.

    Now I can get busy again……………….

    Comments are encouraged.

  • Chuck A. Villanueva said 2 years, 11 months ago:

    Simply marvelous Louis, a kit I have in the stash for a later build. I also have the KMC wingfold set for this. So that would be a long term build as this set is not easy to install. Your Avenger is coming along nicely.

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 11 months ago:

    Thanks Chuck for the compliments. I have been watching your builds, and they’re coming along great too. I especially like the photo etched parts on your TBD.

    I have a few of the “Danger Boy” wing fold sets for the AM Avengers. I have used a Danger Boy set on a Hasegawa Hellcat build, and they were really nice and strong. I have never used a KMC set, but I have one for a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver. I would be interested to see how the KMC wing fold works out.

    Once I get this one (and the PBY done) I may try to build another AM Avenger, but it would be a later version so I wouldn’t have to scratch build and modify the kit parts to an early TBF-1 plane.

    It looks like I found the exact information needed for the middle cockpit section on the early TBF-1. I was looking for photos on just how the middle seat was installed……….. and the gauges used on the back of the pilot seat bulkhead.

    Turns out I had this vital information right here in Bert Kinzey’s book on the Avenger, “In Detail and Scale”.

    Here’s an original Grumman photo that is in the book. It shows the instruments clearly and the location of the seat.

    This original Grumman photo found in the book, also shows the seat directly from overhead. I also noticed that I will have to scratch build arm rests similar to the ones on the pilot’s seat……………

    Finally this is another useful picture from the book……………… It shows a second crew member directly behind the pilot……………… Now I don’t think I’ll be using the radio set that I took from the Hobby Boss kit, since this was a modification done after the time period that I want to make my plane from.


    I had been thinking about a torpedo for use in the Avenger. Since I recently finished up the TBD Devastator and didn’t use the one from it, I figured why not……………… (NOPE, DON’T DO IT !!!!!!! ) You’ll be sorry if you do…………………

    Prior to installing the torpedo, I added the bomb bay racks since now they are easier to get to…………….

    So I cleaned up the seams, drilled out the lifting hole at the front of the warhead, and painted it. Once it was dry I used some fine strand copper wire to replicate the hoisting cables that were in the bomb bay of the Avenger. I drilled out four holes for the wire to pass through and secured the torpedo in place.

    This photo below shows how I secured the ends of the copper wire with super glue. I twisted the wires to make them tight.

    Then I glued the upper half of the cockpit in place……………….

    and cut away the square box that was located in front of where the seat will go. I also squared up the area where the seat will eventually be secured. These things should have been done before I glued the two cockpit sections together. It was tricky to do this and not accidentally knock the torpedo loose…………….

    I’m going to keep plugging away at this one………………

    As usual, comments are encouraged. Thanks for watching.

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 11 months ago:

    Earlier tonight, I was able to scratch build the rear seat arm rests, and made two compressed air cylinders. Once I had this done and glued into place, I started re-spraying the “Bronze Green”.

    This picture of the bulkhead that goes in between the rear turret and middle cockpit was sprayed with “Dull Coat” and set aside to dry…………..

    The dark side goes towards the middle cockpit……………….. It looks really dark in this photo. It’s the lighting.

    Here’s the other side of the same part. This goes towards the turret side……………. and is painted in interior green.

    I noticed when I was test fitting the cockpit into the fuselage, that I didn’t have enough of the side walls painted in Bronze Green. There was “Interior Green” showing along the edges where it shouldn’t be…………… So while I was spraying the color, I masked off the side walls of the fuselage and extended the color down to where I should be OK now.

    Once the Bronze Green was sprayed, I gave these a light coat of Dull Coat as well.

    Here in this picture below, the Dull Coat is still drying…………..

    This is a picture of the cockpit as it looked with the Dull Coat partially dry. This is a really good photo for showing how the color really looks. Here you can see the two compressed air cylinders that I made. They will be painted a different color, probably a different shade of green.

    This next picture shows the middle cockpit from a different angle. The seat is actually offset a little to the Port side as it was in the real plane……………

    Here’s a close up of the seat showing the arm rests that I scratch built for it.

    This photo shows the completed cockpit assembly. Now I need to detail paint everything. This picture also shows off the Bronze Green rather well.

    This picture tries to capture the slight offset between the two seats………. The rearmost seat is the one offset……………….

    Here’s how the torpedo looks now that it has also received a coat of Dull Clear…………….

    and finally a parting photo showing how the middle cockpit seat / arm rests and the compressed air cylinder turned out once they received a good coat of Bronze Green…………….. The air cylinders will be partially hidden by the middle cockpit instrument panel. That’s why I didn’t go crazy with trimming the tops where the fittings would go exactly even…………. You probably won’t even see the tops……….

    I’m calling it a night……………….

    Enjoy. Comments are encouraged……….

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 11 months ago:

    Using this photo as a guide, I fabricated a new secondary instrument panel……………..

    Here’s the part I made using sheet plastic. I used my Waldron punch set to knock out the holes.

    This photo below shows the instrument panel temporarily in place…………….. It actually fits pretty nice.

    another view from the Port side looking Starboard…………..

    and from the Starboard side looking Port…………………

    This picture shows hoe the seat is actually offset a little…………..

    Once I was satisfied with how the new panel would fit, I decided to give it a coat of Bronze Green………………..

    Now I will let this part dry, then later I will apply some decals to represent the instrument gauges………….

    That’s all for now.

    Comments are encouraged.

  • Bernard E. Hackett, Jr. said 2 years, 11 months ago:

    Louis, great job on the interior. Whose Bronze Green are you using? Also, whose instrument panel decals? If not what they give you in the kit, that is.

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 11 months ago:

    Thanks Bernard.

    The Bronze Green is a custom color that I mixed up. It’s pretty close to FS 34058 but not quite. I used the original colors I’ve seen in person on several Warbirds as a guide. It’s really close to the real stuff…………….. I even sprayed out a small test panel on a small plastic card and compared it to the real color. It’s almost spot on……………

    As far as the instrument decals, follow along and I have a picture for you at the end of this post…………………

    Tonight I made the actual instrument panel for the second cockpit.

    I used my small Waldron punch to knock out the instrument holes.

    Here’s the completed plastic panel after the shape was completed and the holes punched out for the instrument dials. It’s not very hard to do, but it is very time consuming to get it right…………….

    Then I gave the panel a light spray coat of flat black.

    Here’s the part after I removed it form the tape that was holding it secure as I sprayed it. If I didn’t tape it down, it would have flew away at the first blast of air from the air brush.
    If you look closely in this picture you can see that there is also a clear lens that I made from plastic………………. it’s just to the right side of the panel.

    Then using white glue, I glued the clear plastic behind the black panel. This will represent the glass lens covers that were on the real gauges. You can see the reflection in this photo below.

    This picture shows how you can see through the places where the gauge decals will eventually go………………

    This photo shows the instrument panel placed temporarily against the other part that I completed earlier today. This gives you an indication as to how it will eventually look once completed.

    Finally to answer your question Bernard, I am using Air Scale decals for individual instruments. I’m going to place these behind the clear lens material on the pilot’s instrument panel (shown in the top right hand side) and the panel I just made.

    The decals I’m using are at the bottom of the picture below.

    Calling it a day……………. Hopefully tomorrow I can get the instrument panels completed.

    Take care.

  • Louis Gardner said 2 years, 11 months ago:

    Today I spent a good portion of the day working on detailing the cockpit areas and installing the individual instrument decals……………..

    Here’s how the Pilot’s instrument panel turned out……….. It’s really hard to see the tiny instruments. If this were a larger 1/32 or even a 1/24 scale kit, the results would have been better. But the actual thickness of the kit part plastic representing the instrument panel actually shields the gauges somewhat. If this part was made of thinner plastic it would have looked much better. But I’m not going to scratch build a new panel because of this…………..

    Here’s the completed secondary instrument panel from the middle cockpit.

    and both parts side by side…………………

    Here’s the main cockpit assembly. It’s ready to be installed into the fuselage now.

    If I had to do this again, I don’t think I would have worried with using individual instrument decals on the pilot’s instrument panel. It’s just not all that noticeable at this scale. At least for me……………….

    Take care.

    Comments are welcomed. Enjoy.

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