P-61B Black Widow – GWH 1/48

  • 16 posts
  • Last reply 2 days, 19 hours ago
Viewing 1 - 15 of 16 posts
  • Colin Gomez said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    This is my first, modest, nearly OOB entry for the Night Fighters Group Build. I may not have time to jump into it right away with other projects going on but I want to get it out there. Decals will be for Midnight Madness II, on Iwo Jima. I still need to research the combat history of this aircraft but I am really drawn to the nose art.

  • Walt B said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    I am building the early version of the kit. I think you will find it very enjoyable overall. Fit is pretty good, and looks the part. Have fun!

  • Colin Gomez said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    Thanks, Walt. I have heard it is a good kit and very accurate. I like the “B” for the longer nose, it looks more aesthetically appealing to me somehow.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    What a great entry, my friend @coling!
    Looking forward to it!

  • Erik Gjørup said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    I shall be watching this space!

  • Jeffrey Kolln said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    Colin,
    Great kit, you should have a pleasant time building this one. Let me know how it is going. I used this same kit, but did the aircraft “Anonymous” in honor of my good friend Captain Miller, who was the R/O of the aircraft. An interesting aircraft, in which they lost (3) of them. They started out putting the name of “The Spook” on them and after losing two the C/O told them they were going to be Japanese Aces and they were “Forbidden” to put the Spook on the third aircraft. Anyway, looking for your build and if you need any detail shots of the actual aircraft let me know. Also check out the book “Deny The The Sky: A History of the 548th Night Fighter Squadron” by Eric Shulenberger. Great history, his Dad was an R/O in the 548th.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  • Colin Gomez said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    Thanks, Spiros, Erik and Jeffrey. Jeffrey (and Walt). To Jeffrey and Walt, I was wondering about a couple of things with the build. The kit is loaded and (I thought) no aftermarket would be necessary. I have noticed, however, that some reviewers say the kit masks are poor. Did you use them or the Eduard set? I don’t like dealing with residue from the glue on masks and a good fit is best. Also some reviewers complained about the fit of the clear parts, especially the windscreen. I can deal with such stuff but I was wondering what you found. All other issues from the P-61A by GWH, nacelles, engine, nose gear sit, etc. were, I think solved with later releases of GWH products, of which the P-61b, L4810 is the last in the series. Sorry to bombard you with questions. Just starting to check research I lacked when buying the kit.

  • Eric Berg said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    This a great kit Colin. GWH corrected 90% of the initial release mistakes with this boxing and more recently, issued yet another limited edition that includes drop tanks and weaponry. Extra parts from the Monogram kit will do the same job. Use the Eduard masks.
    TC says the nose gear is incorrect and SAC makes a corrected set.

    Looking forward to your build!

  • Colin Gomez said 1 week, 4 days ago:

    Thanks, Eric. TC (our friend, Tom Cleaver, I assume) was the trusted source of the comment about the nose gear. That was his review of the earlier P-61A, so I was hoping GWH fixed it, like most everything else. Oh well. I am still hoping to avoid aftermarket where possible. Eduard masks are really pricey just now but it is a big set. I may work on the nose gear myself, with metal rod to extend it. I will look at the SAC set and see if I can do the surgery. I also have the Monogram kit, so maybe some mix and match of parts will help. The GWH Black Widow is an impressively crafted kit, even with these considerations.

  • Colin Gomez said 1 week, 3 days ago:

    Some small but significant progress to report. I started by dealing with the few problem elements of the kit so that the main painting and assembly won’t be disturbed by such issues later. I began by cleaning up and test fitting the fuselage halves, which click together very positively with long locator pins (no glue yet, of course). No alignment issues at all here but lots of sprue attachment points to sand off beforehand! My main purpose was to test fit the front canopy/windscreen (which also required lots of time to prepare). Anyway, I discovered the step and gap at the front windscreen some modelers complain of. About an hour’s work with a file and sandpaper to get rid of some molding lines on both the fuselage and canopy tightened the fit nicely.

    I will now only need a very fine piece of stretched sprue to seal up the windscreen join. Actually I may not even need that if I can push up the front of the fuselage where it meets the windscreen from the inside ( at the stage it is glued in). This will probably be doable after the fuselage halves are joined but before the nose is attached. At this stage, I just wanted to guarantee a near seamless fit of the clear parts in advance so I won’t have to fix this when all the interior is painted (I hate getting dust in all of that). That’s it for now. Just basic modeling skills but ill-fitting clear parts can be the undoing of an entire build (at least for me).

    The second issue was the nose wheel strut. It does look short compared to photos of the SAC replacement gear leg. I decided to use some spare gear pieces from the scrap box (and maybe the shaft from an old K-13 Atoll missile) to extend the great leg at the top.

    The idea is to saw away a section and replace it with a longer one of the same diameter. Near the top, inside of the fuselage, it would be an invisible join. I would want to glue it on seamlessly anyway and will probably reinforce the join by drilling a hole down the middle and inserted a length of brass rod. Honestly, I considered just buying the SAC replacement gear but I don’t like working with white metal and find it can be more work than simply modifying styrene. This mod will come way down the road as gluing on the landing gear will be my last assembly step after painting (contrary to the kit instructions). I have also been careful to protect delicate protrusions on parts along the way. Nice detail but poor planning to have it so vulnerable to breaking off early on.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 1 week, 3 days ago:

    Wow, this is such great attention to detail, my friend @coling! I loved the way you treated the clear parts, so that they will fit like a glove in their respecting positions.
    The elongation of the NLG strut is super!
    About those tiny protruding parts, I pay kudos to you for taking care of them: after many breakoffs in the past, I now bravely detach such parts from the start, attaching them at later stages 🙂
    This looks like a super kit: very detailed!
    Looking forward to your progress!

  • Erik Gjørup said 1 week, 3 days ago:

    Nice progress and superb attention to detail. Good thinking to correct the seam before major glueup!

  • Colin Gomez said 1 week, 3 days ago:

    Thanks, Spiros and Erik. I had an inspiration on how to replace the kit canopy masks without breaking the bank ($26 for a set). If the only issues with the kit masksare their inflexibility and gluey residue, I will place them on top of Tamiya tape, airbrush around them to get an outline, peel them off the mask and cut the the tape to size and shape around the outline. This won’t be as easy as ready-made masks but it will save some time in making my own from scratch. I’ll have to have a system to sort/label them for placement, of course.

  • Colin Gomez said 2 days, 22 hours ago:

    Well, I have been working through a few more issues with the Black Widow. I started by test fitting and painting the lower and rear interior Zinc Chromate Yellow, thinking it would all be smooth sailing.

    As I worked through stuff, some concerns arose. My policy is not to complain about an accuracy or fit problem until I have a solution to share. I also need to feel it is a big enough personally to warrant “fixing”. So, here goes. Some reviewers, such as our own Tom Cleaver, have noted that the control column is too large. I checked this out against photos of the real thing, looking to the relative size of the wheel and control panel.

    As TC pointed out, the wheel and column are out of scale, but the Monogram version can be used instead.

    Pics show how I attached it to the horizontal control bar. The kit column mounting point is also too close to the seat and too far from the IP, given human anatomical demands.

    Monogram has this better, again. Actually, the GWH seat is too far from the IP, and that is the most “serious” issue, IMHO (and according to others online). Basically an accurate kit cockpit should be proportioned and spaced so that an imaginary pilot could actually fly the thing. I had a hard time coming to the right look until I placed a Monogram P-51 pilot in the seat, to see if “he” could reach the rudder pedals mounted under the IP.

    To reiterate, if you put the IP assembly where GWH suggests, he definitely can’t reach the pedals and fly the plane. Unless he is Yao Ming. Putting the IP back 1-2 mm solves this – as the figure proves. The pilot figure also shows how much the control column must go forward towards the IP.

    This is much trickier to fix, because detail on both sides of the cockpit fit around the horizontal bar for the control column. It’s easy on just the cockpit floor, as in the following pics.

    But you have to adjust the sidewall detil and mounting point like this:

    Anyway, I fixed all of this with filling and sanding so that I am happy with the results. BTW, some modelers have worried that the seat is too small or too low, relative to the control column. The seat is, in fact, perfect, if you compare the seated figure with a wartime pilot pic.

    The real seat back is quite low, giving the illusion that the control column is too high if no pilot is seated.

    Moving on to other detail, I wanted to replace the oxygen hose molded on to the sidewall piece. It has no ribbing detail and looks pretty lumpy as molded. I cut the plastic off and substituted a steel guitar string, cut and bent to shape.

    Some other surgery was needed to make it attachable later, after the part and hose are painted separately. I have also shortened it since the pic was taken. You may notice some ugly ejector pin marks in the fuselage halves pictured earlier. I thought I could live with these when I painted, thinking they would be hidden by the ribs and detail I intend to add. I changed my mind and sanded them out or covered over the more complex ones with sheet styrene.

    A couple of other things might be worth sharing. Many of the kit parts are VERY finely molded and easily broken when detached from the sprue trees.

    I resorted to a technique I usually reserve for clear parts by cutting them free with a razor saw.

    This worked very well. Few broke. A second thing is that I plan to use the Eduard set for the Monogram P-61 for further interior detail. The bits fit very well and will really enhance the very visible interior.

    The etch control wheel may replace to Monogram piece in the end.

    So, that’s it for now. I think th issues are now solved and it is on to painting and assembly. Still really liking this model. It will definitely be worth the extra time to build and detail carefully.

  • Spiros Pendedekas said 2 days, 20 hours ago:

    What great attention to details, my friend @coling!
    I am really amazed to see all conerns taken care of. This is meticulous job!
    Though it is true that PEs are only two-dimensional, I, too, find the idea of replacing the Monogram yoke with the PE provided one, very attractive.
    I liked a lot your sidewalls work, as well!

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