For the third week of the Black Widow build I spent a lot of time getting the fuselage together. First I completed detailing the avionics in the radar area by adding all the cables and wiring. I used 30 AWG wires for the cabling and 30 AWG bare wire for the wiring portion.
Next came the part of getting the fuselage halves together. Even without the photo etch details this kit is very challenging to get the halves together. The part that makes it difficult is the 20mm guns in the belly. The issue is the gun barrels stick out about 0.5 inches out the belly gun ports. The fuselage half has alignment pins that are about 0.2 inches long so the halves align correctly. The basic premise is to feed the gun barrels thru the ports and then slide the fuselage half back to align it with the other half. It may sound easy, however the guide pins being so long causes the gun barrels to bend outward. The bending of the gun barrels is very extreme especially with the length that needs to be fed thru the ports. I would like to note on the old Monogram kit the panels with the gun ports are separate panels. This kit has them as part of the fuselage halves. So moving forward I found it easier to cut off the alignment pins on the bottom. This allowed me to slide the gun barrels thru the ports then align the halves together. It took a little bit of work to get the bottom of the fuselage halves to line up but this worked out a lot better assembly wise.
With the fuselage finally together I needed a little putty along the seam. I then detailed the nose gear bay with photo etch. There are still some wires and cables that need to be added but I will add these later when I get ready to attach the nose gear. The forward crew boarding ladder is thru the nose gear bay. The kit part was then detailed with photo etch framing. With the main fuselage together I am now starting on the engines and they wing assemblies.
There are more photos and details from the start in my build log at https://davidsscalemodels.com/build-log/1-48-p-61b-black-widow-lady-in-the-dark/
9 attached images. Click to enlarge.