1/72 TBD-1 Devastators

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I have been collecting 1/72 Devastators in my stash for the past couple of years with an aim towards upgrading my current George Gay TBD-1 at Midway, and this double build represents an effort to clear the backlog of kits and decals before I tackle my last kit, which will have two aftermarket photoetch sets to make it a hopefully noticeable upgrade from the current version.

The first build is an Admiral kit, which was intended to actually be the Gay replacement, since I assumed it would be better than the old Airfix kit. Sadly, it was not. The kit was quite poor, with no locator marks, crude resin parts, and an overall poor fit. I almost abandoned the build, but as it went on I decided that while it couldn’t be the “state of the art” kit that I expect of my Gay replacement, it would be passable as an early war version that I would not build otherwise. The build is out of the box, with the forward bomb aiming doors closed and puttied shut, and no attempt to include a torpedo or bombs. For markings I chose VT-5’s “Black 1”, Lt. Cdr J.F. Taylor of VT-5 on the U.S.S. Yorktown at the time of the Lae/Salamaua raids in March 1942 and the Battle of the Coral Sea two months later. The decals came from Techmod’s #72132. Colors are Vallejo.

Lt. Cdr Taylor’s plane is a little unusual in that it contains a faithful application of the tail striping. The January 1942 regulation directed that the striping begin at the hinge line of the rudder, but since it was much easier to just paint the whole rudder most aircraft did just that.

Or so I thought. When I located a pair of photos of the TBD on March 10, 1942 both photos clearly showed the aircraft with the entire rudder striped. So will have to correct that.

Frustrated with the Admiral kit, I went ahead and started another OOB build of an Airfix TBD, this time choosing the prewar paint scheme of the Admiral kit, 6-T-1 of VT-6 on the U.S.S. Enterprise (CV-6) in March 1939. BuNo. 0322 flown by ACMM F.O. Adams was lost during a take-off failure on 10 March 1939. The decals came from Techmod’s #72134, with aircraft-specific decals from the Admiral kit. Paints came from Scale Colors’ US Pre-WW2 Aircraft Color Set.

About Post Author

Michael C. Smith

Marshall, Texas lawyer. I post on things that attract my interest while puttering in my study. Mostly family, books, home, history, World War II and scale modeling.
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