Dave J Posted June 19, 2013 Share Posted June 19, 2013 1/32 Northrop P-61B Black Widow Hobby BossCatalogue # 83209 Available from Creative Models for £119.99 Since I have got back into modelling back in 2005, the P-61 Black Widow has been one of my favourite twin engine aircrafts due to its patchy black paint job and its menacing look... In the past, I have purchased the old 48th offering from Monogram/Revell with all the aftermarket I could source, then I had to sell that to fund the Great Wall Hobby offering that was originally released back in September 2011... Now, Hobby Boss has gone and release the Black Widow in 1/32 scale which is my preferred scale, so when I was asked by our Editor if I would be interested taking a look at this kit... How could I say no to it! History The Northrop P-61 Black Widow became the United States' first aircraft specifically designed from the outset as a platform dedicated to the fine art of night-fighting. Enabled by its complex through highly-effective nose-mounted radar, a distinct overall black paint scheme, its trained crew of three (though sometimes two) specialists and a heavy base armament made up of cannon and heavy machine guns, the "Widow" made its way into all major theatres encompassing World War 2. The P-61 could operate in total darkness, aided by its onboard systems, and move into position to deliver an enemy aircrew's final moments. The Black Widow appeared in quantity during 1944, then under the command of the US Army Air Force (USAAF) and soldiered on well past the war years into 1952, retiring with the newly-minted United States Air Force. The P-61 became one of Northrop's most successful products of all time and essentially put the corporation on the map. In a way, the P-61 was unofficially credited with the last Allied air kill of World War 2. Unofficial in that the enemy aircraft - a Japanese Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Tojo) - was reportedly in evasive manoeuvres after having encountered an American P-61, its guns blazing on the Nakajima fighter. The enemy fighter flew defensively just feet above the waves and eventually crashed itself along the surface of the ocean, ending the life of the pilot and his mount in a fiery explosion. The P-61 in question was a P-61B-2 aptly-named "Lady in the Dark" and under the control of Lieutenant Robert W. Clyde. The event occurred sometime between 14 -15 August 1945. If credited, the kill would have been accomplished without a single shot being fired. The P-61 (later redesignated to F-15 as a photo reconnaissance aircraft) was no longer in operational service by the time of the Korean War, missing the conflict by small window of opportunity. While replacing the aged Douglas A-20 Havoc and D-70 systems in World War 2, a total of 702 P-61 Black Widows were built when production was halted and the P-61 was replaced by the North American F-82 "Twin Mustang" before the Korean conflict. The Kit - Adorned on the large lid of the top opening box is a beautiful artwork by Kostas Kavvathias (www.kostaskavvathias.com) of P-61B "Lady in the Dark" on the prow in a sunset or sunrise (you decide) sky with a Japanese Mitsubishi G4M1 Betty bomber below looking to be the next victim... The artwork surely stands out for itself and will grab anyone's attention or money! So now onto the important part... What's in the box? The Hobby Boss kit is molded in light gray styrene plastic as per normal with their past releases. All the parts are laid out across twenty two sprues plus four sprues containing the clear parts, two separate clear cowlings, one set of white metal landing gear struts, one set of white metal ballast, two brass frets of photo etched parts, one sprue of flexible black vinyl parts, and one set of rubber/vinyl tires and of course the Decals, instruction manual and the painting/marking guide. According to Hobby Boss website and outside of the box there is over 550 parts crammed into this kit! Having a quick look over the sprues, its apparent that Hobby Boss has mixed parts to be associated the P-61A variant with this kit which clearly marked as P-61B. While this is not a totally bad thing, as the adjustments to each variant is easy to do, and at least opens more options to us modellers for marking options. We will cover these items while looking at the sprues... A & C Sprues A and C sprues carry the main wings. Both wings are molded as a two half affair which is standard practice for modern manufactures these days to reduce sink marks and shortage of material being injected into the mold. The wing spoilers are depicted up and will need some work to mount them closed. The wing spoilers operated in exactly the same manner as normal ailerons, so would have remained flush within the wing surface when the control column was in the in the neutral position. So a bit of filling of the recessed areas and rescribing would be required to correct this small error. The first set of hard points for the external fuel drop tanks are molded on the underside of each wing. If you are planning to build an P-61A or an early B, you will have to file the mounting points away and restore the panel lines and rivets to this area. Rivet detail is very fine and panel lines are crisp. E & F Sprues Both sprues mainly carry the tail booms. Again rivet detail is very fine and panel lines are very crisp, but some of the rivet detail is soft (due to tooling limitations) and will be lost around the mating faces when cleaned up. Also on this sprue is the air intake ducts and two rudder half's. The rudders attach onto the tails via the hinges, so you are able to pose them outside of a neutral position, if you wish. G Sprue The G sprue carries most of the parts for the main gear bays/wells and landing gear. The wheel bays are constructed from 4 parts to make a pod that fits into each boom. Detail in each of the wheel bay's is minimum and only framing and a couple of fluid tanks/bottles are present. The Main Gear landing struts are offered in plastic and white metal options. The plastic gear struts are solid plastic, which will be able to hold up the completed kit once finished, but personally I would use the white metal option as it designed to fit into the kits locating holes, will give you a bit more piece of mind holding up that weight. The main wheel hubs are nicely done, but are lacking the hose connector on the outside of the hub. True Details has already come to the party are released a wheel set for the Black Widow, which we have reviewed also. The main leg doors are single-piece items which is representative of a P-61A. If building an P-61B scheme you will need to section off the doors to make it into 4 pieces to be correct for an P-61B H Sprue H Sprue contains fuselage pod and front gun bay covers/doors, not a huge amount of parts are located on this sprue, as they are large items. The fuselage pod is split vertically into halves. There is no cockpit detail on the sidewalls expect for framing in the rear gunner/radio operator compartment. J & K Sprue Both sprues carry a mixture of components for the Cockpit and Radar Dish in the nose. The cockpit panels and radar boxes feature finely detailed knobs, switches and dials. These will really pop out once painted and detailed. K sprue carries the cockpit sidewalls and once these items are built up, you will have a good looking office straight from the box. L Sprue The large cockpit floor base plate is molded as single piece, on the underside is the gunbay roof. This area has a few deep injector pin marks that may require a little more than some putty, but it does have some fine rivet lines running next the frames. Nose gear bay builds up to separate component, which includes the crew access hatch. M Sprue Inner wings half and flaps are found on this sprue. The second set of hard points are included on the lower surface. You will need to check your references on your chosen scheme, if your building you are planning on a B variant. The first 62 P-61B had no hard points on the lower wings. The following 38 P-61's that were built only had the inboard points fitted. From the B-10 variant onwards all them were fitted with four hard points as per the kit. The upper access panel to the rear of the engine is an separate panel. Hobby Boss has you to fit this panel in the instructions, but looking at the instruction manual you could leave it off and see the rear cylinders and gearbox in the engine bay. N Sprue The Horizontal stabilizer and Elevator are the main items are on the sprue. Both items are horizontally split into half's with sturdy internal bracing strips to aid the mating of the half's together. Other parts that are included on this sprue are the Radio Antenna and conventional ailerons. The rear gun bay doors are also on this sprue which feature the internal framing, if you decide to have the gun bay open and display this area. 1 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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