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Found 2 results

  1. Hi all, Since I built my Defiant I’m now on a turret roll, so I’m going to drag myself kicking & screaming from my OOB comfort zone and attempt to build Hobby Boss’ “British Fleet Air Arm Avenger MkI” as an FAA Tarpon. From what I can tell, Hobby Boss have taken their “standard” US Avenger kit, sourced a new set of decals, made up a couple of paint schemes and issued it as an FAA version. All of the shortcomings and errors of this version of the kit have been well documented – thanks to @tonyot, @85sqn, @trickyrich and others for easing my journey of discovery with their excellent and insightful information (see below). Armed with that rapidly assimilated wisdom here is the kit box: Shots of the sprues – the detail level and crispness of the parts all bode pretty well: Transparencies – again, very nice: Kit decals – not so nice. Not convinced of the accuracy of these – the red of the national insignia alone is quite hallucinogenic. They’ll go straight into the dodgy pile… I’ve sourced a couple of extras for the build; Eduard instrument panel (which is intended for the Accurate Miniatures kit, so we’ll see how that goes), Eduard masks (a must for all that glazing!) and Eduard harnesses. So Eduard everything, basically. I’ve been hankering after a BPF build, so I’ve decided to model this aircraft; JZ257 of 849 Sqn, HMS Victorious, January 1945. I believe that this aircraft would have taken part in the Operation Meridian raid on the Palembang oil refinery in January 1945 (849 Sqn was certainly involved). Here’s a shot of Tarpons on that raid (albeit from a different squadron flying off HMS Illustrious): From what I can tell, JZ257 was one of the second batch of 200 Avenger MkIs delivered to the FAA. The aircraft would therefore have been equivalent to a Grumman-manufactured TBF-1C. This aircraft would have had the following configuration: - 2 x 0.50” machine guns mounted in the wing roots, as opposed to the single cowling-mounted gun of the earlier batch. The kit has these gun ports - ü. - Observer’s position in the central cockpit, including radar scope and plotting table. The kit as it stands is configured as a ‘standard’ US aircraft with electronics in place of the Observer position, so this is where the major surgery needs to happen. This will be my first real attempt at scratch building, so I’ll give it my best shot! Grumman-built aircraft had the cockpit, Observer’s position and turret interior painted in Bronze-Green. - The remainder of the aircraft interior including the bomb bay was painted Interior Green (with the exception of the cowling interior, which was Light Grey). - I have seen varying claims that the undercarriage and bays were painted Insignia White, the underside colour or even Zinc Chromate Yellow. The colour photo showing the faded paintwork a bit later looks to me like white might be the go – it’s definitely not ZCY (although other Eastern-manufactured aircraft could have had this configuration). - There is varying information around the ventral 0.3” gun (and whether it was replaced with an F24 camera). I’m going to stick with the gun – the decal sheet shows it in place so it must be right, right? - Round blister windows over the original window cavities. These provided significant improvements in visibility – they’re nicely shown in the shot below (forward of the access door): The kit windows are as fitted to the original batch of MkIs so are incorrect. I’m going to try crash-moulding these blisters, which could be interesting (think I’ll leave that til last) In terms of paint finish, from what I can tell the Grumman aircraft would have been finished in ‘standard’ FAA colours i.e. Dark Slate Grey and Extra Dark Sea Grey over Sky – I will be using these colours as opposed to those recommended on the Xtradecals ‘Yanks with Roundels’ sheet (although the decals look to be excellent otherwise). I also see a Corsair and Hellcat somewhere in my future It’s well documented that most BPF aircraft were heavily weathered and faded so I’ll push my weathering skills to the limit. The shot below is a great guide as to the level of fading of the paintwork, as well as being a very evocative shot of the conditions in which the aircraft (and crews) operated from temporary land bases (Ceylon, I’m guessing?). Another one (showing a Hellcat, but you get the general idea). It’s interesting to note that there’s very little bare metal on show, though the paint has worn through to the zinc chromate primer in heavy-wear areas. I might try and replicate that effect. And a couple of nice reference shots: The camo demarcation looks to be pretty hard from the above shot, so no freestylie on the airbrush… The kit contains a number of ordnance options including rockets, torpedo, depth charges and 500lb bombs. I’m guessing the Tarpons on the Palembang raid would have used the latter (and the kit rockets are bobbins), so I intend to do the same as shown above. From what I have read Hellcats & Corsairs took the role of combat air patrol and ground attack on that raid, so it kind of makes sense that the Tarpons would be bombing (along with Barracudas, if memory serves). The raid is detailed in the excellent ‘Carrier Pilot’ by Norman Hanson, which is well worth a read. So with all that under my belt I shall gird my loins and crack on with the build! Thanks for looking – until next time, Roger
  2. Accurate Miniature TBM-3 Avenger 1/48th scale. The only addition is the harness. This kit is coming up for 20 years old now. This version was released in 1996. It's painted in Aeromaster acrylic. Markings are from USS Intrepid. Thank you for looking, Joe.
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