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P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service

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P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service

 

As already related, at the end of WWII, Australia found itself in a unique position.  It was a creditor to the Lend-Lease scheme because of the large quantity of agricultural products it provided to feed occupied Europe and Asia.   In addition, it was where the US forces dumped a large quantity of their materiale’.  It had already been “written off” so to speak and was no longer wanted back in the  continental USA, being considered a threat to the US economy.  The result was that the RAAF amongst the other Australian services received a large quantity of equipment at rock-bottom prices.

 

One of these was the P-61 “Black Widow” night fighter.   Several hundred of the earlier versions, some with and some without the troublesome upper machine gun turret were left in Australian “grave yards”.   The RAAF, disappointed with the performance of their chosen Mosquito “wooden wonder” which had suffered from tropical rot and weakened glue was looking for alternatives.   The P-61 seemed to fulfill it’s need.

 

Back in the US, the aeroindustry was suffering the downturn post war.  Northrop had tried, just as the war ended to transform the P-61 from a purely nigh fighter into a day fighter in it’s  P-61E variant.  This featured a new fuselage module, seating two crew and which had multiple .50cal machine guns in the nose and four 20mm cannons underneath, plus a small bomb bay.  Their efforts had fallen on deaf ears.  The USAAF was only interested in jet propelled aircraft.  Northrop approached by the RAAF about supporting the P-61s in Australia sensed an opportunity.  They offered to rebuild the P-61s into E variants.   Australia, anxious to establish it’s own aeroindustry, leapt at the chance.   The GAF P-61Ea was created.  It saw service in BCOF-J – British Commonwealth Occupation Forces – Japan and in the early stages of the Korean conflict as part of 94 Squadron.  It scored no victories in the Korean War.

 

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The Model

 

The model is a combination of the Airmodel vacuform kit with an ancient Frog P-61A kit.   It was painted with a rattlecan of silver.  The canopy was ruined when I tried to cut it out and replaced with a 1/48 P-51 one, which is approximately the right size and shape.

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Very nice job there. :thumbsup:

 

Interestingly I did a RAAF P-61A What-If some years ago (2004 in fact) from the Airfix kit. No mods just slapped some decals from an Airfix Mosquito on it. So mine was a wartime P-61A serving with 80Sqn

 

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Nice backstory and build

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3 hours ago, Romeo Alpha Yankee said:

Very nice job there. :thumbsup:

 

Interestingly I did a RAAF P-61A What-If some years ago (2004 in fact) from the Airfix kit. No mods just slapped some decals from an Airfix Mosquito on it. So mine was a wartime P-61A serving with 80Sqn

 

Nice model.  That was what I was aiming to use but I could not find one anywhere cheaply enough.  So I opted for a Frog kit (or rather, the remains of a Frog kit, it was incomplete).   It worked out OK but not as good as I wanted.  I now have an Airfix kit to sacrifice for my next attempt.

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Noice!

 

DennisTheBear

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