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RNZAF Nostalgia Build RNZAF Target Tug/Gate Guardian

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Hi All,


With this build, I have oft thought about things that

have happened in my life especially living on RNZAF Bases and

the things I seen and done during those times.


Living at RNZAF Station Hobsonville (later RNZAF Base Auckland)

I got to go on RNZAF Sunderland's - my Dad showing me how different

things work (like rotating a propeller to showing the one blade at top), walking

on a Braby with a Sunderland in it as in below (NZ4115 with Maritime Conversion Unit)


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


I been on RNZAF launches from the RNZAF Marine section


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


However it was one photo that got my Nostalgia build juices flowing,

and it it was this photo taken at RNZAF Station (later Base) Te Rapa


The Avenger is NZ2504 along with a Queen Mary Trailer.


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


I looked at the photo and thought, holy Smoke, I have both kits



What do both of these have to do with Nostalgia you might ask?


Well  I have been past RNZAF Base Te Rapa (RNZAF's No. 1 Stores Depot)

many time s in my life, and very much recall seeing the Avenger standing Guard, and

I've got actual photos (somewhere).

The Queen Mary  I have seen both at Whenuapia/Hobsonville and Wigram Bases


Wigram, in the Pool of the MT (Motor Transport) Section


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


So, in this build I will build a Grumman TFB-1 Avenger (please note these differed from TBF-1C of which

many supposed Experts have got wrong in magazine/build articles)

The RNZAF received 6 TBF-1's under Lend Lease, which stayed in New Zealand for Training Purposes

at RNZAF Station Gisborne (Kiwiese Pronounced Gisbin)


The Avengers were assembled at RNZAF Station Hobsonville


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


After Assembly the TBF's were flown to RNZAF Gisborne for Training purposes

The RNZAF did under Lend Lease receive more Avengers, these being the TBF-1C

(differences being Cowling Flaps and TBF-1 having forward firing gun in cowling trough)


RNZAF Gisborne - TBF-1C - 30 Squadron


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)

Whilst at Gisborne the Squadron Commanding Officer Squadron Leader Hartshorn, allowed the Aircraft crews to

adorn their respective aircraft with Art (had to be approved first though)


As a trivia note, Gisborne in 1945 was attacked by a German U Boat, which fired torpedoes at shipping in the harbour

thankfully they all missed


NZ2520 - Art - Dumbo the Elephant (We Never Miss)


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)

The TBF-1C flew North West to fight, and the TBF-1's stayed at Gisborne.

After the wars end, 3 of the TBF-1's were employed in Top dressing trials,

those being NZ2503, NZ2504, NZ2505 (the latter crashed on take of at Ohakea during beginnings of trials)


NZ2504 having a fertilizer hopper placed in her bomb bay


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


NZ2504 - During Trials - Note rear fuselage/tail repainted for observation purposes and plated over turret section


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


After the Top Dressing trials, the TBF-1's were re-purposed into Target Tugs with a whole new

paint scheme with RNZAF 42 Squadron at Ohakea


NZ2503 at Ohakea during an RNZAF Open day




NZ2503 ending up ditching/crashing into the Waitemata Harbour near Hobsonville after engine failure. Was recovered but SOC and

reduced to produce

Hobsonville has seen it's fair share of aircraft in strife ending up in the water  41 Sqn - Dakota NZ3549


(RNZAF Official - RNZAF Museum - Used with Permissions)


NZ2504 also went to 42 Squadron for target towing duties  - Note RNZAF (RAF Type)  D Roundels



After a period of time (roughly 10 years), NZ2504 made her final flight from Ohakea to Te Rapa

Note here, Roundels have changed with addition of Silver Fern (Silver Fern remained in use till latter part

of 1970, when Kiwi Roundel came into use)



NZ2504 remained Gate Guardian till 1978 when taken by RNZAF Museum (note at this time

NZ2504 was actually an Instructional Airframe but retained her Serial number)


At RNZAF Base Wigram being readied for an engine test - here in New Zealand, I belong to

an RNZAF Forum - some of my fellow forum members actually worked on NZ2504, to repair/preserve her.

We have had some great discussions and photos of NZ2504, The RNZAF Servicemen with NZ2405

could be my fellow forum members (in their earlier years......)



NZ2504 is now with the RNZAF Museum Collection in WWII colours, and with different serial number to represent NZ2521 (TBF-1C)

with 31 Squadron



So with the Meteor/Mosquito now well under way, I will add this to the mix - the

Queen Mary will be it's own build (along with Coles Crane), all going well I'll

get all done by Mid May


I actually had built one of these many years ago now (still have it)


Model sprues etc




Kit Instructions - Current




Old Kit Instruction -way different - These have the "Wing Folding" Option - the parts

are still in this kit, so we shall see



Kit decals to be procured


Thanks for looking in, hope you enjoy


More soon












Edited by LDSModeller
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Alan


First of all my sincere apologies for not having caught up with this earlier. 

Fantastic background info and corresponding photos !

Your Avenger / HGV combo will look amazing. 

In fact it got me thinking how many of us have the RAF Recovery set in the stash and haven't built it. We should be ashamed of ourselves, Alan show us what we have been missing. 


Cheers Pat 


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