by: Kevin Brant [ ]
HistoryThe Douglas TBD-1 Devastator was ordered by the US Navy in 1934, entering service around 1937. It was the first widely used carrier based torpedo bomber being a monoplane and all metal structure. When it entered service, it was the most advanced aircraft of the USN. Unfortunately the fast paced aircraft development quickly made the Devastator obsolete, even by the attack on Pearl Harbor. While it performed adequately in some early battles, the Devastator showed poorly in the Battle of Midway, with a large number destroyed. The Devastator was immediately withdrawn from service, being replaced by the newer Avengers.
ModelEnter the Great Wall Hobby, by Lion Roar, TBD-1 Devastator in 1/48 scale. Opening the box, it was what I have come to expect from G.W.H., a box packed with stuff. The kit comes with 5 sprues of grey molded plastic, on sprue of clear plastic, a fret of PE, sheet of decals, sheet of masks, two metal parts(for folded wings), engine cowling molded separately, and a print of the box art.
The plastic molding is excellent, with no flash. Unfortunately there are a couple of ejector marks that will have to be dealt with, especially in the cockpit. Looking at the surface detail, it has fine engraved panel lines and rivets, the external ribbing on the wings that look great. And what really impressed me was the moldings on the clear plastic, with rivet detail on the canopy parts.
While the detail on the small plastic parts look great, and as you would expect from a Lion Roar company, the kit contains a fret of excellent looking PE to add that extra detail, including wiring for the radial engine and seat belts for cockpit. The cockpit itself looks very well detailed. Speaking of the cockpit, the kit contains two options for the canopy, with a full molded canopy and the sections molded separately to model an open canopy. It should be noted that G.W.H. does not a nice job of protecting the clear plastic by having it in a foam sleeve to ensure they don’t get scratched.
The kit provides the options for modeling the aircraft with the wings folded, including nice looking interior strut detail and the folding mechanism done in metal for greater strength. While the landing gear itself looks well detailed, there is no detail within the landing gear bay. As for the engine, it also looks very well detailed with push rods molded in plastic and plug wires done in PE.
A real nice addition from G.W.H. are the painting masks, these not only include canopy masks but marking masks. But one issue I noticed with the marking masks, is there is no masks for the red dot in the star. The canopy masks are numbered for ease of application.
The decals are very well done, and colorful. The decals are sharp, and look to be well in register. The decal sheet also contains individual decals for the gauges on the cockpit dash, and I think a first for me, is there are colored decals for the propeller tips.
As I mentioned, and I believe this is a standard for G.W.H. kits, there is a very nice print of the box art included, being protected in a sleeve. This print would look nice framed and on the wall.
InstructionsThe instructions are presented in a 8.5’x11’ format, printed in color. While steps are not numbered, they show great detail and clear instruction in the assembly spread across 11 pages, with some callouts for extra detail. The instructions follow a typical model aircraft build, starting with the cockpit, moving on to fuselage assembly, wings, then the landing gear.
The instructions do include many paint callouts with a paint color reference table including Hobby Color, Vallejo, and Tamiya paint colors.
The kit supplies two marking options for the Devastator, one scheme being the blue and grey scheme, with the other being the bare metal fuselage and under wings with yellow with green stripe wing tops. With the wings have the great looking rib detail surface the later scheme could prove interesting trying to mask the green stripe on the wing top.
SummaryOverall the G.W.H. kit for the TBD-1 Devastator looks great. The kit is very well detailed, and the addition of the PE and masks will make for a great looking build. From reviewing a few reference photographs of the Devastator I did not see any glaring issues with the kit compared to the actual aircraft. One small issue, for me, is the kit omitted to include a torpedo for the aircraft, choosing only to include your choice of either standard bombs or incendiary devices. This may be an issue for some, and hopefully if you want to model the aircraft with a torpedo you can find aftermarket parts or scavenge them from another kit.
The lack of the torpedo should not omit this kit for being a must have, with excellent moldings, great detail, and the little extras included, this is a highly recommended kit.
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