Belcher Bits TBM Conversion


1/48 Accurate Miniatures TBM-3


 $29.99 CDN


John Lester


RCN ASW conversion

In the early '50s, Canada replaced their Fairey Firefly ASW aircraft with 125 ex-USN Avengers. Fairey modified many of these to the AS3 standard, which was similar to the USN's TBM-3S. The rear turret was removed and the greenhouse extended; an AN/APS-4 radar and associated equipment installed, and provision made for sonobouys and smoke markers to be dropped from the blanked off ventral gunner's position.

Belcher Bit's conversion set provides 15 resin, 4 vac and one aluminum part to make any of three variants of CAnadian ASW Avengers. Decals for five machines are provided, along with notes on other marking possibilities. EZ Masks for the canopies are also provided.

The resin parts are among the very best I have ever seen - and I've seen quite a few. Casting quality is first rate, with no - that's zero - defects. Detail is equally good. Parts are provided for the radar, associated repeaters, flare stowage rack, optional tailhook mount and observers seat - in short, almost everything that makes these variants different (the modeler will have to cut a few lengths of styrene rod for the seat mounting braces). 

Two canopies are provided, one each for the short and long greenhouse variations. These are thicker than what I'm used to - a good thing, as they should be easier to work with. A nice touch are the EZ masks provided to mask all those glass panels.

The instructions are three pages of well-illustrated, clear and concise directions for making all the changes necessary for any of the three versions. These are followed by three more pages of decal placement and marking guides, which are equally comprehensive and well-written. Quite frankly, these are among the best instructions I've ever found in any box containing any product.

Also included are a marking guide and general instructions for making a target tug variation. Though no parts are included for this (due to lack of references), decals are provided for the adventurous modeler.

One sheet of decals rounds out the package. These are perfectly registered and appear admirably thin.

All in all, I am quite pleased with what my $20 + postage bought. For only a bit more than an Eduard PE set, I can make a unique variation of an important aircraft - one I'm sure will stand out on my shelves (and any contest table it might end up on as well).

Enthusiastically recommended! 

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