1/48 P-61 Black Widows: Revell-Monogram or Great Wall Hobby?

By Eric Berg


For years, I’ve  wished for a brand new tool 1/48 P-61.  I was pretty excited when AMtech Models announced plans for such a kit back in 2002 but shortly afterwards they went kaput. An unsubstantiated rumor was going around back then, that the Asian kit manufacturer AMtech contracted with to produce their new P-61 supposedly ended up with the plans and test molds (This rumor is apparently just that as discussions with AMtech's previous owner revealed that the P-61 was barely in the planning stage when AMtech's owner had a near death accident, causing the company to fold. Ed).  Just as I was about to dig into my second Revell-Monogram Widow build a few months ago,  along comes Great Wall Hobby’s all new tool 1/48th P-61A. A wish come true!  I immediately ordered one from a Hong Kong distributor. In the meantime there has been all this fuss about the wrong nose/clear nose shipped  in the first batch of kits etc etc.  (see……) Before my kit was delivered a small box showed up at the door step from GWH with the correct opaque A nose – the short one inside.  When the kit finally arrived and I opened up… low and behold…the longer B model nose! Go figure, but two noses are better than one.


Ok. Which kit is better?  There’s no argument. The GWH new tool blows the clumsy and ill fitting but still fun to build Revell kit out of the water. (Check out MM’s GWH build.)


Studying the GWH and Revell parts side by side, I bet you GWH copied Revell’s kit precisely and then re-CAD it with major and welcome changes.  For one thing, the majority of parts in both kits are mirror measurements of each other.  Locator pins aside,  (GWH did put them in different spots)  you can mate GHW’s top wing to Revell’s bottom wing, for example,  and it’s a perfect fit. (Of course, it could be that both companies got the size and shape right rather than one copying the other. Ed)


Here’s some comparison photos I shot of  the Great Wall Hobby and Revell-Monogram P-61 Black Widow in 1/48th scale. I gave the Revell black sprues a quick spray of Tamiya primer gray.  




The GWH pitot mast is molded to the nose at the correct angle and thickness, so be extra careful not to snap it off! Both the GWH and Monogram noses are interchangeable and fit on each other's kit.



Yes. The GWH cowl ring opening is too small but easily fixed with sandpaper wrapped around a tapered dowel etc. Hopefully, GWH will address this error soon. The Modelshack resin cowlings are just one of several expensive aftermarket replacement cowl sets available, all priced higher than the cost of the Revell kit. The Modelshack cowl flaps need to be  thinned and “opened up” which takes a chunk of time. Unlike the other two, these have no noticeable rivet detailing. However, when I hold my Modelshack cowlings up to a light I can see that some rivets are ever so faintly there.



The Vector prop is a five piece resin assembly. The current batch of aftermarket P-61 spinner decals out there have all been designed for the Revell-Monogram kit. They do not fit the GWH or Vector spinners, but….if  you’re good with a paintbrush or can make your own, no problem.



 Big differences when it comes to these P-61 wheels.  Sanding off the middle seam of the GWH tires means “good bye tread pattern!”  True Details’ wheels have great looking treads and hub details but the tires  always look to me like they are about to go flat thanks to that overdone “bulge”.



The fuselage halves are identical in measurement. However, if you look at the wing root, it shows that the Revell-Monogram wing seems to be thinner. The gun troughs also seem to be thinner on the R-M version.




Wheel Bays


There are a myriad of ejector pin marks on the inside of the GWH part. However, little of that will be seen once the kit is built and they are easy enough to remove for those who wish to spend the time doing so.




The wings in both kits are darned near identical in shape and fit. Just for yuks, you can mate the GWH upper wing to the Revell-Monogram bottom wing with no problem if you so desire.




The Revell-Monogram P-61 canopies have always been a pain in the rear. Bad fit aside, the brittle, chunky clear styrene makes them a real challenge to clean up.  The Monogram canopy I have has a blemish that will be almost impossible to sand down without damaging the surrounding detail. It’s best to keep the Revell hatch in the open position as it doesn’t fit closed without using superglue and squeezing the sides of the bottom canopy closer together and saying a prayer. Even if you get it to fit, you will have to deal with a 1/16 inch gap in the rear of the hatch where it’s supposed to flush up to the bottom canopy piece. Not so with GWH. The detail on the GWH canopy is crisp, crystal clear and accurate looking. The plastic is noticeably thinner and the fit is awesome. Interestingly enough, the top hatches from both kits are precisely the same size. Coincidence or not?



I leave it up to you.

In the meantime, I sent my Revell-Monogram P-61 kit back to the “To Do!” bin and moved the Great Wall Hobby new tool to the top of the “Next!”pile.