Hasegawa 1/72 TBM-1C/3 Avenger 'Escort Carrier Combo'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Two kits in the box|
The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway. Despite losing five of the six Avengers on its combat debut, it survived in service to become one of the outstanding torpedo bombers of World War II. Greatly modified after the war, it remained in use until the 1960s. As an interesting note, actor Paul Newman was an Avenger gunner, having failed his pilot's entrance test due to being color blind.
This is another of Hasegawa's combo kits, this time offering a pair of Avengers. While the kits look the same in the bags, there is one major difference. One kit will build a TBM-3, while the other will build a TBF/M-1C. The difference is in the treatment of the engine cowling area and with the forward cowling.
The kit itself is standard Hasegawa 1/72 with very nicely done crisp external engraving and a rather basic cockpit. This area has a one piece lower floor, two seats, a control stick and an instrument panel. There are decals for instruments. The kit has the ability to have the bomb bay built open, but one only has the option of a torpedo as the weapon. The Avenger more often carried bombs in the Pacific and depth charges in the Atlantic. Not sure just where you can find depth bombs though standard 500 lb bombs can be located in aftermarket or from other kits. The kit also comes with under wing rockets which the kit instructions show as being for the TBF-1C. I'm pretty sure the others could carry them as well, though they may not be germane to the other markings options.
Clear parts are well done and all of the bits aside from the upper canopy and lower gun opening are installed prior to or during fuselage assembly. The turret is a single piece and the turret interior is adequate though not really that well detailed. One thing for sure, masking will be time consuming, especially the one-piece upper greenhouse canopy. Stabs are a single piece on either side and the wings are a left and right upper and lower half. Wheel well detail is adequate and the gear/wheels are well done.
Markings are provided for three planes. First is a tri-color painted TBM-1c from VC-10 aboard the USS Gambier Bay in late 1944. Next is an overall sea blue TBM-3 from VMTB-233 aboard the USS Block Island (second generation) in May of 1945. The third option is an Atlantic scheme TBF-1C aboard the USS Block Island (original) in January 1944. The decals are nicely printed, though are the Japanese type with off-white whites. I would have thought that a mid-2012 kit would not have to deal with these sorts of markings, but there you are.
Thanks to it being on sale, it was actually worth picking up. The Avenger is not one of those planes high on my 'want to build' list and I have to say the only one I've done was the Airfix kit way back when. Those wanting to do an early TBF-1 can do so using the 1C kit and a drill bit for the nose gun. The kit should be a pretty straight-forward build and with these sorts of options, should give the modeler some nice variety in terms of builds.
Thanks to me for getting this one on sale.
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