Great Wall Hobby 1/48 TBD-1 Devastator "Wake Island 1942"

KIT #: L4809
PRICE: $82.50 SRP
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes photo etch brass fret and canopy masks.


The Douglas TBD Devastator was a torpedo bomber of the United States Navy, ordered in 1934, first flying in 1935 and entering service in 1937. At that point, it was the most advanced aircraft flying for the USN and possibly for any navy in the world. However, the fast pace of aircraft development caught up with it, and by the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the TBD was already outdated. It performed well in some early battles, but in the Battle of Midway the Devastators launched against the Japanese fleet were almost totally wiped out. The type was immediately withdrawn from front line service, replaced by the Grumman TBF Avenger.


Much of the surface detailing is finely engraved panel lines. The corrugated flight surfaces are duplicated by raised lines and this feature will probably cause the most headache when it comes to building the kit. It is pretty well a given that many of us will end up sanding the wing and tailplane seams so replacing these raised lines will be difficult. They are also not all that convincing for corrugations, which should have both rounded peaks and valleys. However, when one does a model, one often has to make allowances for the machining and it does provide a good representation.

The interior is excellent with a lot of well done detail on both the floor and the various panels. The insides of the fuselage provide stringer detailing to which a number of parts are added. Quite a bit of the photo etch is used for the interior, including the harnesses for the crew members. I liked that the instrument dials were provided as separate decals, though perhaps some would prefer to have these all as one decal.

The Devastator could also be used as a level bomber and for that, there is a door in the lower front fuselage that can be opened to provide the pilot with a view down when performing this mission. This area is made up almost entirely of photo etch, and that is what you will find on the smaller fret. Since the doors for this area are closed during the torpedo mission, it is up to the builder as to whether it will be worth building up this area. It can be posed open if one wishes.

This is the Wake Island bomber version, so none of the torpedo stuff is included in this boxing. This includes a reduced photo etch fret that does not have the torpedo stabilizers. The earlier edition had the flat bottom and bomb racks, but no bombs. That is included in this set providing not only a standard bomb or two, but also an incendiary bomb. Also on the same sprue as the bombs are new landing gear. These have shortened oleos as the previous ones were molded fully extended. The older ones are still on the sprue, however. Another change is the inclusion of that single rear mounted gun that was part of the aircraft for most of its life.

Another option is to have folded wings. For this, a pair of metal hinges are provided. There is good rib detail and some of the photo etch is used here. You may have noticed that the mask set is rather large. Well Great Wall provided both a one-piece and multiple-section canopy. One set of masks is for each set of canopies. As with the earlier release, you get insignia masks, however, these are the smaller ones for the later insignia so are not useful for this boxing. Separate flaps are also part of the kit. However, these are shown molded closed and a good thing as there are a multitude of ejector pin marks on the inside of the flap, made difficult to remove thanks to the framework detail provided there. Two more items are flattened tires and optional open or closed cowl flaps.

Instructions are superb and in booklet form. Great Wall have included color information during the build using Gunze, Vallejo, and Tamiya paint references. Markings are for two aircraft. One is the box art plane from VT-6 as used in the Wake Island raid. This is in the blue grey over light grey scheme. Another options for a VT-3 plane is included and this is a full yellow wings bird. GWH forgot to cross the T in the second set of side numbers for this one so you'll have to break out the black stripes decal to fix this small glitch. All of the stripes will need to be painted on to do this version, however, there are excellent aftermarket decals available if you wish to go that route.


This is a very nice kit and a good replacement for the venerable Monogram kit. I am sure that there will be at least another boxing for the Coral Sea, and perhaps one for the overall light grey scheme. 


January 2012

Thanks to Great Wall Hobby for the preview kit. Get yours at your local shop once they show up.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly , please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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