Trumpeter 1/32 TBF-1 "Battle of Midway" Avenger
By Phillip Gore
Attached are photos of my Trumpeter 1/32 scale TBF-1 "Battle of Midway" Avenger finished this past weekend. The Trumpeter kit is excellent and very well engineered. It is a complex kit to build, but not a difficult kit to build. Converting the Trumpeter TBF-1C to an early production TBF-1 required the following:
- Re-locating the middle fuselage windows
- Adding a "gun trough" on the right side fuselage behind the engine cowling for the .30 caliber gun
- Scratch building a second cockpit behind the pilot section, including basic flight controls
- Removing all panel lines, holes and rivets of the .50 caliber guns in the wings
One modification not added was the small canopy fairing between the turret and main canopy section. I believe the only way to do this is by vac-forming a clear piece over the turret, and then doing some serious cutting and shaping.
Other added details include photo-etched seatbelt details, stretched sprue levers and landing gear brake lines.
The model carries the marking of "8-T-1" (Bureau Number 00380), which was the first Avenger delivered to the U.S. Navy and the sole survivor from the VT-8 land-based attachment at Midway. I included the red and white rudder stripes and red circles on the star insignia, which is the scheme the airplane had from late March to mid-May 1942. By the time the Battle of Midway took place (June 4th-6th), the rudder stripes had been painted blue and the red circles painted white. The only other marking change was that the fuselage star insignia size was increased.
"8-T-1" was heavily damaged during the battle and made a crash landing with just one main landing gear down. The pilot who flew the plane at Midway was Ens. Albert Earnest. His crew was RM3/c Harry Ferrier (radioman/tunnel gunner) and SEA1/c Jay Manning (turret gunner). Manning was killed and the other two wounded. A post battle inspection showed the airplane had been hit by at least sixty-four 7.7mm bullets and nine 20mm cannon shells.
If you Google "Avengers at Midway" one of the results that should come up is an extended article written in 1995 by Mr. Earnest detailing his training with VT-8, and what happened to him at Midway. It is a very informative and inspiring article. Ens. Earnest was awarded two Navy Crosses at Midway. One for his determined attack against the Japanese fleet, and the other for bringing his aircraft back intact for post combat evaluation. Ironically when Earnest returned to Midway he was twice waved off from landing because it was thought his one wheel landing might block other planes from the landing strip. He was ordered by radio to go to a higher altitude and bailout, but his radio was damaged and he never heard that order. He later said he would not have done that anyway. For anyone interested, there were several photos taken of "8-T-1" after the battle that can be found on the Internet.
I hope you enjoy the photos!
© Phillip Gore
This article was published on Friday, September 27 2013; Last modified on Saturday, May 14 2016