Building the Northrop P-61A Black Widow from Great Wall Hobby 1/48 scale

by Gary Wickman © Modeler Site

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I have always liked the P-61. I've had a couple of the old Monogram kit in my stash for as long as I can remember, but never found the motivation to undertake the rescribing and correcting project needed to bring that model up to speed. Along comes the Great Wall Hobby P-61. The first boxing received some justified criticism for glaring errors. To the great credit of GWH they corrected almost all of the problems in the second boxing (the so called "glass nose" P-61A). To date GWH have not released a P-61B.


Having now completed this model I would classify the quality and fit of the kit as almost equal to Hasegawa (I know right !!). As you can see from the photos below I went fairly heavy on the weathering as this aircraft operated in the PTO and period photos of P-61's operating of the Pacific islands showed that the sun and coral sand was not kind to them. The figures are from Tamiya and the old Monogram kit.

The accessories are from Verliden as is the Willys Jeep. The PSP base is from Eduard. All the detail work on the port engine is scratchbuilt as is the removable cowling covers.


As with most aircraft models, construction begins with the cockpit. I was able to find a fair bit of reference photos of the P-61 interior and I was quite impressed with the job that GWH had done. The P-61 was designed to carry a crew of 3. The pilot and gunner were situated in the front cockpit whilst the radar/radio operator sat in the tail. Much of the work I did on the interior was really just adding more detail (oxygen hoses etc) to make it feel more busy. Using the available reference photos my detailing work also re-arranged some of the kit provided parts to make the pilots area feel more cramped as the GWH layout feels too spacious. As I had the older Monogram kit along with just about every aftermarket detail set produced for that kit, I wanted to make use of as much of it as I could (selling it did not seem like a useful thing to do).

The completed pilots area now looks much busier than before. Nothing I have added was to correct problems with what GWH provides, it's simply to make the cockpit look more detailed (eg realistic)


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