Author Topic: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service  (Read 537 times)

Offline Rickshaw

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P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« on: March 17, 2018, 03:37:55 PM »
P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service

As already related, at the end of WWII, Australia found itself in a unique position.  It was a creditor to the Lend-Lease scheme because of the large quantity of agricultural products it provided to feed occupied Europe and Asia.   In addition, it was where the US forces dumped a large quantity of their materiale’.  It had already been “written off” so to speak and was no longer wanted back in the  continental USA, being considered a threat to the US economy.  The result was that the RAAF amongst the other Australian services received a large quantity of equipment at rock-bottom prices.

One of these was the P-61 “Black Widow” night fighter.   Several hundred of the earlier versions, some with and some without the troublesome upper machine gun turret were left in Australian “grave yards”.   The RAAF, disappointed with the performance of their chosen Mosquito “wooden wonder” which had suffered from tropical rot and weakened glue was looking for alternatives.   The P-61 seemed to fulfill it’s need.

Back in the US, the aeroindustry was suffering the downturn post war.  Northrop had tried, just as the war ended to transform the P-61 from a purely night fighter into a day fighter in it’s  P-61E variant.  This featured a new fuselage module, seating two crew and which had multiple .50cal machine guns in the nose and four 20mm cannons underneath, plus a small bomb bay.  Their efforts had fallen on deaf ears.  The USAAF was only interested in jet propelled aircraft.  Northrop approached by the RAAF about supporting the P-61s in Australia sensed an opportunity.  They offered to rebuild the P-61s into E variants.   Australia, anxious to establish it’s own aeroindustry, leapt at the chance.   The GAF P-61Ea was created.  It saw service in BCOF-J – British Commonwealth Occupation Forces – Japan and in the early stages of the Korean conflict as part of 94 Squadron.  It scored no victories in the Korean War.






The Model

The model is a combination of the Airmodel vacuform kit with an ancient Frog P-61A kit.   It was painted with a rattlecan of silver.  The canopy was ruined when I tried to cut it out and replaced with a 1/48 P-51 one, which is approximately the right size and shape.

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2018, 09:18:12 PM »
 :smiley:
"This is the Captain. We have a little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and, ah, explode."

Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2018, 09:32:33 PM »
I have been eyeing some of the Airmodel kits Brian. What are your thoughts/comments on building one?

Airmodel website is here: http://www.airmodel.de/index.php
« Last Edit: March 17, 2018, 09:52:38 PM by The Big Gimper »
Work in progress ::

I am giving up listing them. They all end up on the shelf of procrastination anyways.

User and abuser of Bothans...

Offline Tophe

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Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2018, 10:15:47 PM »
not "black" but very good! :-*

Offline kitnut617

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Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2018, 10:41:48 PM »
I have been eyeing some of the Airmodel kits Brian. What are your thoughts/comments on building one?

Airmodel website is here: http://www.airmodel.de/index.php


Some time ago, I bought a couple of these conversions, with an idea it would be a lot easier to make into a P-61E.

https://www.scalemates.com/kits/186874-maintrack-models-72-19-northrop-xp-61e-and-xf-15-reporter

Offline elmayerle

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Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2018, 09:31:29 AM »
Beautiful job, there, with a quite plausible backstory.

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2018, 10:56:18 AM »
Airmodel vacuform kits are relatively straight forward.  I have quite a few and now have an Airfix P-61 which I bought off of EvilBay after I had acquired the ancient Frog one, so I'd like to try this one again.  I am not overly worried by vacuform and am presently working on some other Airmodel ones.  They are relatively cheap as well, which is an advantage.

The only thing to watch with this is to be a little more careful with the cockpit floor than I was and also the Canopy which I cracked when I tried to cut it out.  I replaced this one with a 1/48 P-51D one I got off of EvilBay.   It is a close match.

Offline Frank3k

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Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 01:52:57 AM »
That came out great! Good use of the Frog kit, too. Did this Airmodell kit have a small disk of resin parts?

Offline Rickshaw

  • "Of course, I could be talking out of my hat"
Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2018, 02:45:15 PM »
That came out great! Good use of the Frog kit, too. Did this Airmodell kit have a small disk of resin parts?

Nope. It was all vacuform.

Offline Tophe

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Re: P-61E Black Widow in RAAF service
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2018, 05:12:16 PM »
Doing so good in vacuform deserves a gold medal! :-*