1/48 GHW P-61B Black Widow

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Arriving at week four of the P-61B I built and detailed the Pratt & Whitney 2,250 hp R-2800-65W Double Wasp 18-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines. I chose to use the open cowl flaps so that the exhaust can be seen. The photo etch set adds the inner cowl flaps and the ignition wires to the engine. I painted the cylinder using Vallejo's Metal Air Gunmetal gray. The pushrod covers and engine block were painted using the Metal Air duraluminum, and the Metal Air Exhaust for the exhaust pipes. The intakes were painted gloss black and ignition was dark canvas brown. The cowl flaps were painted insignia red for the paint scheme of the "Lady in the dark".

The wings have leading edge intakes. The kit has solid plastic inserts but the photo etch set has open detailed pieces. The intake areas were cut open and the photo etch pieces were installed. I used a little putty to bland in the intakes to the wing. I then added some photo etch details to the upper wing and placed the dive brakes in the closed position. The photo etch set also has the parts to open them if you want. I am now working on the booms that hold the engines and the main landing gear. The photo etch for the landing gear bays is extensive and the photo etch sheet just for the booms is a large 8" X 6" sheet filled with many detailed parts.

There are more photos and details from the start in my build log at 1/48 P-61B Black Widow – Lady in the Dark

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Wooottt very good
The fifth week of the P-61B I started assembling the nacelles and detailing them. The photo etch set has all the interior walls and bulkhead details. This required a couple of days sanding and scraping the kit details off the parts and preparing them for the photo etch parts. With the basic walls installed I started adding more of the details. First was the mounts for the oxygen tanks. The oxygen tanks themselves were made from 2.5mm styrene rods. These were cut to length and the ends sanded down to round them out. They were painted with insignia yellow and slid into place.

On the bulkhead I added all the photo etch for the wires and hoses. The part of the hoses seen in the photos sticking out will ultimately attach to the landing gear strut. Just to note a fellow modeler noted that the kit struts have the incorrect length so I ordered the SAC metal landing gear struts for this kit. They should arrive early next week.

After assembling the nacelle halves I needed to cut out the supercharger intake screen so that the photo etch screen could be attached. For the top side of the landing gear bay I needed to remove a plastic brace and then install the photo etch panel. I am now working on adding some more details in the landing gear bay then I can get the assemblies mounted to the fuselage.

There are more photos and details from the start in my build log at 1/48 P-61B Black Widow – Lady in the Dark









Arriving at week 6 of the P-61B the wings were assembled and the rest of the details for the main gear bays were detailed. I then worked on the fuselage by adding the photo etch details and prepared the nose as well. I weighed the model and calculated the weight required to place in the nose so that the model will sit correctly on the landing gear. I used some 5-minute epoxy and mounted the weight into the nose. The wings, nacelles, rear stabilizer, and nose were installed onto the fuselage.

I then gathered all the canopies and began masking them with kapton tape.

You can see my Tips and Tricks section for more information on masking with kapton tape at Masking with Kapton Tape

With all the canopies masked I then installed them. The aft canopy over the radar operators section was an excellent fit. However the front canopy was not. It required some trimming and sanding to get it very close then I used a little putty on the front edge and the top of the rear edge to blend it with the fuselage. I then masked off the landing gear bays, rear crew entry, and the gun turret area. Everything is now ready for the basecoat of semi-gloss black. Once the painting is completed I will then move on to the decals.

There are more photos and details from the start in my build log at 1/48 P-61B Black Widow – Lady in the Dark






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Welcome to the 7th week of the Black Widow build. The past week has been spent on completing the base coat of paint and building up the landing gear. Starting with the nose gear I added the supports for the fender and then added some photo etch to detail the fender. The SAC metal landing gear strut required some minor clean up. On advantage to using the metal struts is the strut shock cylinder can easily be polished to a high shine. I added the landing light from the kit to complete the strut which was then installed. I then added more photo etch details on the nose gear bay for the doors and installed them.

The main gear struts required less clean up. Once painted I added the photo etch lines and hoses. The main wheels even have a photo etch ring for the inboard side. The struts were installed and the gear bay lines that were previously installed were attached to the struts. The main wheels have a flat spot to replicate the aircrafts weight on them. I dry fit the wheels on then sat the aircraft on them. With the wheel flat sections aligned up I placed a drop of glue to hold them in place while I glued the rest of the wheels onto the axles. The nose weight calculations were good. The aircraft now sits perfectly on the tri-gear so I will not need to add any weights to the engine cowls. I am working on the main gear doors then I can begin applying the decals.

There are more photos and details from the start in my build log at 1/48 P-61B Black Widow – Lady in the Dark









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