Monogram 1/48 TBF

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
May 12, 2009
Hi, all!

This is a Monogram 1/48th TBF, which I modified slightly to make it a TBF-1C, in markings from VT-10 in 1942:


This is one of my Resolutions Builds for this year, kits that I started in the past 3 years, but never finished. My resolution is to finish them this year. I also entered this in a fellowship build over at Here is a shot from the starboard side:


I had started out with the intention to finish her as one of the 6 TBFs from Torpedo 8, that flew from Midway during the Battle of Midway. But I outsmarted myself-those Turkeys were TBF-1s, with a nose gun, and I had already started modifying the kit into a -1C, which had the nose gun removed and wing guns installed. So instead of Torpedo 8, she's from Torpedo 10, which entered combat later in 1942.

Here's a closer shot of the greenhouse, and some of the detailing that I did:


I'm a nostalgia builder; I have sought out and bought the kits that I built as a kid, to rebuild them now, applying the things I've learned in the meantime. So this old Monogram kit was to be an exercise in scratchbuilding, adding interior details, though I didn't want to go overboard.


You can see, I opened the canopy-the TBF had a sliding panel over the middle cockpit. The next time I do this, I'll use a vacuformed canopy. The clear styrene of the kit canopy is very brittle and doesn't take well to scribing and cutting.

In the cockpit, I added a bit of detailing which, while not contest-accurate, embellished the kit parts. That is, Monogram included a decal of a generic instrument panel, that the modeler would apply to a flat area at the front of the office. What I did was to take a piece of clear plastic, and using a photocopy of the decal (deckle, for you New Brunswickers :D ) as a template, I punched holes where the instruments would go. I painted this clear piece flat black, applied the decal to a piece of sheet styrene, then glued the punched-out piece over it. The goal was to give the instrument panel some thickness and depth. I was happy with the result, even if it doesn't look like an actual TBF instrument panel.

Here's a shot through the aft hatch, into the radioman's compartment:


I added some details, like junction boxes, control lines, and the radioman's seat, most of which can't be seen, anyway. But I wanted to show that the old Monogram kits can serve as the basis for something more detailed. When I was a kid, that's all we had, there was no resin, or photo-etch, or Accurate Miniatures. You smashed open an old radio and scavenged it for wire, transistors, capacitors, etc, anything that could be used to look like something.

I had only one major snag with this kit, and that was the turret, and the sequence in which I assembled the model. I did a little detailing in the turret, leaving it off until I had assembled the two fuselage halves. But then I found that I could not fit the turret into the hole at the back of the greenhouse. I puzzled and puzzled 'til my puzzler was sore. Eventually, what I came up with was to lift the deck at the back of the canopy, until I could fit the turret in. But the deck did not sit back in its original position, and so, the canopy would sit right. You can see it in the shots from the starboard side or from overhead:


I built two of these at the same time, and after dealing with the problem on this one, I was able to take care of the problem with the other one, by scribing the deck and removing a little bit, enough to allow the turret to drop into place. without fuss.

Despite that, and some other little irritations, I enjoyed building this kit. I really like the old Monogram kits. They take me back to those years in the 70s when I was a kid building models, and they are also good starting points to build a model as detailed as you like. When I was a kid, these were top of the line, especially the kits in the late 70s, the big, four-engined bombers, and the TBD, and the P-61. And with the diorama tips from Shep Paine, they inspired many a diorama builder.

Don't get me wrong-I'm eager to pick up the Accurate Miniatures TBF kit and build that. But I really enjoy building these Monogram kits, and Lindberg, and even Aurora. You can make them as simple or as detailed as you want.

Anyway, I'm pleased with my pair of Turkeys. More Monograms on the bench--2 P-47Ds, 2 P-40Bs, an SBD, and a TBD, all part of the Resolution Build.

Thanks for looking!

Great choice on subjects. I've been wanting to build some pacific theater stuff for a while. Yours gets my gears turnin.

Nice work
Deja Vu!
Very nice. But with the old Monogram kits climbing in price, They are not as friendly to the wallet as they once were.
Thanks, guys, for the kind words! It's a lot of fun to stretch my chops as I get back into modeling.

And to Mac, if you're looking for the old Monogram kits, don't be discouraged, I recommend the second-hand market. I've gotten the ones in my stash off eBay, and at flea markets and shows. I find kits that are still in production, like the P-40B or the P-51D, and buy them if the seller is offering less than the current retail.

Thanks, speed! I used chalk pastels, and acrylic and oil washes. I really like the chalks, they're very easy to use.

I have two more of these kits in the stash, and my goal for those is to do a much better job with the fit and the seams. I think I can do better.
Hey Ken! Fancy meeting you over here! :D

Working through my Resolution Build, which will probably take me the rest of the year.

For those of you who I've not met on other forums, at New Years, I took stock of the kits I had started over the past few years, but never finished. I came up with 12 that I decided to finish this year. The first two that I worked on were a pair of Monogram Avengers, then a pair of P-47s and P-40s, an SBD, and a TBD, all Monogram; the old Lindberg F11C Goshawk; an Aurora F4B-4; a Pyro/Lindberg Hawker Fury; and the USS Essex in 1/700, by Hasegawa.

My resolution was not to buy any new models or open any unstarted kits from my stash, until I finish these. I allowed an exception for a group build that our club organized in November, to be completed by IPMS Regionals in October; we're building Eduard's P-39Q/P-400, as a tutorial, with one of the guys in the club showing us how he builds. But I've been keeping to my resolution, not buying anything new or opening anything new.

The Thunderbolts are now in focus. One had the fuselage assembled and wings and stabs attached, the other is still apart. I'm trying to apply things I'm learning in the tutorial build, which is more than anything about thinking before gluing.

Now if I could only get over my fear of the airbrush, I'd be all set!
the Baron said:
I have two more of these kits in the stash, and my goal for those is to do a much better job with the fit and the seams. I think I can do better.

Great looking TBF...
I always get a strange look from from my wife when I buy more than one of a kit..."why do you need four Polar Lights Enterprise models". But I think, if your not bored of the subject, you've worked out most of the kinks with the first build, and you can really detail and go to town on the second.

Great job again.

There are SOOOOOOOOO many memorable (at least for me) thunderbolt markings out there. Which ones were you thinking of doing?

Having fun with the P-39? What has been the biggest jump-at-ya lesson on that build so far?

God Bless,

icekj said:

There are SOOOOOOOOO many memorable (at least for me) thunderbolt markings out there. Which ones were you thinking of doing?

Having fun with the P-39? What has been the biggest jump-at-ya lesson on that build so far?

God Bless,


Hi, Ken!

The box art depicts Lt. Frank Klibbe's "Little Chief", of the 61st FS, 56 FG, and I'd like to do that one, but unfortunately, as a second-hand kit, it was missing the decals. However, we just had our monthly meeting Friday night, and a buddy of mine at the club got a MicroScale sheet, "P-47 Thunderbolt Aces", which includes the nose art and squadron codes. I told him I was tracking that down, and he said we could share the sheet. So, I have the nose art and codes. National insignia are easy enough to come by.

The P-39 is going relatively well. The biggest thing I've learned so far is to think more about assembly, to minimize seam cleanup. Our teacher uses a technique of gluing pieces a little section at a time, with liquid cement, and extruding a little line of plastic on the seam. That can be scraped away, and it helps fill the gaps, making filling and puttying much less of a problem. For him, it works, his model is so clean, it looks like it was assembled, panel by panel. I've had to spend more effort doing it the old fashioned way, but I've developed using putty and a solvent (Squadron white and acetone), which lets me put putty where I need it, and then wipe away the excess, minimizing sanding.

The Eduard P-39 kit, by the way, is a nice kit, but not without fit issues. We've all got one or more problems with it. One is that one fuselage half is not quite the same length as the other. Also, there is a nasty seam on the underside, where the lower wing fillets meet the bottom of the fuselage-not just two pieces butting against one another, but a step in 2 levels. I was able to fill it and eliminate it, though. And I found on my kit that the two fuselage halves are racked a little bit. That is, behind the cockpit, the starboard half sits proud of the port side, so the seam has to be filled towards the port side. But in front of the cockpit, it's reversed-port is a hair higher than starboard. The best way to deal with the poor fit was to start at the cockpit and true everything up there, and then work towards the nose and the rudder, and even out the differences there.

But apart from that, it has very nice detail, in the cockpit, in the wheel wells, the panels-there is a very nice pilot figure, too.

The Jug has a coat of OD on it, and I'm getting ready to put a quick pic up, here and over at Agape.


I am looking forward to seeing the P-47. I can undserstand what you are talking about on fuselage joins. When I built my C-47 both halves of the fuselage were warped. I ended up starting on one end and glueing 1" at a time. I do use liquid cement and that helped a bit. Still took me an entire evening to get the fuselage halves together.

God Bless,

JMac said:
..."why do you need four Polar Lights Enterprise models"....

So you can build the dreadnaught from the Star Fleet Technical Manual, of course! :D

Seriously, thanks for the kind word, JMac!


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