TBM-3W "Warner" variant of the Trumpeter Avenger model kit in 1/32 scale (conversion) by Meindert de Vreeze.
Dutch Naval Air Arm (Marine Luchtvaart Dienst MLD)
The Trumpeter 1/32 scale kit #02234 of the Grumman Avenger TBM-3 is a very good kit and comes with an impressive number of parts in 16 sprues including some photo etched parts.
The lower fuselage bay can be displayed open and stores are provided like a fuel tank, torpedo or 500 lb bombs. The wings can be folded and the visible details are all there. Moving surfaces are also provided including trailing edge flaps fine with metal hinges and shafts. Rubber tyres and a tiny photo negative instrument panel is also in the kit. The Trumpeter kit instructions are very large with 28 pages and 61 construction steps and comes with a colour profile for the scheme.
During assembly, you create various sub-assemblies such as an impressive engine, interiors and the gun turret. It all adds up to a very nice representation of the Avenger. Thankfully, most parts have a pretty good fit and this should not stop any modeller on making this nice Avenger in this large scale!
The kit was build earlier as a TBM-3S2 Killer, see here for conversion report.
This particular model will be converted into a TBM-3W Warner AEW variant, an Avenger for Airborne Early Warning with a large radar. I opted to create a couple of masters for the parts and duplicate them in resin.
NOTE: the radar fairing could also be used for a Skyraider AEW conversion in 1/32 scale as they were similar.
..... .......... .
Let’s look first briefly at the type’s history.
One of the famous Grumman Avenger versions was the TBM-3W “Warner”. In the Second World War it was realised that detecting attacking aircraft, particularly flying at low level, required the use and installment of radar in a flying aircraft. The MIT in the United States started experiments as early as 1942 and the result was the S-band APS-20 radar. The Avenger was a logical choice as airframe as it had enough room inside to accommodate the bulky equipment. So the TBM-3W became the world’s first AEW aircraft. The radar had a range of about 100 km. All armor, guns in the wings, gun turret and bombing systems were deleted and the radar was installed below the fuselage in a fiberglass radome. Other equipment were VHF radio sets, and even a primitive IFF. To improve stability, four small fins were fitted on the stabilizer. The radar operator was situated in the lower rear fuselage and below a new back fairing that replaced the “glass house” with the pilot up front.
TBM-3W flew August 5, 1944. Although envisaged for fleet protection, particularly
from Kamikaze attacks, the war ended before Warners were operationally
deployed. After the Second World War in 1946 the US Navy put the Warner
planes into service. The TBM-3W2 was a version with an updated APS-20 radar.
They served with the US Navy until the mid fifties when they were replaced
by the Grumman Guardian and Douglas AD Skyraider.
Data TBM-3W: Wright Cyclone R2600 14 cylinder engine with 1900 hp take-off power; empty weight about 4850 kg, max take-off weight about 7600 kg, cruise speed 240 km/hr, max speed about 420 km/hr; span 16,52 m, length 12,48 m.
Warners could have different rear doors (large or small), tail hook configurations (inside or external), antenna layouts and various rear window options. Check photographs for your particular plane to model.
The Royal Dutch
naval air service (MLD) used the Warner from September 1953 till May 1961.
These Warners appeared in various colour schemes. Within the Dutch MLD
two main schemes were used:
I was interested
in a model of the Dutch Fleet Air Arm (MLD: Marine Luchtvaart Dienst) as
they also used the TBM-3W Warner after the war in various roles. Details
vary between MLD Warners, depending on the period and particular plane,
so study pictures when you can.
[A] large radar dome
The building a model of the TBM-3W Warner requires adding a radar, a changed lower fuselage belly profile, changed rear back profile and additional fins.
These parts were home made with resin, after making masters, rubber moulds and a lot of work. Masters were made using drawings, looking at pictures through various angles and also smaller models in 1/48 and 1/72 scale.
With the hobbyist resin pouring process, air bubbles are unavoidable.NOTE: the radar fairing could also be used for a Skyraider AEW conversion in 1/32 scale as they were similar.
Do you want to attempt building a Warner in this 1/32 scale yourself, look for my home made conversion set here at the INFORMATION & ORDER PAGE
As the weight of the resin parts is
high, also a metal Avenger gearleg set from G-Factor was purchased
for additional strength. They also provide the rear tail wheel strut.
The next thing that might be done
is to enlarge the right rear fuselage crew entry door if desired. This
depends on the particular Warner to be modelled as also Warner were seen
with the standard Avenger door. So this optional.
(2-5) [ T1 to
The engine was later on sprayed black
with dark metallic cylinder heads.
The accessoiries pack with oiltank can be assembled as well, but also can be left out as hardly anything is seen of it. I left them out.
Assemble the pilot interior as per kit. The rear bulkhead parts #F2, H10, G68, G70 are not needed.
The engine was as noted NOT yet fitted
to the bulkhead. Dryfit the fuselage further for checking.....
Also a small area at the rear (wedge
shape) was removed to have a better fit of the resin back fairing....
(13) Radar operator
(15) [T28 ]
(16) [T29 ]
Radar operator interior
Now both fuselage halves were merged.
Depending on the arrestor tailhook configuration, include the internal
hook when desired.
At the radar operator station, some
additional bits were also added and painted. The interiors is probably
coloured "interior green".
area and Radar dome
The main resin parts are seen here,
with the interior areas painted interior green.
The radar will fit without a lot of
effort, it was simple pushed into the belly part recess hole.
Also close the gap between the radar/belly at forward area with card and putty. Sand smooth.
On some Warner planes, rear windows #K1, K2, K26, K27 may vary. Fit and/or fill/paint over as needed for your particular plane. Making a new larger door from plastic card may be needed, depending on the desired large or small door configuration.
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|Created this page July 4, 2009|