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Trumpeter 1/32 scale TBF-1C Avenger

Kit: No. 02233
Scale: 1/32
Manufacturer: Trumpeter, imported by Stevens International, 856-435-1555,
Price: $129.95
Comments: Injection-molded, 544 parts (64 photoetched metal, 3 vinyl), decals
Pros: Great detail overall, folding wings, one-piece turret glass, parts well packed in sturdy box, good decals
Cons: Lots of raised ejector-pin marks, no paint chart in instructions, main tires too narrow, tricky hinges for control surfaces
When Trumpeter's new 1/32 scale TBF-1C Avenger arrived on my doorstep, I had no idea what I was in for. Packaged in its standard heavy-duty cardboard box, the kit comprises more than 500 parts! Once again Trumpeter has done a superb job of packaging the kit parts: All the sprues are in individual bags, and the detail parts are in their own separate little boxes and bags.

The Avenger is molded in a light gray, slightly soft plastic. The panel lines and most of the rivets are engraved. The clear parts are thin and distortion free. Included is a photoetched stainless steel fret with control levers and the hinges for the movable control surfaces. A photoetched-brass sheet has seatbelts, wing-fold hinge cover strips, bomb-baydoor details and the gun-turret sight. The instrument panel is a photo film sandwiched between the clear plastic front panel and the gray plastic back panel.

Although the wing-fold hinges actually work, you should decide whether to pose the wings as extended or folded. Small doors and details must be glued in one position or the other depending on your choice. The main hinge bearers are molded in a nylon-like plastic for extra strength. Trumpeter even provides the tiny hinged doors on the wingtips that cover the tie-back anchor point used to lash the wingtips to the horizontal stabilizers when the wings are folded back.
All three tires are molded in black vinyl. The main tires are a bit skinny compared to photos. You can pose the flaps up or down, extend the tailhook, and open the crew canopies.

There's lots of ordnance: rockets under the wings, 250-pound or 500-pound bombs for the bomb bay, extra fuel tanks for either under the wings or one in the bomb bay, and of course a torpedo! However, depth charges, commonly carried for antisubmarine missions, are not included in this kit.

Building the model was a major project due to the large number of parts. Overall, the fit was excellent, but almost every part needed cleanup: Raised ejector-pin marks were everywhere. On the plus side, there were no recessed ejector-pin holes to fill.

The first step was the engine assembly with more than 75 pieces! There are two rocker arm covers for each of the 14 cylinders, and a boatload of accessories at the rear of the engine. The only things you could add would be spark-plug wires. Most of the engine detail is hidden inside the cowling.

The cockpit detail is good; the radar gear in the middle compartment is nicely done. Some of the tiny photoetched levers are lost forever deep in my workroom carpet. The gun turret includes the seat, gun camera, seatbelts, and armored glass. The turret glass is molded in one piece.

Once the fuselage was buttoned up, I moved on to the wings - be sure to follow instructions carefully to ensure things will fit right. Trumpeter's inboard wing sections attach to the fuselage with a latching system: The sections slide onto two wing spars, and they "click" into place for good!

The canopies are quite thin and can be broken easily! But being thin allows them to be posed in the opened positions.

I painted my Avenger with Model Master enamels and Polly Scale acrylics. Trumpeter omitted its usual paint chart on the instructions. The colors are flagged for Gunze Sangyo paint lines, but the lack of the chart will confuse most builders. After a clear coat of Future floor polish, I painted a dark sludge wash in the recesses. The decals were applied with no problems.

I was impressed with Trumpeter's Avenger. This is one kit that won't need aftermarket details. It's not a kit for beginners due to the large number of small parts and the finesse needed to fit everything together properly. Trumpeter has raised the bar for 1/32 scale WWII aircraft kits.

- Jon Hergenrother


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