Black Widow Diorama Finished
by Reg Hardy
Diorama of P-61 Black Widow
I really enjoyed building this diorama, the first of several to be displayed in my new room.
This one is modeled after the diorama done by Shep Paine and used as a cover shot for the Revell-Monogram version of the P-61 Black Widow.
The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was the first operational U.S. military aircraft designed specifically
for night interception of aircraft, and was the first aircraft specifically
designed to use radar.
It was an all-metal, twin-engine, twin-boom design developed during World War II. The first test flight was made on 26 May 1942, with the first production aircraft rolling off the assembly line in October 1943.
The last aircraft was retired from government service in 1954.
Although not produced in the large numbers of its contemporaries, the Black Widow was effectively operated as a night-fighter by United States Army Air Forces squadrons in the European Theater, the Pacific Theater, the China
Burma India Theater and the Mediterranean Theater during World War II.
It replaced earlier British-designed night-fighter aircraft that had been updated to incorporate radar when it became available. After the war, the F-61 served in the United States Air Force as a long-range, all weather,
day/night interceptor for Air Defense Command until 1948, and Far East Air Force until 1950.
I learned a lot with this project and came away with a unique means of balancing this model. It has a reputation of being a tail sitter and most people simply added nose weight in place of the radar to compensate.
I put two steel washers in the nose wheel and embedded a magnet in the air strip surface. Worked great!