P-61 Build Brings Black Widow To Life

What does it take to build the Northrop P-61 Black Widow. It depends on whether you are talking about a 1940s aircraft assembly plant, a present full-sized restoration, or a small plastic model.

Each has it’s own story.

For instance, in this time of manufacturer’s going offshore to find cheap production of their products, it is hard to recall a time when women poured onto these American manufacturing plant floors to crank out 1,000’s of bombers in the time it takes to today manufacture five jet liners.

It is hard to imagine a phalanx of “Rosie-the-Riveters” knocking out warplanes at over 150 per month.

Not Assembling Scale Models

Go forward in time 45 years and you’ll come across a mountain retrieval of the last of four known P-61 Black Widows by a team from the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum.

Finding that wreckage on a 7,000-foot mountain in Indonesia was one thing, dealing with a country's legitimate right to own it and then get it off that mountain and back to the museum was enough of a job.

airborne wreck
Jungle Wreckage Sceme
Black Widow Goes to Sea
Widow Flies Again Gunner's Tool

Got her back, now what

This could well be one of the most watched WW2 warplane restorations ever undertaken and there are many people watching. "The Widows Web" It is well worth your time to visit as it shows the amount of work that goes into one of these recovery and restoration projects when it involves a 14-ton airplane.

So what's Building the Model like

Believe me I won't be trying to duplicate the jungle crash scene depicted above. I want a much more lively appearing diorama, loaded with detail.

It is a mixture of Shep Paine's Black Widow scene and the typical structure found at a typical Marianas Island airstrip in 1944-45.

I'm starting with the Revell 1/48 P-61B Black Widow.

Before we get in too deep, take a look at this anti-tail-sitting method I came up with to deal with the dilemma.

Lead free Tail Sitting Solution The Black Widow Build Continues

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