...the new kit from Great Wall Hobby
We have seen previously the FW189 that Great Wall Hobby started off their range of 1/48 aircraft kits, and now they have followed it with a US built Night Fighter, the Northrop P-61 Black Widow. The first aircraft designed for the US Air Force with carrying radar in mind from the outset. A twin-engined, twin-boomed aircraft which started to roll off the production lines in October 1943. The design had from the start been intended to carry the then heavy airborne radar equipment of British design, to be able to loiter at night for many hours, and to have a heavy armament for when it was needed. With a 3-man crew, it was a big and heavy aircraft for a 'fighter', being as large and heavy as some bombers of the time. With 4x 20mm cannon mounted within the fuselage, it packed a very heavy punch.
It went into service in the UK in 1944, with the 422nd NFS, and went on across Europe into Germany at the end. At the same time, it also served in the Pacific with more success. They weren't built in the huge numbers of some other Allied aircraft, the number of 742 is what I have seen quoted. They did do the job they were designed for though.
Now as for the kit? Well I think Great wall Hobby have done it again, and managed to produce a model that just cries out to you with all the detail included the moment you open the box. It is hard to know where to start in talking about what is included. The detail both inside and out of parts like the fuselage pod is excellent, all the crew compartment and the 4 big cannon are all there to be fitted in. The harnesses for the crew seats are included on the etch fret, along with the wiring harnesses for the two huge Pratt and Whitney radial engines. You should get the best idea from the photos in the album below, showing all the contents of the box.
Detail inside the wheel wells, where the nose wheel was also the crew access hatch to the forward fuselage is all there, and the tyres have the weighted 'flat' so it looks good mounted with the gear down. Etch parts also are used as the spoilers on the wings. Amidst the detail in the crew compartment are the various instrument panels and bulkheads, along with the early A.1 radar set. The nose is a clear plastic part which even comes in it's own custom packaging to keep it safe while in transit. For me this is a model that will repay being set on the ground, with open panels to allow you to see all that interior detailing.
There are two colour and marking options provided for, one in Belgium in 1944, and an all-black machine in Burma as well. Either one will be an impressive looking model once built.
The other thing to mention are their instructions. Along with the main booklet are a couple of extra individual sheets showing some corrections, one of whch even carries a tiny resin detail part which clearly they found had been missed from the sprues. To me this represents the care Great Wall Hobby have put into this one and not just ignored an error once they have found one. Drawings are corrected accordingly, and those corrections included in the box. The other nice little extra is a full colour copy of the box art, but without any of the labelling text and branding. It will do well mounted in a clip frame on a study wall
Thanks to the Airbrush Company for the news, who are the UK importers.
For more details of their products, see the Lion Roar website