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The Grumman TBF Avenger (named to 'Avenge" Pearl Harbor) was intended to be the replacement for the woefully obsolete (by 1939) Douglas TB-1 Devastator, which could have been renamed "TBD Devastated". The Devastators were slaughtered in the Battle of Midway. Midway was the Avenger's first combat appearance and it did not fare particularly well either, with 5 of the 6 Avengers that participated were shot down. Despite it's less than stellar first appearance, the Avenger went on to be the most successful torpedo bomber of the Second World War. It was originally designed and built by Grumman but production was transferred to General Motors (and the designation changed to TBM) beginning in 1943 so Grumman could concentrate on F6F Hellcat production.
It was instrumental in the Battles of the Solomons, Guadalcanal, the "Mariana's Turkey Shoot" and was also instrumental in reducing the German U-Boat threat in the Atlantic Ocean.
The Avenger played a number of roles, including torpedo bomber, dive (and level) bomber, mine layer ground attack. It continued to be used after WWII in both a military and civilian capacity, primarily as a fire fighter, and was finally retired in early 1960's. It was flown by Ens. George Herbert Walker Bush, the youngest Naval Aviator at the time and later 41st President of the United States
Upon opening the kit, one has the initial impression that not only will this build into a very large model, it has a ton of parts and will be very detailed. I was amazed at the complexity of the accessory section of the engine. I certainly will not have to scratch build one like I had to do with the Trumpeter 1/32 F4F-4 Wildcat. A little bit of wiring and plumbing and that will do it. Like all of Trumpeter's US Navy kits, you can build the wings extended or folded. I will leave them spread. Reviews of this kit have been very favorable, with fit and level of detail being excellent. Trumpeter has not been the best when it comes to fit but it appears from the reviews that this time they got it right. The engine is complete and will require very little scratch building. No kit is perfect, and I am sure I will find opportunities for scratch building and improvement but this should be an enjoyable build. My only concern will be where to put it!
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