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Here is a series of photos of perhaps my most challenging modeling
project to date. This aircraft is: the predecessor to the famous "Slow
But Deadly" SBD - the Northrop BT-1.
About nine years ago I saw an article by Ferris Brown in Fine Scale
Modeler magazine. He looked forward to a BT-1 kit for many years, but none
of the manufacturers fulfilled his wishes. He therefore finally decided to
build his own BT-1 based on Monogram's Dauntless.
I started my own conversion nine years later. I decided to use the
Hasegawa kit in 1:48. The BT-1 was only completed after many, many hours
work - up to 120 hours in all.
The most visible differences are:
the fuselage (narrower than by the SBD to
match te smaller engine),
different engine (P&W double row R-1535) in a
smaller cowling (from Testors Travel Mystery ship; I went the same way as
The shape of the rudder is different, it is
more round than by SBD and the rear fuselage has a no fin.
The BT-1 elevators are deeper and shorter.
The landing gears retract only half in the
fairings (I sand a core from balsawood and vacuumformed the fairings).
The engine was based on a modified R-1830 crankcase from Hi Tech in
1/48 scale, and cylinders from R-2600 from Aires in 1/72. I corrected the
ailerons too: they are deeper than the pendants by the SBD and have
The landing gear-legs have a 90° angle to ground, but the kit wheels
can be used. I filled the wheel wells and the "bomb bay" in the belly and
modelled a new stiffeners from a half-rod.
The cockpit consists of modified kitparts, different aftermarket parts
(Verlinden and Aires) and scratch built parts. As an example, the
instrument panel is assembled as a sandwich.
The most challenging aspect of the project was the front of the
fuselage and the cowl. I used bulkheads from 1 mm sheet (the shape of them
are copies from FSM-plans) glued in correct distance from the rest of the
fuselage with "longerons". I filled the remaining areas between the
"longeron" and bulkheads with Mikrobaloons, super glue and sculpted
the end-shape of the fuselage with putty.
The last major action was the construction of the "core" for the very
I picked a aircraft from a old color photo in a Wings magazine.
The model was painted with Humbrol paints and a mix of Sealer (approx.
30%) and aluminium Testors Metalizer.
Click the thumbnail to view
the larger image on this page.
Text, Images and Model Copyright © 2001 by
Page Created 30 September, 2001
04 June, 2007
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