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Northrop BT-1

by Bernhard Schrock


Northrop BT-1


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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 Ferris).

  • 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 rounded inner-tips. 



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 different canopy.




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.



Additional Images


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Text, Images and Model Copyright 2001 by Bernhard Schrock
Page Created 30 September, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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