by Tommy H. Thomason
Friday, September 7, 2018
There are two issues available: SW72114 shown above with decals for US Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force; and SW72115 with decals for Dutch and French TBM-3Ws.
The radome is integrally molded with the fuselage halves. Its complex shape and removal of the lower turret fairing looks to be well represented except for maybe a small area at the very aft end of the radome.
The cockpit is adequate to the scale, needing only seat belt and shoulder harness for completeness. The seat is a little undersized and there would generally be a seat-back cushion and seat-pack parachute in it. The landing gear is delicate and the tail gear is remarkably complete. The tail gear looks a little more extended than a regular TBM's, but that's mostly if not completely because the fuselage forward of that is significantly less deep.
No interior is provided for the radar operator but even if the modeler goes to the trouble of opening the compartment door, a scratch-built one wouldn't be very visible.
If you want to move closer to perfection, adding "flutes" to the exhaust stacks provided would be more obvious, although not all TBM-3Ws had flame suppressors.
One caution is that not all TBM-3Ws had the external tailhook, since that depended on which TBM-3 was used for the conversion (see http://thanlont.blogspot.com/2015/07/post-war-eastern-tbm-variants.html), including the one, VS-892 25ST, for which decals are provided in the kit.
Another detail with some variation are antennas. The most obvious is the relay antenna on the vertical antenna (the operational concept in the beginning, was to transmit the radar signal down to a ship).
For example, this is a depiction of the antenna suite typical of a Canadian TBM-3W2. For lots more, see http://jproc.ca/rrp/rrp3/avenger_equipment_details.html