by Tommy H. Thomason

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Trumpeter 1/48 A3D Forward Fuselage

Kursad of Caracal Models posted pictures of the new Trumpeter kit on the ARC discussion forum:

A few of the details on the forward fuselage seem a bit off to me:

Here is a photo of the forward fuselage of KA-3B Bureau Number 142244 showing the location of the ATM exhaust ports and the aft end of the IFR fairing.

The questioned raised rectangles on the belly are associated with the bomb-bay anti-buffet fence. It proved necessary to keep the bombs from rattling around in the bomb bay after release rather than dropping cleanly away. It was normally, but not always, extended when the bomb bay doors were open.
For some reason, there is a version of the fence without the outboard separated "finger". The oval opening is at the center line of the fence. On the left side there is a raised exhaust vent on the outer surface of the fence but I don't have a good picture of it at the moment.

Hopefully the Trumpeter kit includes a separate fence that fits over the raised rectangles.

Note also that the most outboard rectangular opening is there to expose the catapult hook well.

Here is a picture of the right side of a Bomber forward fuselage that illustrates a couple of nuances. It has both the early sextant opening on the right side of the canopy and the later "bubble" on the left side, which is not common. There are a couple of long narrow external patches on the lower side of the fuselage (the skin wrinkled noticeably there on the catapult stroke; you can see evidence of it here).

 The "button" on the tip of the nose was a sensor that provided total temperature to the "bomb director system".

Compare the picture above with one of a TA-3B, which was a Version, the nickname give to non-bombers.
That should provide some insight into the difficulty of establishing the correct configuration for a particular A3D, be it Bomber or Version. For a more detailed synopsis, see

A comparison of the Bomber versus Version entry door thickness, location, and angle:

More later, maybe...


  1. Point of record: My dad was an aviation ordnanceman in Heavy Five when they flew Whales and, later, Viggies. He always called the gizmo that came down in front of the bomb bay when the doors were open a "rake" rather than a "fence" as you so often call it. Not sure which is right or if it even matters, but it goes a long way toward proving the age old theory that there are no absolutes in Naval Aviation or in modeling.

    1. Good point - I relied on a Douglas inboard-profile that labeled it "Fence installation, anti-buffet". However, in a NavWeps manual illustration, it is identified as a "bomb-bay spoiler". However in a February 1955 Flight article illustration it is a "bomb-bay anti-buffet rake" and one of my subject matter experts referred to it as "buffeting rake". It is also not unusual for features like this to get an informal nickname, or even the whole airplane for that matter, e.g. "Whale".