by Tommy H. Thomason

Friday, September 7, 2018

Sword TBM-3W

August was a good month for 72nd-scale carrier-based modeler enthusiasts with the arrival of the Special Hobby FH-1 Phantom (see prior post) and the Sword TBM-3W. While the former was excellent kit, there were earlier options. The latter was particularly welcome because it was unrepresented other than by relatively crude conversions.

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.
Note how close the main landing gear is to the radome. These were also painted white on many airplanes.

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, including the one, VS-892 25ST, for which decals are provided in the kit.
The odd representation of the star in the national insignia occurs because part of it is painted on the crew door, which is open.

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

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