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P-61 Black Widow Canopy

Check Out Club Meeting: February 2010 Gallery

Featured In: February 2010 Newsletter

Vector P-61 Black Widow Canopy in 1/48scale

Manufacturer: Vector
Product Number: VDS48-021
Materials: Clear Resin
MSRP: $34.99
Available from: Sprue Brothers www.spruebrothers.com

For years I expected Falcon to release a vac-form replacement canopy for the old 1/48 Monogram P-61 Black Widow, but to no avail. Out of the blue, Vector from Russia comes to the rescue, with a clear resin canopy set. To recap an old issue, it appears that the Monogram kit’s windscreen suffers from a mold anomaly on its upper edge, creating an uneven gap if the canopy is modeled shut. I don’t know what caused this, but I don’t seem to recall the problem when the kit first came out in the late 1970s.

Vector P-61 Black Widow Canopy in 1/48scale

This is what you get from Vector. If you model all hatches closed, you will not need the three parts on the left.

 

Anyway, Vector’s set contains a two part forward canopy, a rear canopy with separate tail cone, and extra hatches for all three crew positions. If you want to use the hatches, you will need to carefully cut away the ones that are molded in place on the main canopy sections. Overall, the parts are cast with nary a bubble in sight; the QC on this product must be terribly exacting to achieve this. However, my sample’s rear canopy had a small wavy spot which was visible on both sides of the part. A quick e-mail to Sprue Brothers and in two hours (!) a response came back saying that a replacement would be on the way. Great customer service is still alive here in the USA.

Prior to use, the parts should be carefully de-greased with detergent and warm water, then dipped in Future for a sparkling shine. The pour stubs look easy to remove with a fine razor saw. Some cutting of the kit’s rear fuselage window framing will be needed to fit the resin replacement parts, but this is for the better, as it eliminates some solidto- transparent joint lines.

Vector P-61 Black Widow Canopy in 1/48scale Vector P-61 Black Widow Canopy in 1/48scale
On the left photo you can see the mold anomaly in the rear canopy. The replacement part in the right photo exhibited no trace of any defects.
Vector P-61 Black Widow Canopy in 1/48scale Vector P-61 Black Widow Canopy in 1/48scaleVector P-61 Black Widow Canopy in 1/48scale
The last bit of rear fuselage with the window frame will need to be removed to use the resin tail cone. Note the gaps at the front and rear edges of the Monogram pilot’s hatch.

Conclusion

Monogram’s P-61 has many shortcomings, but it is undeniably imposing when built. Vector’s resin canopy set will most definitely help keep this old horse running until a state of the art replacement arrives. (Anyone still remember AMTech’s promised 1/48 scale P-61/F-15 series?) Yeah, the cost of the canopy set is more than 1- 1/2 times the current cost of the base kit, but now I have no excuse for not building it. Recommended.

Vector P-61 Black Widow Canopy in 1/48scale

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