Hobby Boss Aircraft 1/48 US P-61A Black Widow Kit

Estimated Shipping: 2-3 Business Days

$59.19 $73.99
SKU: HBB-81730

Add to Wishlist

Estimated Shipping: 2-3 Business Days

The Northrop P-61 or Black Widow was the first operational American aircraft designed from the outset to be a Night Fighter using Radar as the primary means of interception. The aircraft would feature a crew of three; Pilot, gunner and Radar Operator.

Early on in WWII the US in the person of their Air Officer in London Lt General Emmons were briefed on Radar by the British. At the same time, the British were evaluating US Aircraft in their need for a high altitude, long loiter, and ability to carry a radar unit. At the time radar units were bulky and heavy. Jack Northrop realized that to fulfill these requirements he would need a large multi-engine aircraft. The Northrop proposal was to feature an aircraft with a long fuselage gondola between two engines and tail booms. The size and weight (45' long with a wingspan of 66', and 22000Lb) were bigger than any fighter to date and made t hard for some to accept the aircraft.

The P-61 as it became was to feature 4 x 20mm cannons under the fuselage with a remote control turret on top carrying 4 x 0.5 cal heavy machine guns. A model SCR-720A radar was fitted in the nose which had a range of 5 miles. The remote turret could rotate 360 degrees and fired by any of the crew members. The turret suffered from buffet problems but the main cause of its non-fitment to many aircraft was short supply. The same mechanism being given priority in B-29 production.

The P-61 would see use in all theaters of WWII. American night fighter crew traded in their Mosquitos, Beaufighters, and P-70s to move to the new fighter. In addition to its night fighter duties P-61s were employed against V-1s in Southern England, and during the Battle of the Bulge, certain units switched to ground attack where the four 20mm cannon proved their worth against ground targets. Despite it clearly being outclassed by the best aircraft coming online at the end of WWII the P-61 stayed in the US Inventory as the USAF experienced problems in developing a jet-powered night fighter. Post war the P-61 would see use in developing ejection seats and collecting radar data on thunderstorms. The aircraft we retired in 1947 as they were reaching the end of their operation lives, with no jet replacement in sight the USAF were forced to use surplus P-51s and make F-82s. The USAF would not get its first Jet Night Fighter the F-89 until 1951.

Hot items!