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TBD-1 Devastator
early 1938 and 1942 versions


Valom 1/72

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Valom kit No. 72011 (early 1938) and 72012 (1942)
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media: 31 mid grey plastic parts on one sprue, 2 clear parts in injection moulded plastic, 19 well moulded resin parts, 26 PE parts on one fret, decals for two aircraft plus a 6 page A5 instruction booklet with history, parts plan, 12 build diagrams and two pages of paint/decal drawings.
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Important US navy subject, very good resin detail, excellent decals by Aviprint.
Disadvantages: Panel detail a little heavy, injection moulded prop a bit vague in its shape; injection moulded, one-piece canopy is thick and may be better replaced with a vac-formed item.
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Glen Porter

Valom's 1/72 scale TBD-1 Devastator kits will be available online from Squadron.com



I find it hard to understand why the TBD Devastator has been overlooked by the major manufacturers in this scale for so long, as it was the first all-metal monoplane for the US Navy.

The design by Douglas, first flown in 1935, had many innovations compared to its biplane competition. The first aircraft were issued to VT-3 aboard USS Saratoga and others participated in the attacks on the Marshall and Gilbert Islands, the Coral Sea Battle but were given a hiding at Midway then with-drawn from front-line service shortly afterwards in August 1942.

Valom has released two kits simultaneously and the only difference is the colour scheme, decals and offensive armaments. Kit No. 72011 is the pre-war example, in a suitably colourful scheme, with a torpedo and associated equipment. No. 72012 is in Blue/grey and Light/grey with two 500 lb bombs at Wake and on the Big E in 1942.

The single mid-grey plastic sprue is pretty good for a short-run kit with minimum flash and only a few minor sink marks. The prop is probably the worst of the parts with its shape being a little vague and some sink marks evident on the blades but still usable with some clean-up. In my opinion, panel detail is somewhat heavy, not as bad as Matchbox's trenches but not quite as subtle as the newest Japanese kits.


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The one-piece canopy is a bit thick so if you want to show off all that lovely interior detail by opening it up, it may be easier to replace it with a vac-formed example.

The highlight of Valomís kits is often the resin, and this release is no exception. There is a one-piece cockpit floor with the two front sears, side consoles and other items that would be fixed to the floor plus separate gunner's seat, fun stick, roll-over bar, gun sight and rear machine gun. There is also a beautifully detailed radial engine and suitably thin-walled cowling to go over it. 2 two-piece 500lb bombs for the 1942 version and a resin torpedo and cavity in the early one.



The only disappointment in the resin is the wheels. These are beautifully moulded but with an air bubble in the outside wall of each tyre. This shouldn't be hard to fill but you will lose some of the detail in the process.

The PE includes instrument panel, rudder pedals, seat belts, DF loop and torpedo props and fins among others.

There are markings for two aircraft in each kit. The early (1938) covers one each for Saratoga and Lexington in the appropriate pre-war colours and the other (1942) for Wake Island and USS Enterprise in early-war Blue/Grey and Light grey.

Valomís Devastators are not perfect but apart from the aforementioned comments should, with some extra work, build into very nice and highly detailed models.


Thanks to Valom for this review sample.

Review and Images Copyright © 2005 by Glen Porter
Page Created 30 January, 2006
Last updated 29 January, 2006

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