The Northrop P-61 Black Widow, named for the American spider, was the first operational U.S. warplane designed from the onset as a night fighter, and the first aircraft designed to use radar.
The P-61, described as both elegant and menacing, was an all-metal, twin-engine, twin-boom design that first broke ground on May 26, 1942. The first production aircraft began rolling off the assembly line in October 1943.
The P-61 had a crew of three: pilot, gunner, and radar operator and was armed with four 20 mm (.79 in) Hispano M2 forward-firing cannons mounted in the lower fuselage where the muzzle flash would effect the night vision of the crew less than nose or wing-mounted arrangements. In addition, the remote controlled dorsal gun turret sported four .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns. Issues with buffeting at high speeds when the guns were elevated in azimuth and production problems at General Electric (the turret’s manufacturer) necessitated the production of P-61’s without the dorsal turret (late production P-61A’s and early production P-61B’s). With the born of the more powerful Airborne Intercept radar, the SCR-720C,the P-61s of the Army began their upgrade to install this latest radar. The new type Black Widow with the SCR-720C were designated as P-61B.The type B length the nose section and reintroduced the dorsal turret on the late production.
Although not produced in the large numbers, the Black Widow was operated as a night-fighter by United States Army Air Force squadrons in the European, Pacific, China-Burma-India, and Mediterranean theaters during World War II. It replaced earlier British-designed night-fighter aircraft that had been modified to accommodate radar until a purpose-built night-fighter was available.
Assembly required. Paints and glue not included.
Features: The kit consists of 91 parts, clear parts for windscreen & windows and photoetched sprue for fine details.