Agape forum member Tom Dye (spitguy) reminisces about his struggle swith Monograms TBD-1 Devastator… and then his ultimate victory over the plastic! Looks great Tom!
I was only 15…as I walked into the People’s Drug store after school that afternoon to look at the model airplanes (a weekly habit), I spotted her. I had never seen such beauty – amazing colors, strange markings, and complex, yet aerodynamic lines. I had to have her. After saving up for several weeks – I claimed my prize – the 1/48 Monogram TBD-1. I had built only Monogram kits as a kid and I knew this kit would be equally simple to build – after all they would not put out a difficult kit to build? I was a little wary of pulling off that yellow wings paint scheme. However, I had my trusty brushes and little bottles of Testor’s enamel – I felt ready for the challenge. I started in that weekend.
Oh, the humanity. The huge gaps in the wings. The ill-fitting wing hinges – the outer wings always falling off. Those strange doors underneath the pilot – are they really supposed to fit that opening? The gap in the wing trailing edge where it meets the fuselage underside. I soldier on – using tube glue and Testor’s putty – fingerprints, globs, melted plastic…surely once I start painting those beautiful colors, it will start to look as good as the kit on the box! The gloppy enamel lays down in thick carpets, obliterating detail. I am near tears – it won’t even look close to the kit on the box. I surrender in tears – I toss it in the box and hide it deep down in the trash never to be seen again. Hey, I wonder if that girl I saw at the pool would go to the movies with me? So ended my early model building career – devastated by the 1/48 Monogram TBD-1 (and encouraged by hormones).
Fast forward 31 years…after reading “A Dawn Like Thunder” my inner fire for the TBD-1 is re-ignited. I capture the factory sealed Monogram Classics version of the kit at the 2010 Birmingham (AL) model show for $20. The guy who sells it to me says, “Watch out for how those wings fit!” I smile back and say I am ready…bring it on. My discipline and patience sharpened by decades of working for others, my eyes weakened by decades of staring at a computer screen, and my middle section softened by decades of barbecue and soft drinks, I am ready for my quest. I shall conquer her…
I am pleased with the result, but whew! All the colors, masking, gap filling, sanding, and canopy framing really put me to the test. One major difference from the box picture, is I have modeled 2-T-1 before the unit earned their “E” as I had a decal malfunction. I think I am ready for a less complicated build. Just like when I was a boy, I have really enjoyed looking at this beautiful model aircraft. This is a big model – I am going to have to clear some space to display it properly.