Few kits inspire such conflicting feelings on different levels as the Monogram Devastator. From a modeler’s standpoint, one wants to ask why modern kits can’t have the wealth of options and detail found in this almost 30-year old kit - a well-detailed cockpit, optional parts for a level bombing or torpedo configuration, restrained surface detail (albeit raised panels) three pilot and deck crew figures, optional inertia starter handle, thin and clear canopy parts, separate flaps, a more-than-adequate two-piece engine, folding wings with detailed ribs, nicely done corrugation of the wing and horizontal stabilizer. From a historian’s standpoint, one looks at the Devastator and feels the ghost of a valiant but sad episode in U.S. history - Torpedo 8 at Midway. If there was ever any truth to the saying “fighter pilots make movies but attack pilots make history,” the Devastator is that truth in spades.
Monogram’s TBD has held up amazingly well over the decades. To put it in perspective, when I built my first TBD in 1974, Aurora had been making model kits for about 20 years and the Devastator was a quantum leap from what I’d been building in 1/48 scale.Twenty-nine years later, I compared my “new” TBD to the Hasegawa Kate in my stash and saw a kit that had a little less finesse but still stood up well to the newer B5N2. Cockpit detail in the TBD includes a nicely-molded floor, bombardier’s position with windscreen and Norden sight, rear gun ring and seat with 0.30 caliber machine gun, optional ventral panels for the level bombing or torpedo role, separate canopy sections, and optional open-or-closed nose gun and mechanic’s step panels.The wingfolds are also well detailed, with ribs and hinge mechanisms and an accurate set of hinge fairings on the upper wings. The fold join may not be quite as sturdy as you’d like, but creative use of brass wire can fix that.Landing gear legs and wheels are very well detailed, even by today’s standards. The wheel wells may need some attention, since there’s no well detail to speak of other than lightening holes in the wing root rib (an integral part fo the fuselage).
Decals and Disappointments
The decals in the “Monogram Classics” release appear thin and opaque - much better than the 1970s release of this kit.The only real complaint I had about the “Classics” release is that next-to-worthless bakery-style hinged box. It works for doughnuts but is just too flimsy for a model. If you’ve bought the Revellogram 1/48 F-15E Strike Eagle, you’ll know what I mean.Also, it would have been nice to get the Shep Paine diorama leaflet that came with the original release. After all, Revellogram came up with a new leaflet for its centennial release of the Wright Flyer...
Reference and Conclusion
As for reference on the Devastator, I strongly recommend Lynn Ritger's Devastator website-The Doublas TBD-1 Devastator
Plenty of photos and an annotated kit instruction sheet can make your building experience more than pleasant. It also has some good info on TBD's at Midway as well.Given the fact that this is, after all, a 30-plus year old kit, it looks less than half its age. Highly recommended.