Northrop P-61 Black Widow

P-61 Black Widow

According to the 1944 Air News Yearbook, vol 2, which I received when I was ten or twelve years old,

Heaviest fighter aircraft in the world, the Black Widow has the general dimensions of a medium bomber and carries a generous bomb load on intruder operations. Two radial air-cooled supercharged 2,200 HP Pratt & Whitney engines allow the Widow to cruise slowly at an economical 160 MPH or top 350 MPH when necessary. Armament consists of 20-mm cannon and 50-cal. machine guns, with four guns mounted in the dorsal power turret and cannon or guns accomodated in th eventral positions. A three-place aircraft, the P-61 is a high-wing monoplane with a tail booom running after from each engine nacelle [like the P-38]. Landing gear is tricycle type. Wing span 66'; length 45'.

Interestingly, the author here never mentions why the airforce had such a large, heavily armed but comparatively slow plane built in the first place. As I recall from other sources, it was intended as a heavily armed nightfighter that could either accompany bombers over Japan or carry out other kidns of missions. I wonder how many of these strange planes, which in some ways seem to be early anticipations of the A-10 Warthog, were built.

This model, which I built from a Monogram or other plastic kit in the early 1980s, was airbrushed and decaled, and I used black draughtman's tape for the windows. [GPL].

Other views: (1) side view (2) A three-quarter rear view


Air News Yearbook, vol 2. ed. Phillip Andrews. New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce, 1944.


Miniature Worlds