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True Details Mk.13 Torpedo

The Mark 13 torpedo was the U.S. Navy’s most common aerial torpedo of World War II. It was designed with unusually squat dimensions for its type: diameter was 22.4 inches (570 mm) and length 13 feet 5 inches (4.09 m). In the water, the Mark 13 could reach a speed of 33.5 knots (62.0 km/h; 38.6 mph) for up to 6,300 yards (5,800 m).   Eventually,  17,000 Mk.13 torpedos were produced during the war.

True Details 1/48th Scale Mk.13 resin torpedo set

Well, here is finally a torpedo to go along my Accurate Miniatures TBF/M Avenger. It was built some time ago and went straight to the shelf in my office without the feature that distinguished this aircraft so much. Here comes the 1/48 U.S. Navy Mk.13 Torpedo #48506 from True Details.

I came across this set during a routine stop at my local hobby shop. So basically for the same price on-line with no shipping to pay, I decided to pick two torpedo sets. One is cast in a light gray resin and the other one in the traditional ‘butter cream’ resin color.

The 1/48th Mk.13 torpedo is comprised of basically of 9 parts. The torpedo itself, the wooden case, 2 propellers and 5 separate fins. There is an extra fin available in case you loose one. -that’s exactly what happened to me when I was removing them from the casting block-.

The cast is very clean on the main torpedo. There is an ‘eyelet’ on the tip that need to be opened. This should be the job for a pin vise and a small drill bit. Try to clean the extra resin from the casting on the eyelet, and you might end up blowing it up. Remember, I warned you 😉

As you can see on the provided pictures below, my MK. 13 torpedoes got a coat of Alcald 2 Gloss Black Base (ALC-304) and left to dry overnight. The leaflet included calls for a dark metal or dark gray color. Judging from pictures of the Mk.13, the color seems to be an aluminum shade either polished or dull.

I did tried Alclad 2 Polished Aluminum in a small portion of 1 of them. But this color proved to be too shiny almost chromed almost like the parts in model kit cars. I quickly changed to Alclad 2 ‘White Aluminum’ (ALC-106).

Meanwhile I left them to dry and started to work on the propellers. This is the most challenging part. Whatever you do, use a fresh #11 blade. Separating the propellers from the cast block is a very delicate job. The prop blades are  thin and VERY brittle. No matter how careful I was or method I used, I didn’t get a single propeller without ruining a blade.

This is where I believe that little fret of photo etched propellers wouldn’t raise the MSRP that much and *I* would be more than happy to pay a little extra. The blade mounts could be provided as resin ferrules. Just thinking out loud.

The front portion or warhead of the torpedo, was painted with a 50/50 mix of Model Master Acryl 4765 Light Gray and 4757 Acryl Medium Gray. After sealing just the gray area with Acryl Flat Clear, I gave both torpedoes a wash of AK Interactive Dark Brown (AK 045). One of them has the war head all scuffed while the other one was left clean as a museum piece. The stand was built with Evergreen plastic 5/32” I beam (# 215).  The exhibit plaque was made in .30 styrene. The picture and info was done with Photoshop as a .50” x .45” document at 200 DPI and printed on glossy paper.

This is a nice addition to your shelf of WW-II aircraft weather you have a TBF Avenger or not. The second scuffed torpedo will be used on a second Accurate Miniatures TBF/M Avanger. I wish it had photo etched propellers. Nice weekend project, highly recommended.

George Collazo
George Collazo
George has been hosting review sites and blogging about toy collectibles, travel, digital photography and Nikon digital imaging since 1998. His first model kit build was a Testors 1/35 DODGE WC-54 in 1984.