A4894 RNZAF Grumman TBF Avengers, Pacific Theatre and Post war Target Tug

Review by David Harvey

Review Type
First Look
$18.00 NZD from Ventura Publications
Contents and Media:
1 x double sided instruction sheet and two small decal sheets
A nice set of decals that gives options other than USN aircraft
None at this stage
Highly Recommended



The TBF Avenger was one of the many aircraft used during and post WWII by many Forces. as with a great number of them the use by countries other than the USA is normally overlooked. The Royal New Zealand Air Force used the TBF-1 and -1C Avenger and received 48 of them during 1943/44. During their service with the RNZAF they served with 30 and 31 Squadron in the Pacific during which they carried out a number of raids up until the end of the war.

After the return of some aircraft to the US Navy and the British fleet the RNZAF had ended the war with 12 Avengers.This number was further reduced in 1948 when six were sold for scrap. The remaining six aircraft continued target towing duties with the Central Fighter Establishment and 42 Squadron. NZ2503 was ditched in the Waitemata Harbour off Whenuapai on 17th March 1956 after an engine failure while drogue towing with 42 Squadron. By 1957 only two TBFs (NZ2527 and 2504) remained active and served with 42 Squadron at Ohakea until May, 1959.

For more information on the RNZAF aircraft go to the Peter's RNZAF Pacific WWII Home page.

The instructions

As with the Ventura SBD Dauntless decals, the instruction sheet is a colour, double sided A4 sheet with basic information and decal placement guides. You also receive a camouflage scheme guide and basic paint guide for the interior and exterior of the aircraft as well as scrap views of the location of the upper and lower wing roundels. The instruction sheet would definitely be improved by having at least three view profiles of at least one of the aircraft, preferably all three, to give a better indication of the schemes and decal placement.

The decals

The decals on the sheet cover the following four aircraft:

  • RNZAF Avenger NZ2509 'Grumpy', January 1944. Scheme - Non-Specular Sea Blue uppers, Semi-gloss Sea Blue fuselage sides and fin/rudder and undersurfaces insignia white.
  • Avenger NZ2518 'Plonky' as flown by F/O Fred Ladd, 30 SQN. Scheme tri colour scheme.
  • Avenger NZ2504 'Popeye' of 5 SQN, Ohakea 1946/48. Scheme - RNZAF Blue Sea Grey uppers, Duck Egg Blue lower surfaces with orange/yellow tail.
  • Avenger NZ2523 about May 1944. Scheme - standard tri-colour scheme.

Using Peter Mossong's RNZAF site for reference, the decals seem to be mostly accurate with only the odd discrepancy in colour. Fortunately the discrepancies are very small and not noticeable to the eye. The decals are nicely printed and provide national markings, tail numbers and the aircraft specific markings for each Avenger. The most colourful of the nose art is definitely 'Plonky', the flying beer keg. Ventura provides two different colour national markings as the wing markings are a different colour from the fuselage ones. Having a look at the reference images this does appear to be correct as they are definitely a different colour.


These decals cover an area that is not greatly recognised by most after market companies around the world. Aeromaster did produce an extensive set of RNZAF markings some years ago but these are now worth their weight in gold due to their scarcity. Fortunately companies such as Ventura step in and bring other sheets out to cover the aircraft in question.

These sheets are nicely printed and very colourful and as such I highly recommend these for those interested in the RNZAF or are after a scheme for their Avenger other than a US variant.

Review set courtesy of my wallet.


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