A TBM HISTORY: ONE OF A KIND ZIROLI AVENGER
Model Airplane News|October 2020
Back in the early 2000s, Nick Ziroli Jr. wanted to design something extra special to compete with at Frank Tiano’s Top Gun Scale Invitational event. Since he hailed from Long Island, the famous Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo/bomber seemed most appropriate.
SAL CALVAGNA

Nick Jr. designed and drew all the working plans for the 1/6-scale TBM model. He went on to build all the plugs and develop molds to produce the fiberglass fuselage and engine cowling, and he vacuum-formed the clear plastic canopy and gun turret. Nick Jr. then tackled the very daunting job of designing and machining the functional folding-wing mechanism. Nick Sr.’s longtime friend Bob Walker of Robart Manufacturing agreed to build the scale retractable landing gear and also helped Nick work out the design of the wing hinge locks.

The finished Avenger was a sight to behold. Powered by a Precision Eagle 4.2ci gas engine, the TBM was all done up in the U.S. Navy colors of future President George H.W. Bush. The Avenger impressed everyone. The only real issue with the new model was that the folding wing mechanism gave the aircraft a very high wing loading, and it was subsequently damaged during one of the flights at Top Gun.

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