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Mike

B-26B-50 Invader (48281) 1:48

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B-26B-50 Invader (48281)

1:48 ICM via Hannants

 

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The good old B-26 Marau… no, wait.  The A-26 Invader?  Hang on, erm... B-26 Invader.  That's it, as long as it's after 1948 as that's when it was re-designated as the B-26 by the US Air Force to confuse us, and later on back to the A-26 just to complete my befuddlement.  It was developed a little after the Marauder and despite using the same engines it was designed totally separately from its tubular colleague.  It was designed to replace the A-20 Havoc, but it was initially less than popular in the Pacific theatre where its poor cockpit visibility due to the canopy and engine position rendered it unloved by the first users.  It was more popular in the European theatre and was accepted as replacement for the Havoc fairly quickly.

 

Two types were designed, The C with a glass bomber nose and the B with a full metal nose filled with either 6 or 8 .50cal machine guns, which coupled with the three in each wing gave it quite a punch, deserving of the Strafer title.  It also had a pair of turrets on the fuselage mid-upper and dorsal positions, which were both operated by a single gunner using a complex remote mechanism that flipped between the upper and lower turrets depending on where the gunner was looking through his binocular sights.  This trained the guns accordingly and also calculated the correct offset for parallax and lead, but was very complex and caused some delays to it entering service, and even more issues with maintenance in the field.

 

After the war it served in Korea, early Vietnam engagements and other conflicts, ending its days in US service with the Air National Guard in the early 70s.  It continued in civilian service as a fire bomber and in other roles, such as actor in the film Always with Richard Dreyfuss playing its brave but ill-fated pilot.

 

 

The Kit

This is a brand new tooling from ICM and a lot of folks have been waiting (im)patiently for it for a while now, hoping for something to replace the old Revell Monogram kit of yore.  Here it is!  It's the Korean War variant with the Strafer nose that we're getting first, with other options coming in due course.  It arrives in the familiar top opening box with a captive inner lid on the lower tray, and inside are eight sprues in grey styrene, one in clear, a decal sheet and the instruction booklet.  A quick look over the sprues reveals that panel lines are very crisp, narrow and restrained, the surface is matt and very neat-looking, with plenty of engraved and raised details on the parts, plus subtly indented flying surfaces mimicking their fabric covering.  You might also notice that there are parts for an open or closed canopy, the open one having the flat top surface, while the closed canopy has the slightly blown roof that was used after 1944 to improve visibility.  That might give you some latitude in case you can't wait to build a WWII aircraft.

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit, creating the pilot's seat, instrument panel (with instrument decals) with built-in door to the nose, centre console with throttle quadrant before adding those and the single control column to the floor.  The aft compartment is built up around the front wing spar with a set of radio gear hanging from a pair of risers, then a pair of bombs on their racks, the reason for which will become clear in a moment.  The port fuselage half is detailed with some side console and panel parts and then has the bomb racks, nose gear bay sides, forward spar with radio gear, rear spar in the centre of the bomb bay, sloped aft bulkhead and another frame behind that, followed by the cockpit floor, so you'll have to do some detail painting as you go.  After this the starboard fuselage side is prepped, and here's where a little cautionary note about sink-marks on the exterior of my sample needs making.  The right side of the cockpit and bomb bay with its detailed ribbing has caused the shallowest of sink-marks on the exterior, which would be best dealt with using a little filler before you get busy building.  You could have dismissed it as oil-canning of the skin if it were consistent and on both sides, but as it isn't you'll need to decide whether you're going to fix it.  Happily the majority of it is in areas that are open enough to allow easy sanding back of filler, so it shouldn't slow you down very much.  I'll be using some Tamiya Basic on mine in due course and have no doubt it will be just fine.  A 0.8mm hole is drilled in the section behind the canopy and the two remaining bomb racks are added inside along with an internal detail panel, nose gear bay side, and a hatch that does a credible impression of a toilet lid.

 

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With that and a quantity of detail painting you can then slide the starboard fuselage over the two spars, and it would be a good idea when fitting those spar parts to let them set up with the starboard fuselage taped in place to ensure they make the correct angle when they're set in place permanently.

 

The instructions then have you building up the tail feathers, with the elevators having separate single-part flying surfaces, plus a two piece rudder to attach to the moulded-in tail fin.  The gun-nose is appropriate for this model, but as it's a modular part that in real-world situations could be swapped for the glazed-nose in a couple of hours, you can bet your boots these parts will be joined by some additional glazing in a later boxing.  The fixed lower and rear section of the nose are built up out of three parts, making space for the 40g of nose weight you are encouraged to fit before you add the single cowling panel that covers the gun bay, with a pair of four barrel gun-inserts added through the holes to depict the .50cals.  You'll need to drill out the muzzles or take the lazy way out and get a set of Master barrels, such as the P-47 set until they get their own specific set.  The nose section is a straight-forward butt joint to the fuselage, with a small half-moon cut-out that should help align it.

 

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The wings are next, and the lower parts have a smattering of flashed-over holes ready to drill out for bombs, gun-pods or drop tanks, plus three cartridge ejection chutes to be cut out for the wing mounted .50cals.  The faces of the in-line radiator baths are added to the lower wings and then it's already time to bring the halves together.  You'll notice that there are fairings and a hump in the upper wing where the engine nacelles will be, and these are separate assemblies to be built up later.  First, the separate two-section flaps (oddly with no deployed option), and the ailerons are prepared and added to the trailing edge of the wings, the latter being of one piece each and slotting into wing via two tabs.  The tip lights and underwing landing lights are added from clear parts, and a small insert is glued into the wing that includes three more barrel stubs each and will again need drilling out.  At this stage the instructions have you sliding the wings onto the spars and gluing them in place.  Whether you'd rather wait until you've added the engine nacelles though is entirely up to you though.

 

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There are of course two engine nacelles and these build up pretty much identically apart from their outer skins, which are handed to fit their respective fairings as you'd expect.  They are split vertically, and each half has internal structure moulded-in, with bulkheads added fore and aft of the gear bays, coupled with bay lip inserts that bulk out the edges and also hold captive their bay door.  This may require some clever masking and a little care during handling, but it shouldn't hold you back too much, as the hinge-points are relatively robust.  The two halves are joined together, the prominent intake on the top of the nacelle is made up from two parts, then is added to the nacelle front which is in turn glued to the rest of the nacelle, with the completed assemblies attached to the wings from the underside, as yet without their engine cowlings or props.  The engines are added later in the build, and the Twin Wasps are depicted in their entirety with both banks of pistons, push-rods, ancillaries and reduction housing at the front, plus the collector ring and exhausts at the rear, the latter made up from eight parts each.  So that they are fitted correctly and mesh properly with the nacelles, they are attached using a jig that is discarded later, so remember not to glue it in!  Again the engines are identical and interchangeable with each other, and they fit to the nacelles with a teardrop-shaped tab, after which the engine cowling is slotted over them.  The cooling flaps are last to be added in four sets around the rear of the cowling.

 

The top of the fuselage is still open at this point, as it has an insert with the top turret to fit in place, with another for the dorsal turret fitted later on.  The remote turrets are both made up together with the ability for the twin .50cals to be left movable if you wish.  The top turret has its mechanism and ring made up first, with the two halves brought together on either side of the insert before being glued into the fuselage closing up that area.  Then the gunner's compartment with simple seat and periscope is made up and installed under the glazing that sits behind the top turret.  Flipping the model over, the lower turret is added to the insert and glued in place too.  Another clear light is added to the very rear of the fuselage, and attention turns to the landing gear, which is of the tricycle variety as became the fashion in late war.  Each of the three tyres are made from two halves with separate hubs applied from either side, then hung on their respective legs, which have retraction jacks and scissor links added along the way.  Happily these can be fitted late in the build, so the open bays can be masked quicker than if they were present.  Speaking of bays, you can depict the bomb bay open or close by using either a one piece door for closed, or two separate doors with internal detail for open.  This is nice to see, as it's always a little tricky to join two doors and get them aligned with the fuselage so there's minimal join-lines.

 

The main airframe is ostensibly complete save for some antennae and the props, and if you've been sparing with the glue when assembling the engines, the latter should still spin once complete.  Your final choice is bombs, tanks or gun-packs hung under the wings.  The bombs are made up from two halves each with a spinner insert in the rear and their attachment points moulded into the port side, the gun-packs have a handed three part pod that fits around the central gun-tray, and the drop tanks are simple two-part assemblies with their attachment points moulded into the port side again.  They are all mounted on pegs, and fit into their holes that you remembered to drill in the wings before you closed them up, didn't you?

 

 

Markings

In this initial boxing there are three options included on the decal sheet, one in bare metal, the other two in olive drab, one of which has a bare metal leading-edge panel to the tail and an all-over olive drab finish.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • B-26B-30-DL 8th BS, 3rd BG, Iwakuni AB, Japan, Spring 1951
  • B-26B-56-DL 13th BS, 3rd BG, Iwakuni AB, Japan, August 1950
  • B-26B-61-DL 730th BS, Miho AB, Japan, Autumn 1950

 

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The decals are printed anonymously, although they look like DecoGraph's output to my eye.  They have good registration, colour density and sharpness, and include a number of stencils that are legible with the right eyeware. If you forgot to ream out those cartridge chutes in the wing before you closed them up, some kind soul has added two decals with three black rectangles to help you out.

 

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Conclusion

This model should make a fair few people happy, and consign a lot of old Monogram kits to deep stash or eBay as a result.  Detail is excellent and made so much nicer by the matt surface, and there's a fair proportion of the interior included for what is bound to be a popular kit.  Smear a little filler into those light sink-marks before you get started, and no-one will know they're there.  Keep 'em coming ICM!

 

Very highly recommended.

 

Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd.
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Review sample courtesy of

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Looking forward to this kit.  However, whats up with the thick raised line on the fuselage that runs nearly the length of the fuselage?  The US national insignia is ill-proportioned and will need replacing.   I want a K version.  

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9 minutes ago, Ad-4N said:

However, whats up with the thick raised line on the fuselage that runs nearly the length of the fuselage? 

I've seen a lot of airframes without it on Google, but I did find at least one with it - no idea what it is, and in this example it was on the Pima example, and was more of a ledge with a line of holes running along it than a raised strip.  I guess you'll have to decide firstly whether your chosen example had one, and then if not, whether you want to go to the trouble of removing it.  Sadly, the visibility of the fuselage with the wings on isn't that great thanks to those huge engine nacelles :hmmm:

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6 hours ago, Ad-4N said:

Looking forward to this kit.  However, whats up with the thick raised line on the fuselage that runs nearly the length of the fuselage?  The US national insignia is ill-proportioned and will need replacing.   I want a K version.  

It is the outline of the bolted on armor kit.
https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/385902-61117-a-26-invader-all-versions-wrong-armor-shape/

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The A-26 down the road from me has it too. With early flat canopy.

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Great review Mike. :D

And the kit look stunning. 

I'd like to build a French Air Force variant based in Algeria in the sixties. 

Would it be possible to do this from this kit, or should I wait for another version? 

 

/Bosse

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3 hours ago, Marlin said:

I'd like to build a French Air Force variant based in Algeria in the sixties. 

Would it be possible to do this from this kit, or should I wait for another version? 

Honestly, I'm afraid I have no idea, partly because I don't know anything about the French airframes.  Your best bet unless an expert comes along would be to do lots of comparing against photographs to see if you have what you need in the box.  It would also help you if you got serials, variants and block numbers/factory codes for the airframes in question.  Also, a lot can happen to an airframe between manufacture and its ultimate disposal :hmmm:

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Thanks for the reply Mike. :D 

I guess I've got some hours net trawling to do then. 

Could be fun. 

/Bosse 

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I'm wondering if that sort of batch and serial information on the French aircraft might be available in Dan Hagedorn's Foreign Invaders.  Afraid I'm away from my references at the mo.

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On 10/11/2019 at 11:29 AM, Seahawk said:

I'm wondering if that sort of batch and serial information on the French aircraft might be available in Dan Hagedorn's Foreign Invaders.  Afraid I'm away from my references at the mo.

Hi Seahawk,

I have a copy of "Foreign Invaders" and there are several pages listing USAF /AdlA serial numbers in both chapters, "France: Indochina" and "France: Europe and North Africa", if you want to know about any specific Invader I can look it up for you.

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On 10/10/2019 at 10:40 PM, Mike said:

However, whats up with the thick raised line on the fuselage that runs nearly the length of the fuselage? 

Hi all,

I've looked up at several photos of Portuguese AF Invaders and this is the only one where I can see something looking like an armour panel below the cockpit but nothing like the thick raised line ICM's kit has, perhaps more photos of Invaders can show this more clearly?

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The pics on this link seem to show it; https://www.hurlburt.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Fact-Sheets/Article/204595/a-26-counter-invader/

 

But that is a counter Invader so added later?

 

In most pics it not there, so we can just sand it off, not too much work, and its new Invader, thats welcome. 

 

 

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Not my scale, but one of my very favorite multi's, so here are a few observations about the ICM kit. First off, the props will need replacing- see the attached link to a walkaround that shows the correct blade shape; the Monogram kit got them right, which is a strength of their kits, regardless of scale- they always seemed to get the prop hubs and blades on their releases correct. Don't know why this is such a problem for most kit makers, but it's very frustrating! Secondly, I'm not really sure  about the external armor plate being the reason for those ridiculous raised lines on the ICM fuselage. If they were trying to represent this, they missed by a mile- the areas with external armor would simply show as thicker skin than the surrounding areas. My thinking, since ICM most likely  used an Invader on the civil register for tooling their kit, is that those funny-looking ridges were either cable ducts or reinforcement straps for a fire bomber. (Much like the cable ducts that Sword molded on their F3D, not realizing the preserved example  they used to model the kit was a test airplane that was painted by the USMC Aviation Museum to represent a Korean War night fighter.

Mike

 

https://www.net-maquettes.com/pictures/douglas-a-26-invader-walkaround-2/

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13 minutes ago, Julien said:

The pics on this link seem to show it; https://www.hurlburt.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Fact-Sheets/Article/204595/a-26-counter-invader/

 

But that is a counter Invader so added later?

 

In most pics it not there, so we can just sand it off, not too much work, and its new Invader, thats welcome. 

 

 

Julien,

 

I don't think that raised area shown in the photo you linked is armor plate, as the fuselage skinning above and below it is the same thickness as the rest of the fuselage. I think it's a cable duct or strengthening strap. I have attached a video to Special Kay, an original A-26A Counter Invader recently restored to flight here in Texas- you can clearly see the applique armor, but there are no raised structures visible where the armor plate is laid over the surrounding skin. Maybe ICM just interpreted the tubular structures they molded on their kit as a fairing between the armor plate and the skin? Please note that her props are not correct for a WW2 or Korean War Invader, but were fitted to civil conversions and SEA B-26K's.

Mike

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=und4YrG6jHk

 

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I never said it was armour just that there was something visible which looks like that on the ICM kit.

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It's supposed to be armor. ICM screwed up and didn't finish molding it or whatever their thinking was. The strip should be a flush wedge that butts up to the armor.
The one at the local museum up the road has it. Look at my post above. It clearly shows it.

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All one has to do is use the same raised lines as a template for add-on armor plates in plastic card. Where’s the problem?

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20 minutes ago, 72modeler said:

Found this walkaround that shows some fairing strips that are fitted at the edges of the bolt-on armor plate panels. Could this be what ICM was trying to represent on their kit?

Mike

 

https://www.cybermodeler.com/aircraft/a-26/pages/fwa_a-26b_08.shtml

Yep! That is them.
I think that is what they tried to reproduce but failed to finish the addition of the armor. Or maybe they did that for you to add the armor yourself in case of aircraft that had the armor removed perhaps?

Alan

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3 hours ago, sinistervampire319 said:

Yep! That is them.
I think that is what they tried to reproduce but failed to finish the addition of the armor. Or maybe they did that for you to add the armor yourself in case of aircraft that had the armor removed perhaps?

Alan

Alan,

I guess it depends upon the aircraft that they used as a resource when they tooled the kit; sometimes the research staff or people that are used by kit makers are not well-versed enough to know if the subject they are using is original in equipment or configuration or not. That's what happened when Sword used the F3D at the Marine Corps Aviation Museum- the scheme was correct for a combat version, but the airframe was a test aircraft.  I was very proud that I caught this and the editor at Cybermodeler  confirmed my observations and included them in a revised kit review of the kit. Score one for insane modelers!

Mike

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10 hours ago, 72modeler said:

Alan,

I guess it depends upon the aircraft that they used as a resource when they tooled the kit; sometimes the research staff or people that are used by kit makers are not well-versed enough to know if the subject they are using is original in equipment or configuration or not. That's what happened when Sword used the F3D at the Marine Corps Aviation Museum- the scheme was correct for a combat version, but the airframe was a test aircraft.  I was very proud that I caught this and the editor at Cybermodeler  confirmed my observations and included them in a revised kit review of the kit. Score one for insane modelers!

Mike

Yes totally. Wouldn't be the first time nor the last.

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I've just got mine today. 

Does every one else has a weird marble effect in the plastic on the elevators? 

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Well, I can confirm that there’s nothing like that conduit/duct/fairing visible in any of the starboard side photos in the Osprey “B-26 Invader Units over Korea” book that’s to hand on the shelf. That said, there are some pretty nifty colour schemes and some great nose art, so let’s hope the aftermarket is gearing up for this otherwise excellent looking kit. I have micro-chisels, after all...

best,

M.

(edit: some colour schemes may require re-organising the gun layout in the nose, but the Chadwicks are worth the extra effort.)

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On 11/6/2019 at 1:16 PM, cmatthewbacon said:

Well, I can confirm that there’s nothing like that conduit/duct/fairing visible in any of the starboard side photos in the Osprey “B-26 Invader Units over Korea” book that’s to hand on the shelf. That said, there are some pretty nifty colour schemes and some great nose art, so let’s hope the aftermarket is gearing up for this otherwise excellent looking kit. I have micro-chisels, after all...

best,

M.

(edit: some colour schemes may require re-organising the gun layout in the nose, but the Chadwicks are worth the extra effort.)

It's not conduit nor duct. It is fairing strips for the Dural bolt on armor. Please look again as they are straight from the AF manuals on the A-26.

https://www.avialogs.com/aircraft-d/douglas/itemlist/category/304-a-26invader


Read section secttion G

 

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The kit got it wrong on the right side. It should do a step and end at the front bottom of the wing fairing. Not continue all the way to the gunner door. Only the left side does.
Enlarge this photo to see what I mean. 


wu8Jr2J.jpg

 


http://8thattacksquadron.yolasite.com/korea.php  5th photo right side. Enlarge it and you can see the strips. Hard to see on black aircraft.

Just a few examples I found on the interwebs.
Also on the WWII and later natural metal aircraft. The Dural Aluminium really stands out as darker.


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This is an A-26B in Vietnam early period. Note armor.
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Korean war.
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Korean war.
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Korean war 90th BW 1951 damaged
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Cuban
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Warbird. Note one of the few that kept the armor. They went so far as to paint the strip red!
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Awaiting scrapping.
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This is the A-26 I have messed with since 1993. Lot's of riveting, repairs, etc. 
Scroll down on the page to see it's history.

https://pacificcoastairmuseum.org/aircraft/a-26c-invader/

Something I just noticed. Monogram got it right with the inclusion of the armor. Note fuselage halves.
https://www.cybermodeler.com/hobby/kits/rm/pages/rg_3921_parts1.shtml

Edited by sinistervampire319
added info

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3 hours ago, sinistervampire319 said:

It's not conduit nor duct. It is fairing strips for the Dural bolt on armor. 

 

Oh, I looked pretty hard. Let me rephrase... there is nothing remotely as pronounced as what is moulded on the kit visible in the photos in the book. What little hints you can see look pretty much the same as the adjacent panel lines. I’d maybe run a scriber along one edge of the raised lump before taking it off, but it still needs to be removed or drastically reduced...

best,

M.

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8 hours ago, cmatthewbacon said:

there is nothing remotely as pronounced as what is moulded on the kit visible in the photos in the book

Yes because they screwed it up. They didn't finish it. That should have been molded just like you see in all the photos as just a wedge shaped piece of phenolic plastic material that blends the thicker armor to the skin of the aircraft. But they completely forgot for whatever reason to not finish the added armor.
Look at the Monogram sprue on the Cybermodeler link and you will see they actually got it right despite that kits shortcomings.
 

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