12 years ago
152 parts (142 in black styrene, 10 clear styrene); price around
$26-30 but currently OOP
Advantages: first model of this aircraft in this scale in styrene
Disadvantages: missing some features which would give the builder
greater flexibility; no crew figures; fixed canopy
Recommendation: for all light bomber and Korean War fans
When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the mainstay light bomber in
the Far East was the Douglas B-26. Introduced in WWII as the A-26 to
succeed the A-20 series, the Invader was a popular aircraft as it was
nearly as fast as many fighters and very maneuverable. Two full wings
eventually participated in combat in Korea, and while carrying out
many of the USAF night strike missions they did suffer heavy
casualties. Over the three years of the war a total of 157 B-26s were
lost =96 110 of the =93gun nose=94 B models and 47 of the =93glass nose=94 =
models. Even so, it still went on to be rebuilt and serve in Vietnam
as the B-26K.
One of the first models I built was the =93box scale=94 Monogram B-26B
with an eight gun nose back in the mid 1950s. I always liked the
aircraft and even got one of the later Airfix kits when it came out
around 1970; the great thing with that kit was that it came with all
three noses =96 both of the gun noses and the glass nose. It did suffer
from =93rivetitis=94 but few of us cared back then. But while a number of
new 1/72 kits came out, nothing appeared in 1/48 until Monogram
released a B model in the late 1980s-early 1990s. This was backed up
with the C model, which is the subject of this review.
The B model kit is unfortunately the better of the two, for it comes
with more options. That kit comes with both the early (and hated)
=93flat top=94 canopy and the later raised canopy; one of the other
options is a second raised canopy variant with a separate section to
permit posing it in the open position. It also came with the six gun
nose (alas, a eight gun nose was not an option) and both turrets.
The C model is optimized as the later variant and comes with only one
(the upper turret). It also has only a single canopy and also missing
from this kit are the three standing figures, as usual outstanding
Monogram efforts and really nicely done.
What it does provide is a few of the standard options, such as an
optional position set of bomb bay doors. This is populated with eight
300 pound HE-FRAG bombs, racks and internal details to include a pair
of functional wing spars. These are neat as not only do they space and
support the central fuselage they also provide the mounts for the
wings =96 no tabs.
Underwing armament is sparse =96 either another pair of 300 pound bombs
or a pair of twin .50 caliber machine gun packs (to be used if the
aircraft did not mount the normal six wing guns). It would have been
nice if they had offered either napalm tanks or rockets with this kit
(rockets did come with the B kit) but alas they do not.
The fuselage has reasonably well done interior sections for the
navigator/bombardier and pilot and a combination gunsight/seat for the
gunner. This latter item can be left to swivel as desired by the
modeler, as can the upper turret. It should be noted that Monogram
created a wholly new fuselage for this kit =96 not just a =93stick-on=94
nose to replace the gun nose =96 and as a result they eliminated the
mount for the lower rear turret in the process. This is a shame, as
some of the Cs in Korea had both turrets or even no turrets with a
simple dome on the top. Others mounted a target acquisition radar in
place of the lower turret.
Landing gear is nicely done and the main wheel legs fit rather
cleverly into the nacelles. Engines consist only of the front row of
cylinders but with the tight fit of the cowlings this does not seem to
be much of a problem as far as visibility is concerned (not everyone
carries an =93IPMS Death Ray=94 by way of a penlight with them at all
times!) It does have a major problem compared to the B model as there
are few places to hide weight, and if no good solution can be found
the modeler may have to resort to the clear plastic peg provided for
getting the model to sit on its wheels.
Markings are for two B-26C bombers from the 34th Bomb Squadron
(Light), 17th Bomb Wing (Light), Korea 1952-1953: 44-35423 =93Dream
Girl=94 and 44-35684 =93Toni C II=94 (both of which survived the war). Both
are in overall black with light green trim and red markings.
Overall this isn=92t a bad kit, but one could wish for a =93Pro Modeler=94
or Revell Germany version which combined all of the bits =96 two
turrets, crew figures, and a choice of all three noses =96 in one box.