Italeri 1/72 B-26K Counter Invader

KIT #: 1249
PRICE: 15.75 euros
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Carmel J. Attard


The A-26 medium bomber was developed by the USA during WWII.  Douglas built and delivered over 2,500 A-26s between the type first flight in July 1942 and delivery of the last airframe in August 1945. Introduction into service was quite slow and it was not until autumn1944 that the A-26 saw action in Europe, flying over 11,000 sorties before the end of the conflict.

 The A-26 was used extensively during the Korean War taking on the role of standard USAF bomber and was also protagonist in French operations in Indochina. Yet it was not the end with the emergence of new generation of jet powered medium bombers. It suited perfectly for counter-insurgency operations in the cold war era where it has thrived in such missions to attack enemies in jungle cover with adequate payloads, target acquisition and adequate endurance during such missions.

 The US military started to introduce the A-26 into South East Asia theatre in 1961 under CIA project Mill Padon reconnaissance missions against communist forces. Most of the aircraft were moved to Vietnam to conduct COIN operations with other aging but suited assets like the T-28. However the A-26s started to suffer from wing failures. Subsequent analysis revealed that taxiing on general rough fields in South Vietnam while carrying heavy under wing loads overstressed the wing and caused fatigue cracks to wing spars.

Alterations were made do to keep aircraft in service and eventually emerged the YB-26K counter Invader prototype. The variety of features added comprised internal upgrades and refinements that enhanced operational effectiveness. This included a new broad chord rudder with an additional trim tab; redesign the wing so that it is strong enough to carry close to 8,000 lbs of ordnance on eight new pylons besides the 4,000 Lb payload in the bomb bay; additional fuel in wing tip tanks; more powerful R-2800-103W engines that drove a broader fully reversible square tipped propeller blades and also revised cowlings on some of the B-26K with carburettor inlets moved further aft. The nose wheel steering also had larger wheels and brakes. De-icing boots added to wings and tail fin, gun turrets removed and faired over and new radio and update antenna equipment installed. The A-26K continued to serve in anti-guerrilla operations until 1970.


 Kit comes in light grey plastic having fine injection molded parts having engraved panel lines and fine detail to all parts. There are five molding frets one of which is reserved for clear parts. A total of 120 parts that includes also a varied set of under wing armament that are carried on four wing pylons on each side. Wing tip tanks for this version are also included as separate items.

Decals are provided for three Vietnam three-tone camouflage A-26Ks that were attached to 609th SOS Thailand based between 1966-70 and another two A-26K that were operated by the Congolese AF units during 1966 and 1967. The latter two are finished in field green upper surfaces and light ghost grey lower surfaces. Fancy nose or engine cowling markings decorates four of the machines.


 The cockpit office was the first stage of assembly. There is a floor on which are assembled the control stick, two crew seats, instrument panel and rear bulkhead. Even here, the detail is of top quality. I painted the interior cockpit green while nose wheel wells and those at engine nacelles and wheel doors were painted zinc chromate. Then I assembled the rest of the fuselage interior by following the instruction sheet.

I was using SAC metal wheel legs; the nose wheel leg was fixed in place before the fuselage was closed. Instruments are given in decal form, which I applied while the fuselage halves were still separate. The kit provides a well-detailed bomb bay complete with a full bomb load. I elected to close the bomb doors and there was no scope in detailing an area that was to be hidden. The solid nose was fitted at a final stage where it also served as a place to add lead weight in order that the kit will in the end balance on nose wheel. I found that sealing the lead in a coat of white glue will isolate any oxide which may form in time from lodging on clear cockpit canopy interior or fall under the nose gear.

Although I found the kit to be a first class one at this scale, more recently after market kit items have been issued to further enhance detail to certain parts of the kit. These detail sets pertain to the radial engine and cowlings on one part and much stronger metal undercarriage on another, The resin engine detail set is released by Pavla Models which comes as set U72-72 and was purposely released for the Italeri kit of the B-26K. This I have used with no difficulty.

 Scale Aircraft Conversion set 72008 provided undercarriage metal legs to render the kit strong enough during handling while masking and painting of the model.

Other detail I added consisted of antennas and aerials attached to several spots on the fuselage. These were HF antenna, a loop antenna, UHF antenna, VHF-101 antenna, ADF SENSE antenna, localizer antenna, a distance antenna and RC-44AM antenna.


 I went for the three tone color camouflage commonly used during the Viet Nam era. These were dark green FS34079 for which I have used Humbrol paint USM1; medium green FS34102 using Tamiya XF58 and Tan FS30219 for which I used Compucolor Tan CAC6, the underside was semi gloss black. My A-26K represented a USAF machine attached to 609th S.O.S., 59th SOW Nakom Phanom, in Thailand 1970.

In brief this was an enjoyable build and adding a sturdy undercarriage allowed me to make mock touch and goes with all the fun without risk of breaking the wheel legs.

Carmel J. Attard

August 2013

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page