Italeri 1/72 B-26K Counter Invader
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|COLORS & MARKINGS|
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
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