|KIT:||MPM 1/72 Douglas DB 8A-3N|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run kit|
The Douglas DB 8A-3N is really little more than an export version of the Northrop A-17A ground attack aircraft. With war looming in Europe, most European nations looked overseas for possible aircraft to use in the coming onslaught. As a result, the Netherlands government ordered 18 DB 8A-3N attack bombers, all of which were delivered between August and November of 1939.
During the time between order and delivery, the Northrop company was absorbed by Douglas Aircraft. This meant that export aircraft were Douglas while the A-17 and A-17A were Northrop. The Douglas aircraft were designated as DB 8s.
The Dutch aircraft were delivered to the 5th fighter squadron based at Ypenburg. On May 8 of 1940 when the Germans attacked Holland, 12 of these were in active duty with the rest held in reserve. One was destroyed on the ground while the other 11 managed to get airborne. 7 were shot down by the attacking Luftwaffe while the other four managed to knock down some Ju-52s. This was short lived as the remaining four were destroyed on the ground in a second air strike. Those held in reserve were eventually captured by the Germans and used for a very short period of time.
The DB 8A-3P was developed for Peru, but had a Wright R-1820 in place of the Dutch Pratt & Whitney R 1830. The 8A-4 was built for Iraq and equipped with the Wright R-1820 as well. So was the Norwegian 8A-5, several of which were taken over by the USAAF as A-33s. The Canadians also operated the Pratt & Whitney powered aircraft as the Nomad in the Empire Training Plan, however these were really just refurbished A-17As that were surplus to USAAF requirement.
This kit is quite similar to the A-17 kit that I built a year or so back. The only real differences are that this one has the different center section for the retractable landing gear and a larger engine and cowling from the A-17 to accommodate the large engine that the Dutch requested. In all other aspects it is basically identical so I suggest reading that other preview for some background on the bits. One thing that I applaud is that this kit had a single molded prop. No more separate blades and hub. I know it won't change things overnight, but I really appreciate it being done this way. The kit also has no resin parts. To me, the true way to the mainstream is to rely only on injected plastic for your basic kit. If you want to add resin to do modified versions, then that is fine, but to rely on them for basic bits is a sign of a short run kit. One other thing that is different from the A-17 is that there is a lower gunners position provided, though there is no gun to stick through it. The builder will have to scratch build the wing guns from sprue as these are not provided.
The instructions are quite good, providing both construction and info drawings to assist in building. Options are clearly shown as is any color info. Color references are generic and Humbrol paints. FS 595 information is given for the exterior camouflage. There are three options that basically differ only by insignia. One is the box art aircraft in the later orange triangle insignia. The second is the same but a different aircraft number. The third has the earlier four color roundel. All of them are painted Olive Green, Sand and Brown over Brown. Decals are excellent as one expects from MPM.
I found the A-17 kit a delight to build and I can't see why this one should be equally pleasant.
Review kit courtesy of me.
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