|KIT:||Valom 1/72 B-26A Marauder/Marauder IA|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run with resin and photo etch parts|
Most of you are aware of the basic history of
the B-26, so I'll limit things to the B-26A production models. The B-26A was a
development of the basic B-26 incorporating changes on the production line.
Fittings for mounting an auxiliary fuel tank in the aft bomb bay were added, and
the nose and tail .30-cal. machine guns were upgraded to .50-cal. The A model
aircraft was 2 feet, 3 inches longer than the initial B-26.
The first 30 of 139 A models built had R-2800-5 radial engines installed while the last 109 aircraft had R-2800-39 radials. The -39 fitted aircraft were designated B-26A-1 but were essentially identical to the earlier aircraft.
The RAF got 52 B-26A-1s (FK 109 to FK 160) and designated them Marauder Mk. Is. Most USAAF versions were used as trainers.
This is only the second short winged Marauder to be kitted. Earlier, Monogram had a B-26B-2 in its snap-tite catalogue. It was a good overall airframe, but lacked detail. Despite that, it could easily be built into a very nice model, especially if one kit-bashed it with the Airfix B-26G.
Valom's kit is one of several to be produced of the early B-26 versions. It has been basically impossible to backdate the Monogram kit because of the very different tail gun position and the need to find spinners for the prop. Valom's kit has been released as both the B-26A and as the Marauder Mk. I. The difference between the two kits is limited to the crew harness and the decal sheet. In fact, it looks like the early B version could be built with this kit as the different rear gunner's position and transparency are included with the kit.
The overall detailing of the plastic parts is superb, and that includes the rather lightly done recessed rivet detail. Most impressive work and not at all as overstated as one has seen on some other kits of late. There is a fairly complete cockpit with a nice resin seat for the pilot, and photo etch for the belts and for the various levers on the center console. Photo etch is also used for the instrument panel face, behind which one sandwiches an acetate instrument cluster. It appears that there is also a nice radio operator's room, though little will be seen once the fuselage halves are closed.
As you know, the main gear of the Marauder is quite complex and needs to be firmly affixed as it leans forward. There is room under the cockpit for weight that will be needed. Two complete resin engines are provided and the cowling is separated horizontally with the upper section in resin. This is undoubtedly so that later B-26Bs with the larger carb intake scoops can be more easily done. More photo etch for the main landing gear doors and it will be interesting to see how well these work. The wings are a butt join so it would be advisable to use some sort of pins to be sure that these will be properly sturdy. There are also some areas of construction that require some holes to be drilled and some sprue to be stretched, but nothing major.
The instructions are quite well done and are not overwhelmed by part and paint number references as has been the case on earlier kits. Painting information is provided in a number of paint references as well as FS 595 callouts. The decals are very nicely done and provide markings for one aircraft. In the case of the B-26A it is an unknown unit with white forward engine cowlings. It is painted in Medium Green over Neutral Grey with OD splotches. This sounds backwards from my past experiences, but perhaps someone can clear this up. The RAF Marauder I is in Dark Earth/Middlestone over Azure Blue with markings for 14 Squadron, the only unit to fly this version. Decals are very nicely printed and should perform superbly.
Valom has put a lot of work and effort into doing the early B-26 versions and I think it is a choice that will pay off. The B-26 is one of those planes who have needed a full range of kits and now, together with the new later Marauders from Hasegawa, we will have all of them.
Thanks to Valom for the review kit.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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