AMT 1/48 A-20G Havoc
Kit Number: 8894
Media: Injected Plastic
Decals : One version by Scalemaster
Date of Review: 1 June, 1996
The A-20 Havoc had a very successful career both in the European and Pacific theater. It is probably best known through its service with Kenney's Fifth Air Force and the campaigns in New Guinea. It is there that they were converted into strafers by adding extra 50 cal. machine guns to the nose of C models where they created havoc with Japanese shipping and troops. It is also these aircraft that successfully used the tactics of skip-bombing to sink thousands of tons of Japan's merchant marine.
Before AMT brought out their A-20G, there was no really good kit of the A-20. Frog, Revell, and Matchbox all have produced kits in 1/72, but none of them were particularly good. Only the Matchbox version was a G model while Frog and Revell did the earlier C versions. The comments on the G model probably carry over to AMT's recent release of the B/C version.
First impressions are very good. It is well molded with delicate engraved panel work. The cockpit is fully detailed and looks particularly convincing. This version has a rear turret similar to that on the Martin B-26 and it is well detailed. There is detail in the gunner's compartment, but frankly you are wasting your time on it as it is not visible, in spite of some small windows.
Since this is the gun nose version, you can dispense with any bombardier bits and compartment details. The wings and stabilizers fit very well. One thing I did not like was the numerous exhaust outlets that had to be glued onto the engine cowlings. There are marks for placement on the cowlings, but I lost one of the exhausts in the rug somewhere. Just be careful in this area. The overwing intakes are huge and fit quite well. I actually used very little putty on this one.
Where did I have trouble? Two spots. One is the bomb bay. It can be displayed open, but is really poorly detailed. To put the doors in the closed position is a bit of a problem as I had fit troubles (too small). Putty time. The other place was the gun nose. If you are careful, you can get a good fit. I didn't. My nose was slightly larger than the fuselage. I could get a good fit side to side or top to bottom, but not both. The landing gear is like the original and complicated, but can be quite sturdy when finished. The engines and propellers are real gems and look great with a bit of detail painting. Pack the nose with lots of weight. The kit comes with tires that show weight on them, but the tread is really weird. True Details to the rescue. With the True Details set, you also get the life raft that fits on the shelf behind the pilot. Wonder why AMT missed that one? You also get two different length nose cannon barrels. Most use the short ones, but I have seen a photo of a sharkmouthed A-20 with the long cannon barrels. Thanks for including them, AMT.
While the Scalemaster sheet in the kit is very good, I always like to use aftermarket ones when possible. I guess I like something a bit different. This gave me the opportunity to use a sheet by a company called Three Guys. I used sheet 48004 that has four A-20Gs on it; two from Europe and two from the Pacific. Naturally I picked a Pacific aircraft and one with nose-art. Painting is easy: OD over neutral grey. No green scalloping or other bothersome stuff. The only other part for color is a white diagonal piece on the tail. One omission on the sheet is the serial number of the aircraft that I made. I have a reference that shows the serial and the data plate on the decal sheet has it written in. Another strange omission. I made the serial out of a Microscale sheet of yellow numbers. The Three Guys sheet is otherwise very good. It is opaque and reacts well to setting solution. I dirtied it up a bit with pastels and set it with my other nose gun attack bombers; the Monogram B-25J and A-26B.
I highly recommend this kit to people who like the subject. In fact, I liked it so much, that I bought another G and one of the newer B/C kits. Try it, you'll like it.
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