Pro Modeler 1/48 A-26B  Invader

Kit Number: 5920

Price: $24.00

Decals : Scalemaster decals for one Pacific theater and one European theater aircraft, both in bare metal.

Editor's note: this review rewritten in July 2000

The A-26 Invader was designed as a replacement for the A-20 and B-25. Wanting to design a similar aircraft to the A-20, the A-26 was to be fast and carry a reasonable bomb load. Thanks to improvements in aircraft engines and airframe design, one got the ability to carry a similar load to a B-17 at a much higher speed. Only in the range and defensive firepower areas was the A-26 behind the Fortress. However, this was an ATTACK aircraft. It was designed to go looking for trouble, not for high altitude strategic bombing!

After a relatively trouble-free development, A-26 Invaders started arriving overseas in late 1944 in both the European and Pacific theaters, where it replaced A-20 Havocs. Before complete re-equipping was completed, the war was over. With the post war drawdown going full blast, A-20 and B-26 aircraft were quickly pulled from service and melted down. The new USAF eliminated the A for attack designation and redesignated the A-26 as B-26, there being no more Marauders in service. 

The now B-26 went on to serve with distinction in Korea and later in the early phases of the Vietnam War.

I have been awaiting the gun nose A-26 since the C model was released several years ago. Is it worth the bigger price? Well, I think so as the extra goodies (6 gun nose, accurate replacement gun turrets, old style canopy, crew members, bulged wheels, and good decals) make up for the price increase. The bulged wheels are good, but I replaced them with True Details resin wheels which are better than any plastic wheels.

The detail provided on the inside of this kit is just superb. Like other Monogram releases, there are a plethora of things to paint and put in. The bomb bay detail is superb and like much of the interior detail is eventually hidden or covered up by the bombs. 

Like it's earlier Monogram cousin, the ProModler A-26 has raised panel lines, a beautiful and complete interior, good fit and a tendency to sit on its tail. This last tendency has been eliminated with the gun nose as now you have lots of room to put weight and I had to fill that nose to keep it from tailsitting. The down side is that this strains a pretty scale nose gear, but it has not collapsed yet.

There are a few trouble areas when constructing this kit. The one area that I had some problems with were the upper fuselage and the fitting of the nose. Both of these places required quite a bit of filler and some careful sanding to fit properly. I also had to use some filler around the horizontal stabilizer. 

The kit gives you an opportunity to practice your bare metal painting skills as well as skills relating to exhaust stains. The A-26 always heavily stains the engine nacelles so I used a lot of pastels staining the aircraft. As great as the Scalemaster decals are, I wanted something different so jumped on Aeromaster's recent release that included a super dragon that covers the nose. The nose decals were a chore to apply as all the colors were separate and it had to cover an extremely compound curve. I ended up using straight Solvaset to cure the fit problem, and the result looks great.

I highly recommend this kit to those with some experience as careful building is required with this one. I would definitely build another although I would like an 8 gunned version or maybe a 1960's version of A-26K would be better. The finished kit looks good with its 1/48 scale gun nose buddies, the Monogram B-25J and AMT A-20G.

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