|Koster 1/48 Martin Maryland|
|Multimedia vacuform with resin and metal|
The Martin model 167 was designed to meet the requirements for an attack bomber for the USAAC under the designation of A-22. Needless to say, the aircraft was not approved for purchase, the nod instead going to Douglas for the A-20. However, the type was approved for sale to foreign customers. The French were particularly in need of a modern attack bomber and placed a rather substantial order, with a number of them being delivered in time to be used against the Germans before the French capitulated in June of 1940. Thanks to its rather long range, most French aircraft were able to make it out of France proper and to French North African bases. This enabled them to be used by the Vichy Air Force and Navy. A number were even given civil registrations and used for long-range courier flights to Madagascar in 1941-42.
In addition to the French, the type was used by Commonwealth forces. Britain took over the undelivered aircraft from the French order and used them with much success in the Mediterranean, after having deemed them unsuitable for European operations. The first of 75 aircraft were modified (mostly changing the French equipment to British stuff) and delivery to RAF and SAAF units started in late 1940. These aircraft were used for bombing, ground attack and reconnaissance. They were particularly busy when attached to the Desert Air Force in North Africa in 1941-43.
To my knowledge, no Marylands have survived to this day.
When one thinks of quality styrene models, one thinks of Tamiya. In the World of vacuform multimedia kits, you simply replace that with Koster. Koster Aero Enterprises has been producing high quality vacuform and vacuform multimedia kits for at least 15 years. I can recall the first one I saw built up. It was the 1/48 Ju-88 and was built by master modeler Jerry Jackson in San Diego. I was truly amazed at the result and more so by the kit. With just one kit it was possible to make a multiple of versions of the Ju-88 bomber, and the quality of the moldings was second to none. On top of that, the kit was complete. No need to go rummaging through the spares box for bits and pieces or even decals. Everything you needed was right there in the kit.
That devotion to quality is still paramount in this most recent Koster kit. What makes it even more impressive is that it is competitively priced and is actually less expensive than several similarly sized Czech short run kits.
The kit comes in a plain but very sturdy cardboard box. Upon opening the box, one sees that there are a number of goodies in it besides two large sheets of vac plastic. There is a large bag of resin parts an a smaller bag of metal bits. A small sheet of very clear vacuformed plastic has all the clear bits on it. You'll notice that the vac plastic parts are molded on rather substantial plastic sheets, This makes it much easier to work with than some of the thinner plastic used by other vac kit makers. The quality of the vac components is superb. As you can see by the image above, the vacuformed bits are pretty well limited to the airframe itself. A wing spar is also included to assure proper wing angles. Gear doors are separate rather than part of the wing assembly as on many vac kits.
Resin and metal make up the rest of the kit. The resin suite is most complete. It includes props, engine cowlings, front and faces. The wheel wells are resin as are the wheels and all of the interior. The packaging of the resin parts is superb. All the little bits are in a separate bag as are the propellers. Detailing of the resin is excellent. The landing gear struts and guns are made of metal and well cast.
Instructions are a bit different from what comes in most kits. For instance, there is no opening historical commentary. No pages of warnings not to stick glue in your ear or your knife through your nose. There is a small section of hints on how to build vacuform kits, but other than that, it goes right into construction. Each of the 11 construction steps is very straight-forward and well illustrated. You will have to make a few small bits from plastic card or stretched sprue. There is no interior color painting information given.
As is typical with other Koster kits, there are a large number of possible camouflage and markings schemes. A very nice touch is the inclusion of color profiles for all of the possible markings offered in the kit. A total of 9 different schemes are possible with this kit. That is well appreciated as it is not likely that we will see this model kitted by Monogram or Tamiya! Seven of the schemes are French Vichy ones, most with the distinctive red and yellow striped engine cowlings and tail units. You'll have to do those markings yourself, but it should not be that difficult to do. The other two are RAF/SAAF aircraft. The SAAF one in desert markings while the RAF version is in standard RAF European scheme. I'm sure that research will be able to turn up other options. The decals for this kit are superbly printed and very sharp.
I cannot recommend this kit highly enough. Sure, it isn't for the beginner and probably not for some intermediate modelers, but if you have had some experience with vacuform and multi-media kits, are confident enough in your abilities, this will make into a superb model.
Just to give you a clue as to what is to come, I notice on the kit list that a P2V Neptune and G3M Nell are listed as upcoming kits.
Koster even makes conversions and there are two of them for the ProModeler Do-217 kit to make a -217J/N and a -217K-2/M-11. Hopefully the J/N one will eventually find its way to Modeling Madness as I have a nice ProM 217 looking for an excuse to be built!
Stay tuned for the full-build article.
Review kit courtesy of Koster Aero Enterprises.
Koster kits are available direct by mail. No phone orders, no credit cards.
For more information, please write to them at:
Koster Aero Enterprises
610 Euclid Court
Highland Park, IL
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