Aeromaster 48-414: B-26 Marauder

Units: Various




Scott Van Aken

Though initially thought of as a pilot killer, the B-26 Marauder went on to establish one of the best records among the fast medium bomber aircraft in terms of crew survivability. Initial bomber pilots were not used to the near fighter-like performance of this rather largish bomber and as a result, accidents were high. Once proper training regimens were established for the type, accidents and fatalities dropped off. This is quite similar to the initial problems with the F-104, which was an equally big leap for pilots.

Except for a few used in the Pacific at the beginning of the war, all B-26s were based in the European or Mediterranean theater. Thanks to their decent range and bomb load (not to mention their rather high speed), the B-26 was quite successful and most difficult for enemy fighters to bring down.

When looking for kits in 1/48, you have two choices. One is a very old and not very well done AMT kit and the other is a nearly as old, but much better done Monogram kit. Aurora also did a B-26, but that is best left for collectors, though your editor does remember that it took much battle damage before succumbing to the usual combination of glue, firecrackers and matches!

There are two aircraft on this sheet. The initial offering is in olive drab over neutral grey with a rather impressive tally of missions. 'Belle Ringer' was with the 320th BG  and had red cowling fronts and prop hubs.

'Milk Run Express' is a natural metal B-26 from the 598 BS/397 BG. You can see that it was once in OD/Neutral grey and the area inside the D-Day stripes was left in that scheme when the rest of the paint was stripped off. You know, I can only imagine the toxic wasteland that was left in the group areas where all the stripper and removed paint was left to soak into the ground. Oh well, these things were never considered when winning the war was more important. The sheet has the codes and fuselage insignia with a white surround. An addendum sheet (not shown) has them with metallic surrounds. Some black stripes are also provided in case you want to paint on the tail stripe.

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