AMT 1/48 A-20B/C 'Havoc'
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Douglas A-20 Havoc (company designation DB-7) is an American medium bomber, attack aircraft, night intruder, night fighter, and reconnaissance aircraft of World War II.
Designed to meet an Army Air Corps requirement for a bomber, it was ordered by France for their air force before the USAAC decided it would also meet their requirements. French DB-7s were the first to see combat; after the fall of France the bomber, under the service name Boston continued with the Royal Air Force. From 1941, night fighter and intruder versions were given the service name Havoc. In 1942 USAAF A-20s saw combat in North Africa.
It served with several Allied air forces, principally the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), the Soviet Air Forces (VVS), Soviet Naval Aviation (AVMF), and the Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom. A total of 7,478 aircraft were built, of which more than a third served with Soviet units. It was also used by the air forces of Australia, South Africa, France, and the Netherlands during the war, and by Brazil afterwards.
In the early 1990s, AMT/ERTL made a concentrated effort to produce aircraft kits in both 1/72 and 1/48 scale. AMT had done planes before, but those were to 1970s standard and were not exactly the most detailed around. This particular kit has a few items that people will want to correct, but overall, it is a very well done kit.
Let me focus first on the two areas needing fixed. One is that the kit has horrible main wheels. These are supposed to be diamond tread, but look like overlapping diamonds instead of a proper tread. The other is that a standard piece of equipment in all A-20s was a life raft aft of the pilot. This has not been included in the kit and if you pose the entrance hatch open, its omission is quite obvious. Fortunately, True Details did a nice wheel set that includes this life raft and should be sought if doing any AMT or Italeri A-20.
The kit has a decent cockpit, though really not all that much can be seen. There are side panel pieces and a nice instrument panel. No decals for instruments on this. A set of seat harnesses would be useful as well. The assembly sits atop the nose gear well and attaches to the forward bulkhead. To this piece is fit the bombardier's station. One then builds up the bomb bay area (which is fairly minimalist), the rear gunners position, then sticks the wing spar in place while closing the fuselage halves. Since this is a glass nose version, there isn't much space for weight, so I'd recommend putting as much in place around the cockpit as you can.
The kit offers two different nose sections. One is a stepped nose while the other is a slanted section. Check references to the plane you are modeling to see which is appropriate. An area I found a bit loose when building the A-20G, was the attachment of the carb intake section. I also found that the landing gear was fiddly to build up but sturdy once all the cement had dried. Other options that you have are for raised or lowered gear doors and bomb bay doors. To do the plane on the ground, these need to be cut. Note that the A-20C often has additional 'cheek' guns and these are provided. These were removed from some planes so again, check references. The final optional bit is a long range ferry tank. Of course, you have to have bomb bay doors closed to use this piece.
Instructions are well done and offer generic paint information. Two markings opions are provided. One is the box art plane with 114 Squadron RAF in a desert scheme. This is an A-20C. The other is a 86 BS/47 BG A-20B with the USAAF. Decals are nicely printed, a bit thick, and glossy. The set in my kit has a background that looks 'old', but since I pulled the shrink wrap from the kit just a few minutes before scanning the sheet, it may still be viable. There are aftermarket options if you are so interested.
Most, if not all, AMT/ERTL/ESCI toolings went to Italeri, who have since reissued this kit with a newer decal sheet and a higher price. That means that the kit can be found and while a search did not find the AMT boxing, it did locate an Italeri version. Well worth picking up if you want one.
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