PV-1 Ventura Kit First Look
|Date of Review||September 2010||Manufacturer||Minicraft|
|Kit Number||11654||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice detailing throughout||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$29.99|
Lockheed's twin-engined Hudson was a very successful light bomber as well as reconnaissance aircraft built for the RAF before World War II. The initial order of 200 Hudsons represented the largest order of any aircraft from the still-new Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, and launched that company into the mainstream aircraft business.
Building on the success of the Hudson, Lockheed developed a larger version of the aircraft that offered nearly twice the payload and was powered by nearly twice the horsepower. This new design was the Ventura, which was a militarized version of the Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar. This design was also quite successful in RAF service and as the US entered the war, a number of these production aircraft were diverted for USAAC service as the B-34 and to the US Navy as the PV-1.
The PV-1 differed from the B-34 and Ventura Mk.I in several ways. First, the fuel capacity was increased by almost 300 gallons to over 1,600 gallons and to compensate, the nose armament was reduced by an equvilaent weight. The main space in the nose was taken up by the ASD-1 search radar. In the early PV-1, the bombarier station was just behind the radar nose and was distinctive with the four side windows and a bomb aiming panel under the nose. This bombardier station was deleted out of late production PV-1s in favor of three .50 caliber machine guns shooting forward from under the nose.
Minicraft has reissued their 1/72 scale PV-1 Ventura kit and the tooling still looks good. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on four parts trees, plus two trees of clear parts. There is no sign of flash on this example so assembly should be straightforward.
Out of the box, this kit represents the early-production PV-1 which would share the same outward appearance as the B-34 and Ventura Mk.I. The instructions have you fill in the four windows on either side of the nose to replicate the late-production aircraft.
Assembly of the rest of the airframe is simple and straightforward, with a simple flight deck to view under the greenhouse enclosure. The weapons bay is covered by a one-piece bomb bay door assembly, but the AMS modeler could easily scratchbuild a bomb bay and open the doors.
As you might expect, this is a straightforward build that should pose no issues for the average modeler, yet provide some nice opportunities for the AMS modeler as well.
Markings are provided for three examples:
- PV-1, 486, VB-142, Tarawa, July 1944
- Ventura Mk.I, A59-75, 13 Sqn, RAAF, SF-Q, 1944
- Ventura Mk.I, NZ4603, 1 Sqn, RNZAF, 1943
This kit has been released a number of times under the Academy and Minicraft banners, and with the colorful camouflage schemes this aircraft carried, it is no wonder that it remains a popular kit.
My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!