Classic Airframes 1/48 Model 187 Baltimore Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||March 2008||Manufacturer||Classic Airframes|
|Subject||Model 187 Baltimore||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||4139||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin|
|Pros||Nice detailing, especially with the resin castings||Cons||Clear parts are cloudy|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
The Glenn L. Martin Company was contracted to develop a follow-on to their Model 167 Maryland bomber. This new aircraft, Model 187 and dubbed 'Baltimore', featured more powerful (1600 hp) engines and a deeper fuselage than its predecessor. Originally destined for the RAF and French Air Forces, the fall of France made all of the production aircraft available for RAF service.
The Baltimore fast and rugged, resulting in relatively few combat losses. The aircraft spent most of its RAF wartime service in the Mediterranean and North Africa. The aircraft was also used on a limited basis by the Fleet Air Arm. Baltimores operated in the USAAF as the A-30 Baltimore, as well as equipping the Air Forces of Canada, Australia, South Africa, Greece, and co-belligerent Italy.
The Baltimore entered service in 1941 and would soldier on in a variety of roles before the last ones were retired at the end of 1949.
Classic Airframes is back with a new and interesting release, this covering the Martin Baltimore. This first release represents the early RAF versions of the aircraft.
The packaging on this kit is much better than many previous releases with the clear parts in a separate zip-lock bag from the remainder of the kit. The three parts trees and separately bagged resin parts are all in a larger zip-lock bag, so you can fondle your kit and safely put it away again until you're ready to build.
The kit is comprised of three parts trees molded in gray styrene, plus a single tree molded in clear for all of the aircraft transparencies. There was clearly a difference in dimensions between two of the trees and the kit box, which is why you see two of the wing halves clipped off their trees and packaged separately along with another small set of parts from one of the trees. With all of the parts trees that had to be clipped when these kits were packaged, someone is going to have one heck of a handshake after that workout!
The molding on the gray styrene parts is nicely done with fine details scribed in the surfaces. The wings and tail mount to the fuselage with a butt joint, so you'll need to be careful of wing and horizontal stabilizer dihedral angles. If you can, you might insert main spars through the fuselage to help strengthen and align the wings and tail surfaces. While the kit instructions do not show the angles, the tailplane appears to be zero (flat) whilst the wings appear to carry only a degree or two of dihedral.
The main wheel wells are an interesting new twist. The sidewalls and one bulkhead are molded as one part which you bend into position, then glue on the other bulkhead to box in the main wheel wells. Not bad...
The cockpit is nicely appointed with styrene and resin details. The kit also provides a detailed bomb aimer's position as well as the combination wireless operator/dorsal gunner's station. The casting on the wireless operator's chair is particularly well done.
The kit also features beautifully cast resin engines and main wheels. Some of that engine detail will be lost when you close up those cowlings, but there is some serious potential for posing this model with the cowlings off and undergoing maintenance.
With all of the nice details inside the aircraft fuselage, the only concern I have with this kit center around the clear parts. They aren't very clear. My example seems to suffer from the same cloudiness that was in Accurate Miniatures early B-25 kits when they were first released many moons ago. These may clear up with a treatment of Future.
The decals in this kit provide markings for four examples:
- Baltimore, FW418, 13 Sqn, RAF
- Baltimore, FW287, 55 Sqn, RAF, Celina, Italy, 1944
- Baltimore, FA564, Coastal Command
- Baltimore, AG724, 223 Sqn, RAF, 1942
This is the first time this kit has appeared in styrene in 1/48 scale with only the Contrail kit (vacuform) comprising the only other 1/48 scale entry. Azur released this kit in 1/72 scale previously.
This kit has a lot of potential and the four subjects covered by the decal sheet offer a wide variety of schemes from ASW white/gray to night intruder black. If it weren't for the clear parts in my example, this kit would be a home run!
The kit is recommended to intermediate/advanced modelers.
My sincere thanks to Classic Airframes for this review sample!