ICM 1/48 B-26K Counter Intruder Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||May 2022||Manufacturer||ICM|
|Subject||B-26K Counter Intruder||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||48279||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Beautiful kit||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$69.00|
The Douglas A-26 Invader was a fast attack bomber developed from the company's successful A-20 Havoc (exported as the DB-7). With over 2,500 examples built during World War II, the type was highly successful and many carried on after the war, though redesignated as the B-26 (by that time, the Martin B-26 Marauders had been retired, but the overlapping B-26 designation would confuse many over the years). The B-26 Invader would see combat again over Korea, and then dusted off for combat over Southeast Asia. The B-26 was initially deployed to Thailand by the CIA before being taken over by USAF Special Operations Command for interdiction of supply lines over the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail. Flight operations of the B-26s fleetwide halted in 1964 after a wing came off during a strafing demonstration at Eglin AFB. On Mark Aviation was contracted to overhaul and upgrade 40 B-26s into the B-26K COIN (Counter Insurgency) configuration, which included more powerful engines, strengthened wings, wingtip fuel tanks, reversible propellers, and more. These aircraft would deploy to Thailand initially as the B-26K Counter Invader but was again redesignated, this time as the A-26A since Thailand did not permit U.S. bombers to operate there during that time. The Counter Invaders would serve through 1969 before being sent home.
About four years ago, I noted the ICM had produced their first installment of the 1/48 He 111 series and I had to grab one. The kit was really nicely engineered and from what I've read online, it assembles as nice as it looks (I haven't had time to tackle mine yet), but what was noteworthy for me, the only other decent He 111 kit in this scale was from Monogram, and I had built a few of those over the years. Since none of them survived the journey to the mid-west, I had been pondering another build, but now that build will be the ICM kit. Fast forward to present day, and ICM has taken on another Monogram staple - the A-26B and A-26C Invaders. Like my He 111 builds, my A-26 builds also didn't make the trip out here, but I have replacement kits on the shelf. At the time, I passed on ICM's versions, but that changed when they tackled the A-26K Counter Invader- I waited anxiously for the kit to become available in the US, but before that happened, ICM and many other companies in Ukraine had to scramble to survive as the Russians had invaded. In the case of the A-26K though, they had shipped prior to the invasion and I found one online.
When I was stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB for my last active duty tour, I spent weekends volunteering at the Pima Air (and Space) Museum helping to restore the 390th Bomb Group (H) B-17G Flying Fortress as one of the unskilled labor team. During breaks, I'd visit some other favorites there including the AP-2H Neptune gunship and the A-26K Counter Invader. Having an upgraded A-26 kit was nice, but having one tooled as the A-26K straight out of the box was much better.
This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on 15 parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus one tree of clear parts. The engineering in this kit is set up to render a stronger model with two spars that run through the fuselage and out beyond the engines, which also sets up proper wing dihedral as well.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Detailed flight deck
- Detailed radio operator position
- Positionable pilot overhead escape hatch
- Detailed bomb bay with optional bomb load
- Choice of open or closed bomb bay doors
- Detailed landing gear
- Detailed wheel wells
- Detailed engines
- Positionable cowl flaps
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable elevators
- Positionable flaps
- Eight-gun nose
- Wingtip fuel tanks
- Eight external pylons
- Distinctive propeller blades
- Window paint masks
External stores include:
- 500lb bombs (bomb bay load)
- Mk.81 slicks
- Mk.81 Snakeyes
- Mk.82 slicks
- Mk.82 Snakeyes
- LAU-10A rocket pods
- LAU-69A rocket pods
- LAU-68 rocket pods
Markings are provided for four examples:
- B-26K, 64-17651. 609 SOS/56 SOW, Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, 1969, 'Mighty Mouse'
- B-26K, 64-17649, Davis-Monthan AFB, 1970, 'Sweet Therese'
- B-26K, 64-17645. 609 SOS/56 SOW, Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, 1969
- B-26K, 64-17679, 1 SOW, 1960s, 'Special Kay'
You're going to have some spare parts when you're finished as this kit starts out with the parts from a WWII A-26 and adds new trees to replace the wings, propellers, etc., and add additional details needed for the B-26K. This release also includes a set of ground crew figures to set up a nice vignette for your masterpiece.
The instructions do call out (at least) 40 grams of ballast in the nose to keep the model off of its tail.
The flight deck is missing crew restraints, but rather than using the decal-based instrument panel, this glass-enclosed flight deck is a great candidate for the Quinta Studios B-26K detail set which will really make that interior stand out, complete with crew restraints.
This is a subject that has been on my bucket list for years and with the exception of the Quinta Studios set, will finally be able to be build out of the box. The question now is which aircraft do I want to build?