Minicraft 1/72 Ventura II Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||March 2012||Manufacturer||Minicraft|
|Kit Number||11661||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice detailing throughout||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$29.99|
The Ventura II was developed from Lockheed's commercial Model 18 Lodestar. Building on the success of the Hudson (which was developed from the Model 14 Super Electra), the PV-1 was essentially a larger Hudson with greater range and payload capabilities. Initially developed for the lend-lease market, the attack on Pearl Harbor found Venturas (as well as Hudsons) drafted into US service as well.
Early PV-1s retained the same interior layout as the Hudson right down to the bombardier's position in the nose. Late production PV-1s deleted the bombardier's position and replaced it with three .50 caliber machine guns that fired forward, a feature that would carry forward into the PV-2 though increased to five guns. The Ventura would serve in the USAAF, USN, RAF (and Commonwealth counties) during World War II and would go on to serve in other air arms after the war.
Minicraft has reissued their 1/72 scale PV-1 kit, this time in its lend-lease role as the RAF Ventura II. 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.
The kit features a nice flight deck which only lacks seatbelts and shoulder harnesses from looking complete through the cockpit windows. The instrument panel layout is provided as a decal which also looks good through the windows.
Out of the box, the kit represents an early production Ventura with the bombardier position still in place. The nose is molded in clear so all you need to do is mask the side windows prior to painting. The clear nose cap and bombardier's window are molded separately. No details are provided inside the nose.
The kit provides your choice of Boulton-Paul Type C turret for RAF service or the Martin 250 turret for RCAF (and US) service. The kit also provides optional external fuel tanks as well as the option to display the landing gear up or down.
Markings are provided for two examples:
- Ventura, AE924, 21 Sqn, YH-V, RAF, 1943
- Ventura, 2263, No.1 Air Armament School, DK-R, RCAF, 1952
With the recent release of the Revell 1/48 Ventura kit, it is nice that Minicraft reissued this kit to support the 1/72 model builders out there. This is a simple kit that can be built into a nice model out of the box while the AMS modeler could have some fun adding details and features that would really set this model apart.
My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!