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A/B-26C Invader

Monogram 1/48 A-26C Invader Kit First Look

By Cookie Sewell

Date of Review October 2010 Manufacturer Monogram
Subject A/B-26C Invader Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5508 Primary Media 152 parts (142 in black styrene, 10 clear styrene)
Pros First model of this aircraft in this scale in styrene Cons Missing some features which would give the builder greater flexibility; no crew figures; fixed canopy
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

When the Korean War broke out in 1950, the mainstay light bomber in the Far East was the Douglas B-26. Introduced in WWII as the A-26 to succeed the A-20 series, the Invader was a popular aircraft as it was nearly as fast as many fighters and very maneuverable. Two full wings eventually participated in combat in Korea, and while carrying out many of the USAF night strike missions they did suffer heavy casualties. Over the three years of the war a total of 157 B-26s were lost – 110 of the “gun nose” B models and 47 of the “glass nose” C models. Even so, it still went on to be rebuilt and serve in Vietnam as the B-26K.

One of the first models I built was the “box scale” Monogram B-26B with an eight gun nose back in the mid 1950s. I always liked the aircraft and even got one of the later Airfix kits when it came out around 1970; the great thing with that kit was that it came with all three noses – both of the gun noses and the glass nose. It did suffer from “rivetitis” but few of us cared back then. But while a number of new 1/72 kits came out, nothing appeared in 1/48 until Monogram released a B model in the late 1980s-early 1990s. This was backed up with the C model, which is the subject of this review.

The B model kit is unfortunately the better of the two, for it comes with more options. That kit comes with both the early (and hated) “flat top” canopy and the later raised canopy; one of the other options is a second raised canopy variant with a separate section to permit posing it in the open position. It also came with the six gun nose (alas, a eight gun nose was not an option) and both turrets.

The C model is optimized as the later variant and comes with only one (the upper turret). It also has only a single canopy and also missing from this kit are the three standing figures, as usual outstanding Monogram efforts and really nicely done.

What it does provide is a few of the standard options, such as an optional position set of bomb bay doors. This is populated with eight 300 pound HE-FRAG bombs, racks and internal details to include a pair of functional wing spars. These are neat as not only do they space and support the central fuselage they also provide the mounts for the wings – no tabs.

Underwing armament is sparse – either another pair of 300 pound bombs or a pair of twin .50 caliber machine gun packs (to be used if the aircraft did not mount the normal six wing guns). It would have been nice if they had offered either napalm tanks or rockets with this kit (rockets did come with the B kit) but alas they do not.

The fuselage has reasonably well done interior sections for the navigator/bombardier and pilot and a combination gunsight/seat for the gunner. This latter item can be left to swivel as desired by the modeler, as can the upper turret. It should be noted that Monogram created a wholly new fuselage for this kit – not just a “stick-on” nose to replace the gun nose – and as a result they eliminated the mount for the lower rear turret in the process. This is a shame, as some of the Cs in Korea had both turrets or even no turrets with a simple dome on the top. Others mounted a target acquisition radar in place of the lower turret.

Landing gear is nicely done and the main wheel legs fit rather cleverly into the nacelles. Engines consist only of the front row of cylinders but with the tight fit of the cowlings this does not seem to be much of a problem as far as visibility is concerned (not everyone carries an “IPMS Death Ray” by way of a penlight with them at all times!) It does have a major problem compared to the B model as there are few places to hide weight, and if no good solution can be found the modeler may have to resort to the clear plastic peg provided for getting the model to sit on its wheels.

Markings are for two B-26C bombers from the 34th Bomb Squadron (Light), 17th Bomb Wing (Light), Korea 1952-1953: 44-35423 “Dream Girl” and 44-35684 “Toni C II” (both of which survived the war). Both are in overall black with light green trim and red markings.

Overall this isn’t a bad kit, but one could wish for a “Pro Modeler” or Revell Germany version which combined all of the bits – two turrets, crew figures, and a choice of all three noses – in one box.

Sprue Layout:

  • 19 - Left fuselage half, engines, cockpit floor, elevators
  • 20 - Right fuselage half, landing gear, bulkheads and spars
  • 23 - Left wing, turret, interior details
  • 32 - Right wing, bombs, gun packs
  • 10 - Clear Parts