Revell 1/48 A-26B Invader Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2018||Manufacturer||Revell|
|Kit Number||3921||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Only kit of this subject (so far)||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$30.95|
Before the US entry into World War 2, Douglas was producing a twin-engined light bomber that served with a number of air arms including France as the DB-7, the RAF as the Boston, and eventually with the USAAC as the A-20. Douglas undertook a redesign of the A-20 to incorporate lessons learned from the A-20/DB-7 and improved performance. The A-20's 1600hp Twin Cyclones were replaced by the 2000hp Double Wasp engines providing greater speed and load capacity. While the first flight of the A-26 prototype occurred in mid-1942, the early A-26 design still had design bugs that needed to be sorted out, delaying service entry until late 1943.
The Invader's first deployment was to Fifth Air Force in the Pacific where the flight crews preferred to keep their A-20 and B-25 types. The Invader was sent to Ninth Air Force in Europe where it was widely received and flew well over 11,000 missions. The Invader would eventually succeed in the Pacific as well as with other organizations across Europe. After World War 2, the USAAF became a separate service in 1947, and the remaining aircraft in service were redesignated, as needed, to a more streamlined system. Since the Martin B-26 Marauder had been retired from service after the war, the A-26 Invader was redesignated as B-26 and would fly combat again in the Korean War. Still regarded as an ideal interdiction aircraft, the B-26 would be taken out of mothballs, updated, and fly combat again in Vietnam.
The Invader had two basic versions: the A-26B was the gun-nosed variant and would feature six or eight .50 caliber machine guns in the nose. Many A-26s also had machine guns mounted in the wings or in pods under the wings. Some A-26Bs would have six guns in the wings in addition to the eight guns in the nose, providing an impressive 14-gun strafing capability (as well as rapid deceleration from the recoil). The second version was the glass-nosed A-26C which had a bomb sight and facilitated level bombing runs over enemy targets.
In 1993, Monogram released a new-tool kit of the A-26C (glass-nosed) Invader. The kit was well-received as it featured Monogram's excellent interior and exterior details while not being complex to assemble. That kit was followed two years later by this A-26B which first appeared in their Pro-Modeler series before being reissued in a Revell box the following year. With the exception of a 2010 reissue as a borate bomber, the A-26B hasn't been reissued in some time. After a long absence from store shelves, the kit has finally been reissued in a Revell/Germany box. A note about that box - the good news is that Revell AG did not use one of their end-opening or top-flap boxes, it has the standard lid and tray. The bad news is that even so, the cardboard is as flimsy as their other box designs so it won't do well with sitting in (under) your collection. Worse yet, the box is quite sizable and inside, you'll find lots of air. This kit could have been packaged in a much smaller box.
This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Detailed cockpit
- Positionable copilot overhead hatch
- Instrument panel has nice relief detail and optional decal overlay
- Detailed bomb bay with bomb load
- Detailed rear compartment
- Movable dorsal and ventral gun turrets
- Optional underwing rockets
- Optional underwing gun pods
- Weighted wheels (see note)
- Three optional standing crew figures
This kit provides marking options for two aircraft:
- A-26B, 43-22369, 552 BS/386 BG/9 AF, RG-A, Beaumont-sur-Oise, France, 1945, 'Stinky'
- A-26B, 41-39274, 668 BS/416 BG/9 AF, 5H-S, Melun, France, 1945, 'Sugar Baby'
The decal sheet provides airframe stenciling as well as good instructions for decal placement.
Note: the 'weighted wheels' was an innovation for the Pro-Modeler kit which has carried over into subsequent releases. As has been discussed frequently in the past, these particular main gear wheels are so weighted as to be nearly flat and aftermarket options should be considered.
This is one of the many Monogram kits that has withstood the test of time and are still relevant by today's standards. With the exception of the raised surface details, nobody in the hobby industry has bothered to challenge many of the Monogram 1/48 subjects. Hopefully Revell AG will follow this reissue up with the A-26C in the near future!