by: Jean-Luc Formery [ ]
IntroductionIn the "Hall of Fame" of WW2 Allied bombers, the name of "Marauder" is lesser known as "Flying Fortress", "Lancaster", "Mitchell" or "Wellington". Despite the fact that it was one of the best Tactical Bomber of the USAAF, it was nicknamed "Widow Maker" because it was very delicate to pilot and suffered from many accidents when it was brought into service. But the B-26 was a modern and effective aircraft which had the lowest loss ratio in it's category during the D-Day operations. It was successfully used by many Air Forces including French bomber groups starting from 1943.
Amongst aircraft modelers, the B-26 always seemed to suffer from the same mistrust as the real plane. But this is likely to change with the release of Hasegawa's 1/72 scale kit and several photo etched references in 1/48 scale from Eduard. It is the occasion to take a look at the venerable Monogram kit of the late 70' which was re-released not so long ago by Revell-Germany.
The KitRevell's version of Monogram's kit comes in the typical side opening box of the German manufacturer. Too often, the Revell boxes are too big for their content, but this time there is hardly enough space for the three bags containing the 102 plastic parts, the instructions and the decals.
The kit is composed of four sprues made from dark green plastic and one transparent sprue. The overall quality is good despite the presence of numerous ejector pin marks in some places. There is very little flash and few sink marks on the parts... not bad for a kit made in 1978! Unfortunately years have passed and today the kit shows it's age: the panel lines are in relief! Personally I don't like this kind of features on a model because it doesn't give one the possibility to paint and weather the model with washes. If you are like me, you will want to rescribe the whole surface of the kit. Having said that, a nice model can be achieved with what is provided because the level of detail is very acceptable. The cockpit interior is nice and structure details are present in both the landing gear bays and in the bomb bay. The latter can be displayed in the open position and four bombs are present in the kit. I can affirm without hesitating that this is probably one of the best aircraft kit of the seventies and like in many Monogram kits of this period there is a bonus: three crew figures.
The clear parts are nice and transparent if a little on the thick side, especially the side windows. Particular care will be necessary to get the front plexiglas cone and rear gunner housing properly in place. Covers for the wing's leading edges lights are also present on the sprue.
The instructions are typical Revell. They are printed on a 16 pages A4 booklet of which only 13 are used!? The assembly guide is made of 46 steps and in step 6 it is said to put 50 gr of weight into the fuselage's nose to allow the B-26 to stand on his tricycle feets once completed. At the end of the instructions, two painting and marking guides will help the modeler to paint and decal the model properly.
The decals gives the possibility to do two aircraft:
- B-26B-45-MA "Idiot's Delight", 391st Bomber Group, 575th Bomber Squadron RAF Matching, England, August 1944.
- B-26G-25-MA GBM 1/22 Maroc, St. Dizier, France, May 1945.
For the second option (the French one, doh!), there is a problem because the kit only allows you to build the B version. To do a G, the wing's incidence must be increased by 3,5°. On the original plane, this was made to reduce take-off run and landing speed to the detriment of the top speed. It may not be a problem for most modelers since the difference is not that important, but it is nevertheless noticable so if you want total accuracy you will have to fix that. It won't be easy though, because the wing roots are molded on the fuselage halves.
ConclusionRevell's (ex-Monogram) B-26 Marauder is clearly an underestimated kit. Not many have been built despite the fact that it represents a very good basis to produce a fine model. Out of the box, it has a satisfying level of detail and will make into an impressive replica of the real aircraft for a very reasonnable price. The only real drawback are the relief panel lines. If you want to buil a contest winner, aftermarket items do exist and Eduard, for exemple, have just released some very nice references to spice up this old kit. They will be reviewed on Aeroscale soon, so watch this space!
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