by: Darren Baker [ ]
The B26 Invader is arguably the best medium bomber of World War II produced by any country. In addition to its service in World War II, the aircraft design also saw service during the Korean War and Vietnam War. This release from ICM is the fourth release of the Invader and has been released at the same time as a separate decal release from ICM that will enable the model to be finished as one of four aircraft that served with Latin American Countries. The model itself is designed to be finished as one that took part in the Korean War which took place between 1950- 53.
This offering from ICM comes in a stiff cardboard box with flip top lid with a additional card lid featuring the art work for the model. The model is packaged in a re-sealable plastic bag, and on this occasion no damage has occurred. An examination of the contents reveals no obvious concerns as regards the plastic parts or decals.
This being the fourth release in this line of models, you will not be surprised to learn that it is my belief that there are no new mouldings provided with this release just a different parts selection. The differences within the model are created via the parts that are directed to be used and results in a Korean War specific aircraft. The interior elements of this model are especially pleasing from front to rear areas that can be observed are especially nicely detailed. When it comes to complaints about the interior of the model the only aspect that concerns me is that no harness detail has been provided, and so after market or scratch built harnesses will ideally be applied. I am sure that with this being the fourth release after market options are available for this purpose out there. A check on line reveals a large number of items have been provided already for previous releases, should the modeller have the desire to dress the model further than what is provided by ICM.
Moving to the exterior of the aircraft the modeller is presented with especially finely recessed panel lines that greatly appeal to me; I am concerned that this fine detail could be lost during painting, but that is up to the modeller to take care. There are some holes that need to be drilled into some parts of the model, and I am very pleased to see that ICM has clearly indentified what needs to be drilled, depending on the finishing option you decide on, and in addition I am especially pleased to see that ICM has provided the size of the drill required to make the holes. The flight control surfaces of the model have been provided separately and so provide the modeller with the option of placing them as they desire, with the minimum of work.
The engines nacelles are well designed in that they can be assembled off of the model with the under carriage doors open, prior to the application of the under carriage itself. Of particular note here is that with this variant having a glazed nose, means that the weight required to prevent this model from being a tail sitter cannot be applied in the most obvious location, and instead ICM directs you to apply 100g of weight into the front empty section of each engine nacelle. As is typical of ICM, decent radial engines have been provided with the model, and with addition of aftermarket parts in photo etch, could be truly visually appealing aspect of the model. To display the engines would require the cowlings of the engines to be left off to expose the details of the engines, or some surgery of the kit parts in order to expose the engines beneath.
The under carriage has been well tackled detail wise, and only requires some piping to be added to replicate items such as brake lines. The tyre tread on this model, is a diamond pattern which is appropriate, but the tyres are provided in two halves which will make hiding the seams without damaging the tread pattern especially difficult. The bomb bay can be displayed open or closed, with separate parts provided for either option. In addition to the four bombs provided for the bomb bay, you have the option of two external bombs, two fuel drop tanks, or fourteen air to ground unguided rockets. An aspect that I greatly approve of is that ICM has provided a cut out plan for making masks and putting masks on the glazed areas to the model during painting.
ICM has provided three finishing options for this model, these are
B-26C-45DL, 8th BS, 3rd BG, Korea, 1953
B-26C-55DL, 729th BS, 452nd BG, Korea, 1951
B-26C-45DT, 728th BS, 452nd BG, Korea, 1951
In addition to covering the three specific finishing options, the last page covers generic application of decals, as well as some specifics of previous options that cannot be seen otherwise. The finishing options provided in the additional decal product are as follows:
B-26B, 2/5G.Av, Brazillian Airforce, Natal airbase 1962.
B-26C, 2/5G.Av, Brasillian Air Force, Natal airbase 1962.
B-26C, Columbian AF, 1951
B-26C, Cuban AF, 1957
Common to both sets of decals is the colour register, which is very pleasing and of good quality. As is the thickness of the decals, which should enable them to be applied and to shrink back into any panel lines or details they have been put over. Some of the decals to have quite a lot of carrier film and I would suggest trimming this back in many cases.
This is another exceptional release from ICM of the B-26 Invader aircraft variants. Other than the lack of harness detail I see no obvious issues with the model, and having built one of the previous releases, I was pleased for the most part of the part fit, but I did find that closing up the fuselage on the previous release was problematic due to the number of gaps left in the fuselage for the various aircraft series, and some filler and manipulation was required. In all other respects this is another excellent release of the Invader by ICM in 1/48th scale. The extra decal release does provide some interesting finishing options that would normally be overlooked by most companies.