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B-26K Counter Invader

 

Italeri, 1/72 scale

 

S u m m a r y

Item No. 1249
Contents and Media: 116 parts in injected grey styrene; 4 clear parts; markings for five aircraft.
Scale 1/72
Price: GBP11.99 available online from Hannants
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: High level of detail; excellent moulding; crisp surface texture (finely recessed panel lines, and raised where appropriate); full bomb bay supplied; thin and distortion free clear parts (packed in a separate bag); loads of ordnance options; parts breakdown suggests that we will see the whole A-26 / B-26 family; five marking choices.
Disadvantages: Early-style cockpit and wheels depicted; no detail in main wheel bays.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Italeri's 1/72 scale B-26K Counter Invader will be available from Squadron

 

FirstLook

 

All the boys and girls who ever asked Santa for a nicely detailed 1/72 scale Counter Invader under the Christmas tree can now have their wish come true, thanks to Italeri.

The Douglas A-26 was one of the longest serving WWII bomber designs, with evolving versions of the Invader appearing over the skies of Korea, Vietnam, Africa and Latin America.

The Vietnam-era aircraft is popularly known as the B-26K Counter Invader, so called due to its counter insurgency role, but was also officially labeled the A-26A Nimrod. The B-26K / A-26A variant may be distinguished from the earlier versions in a number of respects, notably the lack of turrets, different cowls, eight gun nose, cropped propeller assemblies, the heavy external ordnance and the cockpit configuration.

Italeri's 1/72 scale B-26K is an all-new tool kit. Under the attractive box art lie four sprues of crisp grey injection moulded plastic with 116 parts attached. Two large sprues are generic. These contain the fuselage halves, the wings and a number of major components. The fuselage is designed with inserts at the top and bottom to accommodate turrets although the turrets themselves are not required (nor included) in this kit, suggesting that we will be seeing WWII and Korean War version Invaders in the future. Guns are also moulded on the leading edges of the wings. The instructions do correctly direct these to be cut off, but these will be relevant for earlier Invaders too. The two remaining identical sprues hold some of the unique elements of the Counter Invader including propellers, cowls, engines and ordnance.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Surface detail is crisp and fine. Panel lines are recessed, while control surface demarcation is convincingly rendered by way of deeper engravings. Some raised detail is also present as appropriate, including structural features on the fin and the interior of the fuselage. I could only find one tiny sink hole, and even this was on the engine nacelle under the wing. Moulding is otherwise first-rate.

 

 

A high level of detail is present in this 1/72 scale kit. The cockpit is very nice, although the configuration is actually for a WWII-era aircraft. The B-26K featured side-by-side pilots with dual controls. Italeri supplies a decal for the instrument panel, which is probably acceptable in this scale. If this is not your preference, however, I am sure that we will see plenty of after-market options for the front office in the near future.

 

 

The kit includes a nicely detailed bomb bay with separate doors.

Small details look great too. The Nimrod bristled with vanes and antennae. These are delicately reproduced in plastic.

It is also good news that this release includes a large amount of ordnance and related options. These options include drop tanks. napalm tanks, wing tip tanks, bombs for the bomb bay and as external stores, and rocket launchers.

Each R-2800 engine is a single part with the basic shape of the crankcase, and the front half of the front row of cylinders. They'll look okay when hidden behind the big props and inside the close cowls, but are not mastered quite to the same standard as the rest of the model.

Kit engineering is straightforward, with no frightening prospects for construction. The undercarriage looks to be strong, with the top of the gear legs being somewhat simplified as a compromise to ensure positive fit with four locating pins inside each engine nacelle. Although there is no detail inside the main gear bays, the nose wheel well is quite complete and the open doors are cleverly moulded as one with the sidewalls. The main gear legs even have brake lines moulded in place. All tyres are bulged and flattened, although the wheels are actually typical of earlier A-26 variants.

Clear parts are very thin and free of distortion.

 

 

The marking options are another high point.

Three Vietnam-era US Counter Invaders and two Congolese aircraft (one from a CIA operational unit) are included on the decal sheet. Wing walks and propeller stencils are also supplied on the sheet. The decals themselves are crisply printed with thin carrier film and a matt finish.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Italeri's B-26K Counter Invader looks like one of their nicest 1/72 scale efforts to date.

It is well detailed, perfectly moulded, boasts restrained surface features, has plenty of ordnance and marking options, should be quite easy to build straight from the box and will look impressive when finished, bristling with bombs and aerials.

Even better, we can probably look forward to seeing WWII and Korean War A-26 variants in time for next year's Christmas Stocking.

Highly Recommended

Thanks to Italeri for the review sample


Review Copyright 2005 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 19 December, 2005
Last updated 19 December, 2005

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