The B-26 Marauder was designed in 1939, to meet a specification for a twin-engine medium bomber, for the US Army Air Force. It was one of the fastest bombers in WW II, first flown in November 1940. Unfortunately there were many accidents with the A and B models, partly due to the high takeoff and landing speeds. Names like “Widow maker” and “Killer” were assigned to the aircraft by hostile press. The aircraft proved just “too hot to handle” for inexperienced aircrews.
After a disastrous introduction in the Pacific, European, and North African campaigns the project was cancelled. Thanks, in good measure, to opinions offered up by experienced crew in the combat theaters, the program was revisited. The B-26 became the mainstay of the medium bomber force, in the European Theater. The Marauder had several attractive advantages besides its speed (282 mph at 15,000 ft.); it was of rugged construct and could absorb a lot of damage, carried a good-sized bomb load (normal internal load 4000 lbs.), and was heavily armed (up to 12 .5 in Browning machine guns).
The B-26 Marauder not only served with distinction with the US Amy Air Force, but was also flown by the Royal Air Force and South African Air Force, as the MUA (B-26B), Mk II (B-26C) and the Mk III (B-26F/G). Free French Forces in the Mediterranean also flew the Marauder.
Though a bit dated (released in 1971), the kit bears up well even when compared to “today’s standards”. Though it does have raised detail, it is not over stated, in fact a combination of raised and recessed panels lines are used to good effect, there are also areas of “fabric texture” on the control surfaces, that are done quite well. This said there is one “”feature” of Airfix kits that is exhibited here that is not great, “dimples”. Having several Airfix kits on hand I have noticed “dimples” to be a common occurrence. When I say “dimples” I refer to the “sink holes” typical located opposite locator pins and internal mounting points, which show up on the finish side of the kit parts. In this particular case they aren’t too bad, and thanks to improvements in filler technology, much more easily dealt with than when this kit was first released.
The cockpit is “typical” of “vintage” kits in that there is very little detail; however, a great deal of effort was put forth to provide an excellently detail bomb bay interior, which is also extended to provide detailing in the forward landing gear wheel well. Separate detailed bulkheads are provided for the fore and aft of the cockpit, front, middle and aft bomb bay, and the tail gunner position. On one of these bulkheads is the only place I found where those pesky mold marks interfere with the detail on the model. Luckily it is the aft cockpit bulkhead that has these marks, and it can hardly be seen once the model is completed.
A few “optional” parts are provided in the kit, specifically a choice of “navigator observation windows”, and the one I found most interesting, two sets of Landing Gear and Bomb Bay doors, one set open the other closed. This may have been prompted by the complexity of the Bomb bay doors, unlike many kits where you can open the doors after some surgery, the open Bomb Bay is provided as 6 separate doors.
Decals and Painting Instructions provide for the building of 3 separate aircraft, “Mild and Bitter” of the 450th Bomb Sqd., 332nd BG, 9th USAAF Great Saling Essex, 1943, “Yankee Guerrilla” of the 555th Bomb Sqd., 386th BG, 9th USAAF, Great Dunmow, 1944, and an unnamed aircraft of No. 21 Sqd., of the South African Air Force, Lesi, Italy 1944. All the Decals are of good registry and color density.
Thanks to Airfix for providing this Review Sample.
For a re-issue of a vintage 1971 kit not bad, not bad at all. Though often over shadowed in history by the B-25, the B-26 is a sleek little aircraft, and I look forward to adding it to my collection.
About Chuck Shanley (CRS) FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
I've been building kits since about the mid 1950's. I've built all kinds of subjects, but for the past 20 years or so I've seemed to focus mainly on 1/72 Aircraft and Armor. Why 1/72, mainly for space conservation I build alot.
I build primarily for my own enjoyment, and Armorama has helped to en...