Monogram's 1/48 scale
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A founding member of the Polish 303 Squadron in Britain, Jan Zumbach led a colorful life and was attracted to heroic causes. A member of the Polish Air Force, he evacuated to France and subsequently Great Britain after the Fall of Poland. He had a key role in the defense of Britain and in air operations over Europe.
Post war, Zumbach held a variety of jobs including head of the Katanga Air Force for the break away region of the Congo. After reintegration of Katanga back into Congo, Zumbach moved on to Biafra to head the Air Force under the name John Brown. Shark was Zumbach's personal mount during the ill-fated secessionist attempt. The aircraft was a formerly French A/B-26R which was sold as surplus without it's radar installation. In Biafran service, the aircraft was camoflaged and given its colorful markings; Zumbach had a single .50 cal mg mounted trough the radome - the sole gun armament.
My inspiration for this aircraft was the Albatros decal set 48014 "Naughty Invaders" (who picks these names?!) which includes markings for a wide variety of US and international users of the A-26.
Chis Durden, a fellow IPMS Tidewater member had given me the set after he completed his immaculate build-up of two US A-26s. So it was he who threw down one gauntlet, the other came from fellow club member Lynn Ritger who stirred up the idea of the Monogram group build.
Okay, I am supposed to be planning a National convention, but my manhood was in question so I picked up the A-26 as a quick build. Six months later (including a 2-month extension - thanks to Brett!) it is done.
I used the 1/48 scale Monogram A-26C kit since I was replacing the nose and did not need the turret.
The kit is detailed and fits together well ; the only tricky part is fitting the glazings. Since I did not want to detail the bombay, nor did I know what ordance load out Shark might carry, I opted to close the bomb bay doors. Designed to be display opened, the doors are oversized and required trimming to fit. The results were less than satisfactory.
In the interest of time I also opted to retain the raised panel lines, restoring those panel lines sanded away during assembly.
To detail the interior, I used the out of production True Details photo-etched set 48816 for the A-26C.
The radome nose is provide in the Albatros set and was a poor fit due to shrinkage. I also think that the nose is not symetrical, but I decided to live with the imperfection.
The blanking section of the upper fuselage, replacing the turret, came from the old Aeromaster A-26K set. The fit was fair and the resin chalky.
I added detail to the main wheel wells and replaced the exhaust pipes. I stole the wheels from my Pro-Modeler A-26 kit as they look a bit flat, but perhaps perfect for the undoubtedly challenge maintenance environment in Biafra. I did use the wing racks provided and hung 250lb bombs from them.
The .50 cal came from my spares box.
Since I only had the Albatros sheet profile as a reference for the camouflage scheme, I took some artistic license in extroplating it across the whole aircraft.
First, I protected the "glass" with liquid mask.
I used Model Master paints throughout: the underside color is French Light Blue Gray and the topside color is Dark Green FS 34092 with Dark Tan FS 30219 camoflage. The nice thing about a model in black plastic is that it is already preshaded, so using this paint sprayed at high pressure, I was able to ghost in the panel lines. I freehanded the topside color and went back and faded the green with flat white. I used stencils cut from Post-it notes for the tan spotches. I had painted the radome faded flat black and sealed it with Future wax allowing me to go back and "wear away" the paint. I used a variety of colors for the washes.
The exhaust stains were simulated using European 1 Gray FS 36081and Flat Black. I also sparingly used silver to shore wear. The other advantage to black plastic was that I was able to go back over the raised panel lines with a sanding pad and gently "blacken" the lines.
The decals were a pleasure to work with and settled down with MS Micro-Sol. I used Solvaset around the nose. The shark mouth comes in five pieces and I used Testor's Classic White and Fire Extinguisher Red to touch up. I used Future to prep for and seal the decals. Testor's Dull Coat was the flat finish.
This will not be my last A-26 to build and a little different than the usual schemes.
Model, Images and
Text Copyright © 2008 by Charles Landrum
Page Created 12 February, 2008
Last Updated 12 February, 2008
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