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A-20B-C Boston
with UTK-1 Turret

Special Hobby, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337 – A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret

Scale:

1/72

Contents & Media

91 and 15 clear styrene parts, two resin parts, one PE fret with seven pieces, and two decal options.

Price:

Available on-line from these stockists:

Click here for currency conversion

Review Type:

First Look.

Advantages:

Accurate, refined surface detail, only kit of this Soviet version..

Disadvantages:

Apparently fit is not quite as good as the kit’s refined appearance suggests, but nothing major to worry about if care is taken.

Conclusion:

The MPM/Special Hobby/Revell re-box DB.7/A-20/Boston range of kits is the best in 1/72 scale by far.

This latest iteration featuring the Soviet UTK-1 turret will be welcomed by fans of the Soviet Air Force and Navy during WW2, or those who simply like the DB.7 family. Until now this version has been dependent on scrounging the turret from other kits, or some tricky scratch-building.

The kit is very nicely moulded with nice detail where it is most needed, and very good surface treatment. My reading suggests that assembly must be approached with caution, as fit is not always as good as the crisp moulding suggests. Forewarned is for-armed however, and nothing too demanding will be encountered provided sub-assembly fit is tested and adjusted as needed.

This is a very good kit of a significant WW2 light bomber, and is especially welcome for covering this uniquely soviet version. I highly recommend it.


Reviewed by Mark Davies


Special Hobby’s Mirage F.1B/BE is available online from Squadron.com

 

Background

 

The Douglas A-20 Havoc (company designation DB-7) was an American attack, light bomber, intruder aircraft of World War II. It served with several Allied air forces, principally the United States Army Air Forces, the Soviet Air Forces, Soviet Naval Aviation and the Royal Air Force. Soviet units received more than one in three of the 2,908 DB-7’s ultimately built. It was also used by the air forces of Australia, South Africa, France, and the Netherlands during the war; and by Brazil afterwards.

Although not the fastest or longest-range aircraft in its class, the Douglas DB-7 series distinguished itself as a tough, dependable combat aircraft with an excellent reputation for speed and manoeuvrability. In a report to the British Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at RAF Boscombe Down, test pilots summed it up as: "has no vices and is very easy to take off and land ... The aeroplane represents a definite advantage in the design of flying controls ... extremely pleasant to fly and manoeuvre." Ex-pilots often consider it their favourite aircraft of the war due to the ability to toss it around like a fighter. The Douglas bomber/night fighter was extremely adaptable and found a role in every combat theatre of the war, and excelled as a true "pilot's aeroplane".

Source: Wikipedia


 

Previous 1/72 Scale A-20 kits

The A-20 has been fairly well represented in “The One True Scale” (TOTS) since 1963, and there were four brand releases in the by 1978; these being by:

  • Frog (re-boxed by Air Lines and AMT) and Airfix (re-boxed by Craftmaster and MPC), both dating from 1963;

  • Revell from 1967 (re-boxed by Congost, whilst the P-70 night-fighter was re-branded as Matchbox by Revell when it held a licence for the Matchbox brand, but not to be confused with the Matchbox tooling of 1978); and

  • Matchbox from 1978 (re-boxed by AMT and Alanger). All of these four are dated, but going on memory alone, I thought Revell’s was the best of the three early types with hand-held rear guns, whilst Matchbox offered the later A-20 G with turret it suffered from very oversized engine cowls and nacelles.

The next brand to have a crack at this famous light bomber was High Planes. Their kits released in the 1990s covered numerous variants and were the most accurate 1/72 scale kits to date. They were however very limited run in nature, and took a considerable amount of work to build nicely; more in fact than many were willing to put in.

MPM released what has been the definitive kit in 1/72 since 2007. This base kit with variations covers early and late versions under both the MPM and Special Hobby labels in numerous different boxings, and has been re-boxed by Revell as well. It is the latest iteration of this kit that is the subject of this first look.

 

 

FirstLook

Contents

The kit comes packed in a top-opening box with attractive art-work and no wasted volume. The five main sprues are in a re-sealable polythene bag, with the two clear sprues, resin parts, PE fret, and decals further enclosed in their own bags.

 

  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72337  A-20B-C Boston with UTK-1 Turret Review by Mark Davies: Image
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The instructions are an A5-sized stapled booklet printed in colour on gloss paper with a brief aircraft history in Czech and English. The instructions include a parts map that identifies numerous surplus parts and use diagrammatic assembly stages. The instructions are nicely produced and generally look clear enough to follow easily, but I have read that where to fit some internal parts like cockpit bulkheads and undercarriage legs can be a bit vague in practice. See the gallery images below for scans of the instructions.

Detail colour call-outs are indicated by letters keyed to a table of colours with Gunze Aqueous and Mr. Color paint-codes. Four-view colours and markings diagrams are also provided within the instructions. These are nicely done and printed in colour, with generic colour names plus Gunze codes.

Special Hobby is often associated with limited run kits, but this kit is from an MPM long-run tooling, albeit lacking locating pins. However, recent Special Hobby releases are very similar in style to later MPM releases, suggesting that metal-coated epoxy or all-metal tooling is being used anyway.

The sprue gates are fine enough, and the mouldings are very crisp and clean. The clear sprues are crisp, with nice clear and acceptably thin canopies. The resin parts also appear flawless. The resin and PE parts relate to the Soviet UTK-1 turret, as does the smaller of the clear sprues. The overall impression upon seeing the contents is very positive indeed.


 

The Kit

The airframe surface detail is very nicely done with the delicate recessed panel lines and convincing fabric covered control surfaces. In fact, it is as good as is to be found in Tamiya, Hasegawa, or Eduard kits (although lacking Eduard’s rivets, which I can do without anyway). Small detail parts are all crisply moulded and refined as well. This seems a very nicely engineered kit.

Cockpit detail is good for the scale, being more than adequate for a closed canopy model, although I think most will wish to at least add a seat harness to the pilot’s seat, and possibly the bomb-aimer’s too.

A resin section insert shaped to hold the UTK-1 turret fits to moulded ledges inside each fuselage half, after which a small amount of surgery to the fuselage is needed to remove the coaming around the gunner’s station, leaving a cut-out to receive the clear fuselage insert that surrounds the new Soviet gun-turret.

 

 

The single heavy machinegun is moulded in clear styrene, and has a resin ammunition feed between the gun’s receiver and styrene ammo box. This is enclosed between the two clear turret halves, which fit to a two-part PE ring and gunner’s web-sling seat, also made from PE.

 

 

The engines, props and undercarriage are all nicely done, although the wheel wells lack any internal structural detail. This reminds me, that no mention is made of the need for nose ballast, although clearly some will be necessary to prevent tail sitting. Under the pilot’s floor and the front of the engine nacelles may offer sufficient space for this.
A choice of clear nose section is provided to for the A-20B and A-20C options covered by the decal options provided.

Assembly appears to be quite straight forward and conventional for the type. However, some build articles I have read suggest one should not be lulled into a false sense of ease based on the kit’s finely moulded appearance; as some aspects of construction require limited run attitude and build approach.

Test fitting and trimming is apparently a must with this kit, there does not seem to be anything dramatic required, but do not assume all will fit as expected. So do plenty of test-fitting and trial closures of main assemblies before committing cement to the joins. Most tribulations I have read of relate to internal sub-assemblies affecting fuselage closure and the main undercarriage being fiddly. Coincidently, the build reviews I read were all from SAMI - June ‘08 (A-20G) August ‘08 (Boston IV), and July ’11 (Havoc II Turbinlite).

 

 

Do not be put off by what I have read, as nothing is too demanding to remedy in order to get a good result with comparative ease. The MPM/Special Hobby A-20 family of kits is by far and away the best in TOTS.


 

Markings

Two appealing markings options are provided:

  • A-20B of the 8th Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment, 221st Bomber Aviation Division, 1944-45; and

 

 

  • A-20C of an unknown Soviet Air Force unit, 1942.

 

 

The decals appear to be very good in all respects.

 

 

They are printed by Aviprint.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The MPM/Special Hobby/Revell re-box DB.7/A-20/Boston range of kits is the best in TOTS by far.

This latest iteration featuring the Soviet UTK-1 turret will be welcomed by fans of the Soviet Air Force and Navy during WW2, or those who simply like the DB.7 family. Until now this version has been dependent on scrounging the turret from other kits, or some tricky scratch-building.

The kit is very nicely moulded with nice detail where it is most needed, and very good surface treatment. My reading suggests that assembly must be approached with caution, as fit is not always as good as the crisp moulding suggests. Forewarned is for-armed however, and nothing too demanding will be encountered provided sub-assembly fit is tested and adjusted as needed.

This is a very good kit of a significant WW2 light bomber, and is especially welcome for covering this uniquely soviet version. I highly recommend it.

.

Thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample.


Review Text Copyright 2016 by Mark Davies
Page Created 28 December, 2016
Last updated 28 December, 2016

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