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B-26B-50 Invader
Korean War American Bomber

ICM, 1/48 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

ICM Kit No. 48281 – B-26B-50 Invader Korean War American Bomber

Scale:

1/48

Contents & Media

245 parts (233 in grey styrene, 12 clear styrene).

Price:

USD$98.00

Review Type:

First Look.

Advantages:

Modern, state-of –the-art kit of this well-known Korean War bomber; wide variety of both armament and external options.

Disadvantages:

Surprisingly picked two of the dullest finishes for this aircraft!

Conclusion:

Highly Recommended for all light bomber and Korean War fans.


Reviewed by Cookie Sewell

Background


 
Light bombers and attack aircraft proved popular in the Second World War, and one of the most versatile was the Douglas A-20 series which also served as the P-70 fighter aircraft. It was well liked by the USAAF, RAF and Soviet VVS (who kept in service into the 1950s). In 1943 an improved and modernized successor was developed which entered service in 1944 as the A-26. This came in two versions – the A-26B with a six-gun solid nose, and the A-26C with a glass nose and bombardier’s position. It could also mount six .50 caliber wing guns and two remote controlled turrets with twin .50s in each one. They saw service in both Europe and the Pacific with the only major change needed being a new cockpit enclosure. The original one was not suitable to rapid exit if the aircraft was shot down or crashed.
 
At the end of the war the USAAF (later USAF) scrapped a large number of aircraft it no longer wanted and as well as the A-20 the Martin B-26 also was put out to pasture. When they left the inventory – and as attack aircraft were no longer considered specialist aircraft – the A-26s were redesignated as B-26s.
 
When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the USAF had two full bomb wings of B-26s and a reconnaissance squadron of RB-26 aircraft in Japan or around 110 airframes. They were immediately used to provide tactical air support to the troops in Korea and carried out a large number of bombing missions early in the war. Once the situation was stabilized and airfields became available, the two wings relocated to Korea.
 
They used three models of the B-26 – the B-26B-15 with six .50 caliber nose guns, the later B-26B-50 with an eight gun nose, and the clear nosed B-26C. As B-29s picked up the bombing mission and F-51, F-80 and F-84s took up the tactical air support mission, most of the B-26s shifted to night intruder duty where they would be used to attack Korean and Chinese convoys and trains with great success. But the success came at a price: over the course of the war the USAF lost 3 RB-26s, 42 B-26Cs and 102 B-26Bs to flak, MiGs, or problems with the aircraft. Probably the highest profile casualty was the son of USAF General James Van Fleet who was lost in a B-26B.


 

B-26 in 1/48 scale

I have always had a fondness for the B-26 since I got the “box scale” Monogram kit as a kid. I later found out I have a family attachment as I have a first cousin once removed who was a bombardier/navigator on one in the 13th Bomb Squadron (Light) of the 3rd Bomb Wing in Korea.
 
A number of years ago Monogram came out with what were two great kits of the B-26, a B-26B-15 with the six gun nose and a B-26C clear nose. Each kit had around 150 parts and two nice marking options; the B-15 had both a WWII and a Korean war set of markings included.

Plus Aeromaster came out with at least three good sheets covering these aircraft:

Aeromaster 48-615 Marauding Invaders Part II B-26B B-26B/C B-26B 44-34552 44-34317 44.34553 731st BS/452nd BG 90th BSL/3rd BG 728th BS/452nd BG
Aeromaster 48-596 Marauding Invaders Part I B-26C B-26B B-26B 43-22555 44-34532 44-34571 (WWII) 730th BS/452nd BG 729th BS/452nd BG
Aeromaster 48-617 Marauding Invaders Part III RB-26C B-26B 44-35651 44-34698 12th TRS 13th BSL/3 BG

 

 

FirstLook

 

Now ICM has graced us with at least four kits of the B-26 (B-15, B-50, C and the Vietnam K models) with a wealth of options and great new detailing that surpasses the Monogram kits. This one comes with optional position bomb bay doors, poseab le flaps, ailerons, elevators and rudder, and a number of armament options to include bombs, napalm and gun packs; oddly enough like Monogram they left out the rocket options. (They do have options to drill out holes for the mounts in the wings but you have to come up with the rockets and racks.) One option Monogram offered but ICM does not is a section of the later canopy that can be posed open; here the only one that offers that is the flat-top WWII one.
 
The kit provides a reasonably good cockpit interior for both the pilot and gunner and uses the modern systems of stub spars for mounting the kit’s wings. Unlike some kits (the ESCI/Italeri F7Fs come to mind) where hanging the landing gear doors is a nightmare, ICM provides them as single parts attached to the internal gear compartment bulkheads.
 
The model is a certified “tail sitter” and ICM recommends at least 40 grams of weight in the gun nose to balance the model on its gear. While the nose compartment comes in four parts they are not the normal separation points for putting an interior in it so anyone wanted that level of detail is in for some extra work.
 
 While the actual aircraft did not all carry the six wing guns, no provision is made for removing them and installing fairings on this kit. The upper turret is complete with interior mechanism and ammo storage and forms a neat assembly in itself. The gunner’s seat includes armor panels as well as the periscopic sight. Landing gear is sturdy and installed from the outside. There is no provision for not using the lower turret even though photos show many Bs had them removed.
 
Each engine consists of 27 parts and provides templates (parts E34) for aligning the exhaust outlets; they warn you not to cement them in place! Cowl flaps are separate but only mount in the closed position.
 
For external armament you have a choice of napalm tanks (E41/43), bombs  or gun packs, but I have never seen the twin gun wing packs used on a B model. (With 8-14 forward firing .50 caliber guns that would seem to be pure overkill…) The aircraft can carry up to 14 5” rockets on seven racks under the wings, or a mixture. Photos show a pair of 250 lb bombs or two 250s and three 100s as a common loadout or 10 rockets and a pair of napalm tanks.


 

Markings

As noted the finishing options are dull: 44-39396, 8th BS(L) 3rd BW, Iwakuni AFB Japan, spring 1951 (natural metal with yellow trim and black cowlings and nose); 44-34732, 13th BS(L) 8th BW, Iwakuni AFB Japan, August 1950 (olive drab over neutral gray, red trim, yellow markings, “Grim Reaper” nose art); same aircraft, repaired, 730th BS(L), 452nd BW, Miho AFB Japan, end of 1950 (same markings, yellow trim, but now with a white question mark on the nose).

 

 

Conclusion

 

Overall this is a lovely kit and as I have the three sets of Aeromaster decals for it with another  six options including the gawdy “Chadwick the VIIth” from the commander 13th BS(L) will have fun with it!


 

Sprue Layout:

A             9              Fuselage, elevators, lower turret mount
B             14           Left wing, closed bomb bay doors, wing spars, upper turret mount
C             10           Right wing, bomb bay doors
D             62x2       Engine, propeller, bombs, gun packs, wheel hubs, details
E              70           Landing gear, interior, flaps, details
F              3x2         Tires
G             12           Clear styrene.


Review Text and Images Copyright 2022 by Cookie Sewell
Page Created 14 April, 2022
Last updated 14 April, 2022

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