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1:32 Douglas A-26 Invader from Trumpeter/Hobbyboss?


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Posted (edited)

This is my first posting to the forum so, please, treat me kindly if I don't know exactly how to behave in the beginning. All the puppies and newbies need a hug first. :rolleyes:

I got my Hobby Boss A-26B Invader yesterday and I quickly reviewed the instructions and all the sprues and compared them with actual A-26 blueprints and historical photos. And to my great relief, it seems that it is not that difficult to make the most needed corrections to make this kit replicate the actual A-26B really well. Of course, to make it 100% accurate you would need to change the cross-section of the fuselage, etc. but to my eye that drastic corrections are not needed to create a very accurate kit.

So here are those points that I think need modifications and what I am planning to do with them:

  • Engines: As it has been said many, many times before, there are a few cylinders missing. :P But I think there is a quite simple and cost effective solution to that. The kit has cylinder rows molded in four parts (front row front and back sides, and back row front and back sides). All the other parts except these look good. So I will cast two resin parts (the two cylinder rows) that will match the other engine parts of the kit so they will be just easy replacements of the four kit parts. And then I will make those for both engines. With that there will not be a need to replace the whole engines, just the cylinder rows. Quite easy and very cost efficient compared to full resin engines.
  • Engine cowlings: Now that I have seen the actual parts they look actually quite good to me. So I am planning to use them as they are.
  • Missing lower turret: The lower turret is missing and the shape of that area of the fuselage is not as curved as it should be. And again, not that difficult of a solution: I will cut out that bottom fuselage area along the panel lines and with the cut out pieces I will create a new part out of resin that has a hole and a railing for the turret and is also more properly shaped. Then I will also copy the top turret with resin and use that for the lower turret as well (and maybe I will sand the kit top turret before that in order to improve the shape a bit). For the lower turret guns I will use spare nose guns (see below). I also need to create a cradle for the lower turret if I want to make it turn. That shouldn't be that difficult either: a couple of pieces of styrene and a resin copy of one of the top turret cradle parts. The gunner position aft bulkhead is vertical in the kit but it should be slanted like in the actual plane, to allow the lower turret to fit in. To correct that I will simply extend and modify the kit bulkhead part (and maybe cast that in resin as well). In the end I will have a replacement resin lower fuselage part with a turret and guns. This will be very similar to what ICM has done with their 1/48 A-26B-15 kit.
  • Canopy: The canopy framing is for the later bubble shape canopy but the canopy shape is for the earlier flat canopy. Solution? I will go with the earlier flat-style canopy and simply sand away the misplaced frames and paint the frames correctly for the earlier style canopy. If I dare, I will very carefully place some rivets to the new frames. This will then make it easy for me to decide which sub-version of the A-26B I will make: this canopy solution will make me go with A-26B 'early' or A-26B-15.
  • Nose guns and the nose shape: The kit comes with 8 nose guns that is correct for a later version of A-26B. But I need to have a nose for the earlier version because of the canopy. Most early A-26B's had 6 nose guns. So I will fill the existing nose gun holes and, once that is done, I might sand the nose part a bit to make it appear more square. Then I will drill new holes in proper places for the six nose guns. And now I will have two extra guns that I can use for the lower turret. Economical! Probably there is no need for a resin nose part because this is such a simple modification. ;)
    050606-F-1234P-058.JPG
  • Cockpit: The kit cockpit is correct for the Korean War era or Vietnam War era Invaders but is not right for the early A-26B's. There should be only one pilot seat and control stick/wheel and the dashboard should be only on the pilot side. Also the middle console should extend all the way back to the cockpit bulkhead. And various bits and pieces are missing. Well, this will be anyone's taste how much effort they want to put in here. I will remove the right hand side seat and the stick, cut the dashboard and scratch build the middle console extension and add wires, radios, jump seat, etc. Update: I mistakenly had looked at only the separate cockpit parts and did not notice that the cockpit floor part actually has that middle console extension. So no need to scratch build that.
    A-26panel.jpg
  • Little bits: The kit doesn't have the top periscope, the pitot tube on the left side of the nose and the loop antenna, which is typical for the early version of the A-26B (the kit has the 'football' antenna, which some earlier versions and all of the later versions had). On the belly side there are a couple of antennas(?) that early versions did not have. Well, this is typical model building: check your references and decide which little bits and pieces you need and which you don't. I will (again) make a resin copy of the lower periscope and use that for the top periscope. The pitot tube is quite easy to scratch build. And the loop antenna is that typical 'Tamiya staple' treat. The plane that I will make did not have the belly antennas so I will not use them.
  • Decals: All of the decals in the kit are for later demonstration/tanker planes. So I will laser print my own decals unless there will be some nice after-market decals coming soon.

So this is it for me! After all, not that difficult. At least a lot easier than the needed wing and turret modifications that I am planning in horror for my B-24J Liberator 42-99990 'Short Snorter'.

 

There will be quite a few resin parts that I will make so if anyone is interested I might cast a few extra ones.

 

By the way, the instructions say that there is 150 grams of nose weight needed. A lot! But fortunately not as much as is needed for the mighty B-24 Liberator.

Edited by Lietsalmi
Correct cockpit text.
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Hi Lietsalmi,

 

thanks for your post :hi:

That sounds much better than I feared. I'm still waiting for my kit to arrive. What's your opinion about the shape of the canopy/fuselage sides? When looking at the pictures I found on the internet, I have the feeling that the side is too curved where it should be rather flat. At least that's what i believe, but in fact I dont't know that much about the real aircraft, so I could be wrong there.

 

Alex

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3 hours ago, Out2gtcha said:

Excellent! Thanks for the run down, and I very well may be one of those purchasing said resin parts if you make them.   Cheers! 

Thank you! I will let you know as soon as I start casting some resin.

 

3 hours ago, AlexM said:

That sounds much better than I feared. I'm still waiting for my kit to arrive. What's your opinion about the shape of the canopy/fuselage sides? When looking at the pictures I found on the internet, I have the feeling that the side is too curved where it should be rather flat. At least that's what i believe, but in fact I dont't know that much about the real aircraft, so I could be wrong there.

When I compared the kit fuselage and nose cone cross-sections with the blueprints (see here: https://www.the-blueprints.com/blueprints/modernplanes/douglas/80220/view/douglas_a-26_invader/), I was pleasantly surprised. According to my first inspection it seems that all the cross-sections along the whole fuselage match very well with the blueprints. I don't know why the fuselage looked also to me too rounded when I had seen only the pictures on the internet. Maybe gray plastic versus metallic sheen on the real fuselage makes that optical illusion? I just don't know why it looked like that when in fact the fuselage shape seems to be very accurate.

 

Today I also checked the surface details. They are very good! Nicely engraved panel lines where they are supposed to be and some nice riveting. And the ejector pin marks are almost non-existent. There has obviously been some very clever molding design because the ejector pins are, for example, in the shape of a cockpit equipment head or some gunner equipment head. Inside the fuselage you can find visible ejector pin marks only in places that will be covered with some other panels. And the fuselage is thinner around the landing gear bay to make it look like the real scale thickness. So a lot of nice little details that you can only see when you inspect the kit.

 

One word of warning: when you consider using wing mounted guns or bombs, please, check your references. According to sources I have found, wings were strengthened during the A-26B production to carry the extra weight so early planes were not able to carry extra guns or bombs. Kit instructions make you understand that you have to drill holes for them and have them for all the variants. Just be careful out there.

But then there are, of course, still some additional 'faults' that are to me so minor that I don't even bother to do anything to them. Sure, the canopy should go a bit lower on the left side of the fuselage but you notice that only when looking at a certain angle and comparing side by side with a blueprint or a photo taken from that same angle. And, sure, the flaps cannot be shown open if you don't cut out the inner flaps and position them open as well. Easy to do if you want to show flaps open or just keep them closed like with most planes on the ground. And there are one or two antenna masts missing but those are super easy to make from a styrene rod. And why the black vinyl tires? Hopefully and very likely there will be some nice after market resin wheels in a near future. All these are not even 'faults' to me when the main shape is accurate and the model looks, feels, smells and tastes like an A-26B. And this one does.

 

With all this in mind, one might even build a very accurate model OOB: then don't build a WWII war bird, but just proudly build one of the demonstration/tanker planes that don't have the lower turret or top periscope, etc. Then the only thing you need to add are eight more cylinders... :thumbsup:

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Andrey from Halberd Models is working on wheels set already.

It seems to me that one of the option with less effort would be to build one of the 19 aircrafts from B-56DL block, which have fuel tank installed instead of lower turret

These saw service with 3rd  BG in Pacific in last weeks of WWII. Painted in OD which fits better to A-26 than NMF for me personally

New cockpit and canopy will be needed, plus six .50 cal installed in wings, 8 guns nose as standard for this block

jan

 

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