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Monogram's "Golden Oldie" 1/67 scale
Douglas B-26 Invader

by Roger Jackson

Douglas B-26 Invader


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Like all of HyperScale's "Invader styrenistas" I was eager to pick up the new Italeri B-26K release when it was announced and, like many, I was more than a little disappointed when I finally had an opportunity to examine the kit firsthand.

Ergo, I thought I might remind folks that there is an alternative that is worthy of consideration, disregarding the Airfix A-26, which though it scales out pretty well in terms of dimension and proportion is laden with the usual plethora of "jack-of-all-trades" gimmicks.

This is Monogram's 1/67 scale B-26, a "golden oldie" from that company's earliest days in the all-plastic scale model business.



Typical of the era, there is not much in the box that could rightly be considered "fine precision detail" though the overall shape of the airframe is generally correct and the transparencies fit well.





This kit is not for the faint-of-heart or those modelers addicted to today's shake-and-bake wonderkits since much scratch-building is required to bring the model up to an acceptable contemporary standard of detail. One look at the riveted surface detail will convince the neophyte why the words "bastard" and "file" are so aptly conjoined to describe this particular tool.



Because of the non-standard scale, few of the available aftermarket goodies can be used. Thus, the key to competently finishing any of these old models is a solid grasp of scratch-building skills. For this project I built new interiors for both the pilot and gunner compartments, landing gear struts, wheels, antennas, and external bomb racks.

Once the basic construction was done I did a total re-scribe of the panel line detail then polished up the surface to level everything out as an adequate foundation for the paint. Again, due to the odd scale, I had to make do with some Aeromaster decals intended for a 1:72nd scale Invader. Yet they seemed visually compatible in size once they were applied to the model.



The most difficult aspect of the decaling job was cutting several hundred yellow rectangles to a uniform size, then applying them individually so they aligned to form the "cut here" rescue indicators. I tried a gloss final coat overall when the model was done but under any lighting or viewing condition the model looked like a toy, so I settled on a 50/50 mix of gloss and matte lacquer overall.

The completed model's overall lines are very pleasing and really capture the raison d'etre for the aircraft's purpose......to kill people and break things. Ed Heinemann got this one right as he had so many others while head of the Douglas design and engineering department. Very few aircraft can claim a 40-year service career, and many of them trace their concept and development back to Heinemann and Douglas.



A Comparison Across the Decades (and scales)...


As a side note to the Italeri debacle, I was convinced that their new Counter-Invader kit had some serious problems with the aft fuselage, empennage, and vertical fin. These two photos definitively demonstrate what is at play here -- namely that the Italeri vertical fin and rudder is hosed in both overall height and in total chord.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images: 

The silver parts are the Monogram 1:67th scale kit, while the gray ones are Italeri's 1:72nd scale renditions. Given the eight percent difference between the scales it is apparent (to me, at least) that Italeri incorrectly tooled their vertical fin, the result being too high by about 4.5 millimeters and too broad by approximately 3.0 millimeters. The leading edge of the fin needs to be cut back so that an imaginary tangential line extending downward from the corrected leading edge intersects with the forward edge of the fillet for the horizontal stabilizer.



For a B-26K the rudder will still be incorrect as the angle of the trailing edge is too extreme (more akin to the original Invader rudder), but correcting that should be relatively easy by either replacement with the conversion set intended for use with the Airfix kit or by merely scratch-building a replacement. Once the issue of the vertical fin and rudder is addressed I believe that most of the other perceived problems with the rear fuselage of the Italeri kit will disappear.

I feel that no small measure of gratitude is owed to Maarten Bilo who did much of the thankless legwork to identify and isolate the all-too-numerous discrepancies with the Italeri kit. He, along with fellow Hyperscalers Jim Rotramel and Don Fenton, will doubtless make our jobs as modelers much easier when it's time to build this newest B-26K kit.

Happy Modeling......I hope y'all enjoyed this stroll down memory lane.

"If'n you cain't run with the big dawgs, jus' stay on the porch with the puppies"



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images: 

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2006 by Roger Jackson
Page Created 27 April, 2006
Last Updated 21 February, 2007

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