A-26B Invader – Part 4

Interesting Invader facts gleaned from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_A-26_Invader):

1. The invader served in the U.S.A.A.F. during the final months of WWII, then it served and the Korean War with the U.S.A.F. and on to the Vietnam War.  

2. The Invader’s service with the U.S began in late 1944 and finally ended in 1969.

3. While the Invader served with distinction in Europe, it was not accepted with any enthusiasm by units in the Pacific.  General George Kenney, commander of the Far East Air Forces stated, “We do not want the A-26 under any circumstances as a replacement for anything.”

4. The Invader was intended to replace another Douglas Aircraft Company product – the A-20 Havoc which served throughout WWII with the U.S., the U.S.S.R., England, and the Free French A.F. in many varied roles.

In this final post about this kit/build, I have some photos and comments about the last stages of the project.

First, the argument about whether raised or engraved detail is best has raged on for years.  

I like to build one of the old Monogram kits now and then.  But, I remember when the first Arii/Otaki 1/48 scale WWII fighter became available with engraved detail, I was instantly taken with how much better the surface detail appeared.  It was so much easier to redo any engraved detail that was erased or damaged during filling and sanding.  It was very hard to do that with raised panel lines.  

I may be wrong, but I would guess that crafting the molds that produce engraved panel lines might be more involved that if the panel lines on the finished parts were to be raised.  Even so, raised detail on kits went out with the rotary dial telephone. 

Nonetheless, I enjoy what I think of as a nostalgia build now and then with a Monogram kit.

Below is a picture of some of the putty work in progress needed on this model.  I usually assume that such mismatches are my fault, because they usually are.  Here, I did my best to make the fuselage halves for better, but to no avail.  This cannot be blamed on a recent re-pop using old molds.   This copy of the kit dates back to 1996.  However, it is no big deal.  This is why putty is something that we all have on our workbenches.  

This model was, of course, destined to be a nose-sitter.  It did come with a clear plastic peg and a provision for a hole to be opened just aft of the bomb bay (although this feature was not mentioned in the instructions).  This would have provided a stilt to hold it up on all “threes”.  Monogram on their B-25J Mitchell kit molded the aft crew hatch in the fuselage bottom so it could be left open.  And, they provided a small step ladder that could be placed under the open hatch to prop the model up.  That was an imaginative solution.

I took advantage of the large empty nose cone on this model.  I taped the major component pieces together, and then I taped a plastic medicine cup to the nose and pour lead shot in until it balanced.  I added a little more for good luck.  Then, I mixed up some epoxy, dumped the shot into the nose and poured the epoxy in on top of it.  I mixed it all together with a toothpick, and let it harden.

And, it worked.

I do not pretend to be any great hand at natural metal finishes.  Basically, this is Tamiya Gloss Aluminum (TS-17) decanted from a Tamiya spray can.  The paint airbrushes beautifully, and the finish is apparently impervious to masking tape.  

The exhaust stains on the nacelles, an Invader trademark, are Tamiya Flat Black acrylic with some Tamiya Buff acrylic over-spraying it. 

Finally, although the kit came with markings for “Stinky” and the decals were still usable, I took advantage of the fact my decal stash included Aeromaster 48-160C “WWII Invaders Pt 1” which included “Stinky”.  

I would love to claim that my decal dexterity is so great that I applied Stinky’s face with one big decal over that concave noise.  Of course, that would be less than honest.  Both Aeromaster and Monogram broke the face into six pieces for average modelers like myself.

Thank you for reading this perhaps overly long post, but I wanted to get this project in the books, so to speak.  Here are some photos of the finished project.  

Maybe in a few years I will tackle another Monogram classic model, but meanwhile I shall be looking at the Tamiya, Hasegawa, Takom or miniArt kits in my stash.

All Photos (C) Matt Dyer

A-26B Invader – Part 2 – Cockpit

The parts detail is not bad and can be improved by the addition of some Eduard PE. The landing gear doors and nose wheel well are integral parts of the cockpit assembly.

(C) Matt Dyer

There is only one pilot position in this aircraft. There is a bicycle-type seat to the right of the pilot. According to Wikipedia, this jump seat is for a third crew member who would serve as a navigator and “loader” for the pilot-operated machine guns. Would he have had access to the six guns in the nose? Further research is necessary to flesh out this detail.

Monogram did not put too much effort into this detail. Since it will only be seen from above, it should look okay on the finished model. Vallejo Air 71.010 Interior Green was used. Weathering has yet to be applied.

There are some rather large sink marks on the interior cowl rim that required some putty. (C) Matt Dyer

A-26B Invader – Part 1 – The Kit 

The kit is presented in light grey plastic with some nice details, and – yes – raised panel lines. I cut the 20+ year old plastic bag and examined the parts.  Everything looked good, and a nice clear plastic sprue was protected in a sepeerate bag. So I washed the sprues in warm water and Dawn.  I do that with all kits, and it may be a waste of time.  I have also had fewer issues with paint lifting when masking tape is removed.

Notice the aftermarket stuff.  Ultimately, I did not use the Scale Aircraft Conversions landing gear or the Quickboost engines.  But, I had been looking forward to building this one for years, so I would pick things up when I found them.  I regard Eduard masks as necessities for WWII aircraft models.  They are just a huge time-saver, and, frankly, they are probably better than anything I would be cutting by hand in most instances.

Next time, I will be cutting parts off sprues and assembling this kit.  I was very excited to start working on this one, and I have not been disappointed.