I have a confession to make. I love the B-26…no idea why, I just like the way it looks and the markings and so this review is a little bit of a love affair with a specific plane. So, when Hasegawa’s B-26 F/G came up for review, I jumped at the chance.
Reviewing the kit in the box shows 12 sprues with two of those being clear. The clear parts not only include the canopies and windows but also the horizontal tails which is due to the small windows for the rear gunner which are next to the tail and small. In this way, the tiny windows are easier to mask and fit better. Also included is a set of poly caps for the props and a large set of decals covering three markings:
Great nose art and markings to choose from are a great way to start a build and I love the OD/natural metal scheme so it was Lak-a-Nookie for me.
Building starts with the interior and this kit has a full interior. A full cockpit of eleven parts is only missing a set of seat belts for the pilots. The instrument panel is done with decals but is more than sufficient as you can’t see much of it when built. A full bomb bay and load are also included which is built from twelve parts not including the bombs or bay doors. Also, included in the back are positional waist guns in deployed or stowed configuration, and bulkheads for the rear turret and rear gunner positions. A note here, I elected to close the bomb bay doors but you must add at least the basics as the wing attachments are part of the bomb bay.
Looking at other reviews, I did notice that, like all B-26 models, this one was going to be a real tail sitter unless I found a home for some weight. Since the radio compartment was empty, I filled it with lead. Literally as in fishing sinkers and a lot of them. I taped the tail part on and made sure I was nose heavy and painted the inside back so the metal didn’t show. Once all this is done and painted, you can close the fuselage with no issues.
The wings and nacelles are next and present no issues except for needing some putty at the top join where it feathers into the wing. Also, a little putty was needed at the rear of the nacelles and the back tips are separate. This required a little putty on the sides and a fair dollop on the top of the wing. Don’t forget all the internal bulkheads in the nacelles prior to attaching to the wing (oops on my part). The engine cowlings are molded as one piece and are fantastic and the engines themselves are nice also. Once done, the wings were added to the fuselage with no putty and with the stubs from the bomb bay, they are nice and sturdy.
I added the landing gear sans wheels so that it was up off the deck when painting. The tail and rudder were added next and required some putty towards the leading edges but not much. There are options for a closed or open bomb bay. I like the lines of the plane and chose the closed option. Hasegawa includes a single piece for he closed bomb bay which is great rather than trying to get four separate doors look good closed. I also added the canopy after masking and used a little putty to fair it into place. A few rounds of seam repair and filling and we were ready for paint.
For paint, I masked off the engines and the open spots and shot a coat of Alclad gray primer. This was followed by Tamiya gloss black where the metal goes and I shot it wet for a very shiny look. I used several colors of Vallejo Metal Coat, including aluminum, for the metal parts with highlights in white aluminum. I then sprayed the top with Xtracolor olive drab which is also nice and glossy. While this was drying, the turret was assembled and painted as well as the landing gear doors, the propellers, and the tires.
After drying, it was time for decals. The markings went on well and there is a minimal amount on the kit which consist of the national insignia, unit letters and markings and the nose art. The decals were good and with a little coaxing settled into place. I wanted to leave the plane looking reasonably pristine so I used Tamiya smoke to highlight the panels lines and then several rounds of flat coat.
I finished off the build by adding the windows, which are everywhere on the kit. The back glass at the gunners station fit OK and I would add it prior to painting next time and fair it into place. It also took some trimming on all the windows but I suspect that is from paint interfering with the fit. The wheels, props and miscellaneous were added. Fit was excellent all around and I must say, the big glass nose fit like a top with no issues.
This is an excellent kit and one begging for the same quality in a larger scale (hint, hint, 1/48 and 1/32 B-26’s please). Highly recommended for a pleasant build and to represent a great plane.
My thanks to Natalie and all the wonderful people at Hobbico and Hasegawa for the chance to review this kit