The Albatross was to be a replacement for the Grumman Goose; it began life as the XJR2F-1 Pelican with a Navy designation as the PF-1 and an Air Force designation of SA -16A. The SA-16B – the subject of this kit – was an upgraded machine which had 100 inches added to each wing in two separate plugs. A seventy-inch extension was grafted outboard of each engine nacelle, with a thirty-inch one near the tip. It also had a slightly wider horizontal stabilizer and a taller vertical fin. The B model had a wingspan of 96 feet 8 inches and was 62 feet 10 inches long with an empty weight of 22,883 lbs. It was powered by two Wright 1820-76A-94 engines of 1425 horsepower each, and boasted a speed of 236 MPH, with a range of 3465 miles. At least 19 other countries operated the Albatross besides the United States.
The Monogram offering is a vintage kit, and this release is from the Selected Subjects Program (SSP). It’s molded in white plastic with raised rivet detail and features retractable landing gear. To improve its appearance, I decided to fix the gear in place and subdue the rivet detail. The engine detail is molded into the cowl but looked OK after some staining. I started with the fuselage and realized it was wide open from nose to tail, so I elected to add a bulkhead behind the cockpit floor supplied in the kit. The cockpit is basic with the pilot and copilot molded into their seats, so I decided to paint them and put them in, even though it’s been many years since I’ve put figures inside my planes. I painted the interior and then drew on detail just for grins. I also filled the nose with lead so it would stand right.
The kit comes with working retractable landing gear and gear doors. It’s really very ingenious, but I broke one playing with it, so I glued the gear in place, then went ahead and filled in the extra holes and gaps of this system. I’m told if you want them to operate, you should put a drop of oil where they snap into a ring inside the wing.
The wing fit nicely flush to the top of the fuselage, but had a huge gap in the undersurfaces, which I filled with super glue. Finally, I sanded all seams and the entire aircraft surface to tone down the rivets. The canopy fit was fair and I used Sobo craft glue – which dries clear – for all the side windows.
I used Gunze paints for color and Model Master Non-Buffing Aluminum Metalizer for the silver. The real machines were painted in a silver lacquer, so I did no shading as I would on a natural metal airplane.
Decals are given for two US Air Force birds, and for my model, I opted for the “rainbow” Air Force paint scheme with its red tail. All the decals lay down well with application of a little Gunze Mr. Mark Softer. I overcoated the decals and color surfaces with clear to even out the shine on the model.
Overall, I’m happy with the results, had fun re-living a childhood experience with a kit from my past, and ended up with a good representation of the Albatross.
I want to thank IPMS and Monogram for the opportunity to build and review this kit.