The Douglas A-26 Invader (designated B-26 between 1948 and 1965) is an American twin-engined light bomber and ground attack aircraft. Built by Douglas Aircaft Company during World War II, the Invader also saw service during several major Cold War conflicts. A limited number of highly modified United Sates Air Force aircraft served in Southeast Aisa until 1969. It was a fast aircraft capable of carrying a large bomb load. A range of guns could be fitted to produce a formidable ground-attack aircraft.
A re-designation of the type from A-26 to B-26 led to confusion with the Martin B-26 Marauder which first flew in November 1940, some 20 months before the Douglas design's maiden flight. Although both types were powered by the widely used Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp eighteen-cylinder, double-row radial engine, they were completely different and separate designs - the Martin bomber originated in 1939, with more than twice as many Marauders (nearly 5,300) produced in comparison to the Douglas design.
The A-26B variant is an attack bomber with solid nose carrying six or eight 0.50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns. Production totals: 1,355 A-26Bs were built and delivered, 205 at Tulsa, Oklahoma (A-26B-5-DT to A-26B-25-DT) plus 1,150 at Long Beach, California (A-26B-1-DL to A-26B-66-DL). About 24 more airframes were built at Long Beach but not delivered to USAAF, some of those later sold to other civil and military customers. A-26B was re-designated B-26B with USAF in 1948.
The A-26 Invader saw service during World War II in Europe, and the Pacific, later in Korea and Viet Nam. Foreign service included France, Brazil, Chile, Biafra, China, Columbia, Congolese Republic, Cuba, Cuban Rebel Air Force, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Indonesia, Laos, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Portugal, The Royal Air Force, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Viet Nam. There were several civilian Invaders used in races, fire bombers, and military applications testing firms
The instructions are provided in a 24-page, glossy paper book format. The cover page offers a brief description of the aircraft and includes a paint and color schedule based on Revell and Tamiya acrylic paints. The bottom of the page includes an instruction legend. The next three pages address the sprue layouts with parts identified as not to be used.
Pages 5 through 22 detail the assembly of the model with 96 individual steps shown. Each step is presented as an isometric or exploded view with the parts numbered and paint colors identified. The last two pages show the decal placements for the three aircraft that can be built from this kit. All are natural metal aircraft.
The Kit Parts
There are ten sprues included: All ten are bagged in a common clear plastic bag, except the clear parts are bagged separately within the main bag. Kit parts are molded in a medium grey plastic.
Two canopies are included with one not to be used per the instructions, while the remaining canopy has an open section for viewing into the cockpit area. The smallest parts provided are for the underwing landing lights, extreme rear fuselage micro windows and wingtip navigation lights.
The cockpit was the first build on the docket with the instrument panel, floor, control column and center console all going together very well as well as the rear cockpit bulkhead. The interior color is called out as flat green, a bit vague, but I looked up what the actual interior color as yellow zinc chromate with black added, it didn’t say how much black, so I guessed and it turns out when you add black to yellow zinc chromate you come up with a medium green which looked like the original color. The instrument panel was the typical raised bezel with a decal added over it, which in this scale looks good because it is hard to see once everything is closed up. Things looked a little barren so I added some detail in the cockpit with aftermarket seat belts and photo etch.
The next step was the fuselage starting with the bombs and bomb racks. The bombs were two halves with a fused spinner, the fins and spinner were a little on the thick side and could be helped by photo etch. The fuselage itself was fairly detailed with ribs and stringers and also some boxes on the walls with decals for added detail. The four bulkheads had some detail with lightening holes an axe and miscellaneous boxes and tanks. Two of the bulkheads had extensions going through the fuselage for the wing attachment which was nice. Once everything was painted and detailed I assembled the left hand side including the left side nose gear door and cockpit assembly. Everything fit very well into the fuselage with no issues. Step 15 shows a .8mm hole needing to be drilled in the right side fuselage half for the antennae mast. Adding the bomb racks, window and right side nose wheel door, also a jump seat completes the right side. And now the moment of truth, closing up the fuselage. After some pushing and prodding and clamping everything seemed to go together fairly well. Only a few small areas needed some filler after sanding the fuselage. The horizontals, elevators and rudder were glued together and installed on the fuselage. The nose cone went on next along with 40 g of weight, there are two versions one with six guns and one with eight. The nose did not fit the best to the fuselage and I had to really work to get it to line up.
This aircraft had under wing rockets so the instructions tell you to drill 14- 1mm holes for the rocket mounts for each wing. A cooling radiator is added and the wing halves go together. Add the ailerons and flaps and the wing is almost done. There is an option to have wings with six internal .50 cal guns or not. This step tells you to add the clear landing light lens and the wing tip position light but I left them off until painted and final assembly. The wings were mated to the fuselage and the fit could not have been better, the wings slid on to the bulkhead extensions and the fit to the fuselage is probably one of the best I have seen, there were no gaps whatsoever no filler needed. Kudos to ICM for that engineering feat.
The engine and landing gear nacelles went together without a hitch, all 9 pieces. I like how ICM built the landing gear doors into the gear bay sides as one piece. I painted the inside of the gear bays and doors the same color as the interior. Attaching the nacelles to the wing was a little more involved, in the end it went together well and only a little filler was needed to fill gaps.
The upper gun turret had 8 parts which included the turret motor and mechanism you could see through the Bombay. The lower turret was simpler with just the turret and guns. The gunners sighting station consisted of 4 parts and once painted and seatbelts added looked fairly well. The one issue I had with the turrets was attaching the turret to the base on the inside of the fuselage, I had to do some cutting and filing to get the turret to sit down tight to the fuselage and then it wasn’t possible to make them turn, you can elevate the guns though.
The engines were fairly detailed and assembly went smoothly. There is part #E34 that temporarily goes on the back of the engine so you can align the exhaust pipes, which I thought was a great idea. Once painted up the engines looked pretty good, the only thing you would need to make them look better is adding spark plug wires.
Landing Gear and Tires
The landing gear was fairly simple, a couple pieces and painted with aluminum and the oleos with a shot of chrome. The main tires were two halves with a two piece rim. The tires were painted flat black and the rims model master magnesium, I added some thinned black to the rims to give them some depth. The nose wheel was one piece with the rim and I painted them the same as the mains.
Prior to painting I attached the cockpit and gunners station canopies and used a mask set for masking. This is where things went south on me. I prepped the model as usual with plastic prep. I then sprayed one wing with Tamiya primer, before I went further I decided to spray that same wing with model master aluminum plate buffing metalizer the next day to see how it looked and wouldn’t you know it I had issues. The metalizer in this one big area had orange peel but the rest of the wing was ok. Now before I primed the wing I did notice this swirl in the plastic that had a slightly different tint to it, and that was right where the paint had orange peeled. Now I sanded out the orange peel and tried spraying it again but to no luck the same thing happened. So now I had to make a decision, do I try again or do I go with another paint scheme, new paint scheme, instead of an all metal aircraft I went with the green over gray camo scheme. So I sprayed a coat of aluminum over the whole model then sanded out the areas of orange peel then laid on the green over gray.
After paint I prepped the plane with a clear gloss finish for application of the decals. The decals register looked good and the letters and numbers looked crisp. After a soak in warm water and letting sit for another minute, I added some micro sol to the wing. I attached the first decal, the wing star, and after positioning I added more micro sol on top, letting it sit for a few minutes. I then blotted out any extra water, micro sol and bubbles that might be present and let it sit. After doing a few more decals and a couple more shots of micro sol, I let it sit for about an hour. Upon return the decals laid down very nicely and there was no sign of silvering and the edge of the decals disappeared. The white sections were not opaque and looked excellent. After I placed all the decals and gave them time to all dry sufficiently, I shot a 50/50 mixture of semi-gloss clear and flat clear lacquer over the whole aircraft. The finished product looked great.
After paint and decals the final assembly began. I removed all the masks, I added the engines and props, landing gear, painted and installed the rockets. I also installed the antennae mast and football and added the antennae wire with EZ line. Once completed I added some exhaust stains to the nacelles to give it a little used look.
The kit parts were crisp with no flash and no visible sink marks. The plastic in my opinion was a little on the soft side, I don’t know what they put in their plastic but it seemed to affect my Model Master aluminum paint in some way, something I haven’t experienced before. Everything went together very nice with minimal gaps and fitment issues. The kit decals I was very impressed with. The only negative or weak point, in my opinion, was the landing gear, it seems the plastic being so soft is a bit flimsy with the weight of the model. I think using aftermarket metal gear would be a good addition in this case. Overall this kit is very nice, good fitment, nice exterior detail, good decals and overall good model. I would recommend this model to anyone interested in doing an A26B in 1/48 scale
I wish to thank ICM Holding and IPMS USA for the opportunity to build and review this model