Martin PBM-5 Mariner "FRISCO D is for Dog" 1944
In keeping with my modelers eye for the usual plane with an unusual paint scheme, I present the Mariner flying boat Air-Sea Rescue version. While as never popular or built in the same numbers as the PBY "Catalina", the Mariner saw service as a patrol bomber, ASW aircraft, aerial cargo transport and air-sea rescue plane. In the ASR role, the aircraft was found at every coastal naval air station during WWII and rescued many downed aviators using a water landing (also know as a "controlled crash" by its' air crews). The PBM was manufactued in both the flying boat version and the amphibian configuration. The Mariner made it's last flight in 1958 being replaced by the Martin Marlin for long distance patrol and rescue work.
This kit is of the PBM-5A version and is offered by Minicraft in 1:72 scale. It's a nice build and the parts fit together very snug, so filling in gaps is held to a minimum. The box states you can build two examples, a 1945 and 1947 version. Now here is my only complaint: the only options are different radar housing, 3 or 4 blade props and different national markings. Now I thought the kit could be built as the PBM-5A or flying boat version. Well, the Coast Guard never flew the amphib version so I had to cut sheet plastic and fill in the landing gear pockets. I even checked the direction to see if the plane could be built as just a PBM. After the hull correction I was looking at the kits sprue and there they were, two perfectly cut "fill ins" to make it the flying boat version. Yikes, why didn't the manufacurer spell out the spare parts in the assembly instructions? Oh well, live and learn. This particular plane flew out of San Francisco in 1944 and was operated by the USCG as a SAR aircraft. It was painted in the anti submarine white and gray paint scheme making it look like a Short Sunderlund flying boat. The plane had the yellow SAR paint markings on it but for some reason had red engine cowlings as a hi-viz paint. These aircraft carried inflatable life rafts in their bomb bays to drop to ditched air crews, the gun turrets were replaced by a pair of 50cal in the nose and a 30cal in the tail. Since this model is going to the CG museum I didn't rig any radio antenna wires.
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