Review: 1/48th A/B-26 Invader, ICM/Monogram/Revell Review
With the new ICM new mold B-26B now in our hot little hands. Though overshadowed by the P-38 released about the same time. Still it was an anticipated and long awaited release that a lot of WWII model builders have waited for. I built the Monogram Invader first offering the glass nose A/26C, and converted it to the Counter Invader using the Paragon set way back in the late 90's. I knew nothing at the time of shape issues. Other than it was a typical Monogram build with the usual bumps in the road which doesn't take away from the end result. In the end it looked like an Invader too me, a Counter Invader at that. So let see what we had in the Monogram kit compared to the ICM. First I am not here to bash Monogram/Revell. Many built the kit for the love of the hobby and to have what was the only Invader in this scale to this point. Many builders didn't even know about the fuselage issue until of course the perfecto's figured it out. Face it this is not the only kit that has shape issues, there are far more worse out there. Like the Banshee and the F-80, and others have been much worse from other manufacturers.
This review will be to focus on just the fuselages. Others say the nose is also too long. And the tail as it sweeps up is off also.
The side profiles of the three fuselage 2 Monogram and the one ICM. On the ICM kit, the fuselage is designed to be modular, in other words for future releases the upper and lower turrets are inserts when on some glass noses the rear lower turret is deleted, not in all cases but will allow to build schemes that have that feature. The Monogram show totally 2 different fuselages for each kit, the black plastic A-26C glass nose, the first release has the rear turret deleted (which makes this kit the easier of the 2 to do B-26K conversion) where as the B-26B gun nose grey fuselage has both upper and rear turrets molded in. The interior molded in details are quite similar on all 3 kits.
Now one thing I did notice is that the RH rear side window is horizontal on the ICM kit and both Monogram kits are vertical in shape. I happen to have a couple of Italeri's 72nd scale B-26 kits, and they also have the RH side rear window in the vertical position. Found a few images of the A/B-26 from different periods and they show the window being vertical also. But I also found a couple of images with no window in that position. Not to say this is incorrect as I did run across an image with that window being in the horizontal position, I just can't find it at the moment. So I will not say it is wrong. Check your references.
Now to address the number one issue of the Monogram kit. Until now there was no way to tell why the fuselage just didn't look correct by those who get anal about things. So taping both halves and sit them side by side, you can see and it's obvious how much wider the Monogram fuselages are compared to the ICM kit. Now as you look at the real birds, how sleek and slender the fuselage looks, and now look at a built up Monogram Invader. You can see more Douglas A-20 Havoc with Invader wings and tail bolted on. The wider fuselages make the plane not as sleek and slender once you see the difference. I for one didn't see it until now after the comparison. Still I will build these two along with the new ICM. The new ICM kit is definitely a new mold. The flying surfaces are separate parts compared to the molded on featured on the Monograms. This kit is just as exciting to me as the new Tam Lightning is. And with all kinds of new kits coming on line soon. This year is going to end with a bang.
Another couple of points with ICM kit I have noticed are the wheels which have dodgy looking hubs and suspect diameter and a lack of detail in the rear of the cockpit. I don't consider these deal breakers at all but the references are out there when tooling a new kit. Having said this I am still happy with the kit and looking forward to building it.
That is one thing that did catch some attention were the wheels and tires, that's a good point. My solution was just to replace them with a resin set. Thanks Haslam
Thank you, Chuck. Your visual review of the A-26 kits is most helpful. I, too, have wondered about the fidelity of the old Monogram A-26 kits; now I know. Thanks, again.
Funny how some modelers can spot things right off the bat no matter how subtle the discrepancy is. While others just carry on. But having the new ICM kit, you can really see what they were talking about with a visual aid. Still for some not a deal breaker. Thanks Marvin
Nice Kick off Chuck, I will be following with interest.
Thanks James, they will be on the 2020 to build list.
I have to agree that the wheels are not up to the standard of the rest of the ICM kit, The mains can be replaced with True-details B-25 resin tires. Sourcing the nose gear... maybe a resin nose wheel from the P-61 Black Widow or the main from a P-38 will do the trick. Hopefully one of the resin folks will take notice and fill in the blank.
Thanks Stephen, it is about the only weak point on the kit were the wheels, but I figured to just simply get a resin set to replace them. Looking at pics on a loaded Invader did show some weight on those tires so it may be the way to go.
If you look at the tires and the wheels or hubs there generic. Perhaps what with several versions coming out of the Invader ...one size fits all. I've noticed that the wheel arrangement the hubs or metal wheels change with post war Invaders.
For my money when building a kit I look at the canopy, tires,props and seat (belts) as the primary things that I will spend a little time and effort on improving for my piece of mind. When your on the tarmac looking at a a/c... and want to convey or communicate to the viewer some sense of weight in the model the details in these four categories help with the build. My two cents.
Thanks for posting this review article Chuck... Your photos showing several full sized Invader's are proof that anything could have been possible with the side windows. Maybe it was a difference between various production block variants ? I don't know to be perfectly honest... good catch. I also didn't realize how much wider the older Monogram kit was. Maybe it could be "thinned" down some, but the clear parts would cause you the most grief if one attempted this.
You might want to keep all of these 26's handy... Starting on June 25th of 2020, we will most likely have a good excuse to build some of these... If things go as planned I'll probably start a Korean War Group Build, and the plan is to have it last the same time as the conflict did... only 70 years later. So you will have a little over three years to build some.
I have the Monogram A/B-26 C version molded in black plastic with the clear nose. But this new tool ICM kit looks like it will end up in the stash too.
Thanks for sharing this information with us.
I am ready for the Korean War GB. May build a couple of the B-26's for that endeavour. But there are many subjects for that conflict. It will be a fun journey,
a suggestion would may be a end of the year presentation Like what was in theatre in 1950 (2020) then new equipment and aircraft first appearing in 1951 (2021) so that way it can reflect the progress and adjustment both sides did to counter. With your experince with ICM on the He-111, I think you will like the Invader as well. This is my first ICM kit ever, I like it so far, looking forward to the next kit ICM will produce supposedly this December, wait, thats next week?
For years folks have commented about the Monogram kit having issues and it would appear that the fuselage is too wide or its being hinted at by comparing it the ICM kit. If a neutral source was available ergo what are the measurements of the actual a/c at various points would be of help. Some of us are members of the "Good Enough Club" or "Good enough for Gov't Club" its another value judgement for folks. I've seen some impressive builds of the Monogram classic.
If you read some of the boards its become, the subject of what I call "The Splend Corpse." The kit has been dismembered and dissected to death and yet folks still build it. Comparing the ICM kit reminds me of when one was a lot younger and thinner ...while the older kit is "Middle aged." Which holds true for some of some us...never the less if proportioned correctly looks fine to the person viewing in the mirror.
That's a true statement Stephen, long after I built the Monogram Invader, I started to read about the reviews on the Monogram kit. Saw many comments "whats wrong with the Monogram Invader" and then the replies from those who pointed out that the fuselage was too wide making the overall look of the Invader not as graceful for lack of a better term. I am one of those that just don't look for any issues known or otherwise. I just take it under advisement and will build it anyway. Just knowing what to look for. Also the B-26K used Boeing 707/KC-135 wheels for the mains. Only Cutting Edge made resin wheels for their conversion. The Paragon conversion missed that detail Good luck in finding the CE wheels, Paul did sell those separately.
The Pro Modeller issue of the Monogram A/B-26B with the 6 gun nose looks okay if you get the nose low sit right. On the other hand the original release, the glass nosed B-26C just looks horrible. The extra width and the distortion of the clear nose just ruins the look of the whole kit.
I built the PM kit up as one of the “Chadwick’s”, Fifth I think, that had the six gun nose and both turrets. Of course I have no pictures. I wonder if the Commander’s aircraft of the 3rd Wing (Bomb Group/Wing) is still named “Chadwick” and if so what number are they up to now?
Something to think about for those of us who are obsessive compulsive modelers ...the various versions of the B-26 Invader had different bolt on armor arrangements . Its been posted that the ICM version is not up to par with the the eight gun arrangement being offered. I doubt that most people will bother to notice and I don't consider it to be the "Fatal Flaw" for this kit. Much as the Revellogram Ventura has been accepted as a good starting point for making a Ventura with cowlings that are a tad too round and props that where modeled after a Lockheed Lodestar. People understand that this still is a good likeness.
After looking at some overhead pics of real Invaders, i have to say i think the monogram width looks more accurate to me overall. Perhaps the monogram kit doesn't make the top of the fuseage quite thin enough, but the ICM doesn't make the bottom wide enough. Neither capture the fact that the fuselage sides are not vertical but rather rather flare towards the bottom. for example: