Special Hobby 1/48 Martin Model 167F-A.3 (Maryland)
I was recently reading about the hunt for the battleship Bismarck during WW2, and came across an interesting connection between this plane and the final demise of the warship. The Martin Maryland was never used by the USAAF, but was sold to the French just prior to WW2. About 90 of the planes had been delivered before France fell, and the rest were diverted to the British. Most of these bombers were used by the RAF, but three of them were given to the Fleet Air Arm (FAA) for their use. When the British learned that the Bismarck was in a Norwegian fjord, they feared that the battleship was getting ready to break out into the North Atlantic. The FAA began regular reconnaissance flights to keep tabs on the battleship. It was this aircraft, serial AR720, that discovered that the Bismarck had left the fjord, presumably bound for the Atlantic. This discovery led to the actions that eventually destroyed the Bismarck. I thought it would be a cool idea to build a model of AR720. It turns out that there is very little information about these planes, with even fewer photographs available. So, a lot of this build was guess-work. One of the other cool things about these bombers is that they had foward-firing machine guns in the wings. A British pilot named Warburton achieved ace status using the Maryland. Pretty cool.
For those of you who have built Special Hobby kits before, you know there were some challenges to completing this kit. But the completion of this unusual plane was worth the extra effort required to build the model. If you are interested in the nuts and bolt of this build, there is a blow-by-blow description in the Work-in-Progress Group section. All of the decals used on AR720 came from my box of spare decals.
I am glad to be done with this kit, although the problems encountered are certainly not beyond the expertise of any modeler. Before I tackle another Special Hobby kit I think I will build a few kits that have things like locating tabs, everything fits, and has parts that aren't warped. :o)
9 additional images. Click to enlarge.