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1/48 ICM B-26C "Invader"


A superb kit. No flaws whatsoever. A pure joy to build. What, you're looking for a build review? It's perfect. There's nothing out of place. I'd build a fleet of these without hesitation. Read Tom Cleaver's reviews for the nitty gritty, but for my money I've never had a more pleasant build experience.

With a kit this lovely, I felt I could use this as an opportunity to stretch my painting and finishing ability. Silver and bare metal aircraft are challenges in their own right, but one paint scheme is constantly overlooked: monochrome. You COULD slap on a coat of flat black and let that be the end of it, but your plane won't look at all "real." I trawled the internet and came up with a few solutions which I employed in various places on the aircraft. My first attempt was a base of flat black primer over which I sprayed squiggles of thinned "black green" and "midnight blue" paint. I tried this on the port underside wing. Second, I used the same black base, but filled in each individual panel with an alternating patchwork of the "black green" and "midnight blue" paint.

After this, my topside painting consisted of alternating layers of squiggled black paint cut with a few drops of black green, and black paint cut with midnight blue. My reasoning is that the greenish tint provides a little "warmth" to contrast the "cooler black" produced by the midnight blue. Not that any of this matters when the model is shoved under bright LED lights and you force an imaging sensor to comprehend your artistry, but there it is. I know it looks cool in person and that's all that matters.

Interior painting is not uniform green zinc chromate; tests and field reports showed that a green zinc chromate interior contributed to motion sickness in aircrews, so all interior crew areas were painted a greenish yellow that approximates what I've seen in my references. The most challenging aspect turned out to be the scallops on the engine cowlings, because the aftermarket decal set doesn't provide them, nor does it give you a template to make a mask. Out came the compass, and I fashioned several masks out of Tamiya tape. Vallejo red over white base filled these out, as well as the rest of the red trim markings.

I painted the propeller hubs with MOLOTOW Liquid Chrome paint pens. These are superb, and their pigment density is much, much more saturated than other "silver" paint pens.

I used Bombshell Decals to depict A-26C-35-DT, 44-35361 ‘Little Sheba’ of the 13th BS, , with a mixture of kit decals for stencils.

Weather-wise these planes' paints are HIGHLY glossy, so I sprayed multiple coats of Krylon Fixatif over the whole airframe. Fixatif is a great product-- it comes in HUGE aerosol cans, dries shiny, self-levels, and can accept a wide variety of paints over top of it. Avgas is now (2021) the last remaining fuel that uses lead. Avgas during the was most definitely leaded, and leaded gasoline produces white and grayish exhaust staining. You don't see that as much on silver-colored aircraft, but on black paint it couldn't be more obvious. I used thinned mixtures of dirty gray and dirty white to progressively build-up exhaust streaks similar to what I've seen in photographs, with dark brown mixed in as the streaks became closer to the exhaust stubs. A little thinned black near the ends of the exhaust completed the look. I used Tamiya gray panel line wash to add even more accumulated grime and soot. I used a ratty cotton swab dipped in different AMMO enamel mud products over the underside where mud splatter was most likely, and erratic daubs on the topside where foot traffic was possible. Fresh dings and chips were accomplished by using a toothpick to apply MOLOTOW Liquid Chrome. Older dings and chips were accomplished with a silver welding pencil.

Super fun. Can't wait to do a silver gun-nose.

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.


14 responses

  1. A fine piece of work, Wes.

  2. What an excellent result, Wes! You surely had a great time with it! Thanks for info on the kit and build details!

  3. Very nice result on this Invader, Wes @avispa93
    Your 'black' painting came out very nicely. Noted your approach of the black mixture for a next build.
    Thanks for the explanation.

  4. Very nice work, Wes, and a great result. Thanks for your thoughts on a black scheme, interesting ideas.

  5. Love the B-26. You have done a nice job with the black weathering.

  6. Looks great! I've had one of these on my radar screen for a while. I've been thinking of a Vietnam era Counter Invader version. Maybe later in 2022.

  7. You have built a great looking Invader!

  8. Always glad to see a completed Invader! Terrific looking!

  9. Nicely done Wes, she looks good.

  10. Very well done Wes, your Invader build is excellent.

  11. Very nice invader build.

  12. Excellent build - and I took a few notes for my P-70 build on the black scheme! Well done.

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