Valom, 1/72 scale
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||Valom Kit No. 72020 B-26A (USAAF) and No 72028 Mk.1A (RAF)
|Contents and Media:
||98 mid-grey plastic parts on three sprues, 19 clear plastic parts on one sprue, 7 well cast resin parts, 49 PE bits on one fret plus decals for one aircraft and an A5 sized instruction sheet with history, parts plan, 18 build drawings and 2 pages of paint/decal placement instructions in colour.
GBP£26.81 available online from Hannants
AUD$53.00 online from NKR Models in Australia
will be available from Squadron
||An interesting rarity, highly
detailed externally, very fine panel detail, injected canopy, good
decals and PE.
||Some small parts lack detail (machine guns), bomb-bay closed with no interior detail or bomb-load
||Highly Recommended but not for the inexperienced.
Reviewed by Glen Porter
Valom's 1/72 scale
Martin B-26A/Mk.IA Marauder will be available online from Squadron.com
Ordered in 1939 and first flown in 1940, the Martin B-26 Marauder was very advanced and very fast. The early versions, the subject of this review, had shorter wings and a smaller tail areas which gave the aircraft a rather high wing loading, long take-off and high landing speeds which caused many accidents with the inexperience air-crews training on them. The beautiful but dangerous Marauder soon became known as the Widow Maker.
These handling problems were soon overcome and the Marauder gained a safety record second to none.
With its clean aerodynamic shape, it's no wonder it had a top speed almost that of an early Spitfire.
This is not a Hasagawa B-26 which will probably be easier to build, but I think it's doubtful if Hasagawa will get around to doing the early short-wing variants. Valom's Marauder is also an excellent effort from a relatively new short-run manufacturer. Their models are improving visibly, each one better than the last.
Valom has released both a 1/72 scale US B-26A Marauder and an RAF Marauder Mk.IA/ The two kits are identical except for the decals, paint/decal instructions and the box top art-work. Being short-run means there are no alignment pins on the major parts and no tongue and slot mounts for the wings. Add to this the multi-media nature of the kits and you can see they're not for the beginner.
The moulding is particularly good, up there with the best short-run makers like Special Hobby with very little flash, few ejector pin marks in exposed areas and the surface detail on the main parts is just beautiful. The rows of rivets are very subtle. In fact, if you apply too much paint they will probably disappear forever.
The sprues are not marked A,B,C etc, and there are no numbers on the sprues either so you will have to refer to the parts plan to find those smaller items.
The fuselage sprue carries the fuselage halves, main wheel halves, fin/rudder halves, wheel well rooves, bulkheads and doors and some other small parts including the front under-carriage leg and crew ladder. The main wing sprue has 4 wing halves, engine mount discs, cockpit front bulkhead, rear gun position bulkhead and 4 under-carriage struts. The third sprue carries all the other smaller parts such as 4 tail plane halves, the cockpit floor (which is also the nose gear bay roof), 5 seats, 2 main under-carriage legs, 2 control columns and wheels (2 types), 2 each of the four bladed cuffed props, spinners, tail gun position lower halves and lots of other bibs and bobs including the machine guns.
Parts are supplied on the third and clear sprues for the twin tail gunned B-26B but shown "not for use" in these two kits so we can assume an early B-26B is to follow. There is also some question over whether the RAF version should be referred too as a Mk.1A or as just plain Mk.1. The Mk.1A title appears to have been used by number 14 Squadron RAF, the only British unit to use the short winged Marauder operationally, for the few B-26Bs they received in North Africa.
The parts on the clear sprue are very clear and well moulded with distinct framing although perhaps a little on the thick side. They include the main canopy, clear nose, dorsal turret top, tail turret cover and the alternative twin gun tail cover plus side windows and landing lights.
There are only 7 resin parts, all on their individual casting blocks and in cream coloured resin. There are 2 highly detailed twin row eighteen-cylinder radials and it will be up to the modeller whether to add the eighteen push rods per row or leave them as is. Next is two upper cowling halves. We then have the dorsal turret base, pilot's seat and nose wheel, all nicely detailed.
PE frets are identical in both kits and are mostly cockpit parts with instrument panel, harnesses for five of the six seats (?), rudder pedals and lots of control levers. There are also undercarriage oleo scissors for the main and nose gear and 20 main undercarriage door hinges which may be a problem as it looks like these are the only means by which said door can be attached.
Decals! Each kit comes with a small sheet with markings for one aircraft with the bare minimum, i.e., no stencils. However, they are very well printed with good register and colour density.
In kit No. 72020 B-26A (US), you get an aircraft from an unidentified training unit in Olive Drab and Medium Green blotching over Neutral Grey with white star on blue background in four positions and a yellow serial on the fin/rudder.
For kit No. 72028 Mk.1A (RAF), Martin Marauder Mk.1 FK375, ÒDominion RevengeÓ No 14 Squadron, Gambut, Libya, 1943 in Dark Earth/Mid Stone over Azure with national markings in six positions ( no under wing roundels), aircraft letter D and serial in black. This aircraft has nose art-work, port side below the cockpit consisting of the name "Dominion Revenge" and a white bird carrying bombs.
Like some of the other New Boys from the Czech Republic, Valom's instructions are a bit basic and in some places vague on placement but experienced modellers should be able to work it out.
Okay, it's not a Hasagawa B-26 and it will require some experience to construct but with a little extra care a very nice early short wing Marauder in either US or RAF markings can be built.
Highly Recommended for experienced modellers.
P.S. In the next couple of weeks I will be reviewing the Allied Wings book on the Marauder Mk.1, No 14 Squadron RAF. Watch this space.
Thanks to Valom for this review
Review and Images Copyright © 2008 by Glen Porter
Page Created 8 May, 2008
Last updated 8 May, 2008
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