The A-26B made its debut in the European theatre with the US 9th Air Force in November 1944. The destructive power of this ground-attack variant was used to maximum effect by bombing, ground strafing and launching rocket attacks in advance of the Allied group forces as they fought their way through Europe and in the Pacific. The A-26 initially suffered technical problems, however the first operations in September 1944, marked the start of a long and successful career which lasted more than 3 dacades.
This is the first A-26 tooling, but also the first medium-bomber model attempt by the folks at HobbyMaster. Mine came with a missing aerial mast antenna unfortunately, so I will update the photos as soon as I receive a spare part from HM. Apart from this, it's a stunning model, heavy, nice smooth silver finish, no gaps between the parts, detailed interiors and some neat operational features. The flat base of the stand is in plastic but the actual arm-part is in metal, making the display more stable. Also, it's possible to keep the bomb-bay doors open if displayed in flight.
First thing I checked when I took out the model, was the nose configuration. The early A-26B variant nose is correct, with the six .50 caliber machine guns and flat top canopy. Cockpit interiors are detailed but some parts, especially in the pilot's compartment aft, could have been painted with more colours. The bomb bay piece is very practical to remove or attach and features 4 (500lb perhaps?) bombs which unfortunately lack color detail: yellow rings painted on the nose and tail and silver fuses. Would be nice to see this improvement on the next Invaders.
One particular which I never mentioned and that I really like about HobbyMaster, is the fact they provide crew figures (unlike Dragon Warbirds), canopies can be opened (unlike some SkyMax models) and the pilot figures are not fixed in the seats (unlike Corgi). Worth the money spent? I say "yes" all the way, once again, it's an other aircraft which finally gets a decent diecast model reproduction, and a must-have in a WWII collection.
A-26B "Stinky" serial 43-22369 of the 552nd Bomber Squadron "The Crusaders", part of the 386th Bomber Group and distinguished by the yellow band on the tail. The squadron was originally equipped with B-26 Marauders but converted to A-26's shortly after the Ardennes campaign in 1944. The crews made good use of this fast medium bomber as they continued to strike German communications, transportation, and storage facilities until May 1945. On 30th June 1945, the aircraft with pilot Donald J.Amiot at the controls, suffered an accident at St.Trond in Belgium.
Related post about the RB-26C variant.