In recent times ICM has delighted modellers with a number of Invader models in 1/48thscale, Hobby Boss has decided to go one better and released an A-26 Invader in1/32nd scale. The Invader was possibly the best twinned engine light bomber to come out of World War II, and continued into wars to the 1960’s. The Invader was late into WWII, despite being designed early in the war, due to a number of reasons. None the less, once into service it proved to be a forgiving aircraft in flight with many pilots praising it. It’s one weakness was it’s under carriage which could collapse even when on the ground.
This offering from Hobby Boss, is provided in a substantial cardboard tray with a robust cardboard lid and well packaged individual sprues packed in their own bags inside the box including some wrapped in bubble wrap. A separate compartment protects parts that Hobby Boss considers may by broken if packed with others. An examination of the contents, reveals no major issues, other than some very large connection points between the sprues and moulded parts in some cases. This does mean that care will need to be taken and consideration given into how to separate the parts from the sprue, without causing damage or excessive clean up. I have no other concerns with reference to how the contents are supplied.
The interior of this model, covers from the cockpit through the bomb bay to the rear crew compartment. Even though not seem there are some substantial ribs behind the rear crew compartment and I am unsure if this is accurate detail or there to provide re-enforcement to maintain the shape of the fuselage. The cockpit of the model, is set up with a pilot and a co-pilot, I was unable to find this orientation in my reference, as the position next to pilot was occupied by the bomber aimer or such, and his position was lower down than the pilot’s seat, which is not the case in this example. Due to this particular layout, I find unable to comment on the accuracy of it. It is however, busy enough to attract the eye. If I had one major complaint reference the cockpit, it is that the seats have no harness detail which in this scale is a big disappointment. The rear wall of the cockpit, is particularly pleasing as regards of moulded on detail, which with careful painting should prove to be a visually pleasing aspect.
Moving backwards into the bomb bay, and you have new side panels inside the fuselage which hide the wing roots. The detail here appears to be accurate, with the possible exception that a bomb load of 10 bombs is stored within, with the front racks holding 6.I could only find reference to a bomb load of 8 bombs. With that said, I do like the effort put into the walls at the front and rear of the bomb bay, which along with other parts creates an especially pleasing area of the model which could be displayed by standing on a mirror, or from simply lifting the model up and turning it over. The rear crew section again has nice bulk head detail, and I believe is accurate to the best of my knowledge. One complaint about the interior generally, is that the painting instructions are weak, and will require a lot of effort on the part of the modeller when it comes to finding good reference.
The undercarriage of this model, is provided with capsules containing the details for the wheel wells, and the suspension struts being mounted within them. Visually these are very pleasing, however, the modeller will need to look into adding hydraulic and brake lines to lift these aspects of the model to a standard. I feel a model of this scale, should have. With that said I am sure that many modellers will be happy with what is provided. Depending on your preference a high or low of this model, is that the tyres have been provided in vinyl rubber. Tread detail on these vinyl rubber parts is very good as regards tread, this is especially true where the nose wheel is concerned, as the diamond tread pattern is very well replicated with no obvious seams lines present. The under carriage doors have fair detail on both faces, however, the way that they connect to the model could have been better replicated as regards realism. There is also, no detail provided as regards to opening or closing the doors, which I feel is a weakness in a model of this size.
The engine detail provided in this model, appears to be accurate as regards to the two banks of cylinders, and the gearing portion to which the propellers are fitted. With that said, there is a loss of room, for the modeller to add extra detail in these areas, and that is even before thinking about the ignition harness. I have to admit that viewing of this area is not the easiest, but modellers like to know that it is there. So that if looked for, can be seen. The engine cowlings are all moulded in place and so cannot be left open or missing, and this does raise one other concern I have with the engine fairings, and their orientation. The intake on top of the engine cowling is accurate - to my knowledge. The propellers are provided complete reading for installation on the model, which does away with concerns about angling each blade, and also means that they can easily be left off until painting, weathering have been completed. The shape and form of the nacelles, appears accurate with nicely done recessed panel lines.
All of the external areas of the model have nicely recessed panel lines. Checking these against reference, these do appear to be accurate, although I will admit that I have not checked to see if every single one is replicated. The small fixtures and fittings that attach to the fuselage appear to have been well tackled, but I would strongly advise against attaching them, until the model is nearly complete, in order to avoid the risk of damaging them, or knocking them off -never to be seen again. The glazed portions of the fuselage are suitably fine, do not cause any magnification, and in the case of the cockpit is accurately shaped for one specific variant of the Invader. Another aspect of the glazing that I like, is that the areas that need to be painted are opaque and thus easily picked out. The set up of this model, suggests that it is an early variant, and so the access point should be through an access or regress point in the glass canopy, which does not appear to be replicated. The nose of the fuselage, containing the impressive fire power looks to be well replicated. Each of the barrels will need to be drilled out ant the muzzle end, to improve their look and accuracy, and I also appreciate that Hobby Boss has provided the amount of weight that needs to be added to the nose, to prevent the model from being a tail sitter. The mid-upper turret also requires that the muzzles be drilled out of the guns, for the same reasons.
The wings of the model have a number of holes that need to be opened, depending on the variant you wish to build. My complaint here is that no size has been included for the drills, or to which variant the holes refer to. The interior of the wings is provided with ribbing, to prevent them drooping, but there is no bracing through the body of the aircraft, and so attaching them has been done the old way - with some slotted plastic which the wings attach into. This I feel is a weakness on the part of the model. Because of this I feel that when the wings have been glued together, they should be added to the fuselage of the model, and allowed to set, before adding the weight of the nacelles or any other attachments to them, as the more weight you place upon them, will just make you task more difficult. The flaps beyond the engine nacelles have been provided as separate parts, and so could be added at the angle the modeller prefers. Hobby Boss has provided some armourment to be attached to the wings, in the forms of four twin gun pods, or two twin gun pods and a bomb. The muzzles of the gun pods will all need to be drilled out to improve their look. It is because of the ordnance in these areas that makes me believe that this is an early aircraft. For the sake of improved accuracy, you will need to check for on-line reference, for how this ordnance needs to be set up, to make it as accurate as possible.
The tail section of the model including the vertical tail plain, are separate parts. The flight control surfaces, are provided as separate pieces in all cases, and so can be positioned how the modeller decides. The connection points to the model, area gain a weakness in my opinion, as they are very shallow slotted pieces. The connection points appear to be along panels lines, and so provided a reasonable fit is achieved, should avoid the need for filler.
Hobby Boss has provided three finishing options for the model, 2 American and 1 French. No details what so ever, are provided for the finishing options which is something that I do not like. The French aircraft is I believe too late for the build options included, and I cannot comment on the American options, as I have been unable to find details of the aircraft covered. The quality of the decals appears to be good, as regards to colour, print and thickness. With that said those modellers that prefer to paint their insignia on the aircraft DN Models has released a set of masks for that purpose, and may contain information on the aircraft themselves.
This offering from Hobby Boss, will build into an impressive looking and large model, but in my opinion, requires the modeller to do some added work in order to bring it up to a standard. That will make it especially pleasing. I have found some questionable choices provided by Hobby Boss, but providing the modeller looks for reference, most of these issues can be easily avoided. My one major concern, is the layout of the cockpit which I believe to be wrong, but cannot be certain. With that said, I suspect that very few modellers will even notice. Accuracy wise, this model does have some issues, some of which can be easily tackled, and others not so easily tackled. But I do not believe that there are any other options available at this time in this scale.