Darren Baker takes a look at the B-26K Counter Invader from ICM in 1/48th scale.


The following introduction is taken from ICM:

In the early 1960s, faced with the need for having aircraft capable of counter insurgency operations. Along with the development of specialised aircraft, improvements to existing models was carried out to for fill these tasks. Among them were members of the B-26 family. Improvements, among other things, consisted of strengthening the wing structure, and adding eight under-wing weapon suspension points, installing an increased area rudder, adding fuel tanks at the wing tips and installing dual control. In the Spring of 1964, the USAF received the first B-26K counter invader, and the entire order was completed by April 1965. In the Spring of 1966, it was decided to deploy these air craft to South East Asia from the air fields of Thailand, they made combat missions to the territory of Laos. Since Thailand did not allow the basing of bombers on its territory, from May 1966 these aircraft began to be designated as attack air craft - with the designation of A-24A. 


This offering from ICM arrives in the usual manner of a flip top cardboard box with a separate card lid showing the artwork. Upon opening the box, there are three re-sealable plastic bags containing the model parts. The instruction booklet is separate and also contains the decals. This release from ICM must be heading towards the end if Invader releases, despite there still being a few more variants they could release. There are a large number of changes that have taken place with this release, and will give you spares, such as complete wings, a large amount of under wing ordnance and even a set of props. As with all of these models in this series, you start with the fuselage interior. Changes are instantly observed by anyone who has built any of the previous releases, gone is the bomb aimer’s portion of the cockpit and a co-pilot location has been installed. An unfortunate aspect is that ICM has STILL not provided harnesses for the seats, and these really do need to be added, on a model of this scale, with such a large glazed area. 

Wing supports are added via the bulk heads, separating the bomb bay from the cockpit and rear crew area. A bomb load is provided, for the interior bomb bay, but you only get one bomb per rung, when I believe there should be two. The detail on the interior of the fuselage halves is very nicely replicated, but I am not in a position to confirm its accuracy. The tail assembly is added when you close up the fuselage, and the flight control surfaces are provided as separate parts in this area. Moving to the other end and the nose of the aircraft, you are provided with 8 50cal machine guns in the nose. Alot of data you will read on the Invader will tell you there are 14 forward firing 50cals, but that is incorrect on an updated Counter Invader, and the lack of 50cals in the wings is correct. Finally in this particular area I am pleased to see ICM show that weight is needed in the nose and the amount of weight to prevent a tail sitter. 

The wings of this release are all new mouldings, as the counter Invader had to have newly designed wings with improved structure inside the wings, due to two aircraft having been lost due to wings breaking off - which is not really surprising when you think that these air craft were heading to 30 years old. The wing tips are removed and external fuel tanks added, similar to those seen on the F104 Star Fighter. All of the flight controls at the rear of the wing are separate, and so with a little bit of work could be displayed as you wish. On the underside of the wing there are four obvious locations for the hard points. The wings are added to the fuselage, prior to the engine nacelles and the under carriage being added, and this reduced weight will make wing orientation easier to get right. The engine nacelles themselves are the same as previous versions, with just a new intake fitted to the top of the cowling, which brought in the extra air required for the newly improved engines in this release, having gone from a Pratt and Whitney R2000 engine to the Pratt and Whitney R2800 engine. 

ICM have supplied engines for both sides on this release, and have added some alterations to make it more accurate for the R2800 engine. Which will meet the needs of many but there is a lot more that could be added to make this area truly appealing. The propellers are the correct wide paddle, with the cropped tip seen on the counter Invader. The under carriage doors are added to the model along time before getting anywhere near to adding the under carriage, and I praise ICM for providing very secure application of these parts. The under carriage struts both in the nose and the wings, appear to be very accurate with the exception of missing tubing that would replicate the  brake hoses. One thing the modeller may be interested to know is that the Invader’s biggest weakness was the under carriage struts, as they had a nasty habit of collapsing. The panels that fill in the fuselage holes and location, but I personally don’t like the idea of drilling the main canopy.

ICM has provided a good selection of external ordnance, should you wish to add it. The Invaders used everything from iron bombs, napalm, rockets and cluster bombs, that were used on movements along the Ho Chi Minh trail in order to help prevent troop build ups. In addition to the iron bombs located in the internal bomb bay, you are supplied with BLU-23, BLU-27,LAU-10A,LAU-68, LAU-69A, Mk 77, Mk 81 Low drag, Mk 81 Snake eye, SUU-14A, Mk 82 Low drag, Mk 82 Snake eye. You are also provided multiple ejection racks, used in conjunction with the bomb load. The ordnance, has its own decal sheet, and instruction booklet and you get at least two of every item. 


This particular release from ICM is especially appealing, due to looking so different from the previous releases - mainly due to all the weapons stowage under the wings, and wing tip fuel tanks. The multi coloured camouflage makes an appealing visual change to this release. Weaknesses in my opinion are restricted to the lack of seat harnesses, and these articles do need to be replicated. 

Invader B-26K Paint Set

Also available for this release is a set of six ICM paints as a single purchase, as item 3007. This release can be considered as external painting for the Invader B-26K and provides the paint in 12m pots that should be enough for the airbrush painter to complete the intended model. The paint has been provided in a viscosity for brush painting and lists dilution for airbrush use as 40 to 60% water or thinner and also state that a retarder should be used above 25 degrees C. I always prefer to use thinners that are made for the paint being used and so I have not put the paint through an airbrush as yet. I have used a brush with these paints and found coverage to be fair to good with darker colours providing better coverage on the first application. The paints in this release are:

US Dark Green

Tan Earth

Extra Dark Green



Satin Varnish



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