by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Martin’s state-of-the-art Marauder is an aircraft of contradictions. A medium bomber of such high performance (later used to transition fighter pilots from props to jets!) that in the hands of the legendary Vincent 'Squeak' Burnett, it fought Marine ace Joe Foss in his F4U Corsair to a draw in a dogfight! She was called “Widowmaker” and “Baltimore Whore” and the training loss rate coined the saying “One a day in Tampa Bay.” Yet operationally she suffered the lowest loss rate of any USAAF combat aircraft while attacking hard targets in the enemy’s best envelope for defensive fire. Future President Harry S. Truman tried several times to kill production and use of the bomber, yet when New Guinea based 22nd BG pilots were asked if they were suffering any problems with it they replied, “Hell yes we have a problem, we can’t get enough of them!” They eschewed the offer to fly B-25s and continued to refurbish B-26s and flew them until the airframes were simply worn out.
Airfix (partner MPC‘s box shown here) released this model in the mid-1970s. It was then one exceptional kit sporting a very detailed interior while not festooned with the raised rivets model companies of the era were known for. She sports a mix of recessed and subtle raised panel lines, appropriate as the airframe was built to a very fine tolerance. Today much of the kit detail is still impressive, though the molding shows its age with flash, mold lines and sink holes. I built one years ago and recall the fit as typical of the era. You will need some filler. The nose machine gun is horrible--OK, all of them are! None are provided for the waist gunners.
The bomb bay has interior structure and bomb racks. The bay doors can be modeled closed with a single piece, or open with six pieces (two with interior structure). The landing gear doors have no interior structure and also can be modeled closed with single pieces. The bombs aren’t very good.
The landing gear have subtle detail molded upon them. The tires and rims are not bad, either.
The big Pratt & Whitley R-2800 engines are nicely detailed for what you can see inside the snug cowlings.
Twenty clear parts are thick and more or less clear. The small pieces have sink marks in them.
It has been decades since using the decals but they do look in registration. Decals are included for 3 Marauders: "Mild & Bitter" 450th Bomb Sqn, 332nd Bomb Grp, 9th Air Force, Great Saling, Essex, UK (1943); "The Yankee Guerrilla" 555th Bomb Sqn, 386th Bomb Grp, 9th Air Force USAAF, Great Dunmow (June 1944); No.21 Sqn, South African Air Force, Lesi, Italy (1944-1945)
Matchbox, Monogram (Snap-Tight B-26B) and Revell made 1/72 Marauders. Aurora made a box-scale kit. Monogram issued one in 1/48 years ago, recently reissued by Revell AG. ERTL released a 1/48 Marauder, too, though I know nothing of it.