This review supplements a previous one of Italeri's A-20 G kit (N°2637). If you want to see more pictures of the plastic parts, please use the following link: Douglas A-20 G Boston Review
The Douglas A-20 was a fast twin-engine aircraft that was built for the US Air Force in the early 1940s and was also widely used by other Allied air forces throughout the Second World War. Featuring good low-level handling performance and a tough outer shell, the Havoc flew anti-shipping sorties on the Pacific and Mediterranean fronts and was also used as a medium bomber in the European and Russian theatres.
The kit comes in a big top opening box (picture 1) with a nice painting of a Boston flying over a peaceful sky. Sunset harmony in purple, crimson and pink, typical World War Two...
One thing I noticed on the kit's box was the Boeing©® logo. I'm reassured to know this is an officially licensed product. If one day I plan to show my model in a contest, I will not fear the Boeing lawyers to assign me in justice. But what about the Messerschmitt brothers, the Polykarpov family and the Mitsubishi Twins... will they let me model their aircraft and show them in public?
In the box there are two bags of plastic sprues (picture 2). I won't talk about the bigger one (on the right) because it's content is the same as in the aformentionned kit n°2637. The real "new" parts are in the second bag on the left.
Picture 3 shows the two grey styrene trees of the A-20 B kit and picture 4 it's equivalent in the previously released A-20 G boxing. Obviously, AMT (the original manufacturer) didn't designed the kit with optional inserts but made two different molds. The part's layout isn't the same even if the two sprues share identical pieces (fuselage sides, forward fuselage, engine cowlings, air intakes, bomb load, bomb bay frame, armament etc...) The quality of the moulding, as I said in the first review, is excellent with a perfect surface finish and nicely engraved panel lines. I found no molding issues such as flash or sink marks. The metal molds must be still in perfect shape.
I previously said no inserts were used in the molding process. If you look at picture 5, no molding lines can be seen neither on the A-20 G fuselage side (above, with the typical bulge for the dorsal turret) nore on the A-20 B fuselage. Thus, no extra work will be necessary here, as in some modular kits made by a well know far-east manufacturer.
The B and G versions of the Havoc having different noses, the clear parts sprues are accordingly different (picture 6). Unlike the G, the B variant was fitted with an entirely glazed forward fuselage wich can be seen in detail on picture 7. Two clear parts are provided. Both have a good transparency and are crisply done. But two parts don't mean one is a spare in case you mess up with the painting. They are different and they belong each to sub-variants of the A-20 B. One has straight contours (for the British Boston III versions) and the other step like contours (for an U.S. plane).
The big decal sheet made by Cartograf (picture 8), gives you the possibility to build two British aircraft (picture 9), but also one Free French and one U.S. version (picture 10). This makes four decorations, with four different paintschemes. One can not say there's no choice!
The decals look good and I found no misalignment on my sample. In the painting instructions, the color references are given for Model Master paints but also as Federal Standard (FS) numbers. One British plane, based in tunisia in 1943, wears a Dark Earth - Middlestone - Azure Blue Desert Scheme, and the other, based in England, a typical European Theatre Dark Green - Dark Earth - Sky camo. The Free French aircraft has an Olive Drab - Medium Grey decoration with D-Day stripes while the U.S. one, based in Algeria in 1943, is camouflaged in a rather uncommon mix of Sand, Olive Drab and Medium Grey.
After the release of the A-20 G last year, this B variant is a nice surprise. The model, despite not as detailed as the latest "state of the art" kits, is good and should make into a nice representation of the real aircraft. Italeri's kit is recommended as well to the average modeller, who simply wants to build a representative model straight from the box, as the experienced modeler who needs a good base for hyper detailling. Now we just have to wait for the A-20 J variant...