by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Originally published on:
The Marin 167 was an unsuccessful competitor against the Douglas A-20 in fly-offs to select a new light bomber for the USAAC. The prototype was examined by the British Purchasing Commission and rejected again. That would probably been the end of the story if France had not been desperate for a new ground attack / light bomber and placed an order for 215 aircraft, designated Martin 167 F-3.
2 Squdrons were ready by the time of the German invasion and saw brief, fierce action in 1940. The type was chosen for particularly dangerous missions, but still suffered the lowest caualty-rate (8%) of any French bomber type. With the collapse of France, Britain agreed to take the 50 undelivered aircraft and ordered a further 150 Martin 167 B-4s to be known as the Maryland Mk1 and Mk2, respectively. A further 32 French aircraft escaped from Vichy territory to join the RAF.
RAF Marylands proved useful as bombers, patrol & reconnaissance aircraft, particularly in the Middle East and Mediterranean theatres during 1941. 72 ex-RAF machines were transferred to the SAAF, while Free-French aircraft soldiered on until 1944, attacking German strongholds on the Atlantic coast.
The KitThis interest aircraft has been overlooked by major manufacturers, but Fonderie Miniature have produced a 1/48 scale short-run kit of the 167 F / Maryland Mk1. The kit's contents are:
42 plastic parts (4 not used)
9 vacuform items
7 resin parts
68 white metal parts
Decals for 2 aircraft
Main PartsThe main parts are moulded in pale grey plastic. The short-run nature of the kit is immediately apparent - there is quite a lot of flash and the sprue attachments are pretty hefty. The parts have a rather rough texture and there are a number of scratches and marks to correct. There are a couple of sink-marks to fill.
Panel lines are engraved throughout and are very variable in quality. On the fuselage, the lines are heavy and rather soft, but generally precise. However, on the wings, they are more like ragged cuts and show evidence of mistakes and re-scribing. Furthermore, the panel lines are different from one wing to the other! Whichever way you look at it, a lot of clean-up and correction will be needed.
F.M. must have changed the design of the kit at some stage, because separate ailerons are included, while the wings have them moulded integrally. The worrying thing is that the separate items are longer than the moulded-on versions - without access to plans, I can't say which are right.
Test fitA test fit of the fuselage halves is reasonably encouraging. The parts are straight, and once the mating surfaces are cleaned up, the fit isn't bad and the panel lines match up fine. Once again the wings are a different story... the trailing edges are massively thick and will need considerable thinning down to match the wing roots on the fuselage.
The wing / fuselage joint is very poor. The attachment tabs and slots aren't aligned correctly, forcing the wings to sit at the wrong angle and height. This should be easy enough to sort out and, in fact, the fit is so sloppy, it might be worth removing the tabs altogether and making sure both surfaces are flat before butt-joining the wings. The chord of the wings and wing roots doesn't quite match.
Detail PartsThe interior details are provided in an odd mix of plastic, white metal and resin parts. The cockpit floor and bulkhead are rather heavily moulded in plastic, but the sidewalls and consoles are white metal, while the seats are resin. The bulkhead for the gunner's compartment is resin and shows quite nice detail. Overall, the parts are reasonable, although there are a few bubbles in the resin to take care of.
While the detail isn't up to the standard of specialist aftermarket sets, it's not bad and should look fine when painted. Items such as the machine guns and undercarriage legs have quite a lot of flash to clean off. A choice of French or English machine guns is given.
The wheel wells are resin and should provide a solid anchor for the metal main gear legs. The inserts will need a considerable amount of resin removing before they'll fit. The wheels themselves are rather basic, but include small a "weighted" flat spot.
The real high points of the kit are the engines, which combine resin and white metal parts. The resin crankcases are beautifully detailed the cylinders are individually cast in metal. The results should look excellent.
Clear PartsTwo sets of vacuformed canopies are provided. The parts are fairly clear, but have a slightly textured finish, so a dip in Klear/Future should help. The canopy and ventral windows include sections of fuselage which should make fairing them in simpler, but the long glazed nose is split into upper and lower halves which will need great care to assemble.
Instructions & DecalsThe instructions consist of two photocopied sheets written in French and English. The assembly diagrams are very basic and the position of some parts is quite vague. More evidence of a design change is that the separate ailerons are shown crossed out, along with flaps and the engines are drawn as single-piece items.
Painting diagrams are given for Two schemes: a Vichy machine based in Syria and an RAF Maryland based in Malta. The French camouflage pattern is quite hard to make out on the photocopy.
The French markings are quite good; well printed with separate centres for the roundels. A small extra sheet provides unit markings to replace the items on the main sheet. The tail markings are printed on a white stripe, which is unhelpful for anyone wishing to paint the rudder stripes.
Sadly, the RAF markings are of little use, printed out of register and looking far too bright.
Conclusion.This is not a kit for the faint hearted! The rather basic nature and poor fit of a lot of the parts, plus the enormous amount of smoothing and re-scribing that will be necessary, mean that Fonderie Miniature's Maryland is really only suitable for experienced modellers who are prepared to tackle a pretty daunting project.