The Lockheed PV-1 Ventura was one of the lesser-known bombers of World War II. Assigned mundane tasks such as antisubmarine patrol and downright miserable jobs such as strike missions in the Aleutians, it never received the press the big bombers did. It was well liked by its Navy crews, though, and also served with Commonwealth air forces.
Koster's is the first 1/48 scale kit of the Ventura. The main components are vacuum formed in white styrene, supplemented with resin and cast white-metal detail parts (landing gear, props, guns, tires). You'll notice right away the optional parts for the British Ventura II (with Boulton-Paul turret), early glass nose, late gun nose, and night fighter versions. Decals for five aircraft are included.
Some recessed panel lines require cleanup but are acceptable. The heart of the fuselage and wing assembly is the well-detailed cockpit with a navigator's station and a clever wing-spar setup. The spar helps set the wing dihedral as it mates to the resin wheel-well inserts.
These inserts are beautifully detailed and provide sturdy attachment points for the metal main-gear assemblies. Dry-fit the wells and check the fit of the gear struts before gluing the wing together as swapping the wells will cause a problem.
To provide latitude in aligning the cockpit module and adding the interior parts, I glued the right cockpit side wall directly to the fuselage half.
The engine nacelles are a mixture of resin and vacuum-formed parts. My right cowling (part 10) was wider than the cowling ring (part R14). I tried the left cowling and found the fit acceptable, but when I tried swapping parts around one cowling always had this problem. Use filler and sandpaper to correct it.
Be careful removing the raised pads over the windows as you can easily mar the fuselage surfaces. I used a razor blade to follow the surface of the fuselage and neatly trim off the pads.
One pitfall with any vacuum-formed kit is parts that bridge assemblies. For instance, if you have sanded the edges of the fuselage halves too much, parts such as the canopy will be too wide. I must have sanded the tail end too much because the top seam split when I inserted the horizontal stabilizer. I repaired it with filler, but dry-fitting and careful sanding are the best cures. I used little filler on the rest of the model.
You can build a middle- to late-model PV-1 straight out of box, but for the early PV-1, night fighter, or Ventura II, be prepared to carry out minor surgery to install the glass panels in the nose. A nice touch is the inclusion of parts and instructions for adding an open crew-access door. The kit provides good detail for the dorsal turret, but only guns for the ventral station.
I painted my model with Polly Scale's WWII navy colors. The instructions list exterior colors but provide only half of the RAF pattern and no interior color information.
It took 40 hours to build my PV-1. The assembled model looks good and checks accurately to my main references, Squadron/Signal's PV-1 Ventura in Action and John Stanaway's Vega Ventura. It's a good-sized model, spanning 16 1/2".
As with all vacuum-formed kits, Koster's Ventura requires intermediate to advanced modeling skills. This was my first full vacuum-formed effort, and now I'm looking to try another.