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MPM 1/72 scale A-20G Havoc "Southwest Pacific Warrior"

Kit: No. 72539
Scale: 1/72
Manufacturer: MPM, from Squadron Mail Order, 877-414-0434,
Price: $43
Comments: Injection-molded, 100 parts, decals
Pros: Excellent exterior detail; good fit; excellent decals; accurate shapes; canopy opens
Cons: Complicated main landing gear; tricky alignment of cowls to nacelles
Issue Published: May 2008
A good, widely available injection-molded A-20 in 1/72 scale has been needed for a long time. Builders have had to put up with the ancient Matchbox, Revell, Airfix, and Frog kits for more than three decades. While MPM's first A-20 kit is not quite the state of the art, it eclipses the old kits in the quality of molding, level of detail, and degree of accuracy.

The kit features beautiful exterior detailing, an adequate cockpit interior, decent fit, and the promise of more versions to come - alternate parts for fluted cowl flaps on late Gs and Js are in this issue. However, the bomb bay and ventral tunnel gun station are molded shut.

New MPM kits now feature modern tooling, including tab-in-slot mounts for the wings and tail planes, and alignment pins and holes for the fuselage halves. I was impressed with the fit of the wings to the fuselage and the nacelles to the wings.

The trickiest part of the kit is assembling the complex main-gear struts. Each has seven parts and must be mounted to the bottom surface of the wing before the nacelle is added. (Trust me: Don't try to add the landing gear after the nacelles.) The assembly is complicated by thin parts, tiny mount holes, and the instructions' vague part locations. Surprisingly, though, once the struts are installed and the joints reinforced with super glue, they're rock solid. Aligning each cowl to the nacelle is complicated by the engine mount/cowl flaps section which serves as an interface.

The instructions tell you to add 10 grams of weight to the nose. I opted to simply add a clear sprue strut to keep the model off its tail. The long top to the canopy can be posed open, but there is no life raft to fit in the compartment behind the cockpit.

After painting with Testor Model Master faded olive drab and neutral gray, I added the dark green patches on the wings, fin, and tail planes using Europe I green (FS34092). I used true blue for the fin and nose-cap trim.

After a couple of coats of Pledge Future floor polish, the decals went on perfectly. Markings for Green Hornet, Miss Pam, and the Royal Australian Air Force's Hilda Shane are provided on the excellent decal sheet.

I spent 31 hours on my Havoc, and I look forward to more versions to come. I hope they will mold some of the early Havoc/Boston types as well.

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