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HK Models 1/32 scale A-20G Havoc over Europe plastic model kit review

This big bomber has superb detail, but follow the instructions for best results
Kit:01E039 // Scale:1/32 // Price:$220
HK Models
Overall great fit; excellent surface details (stressed skin)
Weak nose gear; duplicate firewall sides instead of mirrored
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 554 parts (2 cast metal; 33 photo-etched metal); decals
Continuing its recent bomber trend, HK Models has graced the market with a 1/32 A-20G Havoc over Europe plastic model kit — the solid gun-nose version. The comprehensive kit contains 554 parts, including photo-etched details and cast-metal nose weights that are cleverly designed to tuck between the fuselage and the nose-gear bay. Two types of seat belts are included, with a set designated “RAF Style,” hinting at possible future version releases.

The surface detail is outstanding with stressed skin “oil canning” that looks just right. Unusually, the kit includes decals for only one airframe, but at three different points in its service life. The kit’s detailed, CAD-derived instructions are easy to follow.

The fully detailed interior may have a bit too much detail because the radio racks behind the cockpit can’t be seen. A decal supplies instrument panel details and HK finishes the cockpit assembly with the nose-gear bay. I tried to be clever and leave the nose gear struts until after painting was complete. Don’t! The fit is extremely tight, and I snapped the forward “V” support while trying to wrestle it into place.

The impressively detailed Martin upper turret can wait until after painting for final assembly.

HK also includes a full bomb bay, complete with dividers to separate various loading options. However, four 500-pound bombs are the only option in the kit. I was surprised that no underwing racks were supplied because these were often seen on Havocs in the European Theater.

In the back, I mounted the rear hatch because there was no integral ladder. All interior assemblies fit nicely inside the fuselage halves.

Separately assembled, the gun nose includes access panels, ammo cans, and bulkhead detail. Not much can be seen through the hatches, but it’s all there. The gunsight glass is not molded in clear plastic, so I replaced it (Part H62) with a sliver of clear styrene sheet.

The lower chin guns had the barrels removed past the mounting bushing. I left the gun barrels off all other weapons until after painting. I left the hatches opened on the right side and closed the ones on the left — they fit perfectly. HK includes photo-etched metal supplemental armor for the nose near the gear bay. I annealed the brass with a torch to allow a smooth bend.

The tail surfaces all fit like a glove without filler. Impressive! The wings and engine nacelles also had perfect fits, including the separate wingtips. There was no way around attaching the main gear struts as instructed, which complicates masking. All control surfaces are separate but would require modification to show posed.

One mistake HK made was duplicating the firewall (Part L21) for both sides. This requires the right-hand firewall to have about 1/8 inch trimmed from its inboard side to match the wing dihedral. But it’s an easy fix.

The engines are small models themselves with intake trunking and exhaust pipes. HK gives the option of open or closed cowl flaps. Separate cylinder heads allow for greater detail. Although finicky, if you follow the instructions, you’ll be fine.

HK has again utilized its large “tab-and-slot” arrangement to attach the wings, and it works like a charm with no noticeable seam. All the transparent parts are crystal clear, and I left off the upper hatch for finishing on its own.

I chose the “middle option” in the airframe’s life when it had the remnants of the D-Day invasion stripes overcoated on the upper surfaces. I used a photocopy of the decals as a template to mask the star and bar gap in the invasion stripes. The decals performed very well, although the white is just slightly translucent.

The new HK Models 1/32 scale A-20G Havoc over Europe plastic model kit is very detailed and large, requiring care during assembly and a lot of detail painting in the roughly 68 hours it took to complete. Well done, HK! I wonder if the company will downsize this to 1/48 scale as it has with some of its other bomber kits?
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