by: Jean-Luc Formery [ ]
HistoryThe 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 kitThe kit comes in a (too) big top opening box (picture 1) and is made of four sprues of grey plastic, one sprue of clear plastic, one big decal sheet and a 16-page instruction booklet in A4 format. To sum up, nothing extraordinary, just a common injected kit.
The plastic parts (picture 2 and 3) are well moulded and the quality seems to be above average. The surface detail is excellent with no imperfections (picture 4) and crisply engraved panel lines (picture 5 and 6). The original AMT moulds seem to be in very good shape! The kit was originally produced in the mid' 90s and the detail level, though not up to today's standard is still very good. The cockpit parts have enough details for the average model builder (picture 7). The engines are a little bit crude, but will meet the case with a good paint job (picture 8). The engine cowlings are moulded in one part each so you won't have to worry about having a nice round opening for them (picture 9). Note also on the same picture the parts for the dorsal turret.
The landing gear parts are also quite nicely done (picture 10) and have brake lines. A nice addition for those who can't live without them. The gear doors have internal details but some ejector pin marks will have to be removed. My only concern here is the overdone tread pattern on the tyres (picture 11). I think with some sanding it will look just fine.
The nose section comes with separated parts (picture 12), so more variants are surely to come! I would replace the guns with brass tube as the ones provided are not convincing at all. The bomb bay can be represented open and a four-bomb load as well as a long-range fuel tank) are provided (picture13). As no internal details have been designed in the kit for that area, I would recommend you to leave the bomb bay closed and save the extra parts for the spare box! If you still want to show the interior here, you will have to scratchbuild everything!
The clear parts are of good quality with excellent transparency (picture 14). The cockpit can be represented in the open position, but you will have to scratchbuild the life raft that is not included in the kit if you do so. Again, this is your choice!
Markings are supplied for USAAF Europe, USAAF Pacific theatre, Soviet and RAAF variants. The decals are well printed and in perfect register (picture 15). The negative point here is that no D-Day stripes are provided for the lazy ones and you will have to paint them on the plane using masking tape if you choose to go for the version on the boxtop. The instruction booklet is clear and detailed (picture 16) and a painting guide is provided for each decoration with Federal Standard and Model Master references (picture 17).
ConclusionItaleri's A-20 G Havoc kit is a good kit. It's modern in design, with acceptable detail and very good surface quality. Built out of the box, it should made into a good representation of the real plane. I think it's the perfect kit for someone wanting to build his first bomber. It is not as big as a B-25 or B-26, has a simple design and the choice of paint shemes is immense! More skilled modellers will see in it a safe and cheap (thanks Italeri!) base to add more detailed aftermarket parts or do some extra scratchbuilding.