B-26 progress: power plants and access doors

The B-26 project – converting the Monogram Snap-Tite B-26B-5-MA into a B-26-1-MA – continues. Rather than launching headlong into the interior, I did some work on the engines. First, I hogged out the kit cowlings and removed the engines molded into them, using a motor tool and a cutting burr. This actually worked pretty well!  Now, I needed some Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines in 1:72 scale. Luckily, Quickboost made a set intended for the Airfix kit, with the cylinder banks and crankcase molded as one piece and separate magnetos, distributor covers and return pumps.

Of course, that wasn’t enough for me – I also enlarged the openings in the Eduard photoetched ignition harness intended for the Hasegawa kit’s engines, using the exact same cutting burr in the motor tool. To my surprise, this actually worked. The ignition wires were painted with a mix of tan and flesh, and then they were bent and glued into place. An central harness was made from thin solder and it slipped around the crankcase to hide the chewed-up center hub of the photoetched harness.

Next came the push rod tubes – all 18 of them. I made them from black stretched sprue, to avoid having to paint them. If you have an SR-71 kit in your stash, you have a lifetime supply of black sprue. These were carefully put in place with tweezers, scenic glue and patience.

Next came the return pump and distributor covers, and the crankcase was painted aircraft gray. After a wash, I added the magneto, painted it black, and dry-brushed it.

R-2800

And just like that, the engines were done!

I’m using the Scale Aircraft Conversions landing gear set – it conveniently supplies a cockpit floor/nose gear bay in metal, so I won’t have to raid a Hasegawa kit. The Eduard set gives you a nice photoetched access door for the floor, so I drilled out the door in the SAC metal floor using that motor tool and a router bit, followed up by careful filing with a tiny metal file to square off the opening. The idea is to depict the access door open in the floor with the boarding ladder deployed through the nose gear bay.  (Maybe I’ll open the hatches on top of the canopy – if you’ve ever been inside an aircraft in the summer sun, you know that getting some breeze inside the aircraft on a June morning on Midway doesn’t seem like an outlandish idea.)

B-26 cockpit floor

Next up: stringers, formers and other interior details…

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