FROG Douglas Boston, 1963
FROG Green series 151P Douglas Boston, International Model Aircraft Ltd, 1963
It is rare that we have the opportunity to make a direct comparison between two model kits of the same aircraft to the same scale by two different manufacturers, but it so happens that both Airfix and Frog have issued kits of the Douglas Boston III. To make the coincidence even more remarkable, both kits depict aircraft in service with the same squadron at the same time—No. 88 Squadron R.A.F. operating from Swanton Morley in the summer of 1942!
The Boston (alias A-20 Havoc) is a very well-known aircraft whose absence must have been sorely felt in a number of collections, and it is therefore with some regret that we must report that both kits contain more than their fair share of inaccuracies— oddly enough different inaccuracies—and neither does real justice to its subject.
Taking individual features in turn, both models are correct in length, but while the fuselage depth of the Airfix model is also correct, Frog would appear to have got the lower line of the engine nacelles confused with that of the fuselage, resulting in a curious bulge aft of the bomb-bay. The fuselage depth is correct to the bottom of this bulge, but forward is 1/16in. too shallow. The fin of the Airfix model is correct whereas that of Frog's model is 1/8in. too short, and while Frog's tailplanes are correct in outline, those of Airfix's model have acquired sweepback! The nose transparencies of neither model are accurate—it is probably easier to correct the shape of the Frog model's transparencies than those of the Airfix offering. Frog depict the pilot's and gunner's canopies correctly, but both are 1/8in. too long on Airfix's Boston. Turning to the wings, Frog have achieved very nearly the correct shape, only a little cleaning up at the tips being demanded, but the span of Airfix's model is 1/4in. too great, the wings are too thick, and the ailerons break the lines of the trailing edges. On the other hand, Airfix have got the shape of the nacelles right while Frog's are too sharply-tapered towards the rear which, in turn, results in under-sized
wheels. Both manufacturers have also erred in the shape of the cowlings, but again in opposite directions—Frog's have too much taper, Airfix's not enough.
;This extraordinary diversity of errors even extends to the transfer sheets. Airfix give the unit code letters in white whereas they should be red, and Frog omit the code letters (RH) from the transfer sheet entirely. Airfix recommend the wrong colour (light grey) for the undersurfaces—Bostons were certainly painted in this colour later in the war, but the Airfix model, AL693 (actually a Boeing-built Boston III A which normally differed from the Mk. III only in its electrical system and in the removal of the "alligator-tail" flame-damping exhaust pipes in favour of ventral studs, and in the extension of the carburettor air intake above the cowling to incorporate a tropical filter, although this particular aircraft did not embody the latter modification), came from one of the earliest production batches.
Both kits fit together well, but Airfix's detailing is infinitely superior to Frog's. Both have satisfactory instructional sheets, but after working through this catalogue of inaccuracies, the modeller may feel that the only answer is to buy both kits and combine the best features of each into one model!
Flying Review 1964-02, Model Talks"
Over the counter
Douglas A-20C Havoc (Boston III)
The original issues had a strange bulge on the rear lower fuselage. The story is that no drawings of the aircraft could be found when IMA prepared this kit and new drawings had to be made from photos. Apparently the draughtsman misinterpreted a photo showing the lower part of an engine nacelle protruding under the fuselage and took this to be part of the fuselage itself! This bulge was later removed while the mould was with AMT in 1968, but the kit otherwise remained unchanged.
FROG model aircraft 1932-1976, R. Lines, L. Hellstrom
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