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A-26A Nimrod Conversion


Cutting Edge Modelworks


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number:

CEC48039 - A-26A Nimrod (A-26K Counter Invader) Conversion

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: Exterior modification for Monogram kit to make Vietnam-era A-26A including wheels, props, cowlings, pylons, wingtip fuel tanks, antennas, gun nose and fin/rudder.
Price: USD$39.99 - available from Meteor Productions website
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Allows modeler to make an accurate A-26A external configuration
Disadvantages: Basic kit not currently in production; “Congo Mod” parts compromised by difficulty of making an accurate part to easily fit the kit geometry.
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Jim Rotramel

HyperScale is proudly sponsored by Meteor Productions




For those too young to remember, the A-26A “Nimrod” was the most effective night attack aircraft used on the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos between June 1966 and November 1969. Flown out of Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, the success of this WWII vintage attack bomber was extremely embarrassing to the “jets can do everything” USAF leadership. For example, in December 1966 of 3,000 sorties were flown against the Ho Chi Minh Trail, Nimrods flew only 6.5% but accounted for 64% of the 195 trucks killed!

To fix this “problem” Gen. Momyer (7th AF) first insisted that the A-26As be forced to use inappropriate ordnance (“hard” bombs or rockets and napalm rather than cluster bombs) and, when that didn’t work, resorted to lying about the bombing results by lumping all 7th AF kills together and stating that the A-26 kills had happened in North Vietnam (where only jets operated). He also refused all requests to increase the number of A-26As used (there were never more than 18 in theater at any one time). Just one more example of how winning wasn’t important to the military “leadership” of the time. More ominously, despite repeated requests, the A-26As were never upgraded with “Yankee” ejection seats (of 30 airframes sent to SEA, 12 were lost and only two of those crews survived).

So, if you want to do a model of an aircraft of that era flown by really heroic crews, the Nimrod is a great candidate. Forty WWII vintage airframes were modified from 15 June 1964 to 1 April 1965 and given new serial numbers (64-17640 to 79). They had the gun turrets removed, permanent tip tanks installed, bigger props, a bigger tail, new wheels/tires, pylons, and antennas; and a new oil cooler/cowling that was added later. Originally designated B-26K, they were redesignated as the A-26A on 1 May 1966 before being sent to Thailand because the Thai government objected to having aircraft with the “offensive” bomber designation based on its territory.






So much for history,.

I am very pleased to report that the long-anticipated Meteor A-26A exterior conversion set is no longer vaporware! This kit is the result of the collaboration of a number of Nimrod fans, including myself, Fotios Rouch, and Dave and Scotty from Meteor (that I know of). We photographed and measured the real thing (at both Pima and Wright-Patterson) and tried to answer all the nagging questions about its configuration. Anyway, here are the kit parts and my comments on them. By the way, this set is designed for the original “glass nose” Monogram kit (5508) and NOT the later “gun nose” Pro Modeler kit, which has a belly turret and somewhat different nose contours. You will have many more problems with the Monogram kit than the Meteor update; it’s hard to believe it was touted as “Kit of the Year” in 1993. It’s aged about as well as Anna Nicole Smith…


The update includes not only a new rudder, which has a chord extended by six inches, but a new tail cone, which makes the tail one foot longer than the original, AND included as well is a new fin that includes the vortex generators molded into its right side and an anti collision beacon molded on the tip.



As it turns out, there were at least three configurations of anti-collision beacon installations featuring differing sizes and mounted in slightly different locations – Meteor chose one. (I plan to replace the gray resin beacon with red plastic.)

Click the thumbnails below to see two styles of tails:

The tail cone is by far the most challenging of all the parts to cut free of its casting block and removing part of the kit horizontal tail is the most difficult of all the cutting needing to be done to the kit. That being said, anybody with moderate modeling skills (like me) will have no serious problems.



The tail cone is designed for you to use the clear kit taillight. However, aside from the green and white prototypes, these were virtually always painted over. I’m not so sure this was a good idea because there are two tiny lights right at the join of the two parts and the fit really isn’t that perfect, which means the lights could be obliterated while sanding the joint smooth.



A-26A propellers were DC-6 props cut down by 10 inches per blade (20-inch diameter). The Meteor props were based on actual drawings provided by Hamilton Sundstrand. The biggest problems with the propellers won’t be the Meteor parts, but the crankcase on the kit part -- the hole for the propeller pin isn’t centered in the crankcase. I plan to use tubing centered in the part.

The Meteor kit includes resin propeller shafts, but the kit “propeller pins” will also fit the resin hubs. One other problem with the Monogram kit: the exhaust manifolds are molded onto the back of the cowl flaps, making the cowl flaps too thick and the exhaust stacks invisible.

Engine Cowlings

Many, but not all, of the A-26As used in SEA were fitted with “Congo Mod” cowlings with a distinctive new oil cooler configuration. Meteor was faced with a challenge in replicating this feature because the real item would extend across three kit parts and be prohibitively expensive to produce (and this is already a pretty expensive set).

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images of the oil cooler:

While it isn’t precisely accurate, it is pretty good representation of the Congo Mod.




This is the only A-26A modification kit that includes correct main and nose wheels – always one of the main stumbling blocks in the past from doing a Nimrod model. The main wheels and brakes were the same as those used on the KC-135. The wheels have “starter holes” that must be drilled out to accommodate the axles of the kit parts. (Separately, Meteor also offers a $4 white metal nose wheel strut replacement (CEC 48076).



The existing Black Magic set (48007) works pretty well with the exception that the landing gear side of the main gear is a tad too small. Meteor indicates they will probably release a new BM set for the update kit.


The eight-gun nose originally released as CEC 48031 s included as part of this kit. Forewarned is forearmed—to make the kit scale out to the correct length you would cut at the panel line in front of the windscreen. However, to make the kit “look” right it is recommended that you make your cut 3/16” forward of that panel (do as I say not as I did!).

Wing Tanks

The A-26A tip tanks have been rumored over the years to be T-33, A-37 and F-102 wing tanks (it is certainly neither of the first two).



At any rate, careful measurements were made of the actual tanks an these things are jewels. They are “handed” (marked on the casting block) so before you cut them free you may want to mark them with a Sharpie.


Once again, these were carefully measured and accurately reproduced in all three dimensions, even replicating the openings on the bottom surface and the slight nose down cant of the real item. (Don’t go opening the holes molded in the wing—the A-26A pylon spacing was different.)




There are two trees of various antennas, scoops and the like that were measured from the original (I was the guy who crawled around on the real aircraft with my trusty tape measure). The instructions will include instructions on where to locate them all (the instruction sheet is all that is keeping the kit from shipping). About the only comment I have here is that they provide a replacement panel for the portion of the fuselage where the top turret is located. I don’t plan on using it; instead, I’ll cut out a disc for the hole and sand down the turret lip. The reason is that when parked, the bomb bay was always open and the reproducing that will be easier without using the Meteor part. (The kit bomb bay has its own “modeling challenges”; the good news is that the real thing was painted black.)

What Isn't In This Conversion?

Two things: weapons and an interior. Weapons are coming, including some that you’ve never seen or heard of before: the M31/M32” Funny Bombs” that were THE preferred munition for the Nimrods. But more on those when they happen. The other thing is an interior. The kit interior isn’t bad but doesn’t represent the configuration flown in SEA. The Nimrods flew with a crew of two sitting side-by-side. However the kit only provides jump seat on the right side, not a regular seat like was fitted in the A-26A. (The optional control column fitted in the USAFM aircraft was not normally found in combat aircraft.) The aft compartment was fitted with an equipment rack that the kit also lacks. The good news is that the interior was also painted flat black (except for the chromate green wheel wells), so depending on the severity of your case of “AMS”, this may not be a showstopper. Meteor hopes to release a cockpit set soon. They also plan on doing a decal sheet. In the meantime, there is an Aero Master sheet available.

I apologize for droning on so long, but I wanted to give you more than a “Gee, this looks great” review. I hope you have found it useful.

Thanks to Cutting Edge Modelworks for the review sample

Cutting Edge Modelworks products, including Cutting Edge Decals,
can be viewed at Meteor Productions website

Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Jim Rotramel
This Page Created on 17 February, 2003
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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