Review Name: Martin B-26 Marauder: The Ultimate Look: From Drawing Board to Widow Maker Vindicated
Reviewer: Rafe Morrissey
Review Product Type: Aircraft
Review Type: Publications
Manufacturer website: www.schifferbooks.com
Stock No.: N/A
Provided by: Reviewer
Author: William Wolf
ISBN Number: 13: 9780764347412
Other: Hard cover with 900+ Photos and Illustrations; 512 pages
This is another in a series of authoritative looks at U.S. medium bombers from World War Two. It contains a wealth of information on the B-26. While the book is written from the historian’s perspective, there is plenty of useful information for modelers.
The book begins with a biography of Glenn Martin and a history of his career in aviation and subsequent role as a leading manufacturer. It covers his exploits in the pioneering days of flight and discusses how he became involved in aircraft design and production. The book then provides a brief overview of the Martin company and some of its key designs as well as a discussion of its post-war financial troubles and ultimate merger with Lockheed.
The next section provides a detailed discussion of the Army Air Corps effort to procure a medium bomber and an overview of the designs for the precursor to the B-26 and its major competitors. This is followed by a detailed overview of the developmental design and a discussion of the challenges the high wing loading presented to pilots and the large number of accidents that lead to congressional inquiries and nearly cancelled the program. Of particular interest is the discussion of then Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s role in vindicating the design.
The final section discusses each aspect of the design and the versions of the plane. This is where many modelers will find the most value. Literally every piece of equipment is covered with discussion and copious diagrams and photos. The only think lacking is a full set of plans but there is plenty of information to complete any of the existing kits. The walk-around photos are comprehensive but focus on the early B-26 owned by Kermit Weeks and the United States Air Force Museum’s example. I had anticipated more photos of “Flak Bait,” but given the Air and Space Museum’s policies on granting use of images of their artifacts am not too surprised.
The book also includes a set of profiles reflecting various markings and camouflage schemes. This is the only portion of the book where I felt a bit let down and it is an issue with most Schiffer books I have seen. The art work is just not that compelling. The profiles are rendered in a loose water-color style that lacks crispness and falls well short of providing any guidance on wear patterns or key details. They are more suited to the type of artwork seen in publications from the 70s and 80s than what one would expect in a 21st century book. I suppose this reflects the fact that the intended audience is not modelers, per se, but aviation enthusiasts.
The art issue aside, the book still represents a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in the subject. The book is not inexpensive, but well worth the price when you consider the number of photos and large number of pages. In fact, the book is impressively hefty. I almost needed help carrying in the door when it arrived in the mail! It may be overkill for some, but, pound for pound, it is a valuable resource for those seeking to produce an accurate model as well as those interested in the Martin company.