Full Review with Rob Ruscoe
Just before we get started, here’s a look at how it all turned out…
Mention the Martin Maryland to most modellers and they reply with a blank look. Designed in response to an US Army Air Corps requirement issued in 1937 for an attack aircraft capable of carrying a payload of 1200lbs over a range of 1000nm at a speed of 200mph, Martin’s design was a twin-engine all-metal monoplane capable of 308mph and a cruise speed of 248mph. These were impressive figures for the time but the contract was won by Douglas with their DB-7, which became the A-20 Havoc. However, Martin received orders, primarily from the French and later from the British. A total of 450 aircraft were built.
Powered initially by the reliable Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engine, these were replaced by the single row Wright Cyclone R-1820 for French service. When the British took over the French order after the French capitulated, they asked for the Twin Wasp to be re-instated. Carrying a crew of three, most RAF Marylands were based in Egypt and Malta and used for photo reconnaissance.
The most well-known Maryland PR pilot was Adrian Warburton who, based on Malta, sprang to fame with his low-level reconnaissance of Taranto Harbour both before and after the Royal Navy attack on the Italian fleet. On the first sortie, the aircraft cameras failed to operate and so Warburton carried out an ultra-low-level run through both the outer and inner basins of the harbour so the Observer could read the names of the warships at anchor. Warburton actually became an ace on the Maryland scoring five confirmed kills with the aircraft’s four forward firing Browning 303s. Not bad for a PR pilot flying a twin-engine bomber!
Unfortunately, no complete Marylands have survived although, the remains of one aircraft have been discovered lying somewhere in the Libyan Desert. There are currently no plans to recover this significant aircraft.
Special Hobby first produced this offering in 2010 but has recently re-issued it. There is some nice artwork on the usual sturdy box. Opening this reveals four sprues of light grey styrene, a single sprue containing the transparencies; a bag of nicely moulded resin parts and a single fret of photo etch. Also included were a set of aftermarket Montex masks for the nose glazing. All the sprues have narrow attachment gates but, being a limited run kit, there are no locating pins anywhere. Whilst this may put some modellers off these types of kits, I personally think it allows for much finer control of seam lines when cementing the major parts. The A5 size instructions are typical SH style and have a logical build sequence and are reasonably clear. The marking guides are in colour.
SH provides four options:-
Ex Vichy French No.114, 69 Sqn, Malta 1941. This aircraft retained its French camouflage scheme.
Maryland Mk.I, AH284, No 39 Sqn, Africa 1941.
Maryland Mk.I, 1654, SAAF No 24 Sqn, Africa, late 1941.
Maryland Mk.I, AR733, 69 Sqn, Malta, Jan 1942.
The first option’s scheme of Dark Blue-grey, Dark Brown and Khaki Green over light Blue was very tempting but there is dispute over which engines this aircraft had fitted at the time Warburton flew it on the Taranto sorties. The single row Cyclones look much different to the two-row Wasps and, it was for this reason, I decided to go with the 39 Sqn aircraft.