Special Hobby 1/72 Baltimore III/IV/V






Three Aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Multimedia kit with resin parts


The Baltimore started out as an improved Maryland, ordered by the French as a follow-on to the Model 167s that they had purchased and that were just entering service. With war looming on the horizon. the French realized that their own aircraft industry was inadequate and unable to provide the modern aircraft that they needed so looked to the US to supply those needs. 400 aircraft were ordered, however, events took over and the French surrendered well before any were ready for delivery. The French order was taken over by the British, who added a few minor modifications (like reversing the throttles) and quickly put them in service. The first unit to fly the planes was 223 Sq in early 1942.

The Baltimore was used in areas where the intensity of operations wasn't as high as it was in Northern Europe, and this meant the Mediterranean.  It was used in a variety of roles including maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine duties as well as bombing. The Baltimore was one of those types given to displaced Allies, which included the French, (can't give foreigners the best stuff, you know) and later the Italians. After the war the type quickly disappeared and to my knowledge, no complete example still exists.


This kit follows in the steps of MPM/Azur/Condor/Special Hobby's more recent releases. They are superbly molded and free of major flash, sink marks and ejector pin marks (at least where they can be seen after construction). The clear bits are also superbly molded and crystal clear. In fact, this is easily as good as the Wellington of just a short time ago. Included is a small bag of resin parts that include the wheels, engine fronts, control wheels, gear door hinges, grab handles and pitot tube. It also includes the prop hub. Unfortunately, this kit has a separate hub and blades for the props. I do wish that these were a single construct. Other companies can do this, why not MPM/Special Hobby?  In terms of options, there is not a whole lot. The main difference between the types is the upper turret. The Baltimore III has a four gun turret with the turret itself in two parts. The Baltimore IV/V has a smaller single transparency, two-gun turret. I predict that more of the latter type will be built...... Everyone wants to know about cockpit detail so I'll just say that it is typical of what you'd find in a Hasegawa kit in those terms. Adequate, but with room for improvement.

The instructions are well done and most typical of the MPM family. Colors are given in the construction sequence where needed though given in generic terms. It states, for instance, that the inside is painted in interior green, but not whether it is RAF or US interior green. I suppose the latter as the planes were built in the US. FS numbers are provided for the external camouflage as well as the standard nomenclature.

Markings are for three planes, one each of the III, IV and V. The III is a test machine in RAF markings and overall natural metal. The control surfaces are painted in desert colors of Dark Earth and Mid Stone over Azure Blue. Should make for an interesting presentation! Next is a Baltimore IV of 13 Sq, Free Greek AF from Gambut in 1943. It is painted in the Coastal Command colors of Extra Dark Slate Grey and Dark Slate Grey over White and is shown on the box art. A most fetching color scheme. The final scheme is an Italian Baltimore V of 137 Gruppo in late 1944. It is in Dark Earth and Dark Green over Sky Grey with large Italian roundels. The decals themselves are superb as are all MPM decals



Many will be most pleased that there is finally a quality Baltimore available. Prior to this, the only injected kit was that produced by Frog, and while not bad, was a child of its development in the late 1960s. Your editor built this Frog kit (see below) and did it in markings of a Malta-based Coastal Command plane. Back then, I had to scrounge decals and make up the markings. As typical of Frog kits, it seems to be a generic Baltimore or perhaps a later one with the two gun turret. Anyway, the MPM kit should be a real beauty when built and beats the heck out of the Frog release.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has well over 175,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Previews Index Page