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Broplan's 1:72 PBN-1 Nomad Conversion


By Chris Bucholtz



The Naval Air Factory PBN-1 Nomad is perhaps the least-known member of the Catalina family. The widespread use of the PBY provided engineers with real-world experience they thought could greatly improve the hydrodynamic performance of the hull. In 1943, an order was placed for 156 of the re-designed boats, which featured a taller tail, a re-designed nose, wingtip floats and rear step, and extended horizontal tail planes. Several of these features were incorporated into the PBY-6A, the final production Catalinas, which continued to roll off Consolidatedís lines until April 1945.

While these Catalinas went on to serve with the U.S. Navy, the Nomads left the Naval Air Factory for a very different destination. All but one was provided to the Soviet Union. Their use in Soviet hands is not well documented, but they went on to patrol duties in the Baltic and Pacific before a new generation of Soviet-built amphibians rendered them obsolete.

Broplan's conversion is meant for use with Academy's PBY-5 or -5A kits, and the vacuformed parts do a wonderful job of mimicking the fine recessed panel lines and tiny rivet patterns of the injection-molded kit. This isn't a conversion for the weak of heart; the modeler is required to lop off the kit nose on a line with the pilot's seat, remove the lower rear third of the fuselage, cut out an area around the tail wheel bay and chop off most of the vertical fin and rudder! Once that is done, however, the conversion should be very straightforward. The vacuformed parts have almost no blemishes that will need to be cleaned up, and a vacuformed Soviet-style turret is provided in clear styrene for the nose. For those of you turning a PBY-5A into a PBN, blank-out plates are provided to cover the wheel wells.

No decals are included, but one profile is provided, showing a PBN-1 in Soviet Green over light gray, with large bordered red stars in six locations and a big '8' on either side of the rudder.

With its pointy nose, round nose turret, shapely rear step area and tall tail, this is a Catalina with a difference! This would make a great addition to a 1:72 Soviet collection. For modelers who like flying boats and are up for a challenge, the Nomad looks like a winner.

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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.20 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM

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