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"So, where are we?" Black primer does this picture no favours really! This is pretty much the full extent of my work on the Mitchell Gunship to date, I've modified some figures, added some greeblies to the barren, superbly fitting (& utterly fictional) cockpit, oh and I've glued the wing halves together.....It's a pretty simple kit but I'd still hope this will be deemed less than 25%? PS - Just discovered I have also assembled the engines (four whole parts) and painted them a vaguely enginey colour too.
Hi! This is Hasegawas B-25H finished in Tamiya colors. I used Eduard photoetch for interior details, and Quickboost cowlings. A bit green OD, but I pretend this is the ANA 613 color Any comments appreciated Best regards Rune Haugen Norway
North American B-25H Mitchell 1:32 HK Models History The B-25G (NA-96) was the first version of the Mitchell to introduce the 75-mm cannon. It was intended for use in anti-shipping strikes in the South Pacific. In the B-25G, a standard 75mm Army M4 cannon was mounted to fire forward through the nose. This gun was a revision of the famous French 75 of World War I. The basic concept had been found to be feasible via a series of experiments on a converted Douglas B-18A Bolo. However, since the effects of the heavy muzzle blast on the nose structure of the Mitchell were unknown, a complete forward fuselage section was built and trucked to a secret area in California where firing tests could be conducted out of the way of prying eyes. Guided by these tests, the structure was progressively strengthened until full resistance to prolonged firing of 75mm rounds could be demonstrated. B-25C-1 serial number 41-13296 was modified as the XB-25G prototype. It was fitted with a 75mm M4 cannon which was 9 feet 6 inches long. The bombardier-equipped transparent nose was replaced with a shortened armoured solid nose that reduced overall length to 51 feet. The cannon was mounted in a cradle in the lower left-hand side of the nose. The cradle extended underneath the pilot's seat and a spring mechanism formed part of the gun mounting to take up the 21-inch recoil. The B-25H was an improved version of the B-25G. The fixed nose armament was increased to four nose-mounted .50-cal. machine guns and four more .50-cal. machine guns in fuselage mounted pods. The cannon was changed from the G models M4 to the lighter T13E1. The top turret was moved to the forward fuselage and the lower turret was removed and replaced by a single .50-cal. machine gun in each of the two waist positions. A tail turret housing a pair of .50-cal. machine guns was added bringing the firepower total to 14 .50-cal. machine guns plus the 75mm cannon. The aircraft could also carry up to 3,200 pounds of bombs. The prototype H model was modified from a block 10 B-25C and first flew in May 1943. This aircraft had improved Wright R-2600-20 radial engines, but all production aircraft were completed with the standard Wright R-2600-13 radials used on all B-25s since the -C model. The first of 1,000 production B-25Hs first flight was on July 31, 1943. The five-man crew consisted of the pilot, navigator-cannoneer-radioman, flight engineer-top turret gunner, waist gunner-camera operator and tail gunner. Three of five crew members had multiple jobs; there was no co-pilot or bombardier and only one waist gunner. The last H model built was covered with the signatures of the North American Aviation factory workers and nicknamed "Bones." The aircraft remained this way throughout its combat life while assigned to the 12th Bomb Group in the China-Burma-India Theatre. The Model Since this is the third iteration of the B-25 from HK Models most modellers will be used to the size of these kits. For those who aren’t familiar with them then it should be noted that this kit is big and it comes in a big box. Lifting off the box top, with its dramatic artists impression of the aircraft on a strafing run, reveals the actual box with its tabbed flap which when pulled out allow the lid to be folded open. Finally the model is revealed in all its sizable glory, well packed with the more fragile parts protected in a separate compartment. I may have mentioned how big this kit is, well it seems to be mirrored in the size of the instruction booklet, which is almost A3. Construction begins with the assembly of the interior details, building up the upper turret and tail gun mounts, with some very well moulded .50cal breeches that have slide-moulded slots in the front of the breech to facilitate adding the barrels later in the build which will be very handy. It’s then onto the cockpit assembly, in which the detail is superb. The central control panel is festooned with knobs and levers, all of which are separate, with the pilot and co-pilot's seats being placed on their bases, with a pair of lightening holes in the bottom, and bracing detail added to the rear. There are a couple of ejector pin marks on the backs of the seat that you may want to deal with if you think they'll be seen once the rear bulkhead is in place. A full set of PE seatbelts are included, although their positioning in the instructions looks a little posed, so you might want to alter them to add your personal touch. The twin control columns have separate yokes, which you can pose angled to one side if you're planning on offsetting the controls. The cockpit is finished later with the addition of the rear bulkhead, and the multi-part instrument panel, which has quite an interesting approach to achieving a realistic set of instruments. The main panel has lots of cut-outs for the dials, and a flat backing part affixes behind it. There is a decal that you can apply to the backing part, which should then line up all the instrument faces with their corresponding holes once installed. That also allows you to paint the instrument panel without worry about making a mess of the dials. Just leave them out until the job is done. The next section of the build deals with the bombs and their racks. There are parts for six bombs included, with the main body built up from two halves, as are the rear stabilising fins. Before joining the two, a small and nicely detailed arming vane is added, which improves the realism somewhat. Detail on the fins is nice, because of slide-moulding again, allowing rivet detail to be added where it wouldn't otherwise be possible with traditional moulding. Each trio of bombs attaches to a highly detailed ladder style rack with two pins, which in turn affixes to the inside skin of the bomb bay, along with a few additional detail parts to busy the area up. The bay roof and some really nicely detailed bulkheads finish off the assembly along with a few PE parts, resulting in a really well appointed bomb bay. This is set aside for a few steps while the interior of the fuselage is decked out. The fuselage halves are rather large, and as well as all that detail on the outer surface, there is moulded in cockpit detail in the forward part, and lots of strengthening ribs throughout the rear of the fuselage. It appears that the central portion of the fuselage away from the bomb bay has been left rather bland in order to keep the retail price down, but this area can be completed by the fervent scratch builder, and there are bound to be aftermarket sets released to improve this area. Some boxes adorn the cockpit area on each side, and the waist stations with their .50cal guns and ammo feed chutes are supplied, as well as the ammo boxes. These parts are very nicely moulded, and thankfully the detail will be seen through the window once construction is completed. Before the cheek gun packs can be fitted, their affixing holes need to be drilled out. In order to finally close the fuselage, the cockpit area, with the nose gear leg attached to the underside, the upper turret mechanism, the bomb bay and the rear gunner's position all have to be placed in one fuselage half, and a staggering 80 grams of nose weight to ensure that she doesn't sit on her tail once she's done. Having read a few build logs, it seems that this may not be enough as the balance is still pretty fine, so you may want to try and fit more weight wherever possible. The completion of the rear-gunner's position includes the long lines of ammo that feed from the rear, and a little stool for the gunner to perch on during the active part of the mission. The large H-tail is next, which spans the full length, and incorporates the top of the rear fuselage, including the conical bulge to accommodate the rear gunner. The rudder parts attach using traditional slots and tabs, and the rudders and elevators can be left unglued if you wish but would probably be best glued into the position of your choice, just don’t forget to check how you have the cockpit controls set. Separate trim tab actuators are included to add detail to this area, and once complete it is installed on the top of the rear fuselage along with the glazing and the rear gun's flexible mounting cover. Moving forward, the cockpit glazing is installed here too, and a choice of both the nicely detailed turret interior and glazing for the upper turret, or the blanking plate is made. Aft of the turret there are a pair of bullet fairings, and a choice can be made as to which type to use based upon your references. The next step is to add all of the bay doors and fairings to the underside of the fuselage, but some of this is probably best left off until near the finish of the build. The bomb bay doors are nicely portrayed, with an inner skin perforated with lightening holes sitting within each door to add depth and interest. If you're closing the bomb bay doors, the un-skinned outers are used to cover the area. The crew access ladders can be posed open or closed, although if choosing to leave them open, it invites the viewer to peer inside, which might expose the slightly barren interior. The wings have a full set of poseable flying surfaces, with spoilers and actuator rams includes, which gives plenty of options for posing them at an appropriate angle, as if the crew have just switched off and left the aircraft after a long mission. The leading edge of the wing has a landing light and intake installed, with a clear cover for the landing light that will need careful gluing to avoid fogging of the crystal clear part. The engines are a model in their own right, and are made up of a large number of parts. To do them justice, you'll need to research the colour of each part, as it would be a sin not to paint them well. The Wright R-2600 Cyclones are radial engines, and all 14 pistons are depicted in a very crisp moulding with separate push-rod covers for each one. Once both banks of cylinders are installer, the exhaust manifold and wiring looms are installed, then the aforementioned push-rod covers, where you'll have to be careful to get them correctly oriented. The whole engine then slots inside the skeletal cowling, to which the cowling front is added, and then the individual exhaust stacks are fitted, some of which projected the thunder of the engine into the fuselage, deafening many a crew member. The cowling panels are then installed, again in a specific pattern, and then the props are added, which are supplied as separate blades that glue into a 2-part central boss. The blades are keyed, which is good news, so construction will be fairly straight forward. I'd leave these off until later however, in case you break them during handling. The engine nacelles are next, and they were of a clean design, being very streamlined, even when the gear was down. This is a really odd construction step, which would have you install the landing gear strut directly into a slot in the underside of the wing, and then build up the nacelle, after which the two are brought together in a rotating manner, to enable the strut to pass through the small opening in the nacelle. The larger doors that open during the landing gear cycle are moulded closed, which shouldn't be an issue as it both saves fiddling trying to get the doors on closed, and also saved HK Models from having to detail the wheel bay that would most likely rarely be seen. The small doors are supplied separately, and have nice strengthening detail on the inside skin, and a scale thickness edge to add realism. The sprue gates have been cleverly placed inboard of the thin edge on a flat area of the panel, so that it can be easily be removed without marring the delicate edge of the part. Although adding the landing gear before painting is a little odd in my limited experience, the fact that the parts are sufficiently large to mask properly without risk of breakage makes sense, and also gives you something to perch the model on during painting without scuffing the fresh paintwork. The wheels are provided as halves, with nicely defined diamond tread patterns, which with careful gluing and alignment should survive the seam clean-up process. The main wheels have two inner hub parts that can be seen behind the outer hubs that are moulded into the tyres, and a central boss is applied to the outer hub face. The nose gear wheel is made up from two parts with the hubs moulded in, and an outer hub-cap is added to the assembly once glued together. The wheels should be put to one side until painting has been completed as it will save any further masking. The wings attach to the fuselage by mating with a large stub spar that is moulded into the fuselage sides, before completing the join you have to capture the inner flap section in its pivot points so that it can remain poseable once installed. The joints should be very strong, but I would be tempted to brace the fuselage sides against splitting the fuselage seam under the constant weight of the wings by inserting some rod between the two halves. This might not be necessary as the bomb bay may add sufficient strength to the area, so I would leave any decision until you're at that point of the build. The nose area of the B-25H is not only shorter than a standard B-25; it is also filled with machine guns not to mention the big cannon. The lower section of the nose is fitted with the .50cal gun shelf, followed by the four gun breeches. Above the breeches another shelf is attached and fitted with the ammunition boxes for each gun, with each box attached to the breech by an ammunition belt. Now, the ammunition belts are assembled out of upper and lower halves to enable HK to mould them with the correct shape to fit between the guns and boxes. The upper nose section is fitted with an inner skin which, like the bomb bay doors is nicely detailed with the ribs and stringers. The upper nose can be posed open with the use of two struts should the modeller choose to do so. Before fitting to the front fuselage the cannon muzzle is attached from the inside and an HF aerial mast, with added light fitting is attached to the port underside, just aft of the cannon orifice. There is another HF aerial mast fitted on the underside of the fuselage just aft of the cockpit and two aerial wires will need to be manufactured to fit between each mast. With the nose fitted to the fuselage it’s just a matter of attaching any machine gun barrels left off during the build along with the wheels and the attachment of any further aerial wires. Decals As with the other B-25 kits there are only decals supplied for one aircraft, in Olive Drab over Neutral Grey, and sporting a large gaping mouth emblem, with separate eyes on the nose. The decal sheet is quite small for the size of the kit, and contains only national markings, unit and tail code markings, plus prop markings and two styles of instrument panel decal. Printed by HK Models themselves the decals look to be well printed, in good register and colour density. The only visible carrier film is seen on the tail code numbers, but since it’s not particularly thick it should settle down well on a good gloss coat of Klear or Alclad Gloss. Conclusion I just love these kits and once I get some space at least one will be built. But this is the one I’ve been waiting for, as I’ve always been fascinated with the fitting of large calibre guns to aircraft and it was the B-25H that introduced me to this idea. The kit is a bit of a compromise between detail and cost, but it does give the modeller the choice on whether to build as is, or heap loads more detail on it, especially in the fuselage interior which could certainly do with it. The aftermarket companies have already paid attention to the two earlier releases, with lots of lovely etch and resin, most of which will be just as relevant to this release. I hear there is also a conversion set coming out to enable the modeller to produce a PBJ-1H which would look great. Very highly recommended. The kit can be bought worldwide online, and in the UK from Hannants. Review sample is courtesy of