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Here’s Monogram’s old B-25J Mitchell, finished as a PBJ-1J of VMB-413 in the south-west Pacific, early 1944.  It’s a typical scheme; I’ve no actual photographic backing for it.

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Of the Monogram kits I’ve made recently, this one had the fewest fit problems, and it still has the level of detail that they’re renowned for.  Nice.  The worst part was where the nacelles met the wings, which is always a low point for them, as for a few others.

 

One other bit of dodgy engineering is where the wings meet the fuselage: there’s a small gutter all the way round.  I could have filled it, but on the real thing there are small fairings as well - and, handily, they’re not the usual tight curve, more like narrow flat plates.  So I’ve added that in thin card to mask the gutters.  Probably much too prominent, but at least it covers the gaps.  The integral spars have done the usual good job - nice firm fit, with just about the right dihedral.

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On balance I think this kit compares well with the Accurate Miniatures one, though I’ve not actually built that.  The AM kit has engraved panel lines (I did my own) and more three-dimensional internals.  But the fabric effect on its control surfaces looks rum against Monogram’s; and they don’t do a J model, which I prefer for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on.  But the main factor is, I didn’t know about the AM kit when I bought mine; and I’m stubborn.

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So, I kept the Monogram kit and spent a lot on additional parts.  Most of it was wasted.  The wheels are from True Details and, like most of theirs, are nice but saggy.  The radar pod is from Obscureco, attached to the kit’s nose parts.  It came as a one-piece replacement nose but that was no use:  the lower half was too tapered at the sides and the top didn’t match well either.  It would have made for an impossible filling job, so I removed the pod to attach it to the kit’s glazed parts.  It’s solid, unlike the rest, so I had to carve out a concave profile to fit.  Then it turns out the pod is too short and doesn’t have a completely straight top in profile - the rear end dips to meet the glazing.  The result is, to get it to sit level, you need to mount it too far back and too far up.  I suppose I could have carried on trying to rectify the problems, but it would have ended up 90% filler, and life’s too short.

 

My explanation: this is a field-modified PBJ.  The pod was usually on the nose on the earlier PBJ-1D (moved there from the ventral turret mount) but it was on the starboard wingtip when PBJ-1Js were delivered.  USMC maintenance crews often moved it back to the nose to reduce the amount of wiring, and that’s what’s happened to this one.  They would probably have used the same installation as the earlier ones, but in this case the local modification has produced a shorter, higher pod.  Honest, guv.

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I bought a nice set of Quickboost gun packs for the fuselage sides - and used only the barrels.  The kit parts curve round the bottom corners of the fuselage; Quickboost’s don’t.  This is not really terribly impressive.  It doesn’t help that some of the barrels wouldn’t go in straight.  All the other guns are from Quickboost, and it’s hard to see that every one of them is slightly bent.  It’s Master all the way for me, from now on.  Their brass stuff is matchless.

 

I also bought a lovely set of Verlinden engines - which turned out to be grossly overscale.  To get them to fit would have meant removing all the cylinder heads.  (It’s a double set, so I have to hope they’ll fit better in an AMT A-20.)  Even the ignition harness was too big to use on the kit engines, so I’ve just used them as they came.  They’ll do - better than most from Monogram.  I have drilled out the exhaust stubs a bit, though.  Quickboost offer replacement cowlings but after my experience with their A-26 items, and those gun packs, I thought better of it.

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I’ve made a couple of other small enhancements.  The landing lights are Little-lenses under the kit’s clear covers.  I don’t know what I’d do without them.  While the kit has a fairly good set of rear guns, it has nowhere for the gunner to sit, so I stuck a bit of flat card on a bit of rod and dropped it in there.  Also some rudimentary ammunition tracks, which run along just below the window sills.  You’ll just have to believe me when I say they’re in there.  Top tip from tomprobert of this parish: cable ties look a lot like ammunition tracks if you paint them right, and you can get about five feet for a pound.

 

There’s a lot of weight forward in this model.  One small benefit of the PBJ-1J is that many had their nose glazing painted over, so you can be as sloppy as you like inside and it leaves plenty of room for lead.  And it’s better looking than the PBJ-1H.

 

Paint is Halfords White Primer, and three flavours of Colourcoats for the blues.  The Intermediate Blue is exemplary stuff; the darker blues went on nicely but were translucent, so I needed a lot more coats.  Decals are very, very sparse, in line with the real thing: white numerals from Fantasy Printshop, roundels from tomprobert again after the old kit decals fell apart, and a few filler cap markings from the kit.  Weathering: the panel lines are drawn in with a fine grey technical pen, which is less stark than my usual dark pencil.  The rest is good ol’ chalk pastels, as ever.

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Sorry, all, I just can’t keep up with how to link to pictures.  Should all be fixed now.

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I have pictures. Very nice and odd....love it. I converted a Monogram 1:48 B-26 to a U.S. Navy JM-2. Sadly not a total conversion as the tail gunners section is different on the real thing, need B-26A to do it real justice.

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That’s come out really well, Sean. I’ll look forward to seeing it in the flesh at the club when they let us out again!

 

Tom

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Looks good. I did a generic version a number of years ago and made a complete hash up on the paint job. It was based on the one at Duxford but really needs an overhaul 

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I like this a lot. I've an Italeri kit to do something similar with, looking at yours makes me appreciate how good they can look.

Steve.

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Love the look of this and the inventive conversion. Well done 👍

 

I have a B-24 to do as a PB4Y-1, those colours really look good. 

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Well done, I think there is a LOT of value in the old Monograms, they look like the aircraft they represent, and are easy to modify for a top result. 

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Beautiful work, love the scheme and the weathering

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