Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Once again, late to the party but trust you have room to squeeze in one more guest.

I had to clear my workspace which was left untouched since the Lancaster group build earlier this year.


Searching the garage for a project that would fit this STGB, I found a B-25J Mitchell still in the shrinkwrap. I have ordered some Kits-World decals from Sprue Brothers that will help me depict 43-27751/50 'Meet Mrs Runyon - Margaret Mary Rustin' (321st BG/447thBS)


Here we go....


Still in the shrinkwrap (should meet the "less than 25%" requirement)




Oooooh, that fresh styrene smell



And the copyright molded in: Revell 1977 China




Not sure what level of crazy I want to go to... but I've had fun with each group build so far!




Kits-World decals (KW148033) on the way. Chose the MMR option just for the OD. Not ready for an NMF project yet


Reference via the Kits-World site



Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Engines (Part 1)


I haven't done 1/48 radials since the B-17 group build about two years ago so I'd forgotten how small they are. Most of the detailing won't be seen later, but what's the fun in skipping a chance to superglue my fingers together?

My efforts from tonight are below, after my pics of the real deal.



The reference pics:

I looked through the pics I have taken of B-25s to see what I had for the Wright R-2600 Twin Cyclone, starting with this example at the NMoUSAF (from when I was there for the Memphis Belle unveiling in May 2018)




The front shape doesn't look like I expected (based on the plastic in the kit) so I turned to a few B-25 Mitchell examples I've photographed in museums and airshows.


B-25J 44-29366

RAF Museum London 2008




B-25J 44-30823 “Pacific Prowler”

McChord AFB 2008



B-25J Mitchell 44-30254

Flying Heritage Collection


and with some panels off




B-25D 43-3318 “Grumpy”

Paine Field 




B-25J 44-86747 “Mitch The Witch II”

Palm Springs 2018






And now the build...

Enhancing the kit's molded in rods by adding bits of 20-gauge wire. After gluing my fingers to the wire and engine multiple times I decided to leave the pieces extra long and trim to size. That was a fiasco in its own right.




Next was the ignition wiring. I use a length of 34 gauge wire folded as tightly as possible leaving just enough of "loop" to catch some glue and attach as iff it two closely-spaced wires coming out from the ring.


After those are trimmed and gently bent back toward the cylinders they look like pairs of wires. I'm not overly concerned that each wire has a specific destination as the cowling and prop will make most of this unseen in the end.

I got this far in tonight's session...



I will do some cleanup with fresh eyes tomorrow. I see some spots where the paint has webbed across the wires. The placard also needs some detailing -- I might replace/cover my painted attempt with a small square of tin foil.



Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 10
Link to post
Share on other sites

These plenty of room, welcome to the build OI'Scrapiron. You've made a fantastic start.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work on the engine 👍


Great to see a Monogram kit in the GB. 


Cheers Greg 🍺

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Good afternoon Ol' Scrapiron

 Welcome aboard very good start

Have fun

Best Regards


  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Engines (Part 2)


My experience using thick wire for the pushrods on the first engine was frustrating as it was difficult to get the very short pre-cut pieces to glue into the right position, and the longer pieces tended to break off when I tried to clip them (probably my own impatience working before the cement had properly set.)


So, for engine 2 I opted to use stretched spue -- cheap (free) and plays nice with just Testors plastic cement.



After the glue had set, I trimmed the rods and then added the bent lengths of 34-gauge wire



Those were easily trimmed, painted and I did some touchup as well as a bit of very thin dark wash to bring it all together and tone down the reddish wiring. I also added small bits of tinfoil for the placards on the case. It's nice because after adding a spot of black, anything that shows through is actually shiny silver.



They should look enough like the ones in B-25J Mitchell 44-30254 to do the job.


Hmmmmmmm... looks like there should be little placards on both sides (or are they sided so that the data is on the outside on each side?)

I'll look into that further.



Also note the brass tubing added so that the props will spin freely when I am done.




That's probably it for tonight.


Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting ahead of myself... oops!


While I was putting together the pieces that make up the command deck and the access tunnel, I thought the little foot pedals looked oddly small. I checked the shot of my son inside B-25J 43-35972 “Maid in the Shade” and there are definitely arms that reach down to the pedals




So I set out to recreate this on the project using stretched sprue



Of course, when I located the instrument panel I found the other pedal parts were attached. I am going to trim the kit's parts off and use the ones I fabricated. The panel is still in progress so don't look to hard for now.





On to the tires...


I will be giving the wheels a bit of greasy wash and some dusting for the treads, but here's how they look as of tonight.





I am not sure if the tire slip tape would be on both sides or not. I only painted them on one side away from the gear legs.



Unless I get a second wind, that is all for tonight.






Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the flap?


Today's adventure included opening up the cowl flaps. After looking at some of the pics I have taken, I decided that on the real deal there really is not a lot of difference between the surface of the flaps when they are closed and the area beneath the flaps while they are open. Let me start by sharing some photos to help demonstrate...


B-25J 44-30823 “Pacific Prowler”

McChord AFB




B-25D 43-3318 “Grumpy”

Paine Field




Step one was using a pin vise to punch some holes just large enough to accept bits of 24-gauge wire (this is the same size I use when I separate the 50-cal guns from their barrels to make them easy to mount on both sides of a window)





The silver is just to put a color on the firewall in case any of it is visible when the R-2600 is added and then the cowling.



After the bits are secured with CA glue, I trimmed the wire to just barely exposed. This will be the linkage arms that extend the flaps, and if I had looked harder at my own reference pic I would have seen that there should be one per flap rather than two as I did. Bummer on the extra work, but it does make for a more stable flap during the next step.


Step to was cutting some flaps out of my favorite material for scratchbuilding --  old soda cans, in this case a Dr. Pepper can that a student gave me long ago for a different project. I don't drink soda for the most part, so I asked the students to bring in clean uncrumpled cans for me. In three days they had donated enough to last a lifetime.








Turns out I had to snip all the spare wire down to a nub to allow clearance for the nacelle. I taped the three parts together -- nacelle - flaps/firewall - cowling just to see what is visible from the backside when it is all together...











I am very pleased with the result and plan on repeating the incorrect "two wires per flap" on the other side just to be consistent.


As far as the nacelles, I have not decided if I am going to close them up like normal or open the rear part of the gear doors and try to recreate the inner bay based on this image I found on the web.



Problem is that these doors only really opened during the time the gear was being lowered or retracted. Argument against is that the two main doors were closed in the air and on the ground and it would be very sturdy and simple to build as designed... But man part of me want to go crazy. That is the only image I could find so there obviously room to be creative without being call out for inaccuracy.  I'll put that on the back burner and see what I am up for later in the build.


Just for laughs, I have taken a pic of a Mitchell with the rear doors open: "Grumpy" retracting gear while taking off at Paine Field. Not much help in seeing what is behind those doors!



I'm also doing work on the cockpit area, but not enough for an update. Probably tomorrow on that.




Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Cockpit update


I just couldn't stop after I made the post about the cowl flaps.


Installed the IP and the yokes. Note the extra throttles made from wire and drops of Elmers glue for the handles. I went with red for the knobs purely so they'd be easier to see. In the Mitchell they would be side-by-side but I opted for up/down because it was easier to get the wire to attach that way. The wire is flexible eneough I may try to bend them to be sideways once it all dried and cure. If not, I am OK as it is.









On my screen this shows about 2-1/2 times actual size -- big enough to show all the sloppiness. Ugh!!!




I checked the fit into the fuselage ... This is all buried pretty deep under the coaming surface. The seats will also block this even more.





That's it for tonight -- the old eyes are pretty tired.

Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

More great work on your B-25 👍


I am really enjoying watching all the additional detail you are adding.


Cheers Greg 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Now I've gone and done it!!!


It was decision time and I made some bold steps... But let's do this in order.


This morning I set out to replicate the cowl flaps on the first engine and even streamlined the process a little. Problem was that I moved so fast I forgot to paint the inside of the ring green before adding the new flaps.


This meant that I would probably ruin the nice "real metal" from the soda can when I tried to brush some color underneath.


Two engines looking pretty good for the moment.


In a moment of foolishness, I broke out the Dremel and hacked off the flaps and aileron on the right wing. In hindsight I should have left the aileron alone because any position change up or down has to be reflected (but opposite) on the left wing. Should have just left them neutral. Unlike the B-17 and Lancaster STGB projects, the B-25's flap is the full depth of the wing so it meant cutting the bottom and top parts of the wing. Yikes -- big work ahead.




But wait, there's more!


I think we all knew this was going to happen. As long as I was cutting, why not open those gear doors on the nacelle?

I have this lone pic as a reference for what all is in there, but I think I can fake it enough.



Here we go.

A few stringers on the side and some trimmed soda can at the back end. A sewing ponce wheel (the cheap version of a Rosie the Riveter) provided some dimples in the metal.



Before adding a firewall at the other side, I made up some oil reservoir bags out of Sculpey clay. I'll only need two but made a couple spares just in case.



Some poncing and stretched sprue and the oil bag brought the inner firewall to life.



The main floor (roof) of the wheel well area was provided as the flat span that connects the inner and outer wing surfaces on the bottom half of the wing. I just added a bit of soda can to the back to prevent a weird gap and then some heavier square Evergreen strips for the ribbing visible in the reference pic.





The real trick was trying to interpret the various linkage arms that come off the gear leg. I'm not claiming any points for accuracy, but it does resemble the reference pic. I'll probably add a pump and some tubing to make things busy.





for comparison...




It should look even better when it comes time to paint... whatever color (Silver or zinc green or zinc yellow or???)


That's all for tonight.


Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

Brilliant update.


I wish I had the skill and patience to add these kind of details to my models.

Keep it up 😀

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Super simple update for today...


First off was filing and sanding the top/bottom pieces that will make up the aileron and two-part flaps. The aileron pieces go together fully, but the flaps make a dramatic "V" from the trailing edge with a wide gap at the forward edge (because the wing is much thicker there). Also, the top of the flap is much less exposed in the normal position than will be needed in the lowered/extended position. Looking from the side, instead of a "V" it looks more like a checkmark. Hope that makes sense.


I filled in the area with some balsa wood and then carved it to be flush with the flap surface and rounded. Then covered the wood (and my fingertips) with Tamiya putty to make it sandable and hopefully take paint better.




I also brushed on a layer of silver over the dark maroon Dr Pepper printing on the soda can cowl flaps. This is very rough at the moment but will be a good surface for later paint.



A little work inside the nacelle, but as I said, just a simple update -- nothing terribly exciting



Here's a pic of B-25D 43-3374 I shot a couple years ago at the NMoUSAF. That's the look I am trying to get from the lowered flaps.




Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Time to get the tail in gear...


The last few days have seen slight amounts of progress in several areas, but mostly unworthy of an update.

However, yesterday I took a big leap and hacked the control surfaces off of the tail area.


My goal was to add some drop to the elevators as seen in my pic of B-25J 44-31032 “Problem Child” on display at March AFB. 



I also wanted to have the rudders turned slightly. Even when they are not turned there is a substantial gap visible on the real planes, so the kit rudders needed to be removed and repositioned.



B-25D 43-3318 “Grumpy” at Paine Field



B-25J 44-28866 “Champaign Gal” at Champaign Air Museum / Grimes Field



On to the model!


The kit would have simply glue together six parts (upper/lower horizontal surface + inside/outside for two tails).

When I was through with the dremel there were 14 pieces to keep track of -- most of which needed serious modification to work.


Here is the basic parts assembled


I had to hack out large gaps in the rudders and elevators, and also small chunks of Evergreen strip added to the main parts. 



The elevators were attached in a slightly dropped position. I probably would do this differently next time, but hey, it got the job done.



I glued wire into the thin gaps that are the hinge points for the rudders. These should be flat plates, but after being snipped to almost no length at all they are hardly visible once the rudder is attached to the upright.



First attempt at getting the tail s attached....



Didn't look bad at this point, but the large projections at the end of the elevators kept the rudders from being able to turn and the tails came off while I was trying to use the dremel to thin the projections. 


Eventually all the pieces were attached securely at matching angles (close enough for me) and I added some paint to see what work still needs to be done. The paint is crude for now, and the fabric control surfaces will get a more faded color eventually.








The airframe I am building is NMF on the lower surfaces. I originally chose to do this plane because I thought it was OD over gray and I would be avoiding the silver -- should have read the decal description better before I ordered it.



Lots of other small work is being done, but I'll hold off on those updates until there is something worth posting.


Bonus shot for the night:

We live near McChord AFB, so when the clouds permit Mt Rainier makes a beautiful backdrop for the air shows on base


This is the FHC's B-25J Mitchell 44-30254 visiting McChord for the 2016 show.


Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Bring on Wing #2


Today was all about trying to duplicate the look of the first wing without screwing anything up


Out came the dremel and again four simple parts were hacked into 12. 



Clean up went much faster this time, having learned a bit from the previous wing.




Work on the nacelle also was much more efficient this go round. Some soft solder was pressed into the nacelle...



...which provided a nice template for the forward bulkhead. Not the exact shape, but a good starting point.




Rivet detail created by a ponce wheel, and an oil reservoir made from baked Sculpey clay (part of the batch made when I was working on the first wing.)



A couple tabs added to the backside of the firewall



This gives a good surface area for CA glue to bond to the nacelle walls.



Still need to add a couple pieces of stretch sprue for piping on the wall to get it to match the other wheel well.



That's it for tonight.



Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

Time to duplicate


Closing up the first nacelle certainly added some challenge when it came time to replicate the added wheel well detail for the other wing. One advantage was knowing what had "worked" on the first attempt so not a lot of extra poring over the reference -- just make them match!







That looks close enough for me.


Flaps added to cover the huge gaps between the top/bottom wing pieces.



You can see where balsa wood was added to represent the portion of the flap that becomes exposed when the flaps are lowered.





Putting out the fires!


The inner fuselage has details that are essentially flattened for easier molding, including two fire extinguishers that were so hard to see I had to indicate them in this pic.



Sure, if I just painted them they would be acceptable (especially since they will out of sight when the fuselage gets buttoned up) but I want more.

In the shot above, you can see the sprue I have stretched to recreate the extinguisher canisters. I let the sprue cool before stretching it (very slowly) to get a nice thick section. 

A second piece was cut from another stretched sprue at the point where the thin section is drawn from the full unstretched part. This leaves a little flare to represent the hose and nozzle (photo below). I have yet to trim the thin hose to match the top of the cylinder for the extinguisher in the waist gun area..




Here's what forward one looks like after painting.



The shiny spots are more visible due to the camera flash. The whole interior will get some thinned greasy wash to bring out the details and also hide most of the unevenness.



At this point I am able to temporarily tape things together to enjoy my progress so far.


Mmmmmm... nice.



Shameless plug alert: And for a bonus, here is one of my shots of B-25D 43-3634 “Yankee Warrior” for comparison




Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

A sight for sore eyes...


Before the paint was dry on the wings I was already looking through my photos of the various Norden bombsights that I have shot inside B-17s and elsewhere.


First my reference pics


In the museum at the Maddingley Cemetery, Cambridge




At the Imperial War Museum, London







In the B-17G 44-83575 Nine-O-Nine (from my flight in 1998)




In the B-17G 44-8543 Madras Maiden (from my flight in 2018)




In the B-17G 44-85740 Aluminum Overcast (from my flight in 2017)




In the B-17G 44-83546 “Movie” Memphis Belle



In the B-17G 44-85813 Champaign Lady





Here's my take in 1/48








And to give a sense of the size...


Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Being Nosy...


I asked around to determine if the nose section floor would have been metal or wood sheet and the consensus was for aluminum floor.


So here's the nose section as it stands.






It looks like the darker wash may have crept up on the top edge of the foldaway seat so I'll need to revisit that. I also want to look into some wartime pics to see what extra bags/maps/equipment/pin-up posters, etc., that might be appropriate for this area.


Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Da bomb!


Short update this evening. I have been doing some painting for various ammo boxes and details in the fuselage, but the only thing worth sharing are the three 500-lb bombs. While looking through the different examples I have photographed at museums and in wardirds on display the only constant is the inconsistency of markings. I know the differences indicate whether it is a TNT GP or High Explosive or incendiary etc, but I went with something simple that works for me. A little extra wire added something even though it probably will be unseen if these get mounted properly. I might add a small flap of paper at the front for the armorers label.



I went with  three alternating coats of two shades of OD allowing colors to show through slightly because the bombs would have been stored outside and weathered in the sun (I see photos of that at England bases so I would assume the same for MTO bases). I also painted the back finned section a different green because they are created separately and only paired up with the bombs before a mission.



Most of my photos showing the GP ordnance are from B-17s, but here are some specific to the B-25 (though I chose to ignore them as painting references.)


B-25D 43-3374 at the NMoUSAF; displayed as a Doolittle Raider on the deck of the USS Hornet






B-25J 44-30823 “Pacific Prowler” at McChord AFB




That's it for tonight.


Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

They should bottle this stuff...


At the forward bulkhead of the waist section there is sizable tank I initially thought might be one of the big yellow Oxygen tanks I usually see in B-17s. The more I looked at the kit part, the less convinced I was. Also, the B-17 had a dozen or so tucked all over the front end, flight deck and above the ball turret. So I asked around to see if that indeed what the mystery object was and, if so, where else in the plane these might be found.




My trusted expert on all things vintage aviation, Karl Hauffe, confirmed it to be the same O2 tank as found in the B-17, and shared this chart indicating in the B-25J there would be two used behind the pilots seats and another two stored in the waist area.




From what I've seen, the particular Mitchell I am building was a B-25J-2-NC so I will go with the more forward waist area mountings.


Rather than trying to duplicate the existing (and somewhat questionable) tank in the kit I will be shaving that off and replacing with my own creations. I had done this before while building my grandfather's Flying Fortress in the B-17 STGB 


Problem is, I could not find the really simple O2 tank template I made up. After searching far longer than I should I made up another.


On a small sheet I glued four evenly-spaced strips of styrene (I used other strip sections for the spacing). The material for the tanks is Sculpey clay.



Roll very tiny balls of clay about the size of a single pea (the ones in this pic area actually too big)



Gently roll the "pea" over the template and it will elongate as it picks up the pattern of grooves



Here is the stages of the final "tank"

Left: soft uncooked clay

Middle: Baked for 12 min at 225F

Right: Cooked, cooled and painted



They are not perfect, but they have a character to them and I can make a dozen in a few minutes. With straps and a regulator cap on one end they should look the part.



Here's what they looked like in the earlier B-17 project






Unfortunately all the links in my B-17 build were broken when my web host switched servers. I will try to re-link them as there were some interesting scratchbuilding experimentation.



Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Tanks for the memories...


As I mentioned a few days ago, I took a closer look at the molded-in O2 tank and decided it really had to go. It looks too small for my eye and certainly would be challenging to try and match while representing the correct number of tanks.





The solution was to make "quickie" tanks from Sculpey clay. However the first batch had been based on the ones I made for the B-17, and these would be pretty big in the Mitchell...




Yep, waaaaaaay too big



Good thing is if the crew were forced to ditch in the Med and were attacked by a rogue Great White they could use these to keep track of the shark

(Quint: He can't stay down with three barrels on him. Not with three barrels, he can't.)






I made up a second batch of O2 tanks that were about half the size



Checked against the kit part



Painted the new barrels and then coiled some wire to add a straps but then decided just painting would be simpler and look more like straps/bands. I cut off the molded tank and blanked the hole off with a scrap of soda can.



For the hosing I stretched some sprue nice and thick, then right before it cooled I pushed the ends back together to form some nice curly sections.



Then all you have to do is find a suitable section and glue in place. These hold their shape better than wire, but that was my second choice.


So here are the two tanks installed in the waist section of the plane... there will be a second pair installed behind the pilot's seats forward of the top turret.




That's all for tonight.




Edited by Ol' Scrapiron
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...