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B-25D Mitch the Witch


Egi vandor
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Hello all!

Now i'm going to build Eastern Express (ex-FROG) B-25 1/72. EE provided kit with decal for two VVS variants and USAF one.

I decided to make more colorful USAF plane and began to collect info about it. I found that this B-25D-25 had early type gun packages on the sides of fuselage, rear gun installation with the single gun and tall canopy, and two fixed machine guns  on the right side of the plexiglass nose.

On this photo from B-25 In action (Squadron/signal 1221) is Mitch the Witch nose art and another B-25 behind. Second plane has large windows in fuselage behind the wing trailing end with gun installation. Did Mitch the Witch had these gun installations too?

50714355303_319db0355b_c.jpg

 

Also at this photo lower part of fuselage on both planes looks like painted black. Might it be so?

Another question is about nose art. Superscale in their decal sheet 48-680 added squadron insignia on the right side of the nose. Did Mitch the Witch had in in reality?

50714357018_cd4941cab0_b.jpg

 

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As a B-25D-25 it was not built with the big bay-window side gun blisters, they did not come in until the H and J.  I suppose a field modification is not impossible as 42-87293 was an unusually long-lived B-25, but without photographic evidence or reliable witness evidence then there's no reason to make that assumption.

 

I'm not seeing any black, and can think of no reason why it would be beneficial to paint such an aircraft black underneath. Just standard olive drab over Neutral Gray in full shadow.

 

I have no basis for questioning the Superscale decal instructions: do you? 

Edited by Work In Progress
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5 minutes ago, Work In Progress said:

As a B-25D-25 it was not built with the big bay-window side gun blisters, they did not come in until the H and J.  I suppose a field modification is not impossible as 42-87293 was an unusually long-lived B-25, but without photographic evidence or reliable witness evidence then there's no reason to make that assumption.

 

I'm not seeing any black, and can think of no reason why it would be beneficial to paint such an aircraft black underneath. Just standard olive drab over Neutral Gray in full shadow.

 

I have no basis for questioning the Superscale decal instructions: do you? 

 

Yes, B-25D-25 were not built with additional gun installations in side windows, but many Mitchells at Pacific had different field modifications. In B-25 in Detail ad Scale (№60) at p. 32 is the photo and side profile of B-25 with waist gun position behind the wing. But that window is smaller and square shaped. Probably some C's and D's might have larger windows. But did Mitch the Witch have them?

I also have no questions for SS decal, but would like to see any photo of Mitch the Witch from the starboard side.

 

 

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Both of you are correct that No B-25C/D's left either factory with waist gun positions, but some aircraft did get waist gun positions in the field by means of a  factory-supplied conversion kit. I have paraphrased a section on the subject from William Wolf's B-25 Mitchell- the Ultimate Look, page 284 regarding waist gun positions.

 

..."It would appear that NAA finalized the design of these windows some time before the B-25H, as many conversion kits were shipped to modification centers to upgrade the armament of B-25C/D's. Each window had a cutout for a gun mount in the lower rear corner. These modifications on the C/D models became somewhat common in some squadrons." (At the same time, many C/D's also had a rudimentary tail gun position added, with a single .50cal gun- this was not the same as the one fitted to B-25H/J variants, as they had a deepened rear fuselage to allow a, proper  two-gun position and gunner's station to be fitted.)

 

The B-25 in the background appears to be a B-25C/D with the field modified waist gun and tail gun position- you can just see the barrel of the .50cal tail gun in the photo.

 

This doesn't answer your question, but the possibility exists- hopefully a photo of the rear of the one you want to model will surface. Best I can do from my references. I did assist in a topic discussion on field installed  waist gun positions, with several photos showing the differences between the field and factory waist gun positions a few years ago for a BM'er  who was building one- you could do a search for it...for the life of me, I can't remember his name- sorry! @tonyot might recall the discussion.

Mike 

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These waist and tail gun positions that we are talking about WERE NOT field modifications. The Mod centres that William Wolf mentioned were in the USA, co-located (read next door) to the actual factories. The work was done there, not in the field. The USN had similar mod centres set up for later PBJs.

 

The B-25D programme was designated B-25D2 (no dash after the D as this is a mod programme designation, not a block number) and the B-25Gs were done under the designation B-25G-12. Phil ('Flip') Marchese is the main researcher and expert on these mods (and has done a number of posts in places like Hyperscale in the past and runs the Facebook page 'B-25 Michell History').

 

There were Field modded examples but they were in N.Africa where a line was set up in the Sidi Ahmen depot to add defensive armament to early B-25C/Ds that had been received there before the work started being done in the USA. These mods were very different to the ones above.

 

'B-25 Mitchell- the Ultimate Look' - that's a joke, all W.Wolf does is take other people's research and trys to present it in one place (very expensive place it should be said) without any actual knowledge of the background and processes involved. 

 

'Mitch the Witch' should have the modded waist and tail guns as all photos of other 17 TRS B-25Ds that I have show them in place.

 

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@Hornet133

 

I thought I stated in my post that the waist gun positions for B-25C/D/G's was not a factory applied mod, but were done by means of a kit supplied to modification centers, and/or  field depots- for the PTO, more than likely at  Townsville  in Australia for 5th AF and RAAF Mitchells. It sounds like you have more information than I have access to;  I included the only written reference I was able to find so any parties could look it up for information/confirmation. If you have a similar reference, or can provide a link to the facts/person you described, that would really help the original poster. As far as William Wolf's work is concerned. I would imagine if he were half the privateer you suggest, he would have been called to task on any of the numerous publications he has authored.  I have neither an opinion nor justification for such a statement, but you are certainly entitled to yours. My intention was to help a fellow modeler out- see the link to two photos of a B-25C/D with the field/modification center tail and waist gun positions, but the photos do not indicate if the additions were made at a stateside or overseas modification center/depot. With that being said, the photo appears to be from the Australian War Memorial Archives, so may well have  been a product of the Townsville Depot.

Mike

 

https://forum.il2sturmovik.com/topic/54880-b-25d-belly-turret-too-effective/page/2/

Edited by 72modeler
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The aircraft named "Mitch the Witch" was a B-25D2.  Here's a summary by Phil Marchese of the development and production history of the B-25D2 and B-25G-12.  The original posts can still be found on Hyperscale Plane Talking, if you are willing to use the unfriendly search feature .  I have other notes and posts regarding the B-25D2 and making a model of Mitch the Witch. Check page 35 of Avery's book and you will find a remarkable photo taken in Dec, 1943 of the NAA Kansas City final assembly line with D2's and J's in work.

 

Don

 

*******************

 

Mitchells in Central and South Pacific- ' 43-44

December 8 2007 at 9:56 AM   Phil Marchese   (Login philmarchese)

HyperScale Forums from IP address 75.75.163.60

 

I recently completed a model of a 1945 version of the B-25G as used by the 41st BG in the final two months of the Air Offensive, Japan campaign. That plane was a NA96 that had gone thru at least four major modification programs. Pictures of the build were posted in the Monogram Bomber Build forum. I've repeated two here from phase 9 of the build (right/left).

 

My model is shown after the HAD refurbishment done for the 41 BG in early 1945. It has the J2* nose (8-gun), rocket racks and increased tail ammunition capacity (two cans). Some also had an armored waist window insert.

 

My model also shows the forked ILS antenna above the cockpit and single wing tip lings. Both these feature appeared on later blocks of the B-25G and B-25D (NA100). Earlier blocks did not have the system and had wing tip lights in pairs, above and below each wing tip.

 

The configuration has its origin in the NAA Kansas City 2081 change. NAA KC was under contract for 2080 B-25D and by the 2nd Quarter of 1943 was well into the B-25J design and production conversion planning. However the projected delivery was December, 1943. The AAF wanted an interim armament upgrade prior to the 2081 change. So circa May/June 1943 directed NAA to modify existing and future B-25D (NA87) and B-25G to the interim configuration.

 

The bombardier version became the B-25D2 series (not block, i.e. no dash) while the interim G pulled from any NA96 C-20 to G-10 block became the G-12. The key differences in the interim configuration were:

 

the unique tail gunners canopy with a single 50 cal. MG in the lower position;

unstaggered, enclosed waist windows similar to the 2081 change design but with symmetrical fairings;

and side package guns with 2 x 50 cal. MG each side.

 

During the NA100 contract for the last of the 2080 B-25D, the D2 configuration was produced on the assembly line rather than at the adjacent Fairfax modification Center. Martin Omaha’s modification center probably participated in the G-12 modification program, many B-25G IARCs histories indication passage thru the Center.

 

The G-12 carried the package guns only starboard (none port side outboard the cannon breech). The package blister was hinged and did not have to be removed to service the weapons. This was an improvement over the less aerodynamic shell-type developed in the SWPA and used by the FEAF**.

 

Many G-12 had been in the Central Pacific with the 75mm cannon nose since October 1943. HAD removed the plexiglas waist enclosures from those planes and added wind deflectors. The Central Pacific soon moved to an open tail position as it had done on its Liberators and removed the final section of the tail gunner's canopy which enclosed the rear face. In the process the MG was raised onto a pole mount and an ammunition can was mounted in the canopy fairing. The waist and tail changes were also done for the VII BC B-25D2 and many USMC PBJ1-D.

 

Many of the 75mm nosed B-25G-12 had the disruptive shade 42 blotching on the rear spine and leading and trailing edges of the flight surfaces.

 

The South Pacific B-25D2 and G-12 tended to keep the tail canopy complete but double the lower armament to 2 x 50 cal MG's. Waist windows were sometimes open but tended to remain enclosed also.

 

Later USMC 612 BOMBRON upgraded its PBJ1-D similar to 1945 HAD upgrade. The Squadron's D2 had left the States with the interim armament and nose mounted radar. HAD/EWA modified the open waist and tail. Now the top turret was removed from the mid-dorsal position and rocket capability added. The finish was changed from the two tone USN scheme to the Gloss Sea blue. The prescribed 20" night fighter national insignia was applied to the conversions.

 

When building the D2, omit the pilot exterior armor plate. It was not standard on the D2 configuration. Note that G and H carried only pilot side plates.

 

In summary, the four phase modifications shown on my model can be replicated in different combinations to build many Central Pacific and South Pacific B-25D2, B-25G-12 and PBJ1-D planes from the AAF 41 and 42 BGs or from USMC VMB 612***.

 

Footnotes:

 

1. * series (again, not block) for any B-25J with the nose modification applied)

2.  Many surviving 42 BG B-25G-12 were converted to commerce strafers added to MG's to the nose, removing the 75 mm cannon and adding a SWPA gun package to the pilot side.

3. *** Some VMB night intruders also carried the J2 nose kit, but I have not confirmed a D2 conversion with the J2 nose in either AAF or USMC units.

   

This message has been edited by philmarchese from IP address 75.75.163.60 on Dec 8, 2007 10:15 AM

This message has been edited by philmarchese from IP address 75.75.163.60 on Dec 8, 2007 10:14 AM

This message has been edited by philmarchese from IP address 75.75.163.60 on Dec 8, 2007 10:09 AM

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This message has been edited by philmarchese from IP address 75.75.163.60 on Dec 8, 2007 10:08 AM

This message has been edited by philmarchese from IP address 75.75.163.60 on Dec 8, 2007 10:04 AM

 

combat configuration

December 8 2007, 12:42 PM  Phil Marchese  (Login philmarchese)

HyperScale Forums 75.75.163.60     

 

The role of the Commercial Mod centers, with the exception of United Air Lines, Wy Center have been largely ignored in nearly all AAF a/c development stories. This is true also of the AAF ASC Depots less OCAD. Missing from the production line to front line tales and fudged in most production accounts are the many interim changes most AAF warplanes underwent in the ongoing development phase while in mass production. The B-24D1, the later TB-40, the B-25D2, the later P-51C, the F-5F-LO, and the P-40E1 are some examples where the majority of the "facts" you've read aren't.

 

In addition to the widely known combat types, the sea-search attack; weather; photo; night fighter, ECM (Ferret) and search/rescue capability of the AAF largely depended upon the modification centers and the ASC depots. All those nifty fifties all weather interceptors and EB's would not have been as advanced if these omissions had actually occurred in the development of the AAF and its transition to the USAF.

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10 hours ago, Work In Progress said:

I have no basis for questioning the Superscale decal instructions: do you? 

Most certainly, the Superscale instructions are incorrect in at least two different areas.  For both aircraft it lists the camo scheme as being 34087 over 27670.  HORSE HOCKEY!!!!!!!  The FS paint standard colors did NOT exist in WW II.  Neutral Gray 43 was a much darker color than FS 36270 could ever hope to be.  Fading could make it lighter.  Even when freshly applied, OD could be in different shades at the same time on the same aircraft.  Fresh OD over a metal airframe is different than OD dope applied to  fabric covered control surfaces.  Also the instructions do not show to paint over the lower front windows of the bombadier's station while the photograph does.  Superscale, despite claiming to be super accurate, are not always accurate.  Check photos of the aircraft you are building if at all possible.

Later,

Dave

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The RAAF and Dutch operated more than a dozen B-25D-25's between serial number 42-87254 and 87412 all had factory fit waist gun positions and single .50 tail installations (Total 12  x .50's fitted) given the serial of this aircraft and the deliveries to US/Dutch and RAAF forces in the Pacific of B-25D's in 1943 I would say there is every chance this aircraft also has the full gun fit with waist positions. Most B-25 kits and decals incorrectly have late production B-25D's (-25 onward) without the waist and tail gun positions.  

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9 hours ago, e8n2 said:

Most certainly, the Superscale instructions are incorrect in at least two different areas.  For both aircraft it lists the camo scheme as being 34087 over 27670.  HORSE HOCKEY!!!!!!!  The FS paint standard colors did NOT exist in WW II.  Neutral Gray 43 was a much darker color than FS 36270 could ever hope to be.  Fading could make it lighter.  Even when freshly applied, OD could be in different shades at the same time on the same aircraft.  Fresh OD over a metal airframe is different than OD dope applied to  fabric covered control surfaces.  Also the instructions do not show to paint over the lower front windows of the bombadier's station while the photograph does.  Superscale, despite claiming to be super accurate, are not always accurate.  Check photos of the aircraft you are building if at all possible.

Later,

Dave

 

According to overpainted lower front windows - it seems like they are in deep shadow but kept clear. Other photos of Mitch the Witch confirm this.

Interesting that Mitch the Witch had white or OD cowling forward part during different time periods.

50718984108_f2d1162a27_o.jpg

 

50718984068_93d2614728_b.jpg

 

 

 

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I have not seen an image of the right side of the aircraft.  Hopefully someone will post an image of the right side forward fuselage.  Identification and squadron markings often changed over time.

 

This is page 91 of Scutt's B-25 Mitchell at War. Mitch in flight.

 

B-25-D2-Mitch-the-Witch-in-flight.jpg

 

The waist gun installation does not appear to be the HAD modification with the wind deflector and open window. The tail gun appears to be in the lower position, not the HAD modification. Below is an image that shows the shape of the fairing for the tail gun on D2 aircraft. This fairing is very different from that found on the B-25H/J.

 

PBJ-1-D-on-deck.jpg

 

I recall that one of the 1/72 B-25J kits has the waist gun blisters molded with symmetrical fairings top and bottom. If so, then you should be able to use them for your model, unless you're making your parts.  The tail gun position will require some to work to get right.

 

Don

 

 

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4 hours ago, don f said:

I have not seen an image of the right side of the aircraft.  Hopefully someone will post an image of the right side forward fuselage.  Identification and squadron markings often changed over time.

 

This is page 91 of Scutt's B-25 Mitchell at War. Mitch in flight.

 

B-25-D2-Mitch-the-Witch-in-flight.jpg

 

The waist gun installation does not appear to be the HAD modification with the wind deflector and open window. The tail gun appears to be in the lower position, not the HAD modification. Below is an image that shows the shape of the fairing for the tail gun on D2 aircraft. This fairing is very different from that found on the B-25H/J.

 

PBJ-1-D-on-deck.jpg

 

I recall that one of the 1/72 B-25J kits has the waist gun blisters molded with symmetrical fairings top and bottom. If so, then you should be able to use them for your model, unless you're making your parts.  The tail gun position will require some to work to get right.

 

Don

 

 

Thanks, great photo!

I will scratch build waist gun blisters for this kit. And i will make a copy of a tail gun position from Italeri PBJ-1D - it's correct for D2 Mitchells.

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