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  1. 1:48 B-25 C/B Mitchell “Pin-up Nose Art and Stencils Part 1 By Foxbot Decals (16,66£) Foxbot is a new name for me that I discovered a few month ago when I was looking for decals for the B-25. I had never seen and found any reviews regarding the quality of the decals, and their behavior. First of all, the decals comes in the usual plastic zip-log bag, with two decals sheets and color profiles and decal locations very clear and precise. My set came with the decals insignas, nose-art and stencils. Analyzing the decal sheets, the color registration is great and the definition of the details is very very good. The decals have a thin film, in fact looking very thin and delicate. As you can see, the nose arts are very well defined and will undoubtedly give a more colorful look to your B-25. There´s a lot of sexy nose art within this decals sheet. The options are: 1 – “Peg o My Heart” – B-25 C-15 of 445 BS, 321 BG , Italy, 1944 2 – “Incendiary Blonde” – B-25D-30 of 447 BS, 321, BG , Italy 1944 3 – “Pannel Job” – B-25D-5 of 500BS, 345 BG, Nadzab, Papua New Guinea, 1944 4 – “Impatience Virgin” – B-25D-1 of 498 BS, 345 BG, Townsville, Australia 1943 5 – “Caper`s Flash” – B-25 C of an unknown unit in the Pacific Area. 6 – “Little Chief Cockeye” - B-25D of 360 SG, Papua New Guinea, 1944 7 – “Sad Sack” – B-25C of an unknown unit. In the stencil sheets gives a full set for one more with very good letter definition. Even 1:48 you can read the letters. Also give numbers from 0 to 9 so you can make any B-25 registral numbers. Comparing with the decals of the "new" Revell 1:48 B-25D: Conclusion: Well, Foxbot decals is a very good surprise for me with several very colorful and sexy nose art options. The colors and the fineness of the decals are noteworthy for their quality and they settle very well with Micro Set and Micro Sol, as I`m try them as I`m doing a B-25. My thanks to FOXBOT for producing these fantastic decals and for the review sample. You can get FoxBot decals at Hannants.co.uk. Francisco Guedes
  2. So here's my starting point... yes, I *just* opened the box... I'm still thinking about which ship to build - lots of options, with some interesting stories to tell. Before I start, though, I have to clear *this* from the bench... I should have this out of the way by the end of March - famous last words! This will be fun
  3. Here is my HK Models B-25 that appeared in November 2012 issue of Military Illustrated Modeller magazine... Hope you like! Period photo that I worked off -
  4. 1:32 B-25H 'Gun Ship' HK Models Catalogue # 01E03 Available from Hannants. Price TBA. This release is the third and final (that I know of) incarnation of HK Models existing B-25 range of kits, with the B-25J 'Glass Nose' and B-25J 'Strafer' being the previous releases from this stable. Our 'Strafer' review can be found here. This kit is essentially a revision of the earlier kit, with an entirely new nose and a few other subtle changes. In comparison with the glass nose B-25J, there is a single NEW tree of parts, SPRUE V, which contains the new Gun Ship nose parts, and replaces the previous nose sprue H of the earlier release. There are also a number of clear parts not present on the B-25H sprue G, which again were for the glass nose kit. Time to delve into this kit and see what's on offer. I am eternally grateful to Neil Yan of HK Models for getting this kit out to us so quickly. Whilst not yet released, the B-25H specific Sprue V does indeed look like final production standard, despite it not being cellophane wrapped as per the remainder of the kit parts, and having a small number of small flecks which don't change the overall quality of things. This is the only unwrapped sprue which was supplied in this box. The kit itself is essentially complete, with the exception of the photo etch fret. This kit was supplied within its protective, compartmented inner box, but minus the actual sleeve, as this hasn't yet gone to print at time of writing this article. Even though I'm pretty sure the new sprue is production standard, we'll treat it as a pre-production sample here. Of course, all other parts are tries and tested sprues from the B-25 kit family. HK's approach to assembling these large birds is a modular one. The instructions start with assembly of these various internal areas, namely upper gun turret, tail gun, cockpit, bomb bay etc, and with the addition of a good smattering of detail which is secured to the internal walls, these modules are then installed into clearly defined areas within the cavernous fuselage halves. Before looking at the kit sprues, here are the specifications for this particular, slightly shorter nose version of this bruiser of an airplane. Wingspan: 643mm Length: 498mm Sprues: 26 light grey sprues and 2 clear sprues Total plastic parts: 563 Photo Etch: 1 single fret, not included in this sample Single decal sheet, providing ONE scheme. Deluxe version of this kit will provide metal landing gear and nose weight. Not included in this sample. For your other kit statistics, HK's box art, which does look pretty awesome, indicates over 500,000 rivets are employed on the surface of this kit. I'm not going to count them, or measure the pitch of them, so don't even ask! Inside the box, sprues are mostly individually wrapped in quite a stiff, clear cellophane sleeve which has an adhesive, re-sealable strip. Where sprues aren't individually packaged, it is because they are the smaller sprues of which there are multiples, such as the wheels and cowl flaps sprues. As an extra protective measure, the tops of the upper turret and rear turret clear parts, have an easy-peel adhesive strip applied to them before they are packed into their sleeve. This should absolutely protect these delicate surfaces from any attrition within the box during transit. It certainly survived Hong Kong Post and our not-so-wonderful ParcelFarce delivery 'service' here in the UK. SPRUE A This was the first sprue which really grabbed my attention when I opened that huge box! Only two parts are moulded here, but in fairness, they are the mammoth fuselage halves. You get a true sense of the size of this model kit at this exact juncture in sprue fondling. In fact, you still need to add a little to the length of the model due to the entire nose section, forward of the cockpit, being a separate module, due to the nature of using common main fuselage parts for all these B-25 kits. The fuselage is a seriously impressive piece of design and moulding, employing slide moulding for the recessed lip around the section where the tail gun fabric gaiter fits. Over the entire fuselage, the most refined of riveting is used, along with superbly sharp and fine panel lines and access ports. Internally, a very good attempt has been made to reproduce the main structural elements throughout the fuselage. This will look superb if you wish to add a little extra detail, as this modeller has done on Large Scale Modeller forums. All module locations are positive, with the bomb bay area having a thinner wall so the module, complete with its own walls, can neatly sit into it. A kit of this size isn't going to escape ejector pin marks. There is a lot of plastic here which needs to be pushed clear of that tooling! Thankfully, a good number of pin marks are hidden behind various other installations and other detail parts. Not all are though, and a few will need either filling, scraping or sanding to eliminate them. Bearing in mind the size of this kit, we really do get off very lightly in this department. An open area exists at the upper tail area where a full span single upper tail plane sits across instead of separate port and starboard components. The wing roots also have an unusual protruding structure onto which the completed wings can be plugged and unplugged, making storage and transport of your finished model a lot easier. That's some seriously cool design work that I wish I'd see more of in general. SPRUES B & C These are wing sprues which are identical, save for one being for port, and the other, starboard. HK's excellent attention to detail with fine riveting and panel lines carries over onto these single part upper and lower panels. There is a stiffening plate on both upper and lower surfaces of the wing, where the outboard panel and its resultant gull wing 'kink' exist. This is beautifully reproduced. The gull wing format of the B-25 is clearly seen here, and as you would expect from a super model this size, landing flaps and ailerons are moulded separately. There are a number of plastic horns/hinges upon which the control surfaces will sit, but apart from the inboard landing flap which looks as though it pivots in between the sandwiched wing to fuselage joint, no other control surfaces are designed to move, thankfully. The roof of the main wheel bay is incorporated into the lower wing surface, but there isn't too much in the way of detail here due to the B-25's gear doors mostly being closed when the aircraft was on the ground. I mentioned earlier that the wings are designed to plug onto the fuselage, and you can see the substantial moulded ribbing and associated structures which allow this feature to work. Despite all of the internal ribbing, both on the wings and the large fuselage parts, no external sinking can be seen anywhere, which can be a trait of such internal features. Moulding is exemplary. SPRUE D \ Both engine nacelles are presented here as halves, along with in the inner landing flaps, rear engine mounting rings, control surface horns/hinges, main undercarriage doors, wing leading edge air intake and other parts associated with the inboard landing flaps. Again, all moulding is perfectly clean, exhibiting no defects, but plenty of fine surface detail which should really pop under a coat of paint. Slide moulding has again been used for several aspects of this sprue such as the engine mounting plates and undercarriage doors. Due to the aforementioned nacelles having all gear bay doors closed, except for the obvious one, whilst on the ground, the nacelle halves have been moulded with all of these doors integrally in a closed position. SPRUE E This sprue is entirely dedicated to the rather large tail section which its twin vertical fins. A single span piece, incorporating the upper fuselage and tail gunner bulge is the largest part here, with single piece port and starboard undersides. Elevators are separately moulded and are designed not to be glued into place, so you can pose these however you wish. Two part fins and rudders are included. All tail structure parts have internal stiffening moulded within them, and again, this hasn't caused any issue with these being visible from the outside by the way of any sinking. My only gripe with the tail surfaces is the rather heavy representation of the fabric which seems to have sunk down quite a way between the ribs, making it look exaggerated. This is a fairly easy fix though if you reduce the ribs down a little with a sanding stick, and finish off with a sponge/micromesh. SPRUE F We now have the first of our clear sprues, containing upper turret, tail gunner and waist gunned glazing, and also wing tip lights, leading edge lights and leading edge light covers. The clarity of these parts is amongst the best I've seen on any injection kit, including the likes of big boys like Tamiya, and those crystal clear parts you see in Great Wall Hobby kits. The actual feel of the whole kit has an air of the standard that GWH have recently shown us, and that is no bad thing. Of course, no flaws to be seen anywhere, and frame representation is excellent, and should be a breeze to mask up. The upper turret and tail gunner glass has that extra protective low tack film applied to the upper surfaces to protect them further. SPRUE G Another clear sprue, and the last one in this particular release. This carries only a single part, which is the main cockpit canopy with superb frame definition. Clarity is again first class. There are two empty spaces where the glass nose variant had its parts moulded. SPRUE I There are a number of smaller sprues in this kit, of which this is one. If you could remove the tail surface to expose the tail gunner position, you'd find that there are two full length ammunition feeds which do indeed run back to their storage box. Those belt feeds are supplied on this sprue, as are fabric MG gaiter for the tail gun position, a full suite of MGs, moulded without their barrels (more on this soon), cockpit main flight console, and parts associated with the upper turret assembly. The belts themselves look superb, and will look effective under a subtle wash so that the individual shells are highlighted. I have heard from a couple of sources that the tail itself is removable. If this is the case, at least you'll be able to show off this work, otherwise, it mostly won't be seen. SPRUE J This is the undercarriage sprue. Here you'll find the rather sturdy looking main gear struts with the oleo scissors semi-moulded in situ. This quite unusual format means that you only have to assemble one part of the scissor, top and bottom, from opposing sides, but does mean that you really can't get this part wrong. You can indeed buy metal undercarriage for this kit, and it might yet be worthwhile, as long as they're not white metal. These parts do look quite rigid, but I would have to see how they fair under test load of a partially assembled model. All wheels on this kit are supplied as traditional half pieces, which does cause a few irritations when it comes to getting rid of seams, especially with the tread on these. I would perhaps advise some Brassin alternatives from Eduard. However, all tyres are supplied 'weighted'. On this sprue, the nose wheel and hub is supplied, as well as various hydraulic lines etc. SPRUE K Another small sprue, but this time you'll find the rear fuselage tail bumper, cheek blister guns with integral feed chute etc. SPRUE L A very tiny sprue which holds the armour plate for the fuselage, just forward of the blister guns. Check your reference to ensure that these were fitted to the machine you wish to model, in case you decide your own scheme. SPRUE M This major sprue holds of the majority of the internal details, by way of a key number of large parts which form the cockpit interior, such as floor, bulkheads, ammunition boxes etc. You will also find the modular bomb bay here, complete with some superb plumbing detail. I've seen this made up in builds of the B-25J and it looks seriously impressive. This can pretty much be built out of box and look quite spectacular, but should you want to detail further, then Eduard do produce a set which will really make this area sing. Other parts here include those for the upper turret and tail gunner positions, such as the armour plating which protects the rear gunner, and the platform onto which the upper turret assemblies are mounted. An instrument panel is to be found on this sprue, but this is for the B-25J, and should NOT be used on this release. There are fundamental changes in the panel layout, with sections of instruments being blanked out on the IP provided on the new sprue, plus as this H variant only has one pilot seat, and no co-pilot, the panel you need to use is fitted out with only one set of pedals suspended into the foot well. One pilot position means that only one control column will be used, unlike the two that would have been fitted to the previous B-25J releases. HK Models have designed the bomb bay doors so that you have an outer skin, and an inner skin which is perforated, as per the real machine. This is a great touch which I do know adds a lot to the finished appearance of this model. SPRUE N (x2) Here you will find the weighted main gear tyres with integral outer hubs and separate inner hubs. You will also a number of cockpit parts including the seat floor mount , control column and separate yoke, and the many levers for the control consoles, all impeccably moulded as separate parts. Take your time and try not to lose any to the carpet monster. Other parts include ammunition boxes, waist gun mounting brackets and internal bomb racks. SPRUE O (x4), Q (x2), R (x2) and S (x2) I have decided to group these sprues together (10 in total) as they all concern the production of those two powerful Wright R-2600 radial engines. The main bones of the engines are provided on the two 'R' sprues, with the double cylinder banks being moulded as single pieces each. This means.....no pesky seams lines to remove amongst those super sharp cooling fins! WHY can't other companies take that approach instead of splitting them into halves? Sprue R also contains the crank case hub and magneto, prop hub, prop blades, forward cowl ring, as well as individual exhaust parts which look quite daunting in their various shapes. These are hollowed out at each end too. Sprue O holds the various pushrod assemblies and ignition wires, again, with a number of different shapes. You need to be observant when it comes to following the instructions here. Internal exhaust plumbing is provided here, as are the numerous pushrod covers. Sprues Q hold the engine nacelle covers, with each engine taking seven parts. These are slide-moulded so as to allow the vents to be produced 'open'. Sprues S are the engine cowl frameworks, complete with the radiator gills moulded in an open position. There is no way to model these closed, unless you undertake some surgery. SPRUE P (x3) Every bomb bay needs a few bombs, and here we have 3 small sprues which will be enough to build a total of SIX bombs which will all neatly install within the detailed bay. These are moulded as halves, with separate stabilizing fins and arming impellors which are both fine and sharp in detail. The only other parts on this sprue are the barrels for the gun blisters. SPRUE V This is the star of the show, with regards to this specific release, and contains the new tooling for that stubby, but heavily armed nose. Whilst the nose looks quite blunt from the side, the real test in how accurate HK have produced this is in looking from above or below. From those angles, the nose should have a more pointed, blunt profile. I'm pleased to report that these does appear to capture that beautifully in reference to my Squadron Walkaround book. The lower half of the nose, complete with that deep and menacing-looking recess for the M4 cannon, is beautifully moulded, with excellent exterior rivet detail. Into the rear of the recess is installed the large cannon barrel. A gun platform is then installed above this onto which the FOUR .50 cal Browning MG's and their ammunition boxes/feeds are installed. Of course, the upper section of the nose can be positioned either in an open of closed position. This section is built up from the outer nose skin, and an insert which locates within which contains all the structural elements. I do have a small gripe with regard to the cannon, and that is because there's no breech to it. The rear of the barrel protrudes into the hollow below the cockpit floor space, which extends through to the rear of the cockpit. If you're a stickler for detail, it would have been nice to have seen this included, as well as the ammunition feeds. I'd sure an aftermarket company will fix that little anomaly soon after release. As I have previously stated, this sprue contains an entirely new instrument panel for this version, as some instruments were deleted from the J variant, and only one set of pedals is installed. That must've made low-level ground attack runs fun! A few other parts exist here for external detail, and a gun sight which sits in front of the pilot. Plastic summary There's nothing to fault here. Virtually zero-flash, no sink marks, minimal issues with ejector pin marks, and all transparencies are flawless. Surface detail is first class, and the model drips in detail within...well, mostly. There are a few areas which could do with some extra work if you like to make things very detailed. This build on Large Scale Modeller will show you those areas I mean. Of course, most of this will be closed up, but this Ave Maria build is a great example of what can be achieved with a great starting kit. The kit .50 cal barrels are pretty run of the mill, missing open barrel ends. I would look to change them for MASTER barrels instead. PHOTO ETCH As stated, my set is missing this, but I can tell you what's on offer. There is some sort of ledge which installs within the bomb bay, plus a set of seatbelts. Looking at these though, I would be tempted to go with an HGW or Eduard set and ditch the kit parts. There are two other curved pieces of PE which I have so far failed to identify. They look like leasing edge wing gates. INSTRUCTIONS This is a sixteen page A4 manual, with construction broken down into 37 assembly sequences. Some of these have sub-sequences, and all black/white line drawings are easy to follow and clearly annotated. In my prototype manual, there were a few basic errors which I have reported back to HK Models for changing. In all, a relatively easy model to build. Colour call-outs are given thoughout assembly with paint reference codes supplied for Tamiya and GSI Creos (Mr Hobby) paints. FS standard codes are also supplied. My copy was supplied as JPG files and what you see are print-outs I used to help with the review. DECALS A small, single sheet is supplied for the single scheme available. These are superbly printed and look fine in all other ways except for them being perhaps a little thick. I don't know how well these respond to setting solutions either. No stencils are given either, which is a little sad for such an expansive airframe. An instrument decal is supplied for the main IP. You can either elect to simply cut this out and tack it into place in the recess in the rear of the instrument panel, or apply it to a piece of suitably shaped plasticard. This aspect of the kit is more than passable. Despite the IP, there are still no cockpit stencils and placards. Consider the Airscale range of decals to satisfy this shortage. The single scheme available is: B-25H, Vikin's Vicious Virgin, 82BS/12BG 43-4208 Conclusion This is the first time I've ever cast my eyes over an HK Models B-25 kit, so it's all been virgin territory for me. I have to say that I am massively impressed by what Neil Yan and his team have achieved with this kit in regards to both design and its relative affordability. This is a large kit, make no mistake, and you'll need to carefully plan where you'll put it as much as you'll need to set aside ready cash. Those factors aside, this has to be one of the very best large scale models I've ever been fortunate to see, let alone have the pleasure of reviewing. Out of box, this will be a show stopper. Add AM to it, and it'll be a killer. I've promised to set aside time this year to build this one and when I do, I'll showcase it on the Large Scale Modeller forums. Very highly recommended James H My sincere thanks to Neil Yan at HK Models for the review sample seen here. Check your countries local distributors to grab one of these beauties.
  5. 1:32 B-25J Mitchell No. 16 and 18 NEI Bomber Squadron ML-KNIL/RNEIAAF Limited Run Manufacturer: Dutch Decal Catalogue # 32012 Available from Dutch Decal: www.dutchdecal.nl Celebrating their 25th birthday, Dutch Decal has been around since 1986. It is run by the Dutch graphic designer Luuk Boerman and has been producing decal sheets of aircraft from all Dutch armed forces. Every now and then a foreign nationality slips through. More than 100 sheets have been released to date. Most of them are sold out now but a few much requested sheets will be reprinted in the near future depending on demand. The decal sheets are silkscreen printed and accompanied by English instructions. Dutch Decal sheets come in all scales: 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32. The 1:32 sheets can be identified by the broad black band at the bottom of the packaging. Let´s have a look what we get: In a well packed zipped plastic bag you will find one sheet of decals protected by a folded colourful sheet of paper. On here you will find the various schemes for Dutch B-25J Mitchells. All of these subjects operated in the former Dutch East Indies by the ML KNIL (Militaire Luchtvaart/ Koninklijk Nederlands Indisch Leger) or RNEIAAF (Royal Netherlands East Indies Army Air Force). As you may have guessed this sheet is to be used with the HK Models B-25J model kit. At the time of conception of this sheet it was planned to be used with the Wingscale B-25J kit. Luuk Boerman was co-operating with Wingscale at the time. The Wingscale logo on the booklet proves this. The decals are well printed and register is perfect on our sample, there is no mismatch. The finish is gloss. Covered liveries: The various scheme options are olive drab with grey undersides, The sheet give the Federal Standard numbers as FS34088 for Olive drab and FS36173 for Neutral Grey. Other aircraft have partly removed paint exposing the natural metal finish. And some aircraft in natural metal finish overall. Very dark blue paint: What struck us was the dark tone of blue used in the Dutch nationality roundel. This is very dark, at first we thought this was a misprint. After pointing this out to Dutch Decal, Luuk informed us that this actually is correct. The Dutch roundels were applied at the North American factory where they simply used the same blue paint to apply the American star and bar. Dutch nationality markings: In the colour artwork it can clearly be seen that the former American star and bars have been painted out with a darker colour of green. Over this the Dutch flags were applied. Some had these flags bordered in white to make them better stand out to the population below. The wartime Dutch nationality marking is the black bordered orange triangle. These were removed for service in the Pacific Theatre of Operations because it was felt they resembled the Japanese “meatball” too much. To avoid confusion the Dutch flag was used. After 1947 the flags were replaced by the current tricoloured roundel with the orange dot. Dorsal turret deleted: Also note that only N5 245 carries the dorsal turret just after the cockpit, the others have the turret removed and the hole faired over. This was because after the cease of hostilities there was no Japanese threat and these were deleted. Only N5 245 on this sheet was used during the war, the others post war. Weathered camouflage: It is obvious that these aircraft were worked hard and the paintwork suffered heavily in the hot humid climate. If you like exotic subjects and go to town on heavily weathered liveries then this sheet is right up your alley. The sheet covers 7 individual aircraft: • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-245 “Lienke” No. 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Batchelor AB Australia 1945 • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-246 No. 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Tjililitan 1st AB Batavia Java Dutch East Indies 1947 (See photo below. Source: See reference) • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-257 No. 16 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Talang Betoetoe 12th AB Palembang Sumatra Dutch East Indies 1947 (See photo below. Source: See reference) • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-264 No. 16 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Talang Betoetoe 12th AB Palembang Sumatra Dutch East Indies 1946-1948. This machine was returned to the Netherlands during 1971 after an official request by HRH Prince Bernhard and is on display at the Military Aviation Museum, Soesterberg. • NA B-25J Mitchell N5-258 No. 16 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Talang Betoetoe 12th AB Palembang Sumatra Dutch East Indies 1946-1948 • NA B-25J Mitchell M4 34. No. 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Tjililitan 1st AB Batavia Java Dutch East Indies 1947-1948 • NA B-25J Mitchell M4 51 No. 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Tjililitan 1st AB Batavia Java Dutch East Indies 1947-1948 (See photo below. Source: See reference) • NA B-25J Mitchell M-434. No. 16 or 18 NEI Bomber Squadron, Royal Neth. East Indies Army AF. Dutch East Indies 1948 Conclusion: The overall quality and accurancy is spot on. Using our reference we could not find any faults. We tried, honestly. This sheet is available directly from Dutch Decal or the Aviation Mega Store. It's a limited run edition, so If you want it get it while you can. Highly recommended Cees Broere and Jeroen Peters Our sincere thanks to Dutch Decals´Luuk Boerman for providing the review sample used here. Reference used: De nederlandse Mitchells by Gerben J. Tornij ISBN nr 90-9013058-6 This book covers the operational service of the Mitchell in the Dutch airforce
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