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Hong Kong Models 1:48 B-25 J "Glazed Nose" - in-box review


Fran

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B-25 J Mitchell

“Glazed Nose”

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Catalogue Number AK35503

Price Tag: 99,99$

 

“In January 1931, Chief of Naval Operations William Pratt and Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur signed an agreement that gave the Army Air Corps the primary responsibility for operating land-based aircraft in defense of the United States and other overseas possessions, while the Navy focused on mobile operations with the fleet. As a result, during the 1930s the Army procured a number of bombers, among them the B-25 Mitchell.

Design work on the medium bomber, which in final form was named for air power advocate Major General William “Billy” Mitchell, began in 1938, with the first production order for 184 airplanes placed in September 1939, the same month that German forces invaded Poland, beginning World War II. The Mitchell served as the forefront of many campaigns in the wide-ranging global conflict, but its greatest fame came in a unique operation its designers certainly never envisioned.

Following the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese military conquered wide swaths of the Pacific region. America sought a way to strike back at Japan, but it was out of range of land-based aircraft. A carrier strike was thought too risky—the short range of single-engine Navy aircraft would require a ship to approach close to shore. Navy Captain Francis S. Low proposed the use of Army Air Forces bombers. Captain Donald Duncan and Army Air Forces Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, who was chosen to lead the mission, figured out how to make it work.

The B-25B Mitchell medium-bomber fit the requirements with its range, bomb load and, most importantly, ability to take off in a relatively short distance. It would require the entire latter attribute to launch from the deck of the aircraft carrier Hornet (CV 8), which was the unorthodox launch platform chosen. Doolittle assembled his aircraft and crews at Eglin Field, Florida, in February 1942, with the Navy dispatching Lieutenant Henry Miller, a flight instructor from Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, to train the Army Air Forces in carrier take-off. By April, the airmen who would forever be known as the Doolittle Raiders were at sea on board Hornet steaming towards Japan

On April 18, 1942, with Hornet having been observed by a Japanese vessel short of the intended launch point, Doolittle led his sixteen B-25Bs aloft 650 miles from Japan. The crews bombed industrial targets before setting course for China, with most bailing out or crash landing. One crew landed in the Soviet Union. Of the eighty Doolittle Raiders, three were killed in action during the mission and seven were captured by the Japanese, four of whom died in captivity. The material damage inflicted was minor, but the psychological impact on the Japanese was great. As a direct result of the raid, Japan decided to go forward with an operation against Midway Atoll, the resulting naval battle in June 1942, helping turn the tide of the Pacific War for the Allies.

Just two months after the Doolittle Raid, the Navy contracted for a percentage of North American’s B-25 production, and in February 1943 began receiving the first of over 700 Mitchells produced for naval aviation. Designated PBJs, the aircraft became a mainstay in Marine Corps medium bombing squadrons, seven of which flew combat missions in the Pacific. Marine Bombing Squadron (VMB) 413 flew the aircraft’s first sorties in the Solomon Islands on March 14, 1944, and subsequent flights included daylight bombing over Rabaul, as well as night heckling missions. While most PBJ squadrons operated in the South Pacific, VMB-612 supported the drive across the Central Pacific. Specializing in low-altitude night attacks against enemy shipping, “Cram’s Rams” operated from airfields on Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa during 1944-1945. All told, twenty-six Mitchells fell to enemy fire. Navy use of the PBJ was mainly experimental in nature, including catapult and arresting gear trials aboard the carrier Shangri-La (CV 38) in November 1944. The last Mitchells were stricken in 1948.

The museum’s B-25J Mitchell flew in both the Army Air Forces and the civilian market. It is painted in the markings of the airplane flown by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle on the raid from the aircraft carrier Hornet.

Specifications

Manufacturer: North American Aviation, Inc.
Dimensions:

Length: 52 ft., 11 in.;

Height: 16 ft., 4 in.;

Wingspan: 67 ft., 7 in.

Weights:

Empty: 19,490 lb.;

Gross: 35,000 lb.

Power Plant: Two 1,700 horsepower Wright R-2600-92 engines


Performance: Maximum Speed: 272 M.P.H. at 13,000 ft.; Service Ceiling: 24,200ft.;

 Range: 1,350 miles

Armament: 20 forward-firing and flexible-mounted .50-in. guns, provisions for up to 3,000 lb., of ordnance”

 (history from National Naval Aviation Museum - https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/museums/nnam/explore/collections/aircraft/b/b-25j-mitchell.html)

 

A brand new 1:48 B-25J!!! We are in fact in the Gold history of modelling!!

The B-25 J was only represented in this scale by the ancient monogram model from 1981.

The other version B/C/D and G have the venerable Accurate Miniature to represent them in a very satisfactory way but those molds already have more than 20 years.

But the J version has in fact the most needed one in 1:48, for an actual new XXI century technology.

And here enters Hong Kong Models with their brand new B-27 J “glazed nose” (basically is the glass nose version) with a curious detail on the box: “The Mitchell series”. So, I bet that a H version and a J solid version will be next on the row.

 

 

Let´s see the model itself.

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The boxart is a very good and attractive one making what it mean for: convince modeler to buy it… and this boxart is a very good one.

 

Its has an extra inside.

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A full and color drawing poster of the boxart. It’s a very nice touch from Hong Kong Model.

Inside the box, all the sprues are packaged separately and the clear parts, as it should be, are also separately with a cardboard backing. Nice way to protect them.

 

As an extra, in protect bag with carboard backing there two small photo etch brass frets are included in the kit, containing seatbelts, the cockpit exterior armour plating and some interior detail.

 

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Honestly, I don´t like these seatbelts.

 

 

Honk Kong Model has included a pre-shaped metal nose weight. Don’t know if will be enough for avoid tail sitting but it will help to keep it on the right stand.

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Let´s check the plastic!

I start with the fuselage. These are already removed from the sprue but you still need to clear the sprue connections remains.

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The plastic texture and molding are the best I ever see in a Hong Kong Model.

The fuselage have all the negative rivets present with perfection and not overdone. I just love surface detail.

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The injection molding is very good and all the parts have sharp and well defined surface details. The wings and the fuselage have, in fact, top noch details.

Speaking of wings, a nice details is given to the modeler, straight from the box: separate elevators and wing flaps. So, the modeler can choose the position of theses.

 

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 Keeping in the wings the connection system to the fuselage is the same that I saw in the Grand Slam Lancaster, so the join will be perfect with no glue required with will be perfect to all of those that don’t have much display space or to transport the model to model show or convention.

 

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The high injection mold quality detail is present in all the model with rivet and panel lines very well defined.

 

The cowling flaps in the open position and are quite thin. Yes, for the rivet modeler, a PE or thin more the plastic will do the job and give it a realistic scale thickness.

 

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The engines, the Wright R-2600, fourteen cylinder, twin-row radial engine.

 

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These, despite not being very visible (only from the front), the detail is inferior to all the rest of the kit. They are engines with a basic detail that is not in the parameters of the remaining kit. It is the weakest point of the kit, however given its visibility, it does not compromise the final result of the kit.

 

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This is the engine fully build (the PE is not totally glue and is from Eduard old PE set fro B-25J)... Not at the standart of the rest of the model but its more than enough to most modellers. 

 

The Hamilton Standard three-bladed propeller however is, for me, perfect in shape and detail.

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The wheels have some quite good external detail but they are in two parts so sanding the seam on the tire you will lose the diamond tread. I really don’t like wheels in two halves. Here, once again, the AM guys will come to the rescue.

The armament are very well detail, directly from the box.

 

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Now the interior detail.

Hong Kong Models give interior detail in the cockpit, front nose, tail and bomb bay.

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The cockpit is quite well detailed. No perfect but a good one directly from the box. Two things I think that could be better: the seats and the seatbelts given in PE. .  So I think that AM companies have room here to give the modeler new seats and new seatbelts (I really dont like the seatbelts).

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The instrument panel is molded with recessed instrument faces and the decal sheet contains a single piece decal for the dial faces. The detail is very good.

 

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The bomb bay has a very good detail. I don’t particularly like bomb bay in general (I almost never leave it open) but this bomb bay was some crispy detail and a very busy look so I recommend to leave it open to show all that beautiful detail.

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Curious it`s that the bombay doors don’t have great detail inside with no double metal sheet recreation…. So here`s also a good point to improve with AM set.

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The tail gun has good and sufficient detail. The canvas boot that cover all the tail is very good detail, with some very nice texture simulating canvas! Nice one Hong Kong Models.

 

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The waist gun does have almost any interior detail expect the gun itself.

Moving to the clear parts. These are in perfect shape, with no damage or distortion being perfectly clear.

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The general surface detail in all parts is very good even in small detail like the gun barrels.

 

Sprue G contains all the parts, which are specific to the J model. So has we suspected and already said, new variants are coming in a near future for sure. So this sprue have the extra specific guns, ammo boxes, seat cushions needed to model the J variant.

 

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The instructions. It`s a booklet with 20 page on large format glossy paper with good and clear drawings being easy to follow all the indications.

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Colour are provided using AK, Tamiya and Gunze/Mr Hobby paints.

The decals have very good registration and color pigmentation as it will be expected from Cartograph.

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Hong Kong Models give us two markings

-          "Cactus Kitten", a B-25J-11-NC, s/n 43-36041 from 501th BS./ 345th BG.

 

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-          "She's Engaged", a B-25J-2, s/n 43-27559, flown by Lt. John W. Allen of he 380th BS, 310th BG and based at Ghisonaccia, Corsica.

 

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  Conclusion:

The B-25 is one of the most epic aircraft of WWII, at least for me.

And if we wereqite well served with the Accurate Miniature molds of the B.25 B/C and D version, the J version only had its best representation in 1:48  with the old Monogram one.

Now, Hong Kong Models came to the rescue and give us an state-of-art B-25 J in 1:48 (as its had given in 1:32) being the best one in this scale.

Its perfect? Well, no model is and this one is no exception but it’s a fantastic model kit that I already build it and all the build has being flawless and I will make almost OOB (also there`s no AM itens yet) and the details are more than enoguht to get a fantastic B:25 J replica in 1:48.

So do you self a favour, buy at least one!

            Very Highly Recommend.

 

Our thanks to Honk Kong Model for the review samples and all the support given.

To purchase this directly, click THIS link.

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