Jump to content

B-25H Mitchell 'Gun Ship'


Recommended Posts

  • Administrators

1:32 B-25H 'Gun Ship'
HK Models
Catalogue # 01E03
Available from Hannants. Price TBA.

 

Screen-Shot-2014-02-02-at-21.22.jpg

 

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

DSC01054.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01055.JPG

 

DSC01056.JPG

 

DSC01058.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01059.JPG

 

DSC01060.JPG

 

DSC01061.JPG

 

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

DSC01062.JPG

 

DSC01067.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01063.JPG

 

DSC01064.JPG

 

DSC01065.JPG

 

DSC01066.JPG

 

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

DSC01068.JPG\

 

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.

 

DSC01069.JPG

 

DSC01071.JPG

 

DSC01072.JPG

 

DSC01073.JPG

 

SPRUE E

DSC01075.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01076.JPG

 

DSC01077.JPG

 

DSC01078.JPG

 

DSC01079.JPG

 

SPRUE F

DSC01080.JPG

 

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

DSC01081.JPG

 

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

DSC01083.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01084.JPG

 

DSC01085.JPG

 

SPRUE J

DSC01086.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01087.JPG

 

DSC01088.JPG

 

DSC01089.JPG

 

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

DSC01090.JPG

 

Another small sprue, but this time you'll find the rear fuselage tail bumper, cheek blister guns with integral feed chute etc.

 

DSC01091.JPG

 

SPRUE L

DSC01108.JPG

 

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

DSC01109.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01110.JPG

 

DSC01111.JPG

 

DSC01112.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01113.JPG

 

DSC01114.JPG

 

DSC01115.JPG

 

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)

DSC01094.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01095.JPG

 

DSC01096.JPG

 

DSC01097.JPG

 

 

SPRUE O (x4), Q (x2), R (x2) and S (x2)

DSC01092.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01093.JPG

 

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'.

 

DSC01098.JPG

 

DSC01099.JPG

 

DSC01103.JPG

 

DSC01104.JPG

 

DSC01105.JPG

 

DSC01106.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01107.JPG

 

SPRUE P (x3)

DSC01100.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01101.JPG

 

DSC01102.JPG

 

 

SPRUE V

DSC01116.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01117.JPG

 

DSC01118.JPG

 

DSC01119.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01120.JPG

 

DSC01121.JPG

 

DSC01122.JPG

 

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

DSC01124.JPG

 

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.

 

DSC01125.JPG

 

DSC01126.JPG

 

DSC01127.JPG

 

DECALS

DSC01123.JPG

 

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

Screen-Shot-2014-02-02-at-21.46.jpg

Screen-Shot-2014-02-02-at-21.35.jpg

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.

 

hklogo.jpg

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Jim - your reviews seem to be going from strength to strength! Nicely in depth showing any potential investor exactly what they'd get for their hard earned pension pittance - I really look forward to your build of one of my favourite twin engine aircraft.

Best regards,

 

Steve S.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No love for the original B-25 "Glass Nose" review?

 

Speaking from experience, HK's B-25 is an absolutely phenomenal kit, regardless of the version you opt for. Detail is great and the fit is the best I've experienced in a kit not made by Tamiya or Wingnut Wings. I'd say the Strafer and Gunship variants probably have a slight edge, only because the forward detail in the Glass Nose could have been a bit more, um, detailed. Aside from that the three seem to share the same many strengths and few weak points. I'd replace the main wheels and gun barrels across the board, definitely consider G-Factor's gear struts and Relish Models' props, and continue to rage at the lack of a comprehensive stencil sheet.

 

Oh, yes! I checked out your review on SP&R before committing to buy it!

 

I would do the Glass Nose for a review build-off in Dutch 18 Sqn colours. Who would want to join in too? But I have to finish some other projects first, so can't start for a couple of months.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review! This is the kit I've been drooling over since it was first announced! Can't wait to get my hands on one. If Eduard, et al., do as usual, we should start seeing some AM for the cannon and cockpit soon. Especially the IP.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...