Academy 1/48 B-25G Mitchell Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2014||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Kit Number||12290||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Easy build, nice details||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$74.00|
With the operational successes of the Air Apaches in the South Pacific, the B-25 was gaining momentum on the production lines. What started as "what-if" field modifications to see how many machine guns could be pointed out of the front of the aircraft, these Pacific Strafers were playing havoc with the Japanese.
North American began producing conversion kits to turn more 'stock' Mitchells into strafers, replacing the glass nose with gun mounts. Even so, North American engineers were still trying to keep up with the innovations from the field. Finally, a requirement came in that couldn't be done by the crews in the Pacific. Create a straffer with some high-powered punch that would be more effective against shipping.
The engineers were given a 75mm canon that would be installed in what used to be the access crawlway into the glass nose. The extra weight of the gun was compensated with a shorter nose to maintain weight and balance. In addition to the cannon, the resulting B-25G was also armed with a pair of 50 caliber machine guns in the nose.
In operations, the 75mm gun had mixed results other than consistently bleeding off airspeed from the recoil. Nevertheless, the B-25G saw lots of action in the South Pacific. 400 of these aircraft were produced, and these could strafe, gun and bomb its targets with devastating results. Even with the new nose, the aircraft could still drop 3,000 pounds of bombs on target.
Academy has released the B-25G Mitchell in 1/48 scale and yes, this is the Accurate Miniatures tooling. These B-25s from Accurate Miniatures remain the best B-25 kits in 1/48 scale. When the B-25G tooling was first developed, it was not released as a full kit, rather it was sold as a conversion to the B-25C/D kit already on the market. Due to popular demand, the B-25G was released as a full kit in early 2005 and remained more-or-less available until the company ceased operations.
To put this kit in perspective, this kit is one of the more detailed models straight out of the box with interior detailing that you'll never see after assembly. What was nice about these kits is that even with all of that detailing, they were very straightforward builds. When these B-25 kits were first released, they included ballast that slipped into the nose perfectly to keep the aircraft from being a tail-sitter. This feature was deleted when the 'new' Accurate Miniatures reissued the B-25s, so the modeler was left to engineer their own ballast solution. The ballast did not return with this release, but there are ballast options on the market now.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Detailed nose gun bay with positionable access cover
- Detailed crew positions throughout fuselage though most won't be seen after assembly
- Posable dorsal turret
- Choice of tail transparency or tail gun position
- Detailed engines
- Positionable landing gear
- Positionable forward and rear crew entry doors
- Detailed bomb bay
- Positionable bomb bay doors
- Laminate armor on nose
- Optional underwing pylons
- 2 x 1000 pound bombs
- 8 x 100 pound bombs
- 4 x Depth Charges
This release has markings for two examples which are identical to the original 2005 Accurate Miniatures release:
- B-25G, 42-64896, 820 BS/45 BG, Marshall Islands, 1944, 'Little Joe'
- B-25G, 42-64758, 9 BG, AAF Tactical Center, Orlando, FL, 1943, Sharkmouth
As you can see in the images, these Cartograf decals are nicely printed and in perfect register. They actually look better than the original sheet.
One other observation - Academy has updated the instructions and added some additional information to make this kit even easier to build including a new sheet that identifies each parts tree so you'll now know where to look for given parts. The painting instructions are also improved as are the decal layouts. Thank you Academy!
As I said above, it is good to see this kit back on the market. I really wish Accurate Miniatures had stepped up their game and tackled the B-25H and B-25J with the same level of detail as their B-25B, B-25C, B-25D, and B-25G releases. If you're wanting an aircraft in blue, it wouldn't be hard to scratchbuild a few missing details to render the PBJ-1G in USN/USMC service.
This kit is definitely recommended!
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!