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B-25J Mitchell 'Shark Teeth'

Hasegawa 1/72 B-25J Mitchell 'Shark Teeth' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2016 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject B-25J Mitchell 'Shark Teeth' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 02187 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build, great details Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $49.99

First Look

B-25J Mitchell 'Shark Teeth'
B-25J Mitchell 'Shark Teeth'
B-25J Mitchell 'Shark Teeth'
B-25J Mitchell 'Shark Teeth'
B-25J Mitchell 'Shark Teeth'

The B-25J was the last production version of the Mitchell and was produced in the greatest numbers of all B-25 variants with over 4300 airframes delivered. The aircraft incorporated a number of engineering changes that were adopted in the cannon-nosed B-25H including a tail gunner's position and relocating the dorsal turret to just behind the cockpit (and manned by the flight engineer), while retaining the glass nose of the B-25C/D. At least that was the intent.

Many of the B-25s in the Pacific were getting some interesting field modifications. While the B-25 was great as a low-level raider, the crews wanted forward-firing guns to suppress the enemy while they delivered their bombs. Since these aircraft were being flown at very low altitudes, the need for the bombardier was eliminated and his nose compartment was used to mount varying numbers of 50 caliber machine guns and ammunition trays. As some designs turned out to be better suited, North American evaluated these modifications and introduced new gun noses that could be installed in the field as well as production aircraft with these gun noses installed. Even many of the glass-nosed aircraft were modified with gun packs that were strapped on the sides of the fuselage.

Hasegawa first released this kit well over a decade ago though this is the first chance we've had to take a look at this kit. This kit is just what you expect from Hasegawa: clean molds, simple design, nice details. On closer examination, I get the sense of 'deja vu all over again'. The layout of the major components is very similar to the 1/48 Monogram B-25J kit including the break ahead of the windscreen to fit alternative noses (B-25H or gun-nosed B-25J). Unlike the Monogram kit, this tooling features finely scribed surface details. The interior of the fuselage, however, is more like an Accurate Miniatures 1/48 B-25 where there are interior details provided where you'll never see them after assembly.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) plus one tree of clear parts. As you would expect, the molded-in detailing is sharp and exquisite with the scribed panel lines and no sign of excessive rivet details. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Nice flight deck w/instrument panel provided as decal
  • Nose compartment set up with .50 caliber guns but no ammo feeds
  • Bomb bay doors positionable
  • Detailed bomb bay with 2 x 1000lb bomb load
  • Port/starboard side ammo stowage in tail section where not visible
  • Provides open rear entry door plus step stool as prop to keep the model from tail-sitting

Markings are provided for two examples:

  • B-25J, 43-28090, 486 BS/340 BG, 6E, Italy, 1944
  • B-25J, unknown, 499 BS/345 BG, 147, Philippines, 1944, 'My Duchess'

The decals provide an example each out of the European and Pacific theaters. The decals also provide two approaches for replicating My Duchess - either a pre-colored bat face or the silhouette of the bat face leaving you the job of painting the background blue.

This is a nice kit of the B-25J and the best I've seen in this scale. The instructions do not mention how much ballast to use in the nose to keep the model from tail-sitting though they do provide an alternate method. It would be nice if Hasegawa would consider releasing this kit in 1/48 scale given that Accurate Miniatures never moved beyond the B-25G and the Monogram (Revell) tooling is showing its age.

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!

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