Accurate Miniatures 1/48 B-25D Mitchell 'Red Wrath' Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|April 2006 (Updated July 2011)
|B-25D Mitchell 'Red Wrath'
|Nice detail and lots of options
|Nose ballast not included in this release. Front cowl openings slightly too small
|Out of Production
The B-25 series started life as a drawing board concept at North American Aviation, designated NA-40. Developed as a light bomber for the 'peacetime' Army Air Corps, the NA-40 was a twin-engine, twin-tailed aircraft that was competing for limited funding. The NA-40 was adopted, with some changes, as the B-25. The B-25 and B-25A were both procured in small numbers and used for training, as these aircraft were not configured with self-sealing fuel tanks and other combat necessities. The B-25B would be the first version that was combat-ready, and the RAF dubbed the aircraft as Mitchell Mk.I.
It didn't take the Army long to learn from the early Mitchells' combat experience. An improved design was ordered to incorporate more powerful versions of the Wright R-2600 engine, longer range fuel tanks, enlarged bomb bays, provisions for carriage of external weapons, and replacement of the 30 caliber machine guns with 50 caliber weapons. The ventral turret was eliminated in early production, but restored later. These new capabilities were integrated into the B-25C/D Mitchell, the first version to go into mass production. The differentiation between with C and D models were little more than the location of production - the C model was built in Inglewood, CA, while the D was built in Kansas City, MO.
The B-25C/D would also be the first version to be modified in the field for straffing duties. The nose was modified in some rather creative ways to house numerous .50 caliber machine guns inside the 'greenhouse', and additional gun packs installed on the outsides of the nose. These guns were fixed along the aircraft boresight and operated by the pilot. These straffers would play havoc with Japanese shipping and would inspire even more impressive gunships to be produced later by North American.
This release represents a special edition that they've limited to 2,500 kits containing the markings from their earlier 'Dirty Dora' release as well as the new markings for 'Red Wrath'. Before we get into what's different about this release, let's look at the overall kit first:
As with the previous B-25 releases, this kit is molded in light gray injection molded plastic, and sports finely engraved panel lines and details throughout. The parts are all flash-free and there are no injector pin marks in any visible locations. In fact, all of the B-25B/C/D parts are still in the kit.
The kit features a completely detailed interior, and while I thoroughly enjoyed detailing the inside of the kit during my build of the B-25B, I was equally disappointed how little of that work was visible from the outside. Bear this in mind before you go hog wild detailing the inside your fuselage. This isn't a ding against Accurate Miniatures, quite the opposite. Kudos on them for the great work. But until they release the kit with a transparent fuselage, you simply can't see inside not enough windows.
The instructions are very thorough with clear diagrams and description on how to assemble your model. However, with all of the options in the kit and the variations between actual B-25C/Ds in the field, you'll want to have a few photos and references handy to properly configure your model.
The nose of the aircraft houses the navigator/bombardier. on the left side is an aisleway to access the rest of the aircraft, on the right, an avionics/equipment bay. In previous releases, the avionics bay is filled with brass weights to provide enough ballast in the nose to allow the model to sit naturally on its landing gear. Without that weight, the model would be a dedicated tail-sitter. Unfortunately, in this release, these brass weights were not available and therefore not included in the kit. According to a footnote included in the box, you'll have to substitute lead weights to get proper ballast.
The kit features weighted tires, so no resin wheels will be required to make the model look right sitting on its landing gear.
The bomb bay can be displayed open or closed. The interior of the bomb bay is fully detailed and comes with a variety of weapons and even an extended range fuel tank (check your references).
When I first reviewed this kit years ago, I had heard some rumblings in the community about the accuracy of the engine cowlings in the B-25 kits. The issue turned out to be the size of the opening on the front of the cowls - they are 6 scale inches too narrow in diameter. To be honest, most folks wouldn't notice, but for those who want an option to correct this, Cutting Edge released a set of corrected cowlings for this kit (CEC48184). You can also open these up with some careful sanding as well. Your call.
One significant improvement over previous releases of this kit are the window masks. You may recall that the vinyl masks included in the B-25B were incorrectly sized, whereas the masks in the later versions were corrected (and I believe later releases of the B-25B also had correctly sized masks too). Nevertheless, these were all vinyl masks. In this release, the window masks are the yellow window tape masks made by Eduard. Don't let the image fool you, these are the standard yellow masks, I altered the image to reveal the outlines cut into the tape masks.
This set also includes a set of vinyl paint masks to replicate the parrot-nose of 'Red Wrath' using paint rather than more complicated-to-place decals.
Markings are provided for three examples:
- B-25D, 41-30024, 498 BS/345 BG, "Red Wrath "
- B-25C, FL192 (41-12725), 305 Sqn (Polish), SM-L, RAF
- B-25D, FR193 (41-30792), 320 Sqn (Dutch), NO-L, RAF
With the variety of paint schemes and nose art available for the B-25C/D series, as exemplified by the great decals previously issued by Aeromaster, it will be difficult to build only one of these aircraft. However, there are only 2500 of these kits being released and according to the manufacturer, all of the other releases are sold out.
I can recommend these B-25 kits to anyone with better than beginner modeling skills. I built their B-25B years ago and it went together relatively easy ( see our build-up review) and the few issues that did crop up have been addressed in some tooling modifications.
Thanks to Accurate Miniatures for this review sample!