Minicraft 1/144 B-25H/J Mitchell Kit First Look
|Date of Review
The B-25J was the last production version of the Mitchell and was produced in the greatest numbers of all B-25s 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.
Minicraft has re-released the Crown 1/144 B-25J/H kit that hasn't been around in a while. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. This release provides options for the canon-nosed B-25H or glass-nosed B-25J.
The fuselage has the four .50 caliber machine guns, two on either side of the forward fuselage, that was a common fit for the Pacific theater strafers. The B-25Hs and many Pacific-bound B-25Js had these gun packs installed, but if you're doing a Mediterranean theater of European theater Mitchell, you'll want to see if the aircraft you're depicting had these guns installed. If not, simply file the packs off.
The instructions show you where to remove the nose section on the fuselage halves to facilitate installation of the H-nose provided in the kit. Aside from the differences in the nose, especially in this scale, the rest of the model goes together the same way for either version.
No interior is provided, not that you'd see one through the clear parts - the parts are nice a clear, but you wouldn't see much of anything in there anyway. Minicraft made the decision to keep the model simple to keep the price low - it worked!
Markings are provided for three examples:
- B-25J, 43-27704, 340 BG, 7A, 1944
- B-25J, 43-27752, 340 BG, 9Q, 1945
- B-25J, 44-30092, 12 BG, 1944 'Finito Benito...'
What's interesting is that none of these three aircraft have the gun packs installed from the photos I've seen, and Finito Benito is an even more interesting case as the photo clearly shows a tail number of 430092, but there were no B-25Js produced with that serial number. No markings are provided for the B-25H.
This is a nice kit that will go together nicely and provide a quick project to add to your scale flightline. This is another nice installment in Minicraft's growing line of 1/144 scale aircraft.
My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!