North American B-25J Mitchell
by Will Hendriks
This is the Monogram B-25J
Mitchell in 1/48 scale. It depicts a B-25J-11, "Apache Princess", of
the 501 BS, 345 BG "Air Apaches" based at Tacloban, the Philippines in
The Monogram B-25J kit was originally released in the late seventies. This kit also formed the basis of the B-25J "Gunship" (with eight-gun nose) and the B-25H 75mm gun nose version, both of which are fairly rare in today's model market. The B-25J with the clear "Bomber" nose has since been re-released as a Pro-Modeller kit (with some extra pieces) and lately under the Revell Germany label.
I started work on this model about eight years ago, and picked away at it in stages between other projects. The release by Albatros Decals of their sheet "Mitchells at War", No. 48008, along with the inspiration of some friends, encouraged me to finally finish this model.
The detail in the kit is typical of the Monogram standard of the day. The kit is molded in silver plastic. Raised panel lines adorn the exterior surfaces, all of which I sanded off and rescribed. The outline is good, the fit is OK, but quite a bit of filler was required in some areas. The interior detail is more than adequate, and this is where the Monogram kits of this period really shine. I painted the interior with Humbrol enamels. I obtained another pilot seat to replace the right seat in the cockpit, as Monogram gives you a short-backed seat, which is more accurate for the gun-nose versions.
A LOT of weight is required to ensure this model rests on its nose wheel! I filled the entire nose wheel well and the area in front of the instrument panel with lead solder.
The clear parts are
very transparent. I dipped all the clear parts in Future prior to assembly,
which really helps to show that interior detail. All glazed surfaces were masked
with Gunze "Mr. Mask Sol" prior to painting. The landing gear is
sturdy and well detailed, and holds the weight of the finished model easily. I
added some brake lines and hoses to the main gear struts with brass wire. I also
cut off the nose wheel strut flush with the fuselage underside to ease assembly
and painting. I reattached this later with the aid of a brass pin for strength.
The cowlings needed some extra work, in that all the exhaust ports were drilled out. The cowl fasteners and panel lines were also re-engraved, as some of the detail was a little soft.
As mentioned, a fair bit of filler was used, especially around the wing/nacelle joints, the wing roots, horizontal stabilizer to fuselage areas and elsewhere. This was fairly easily accomplished, however, using Squadron white putty and Cutex as described in the Tools and Tips section on ARC. These areas were then primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000, thinned with lacquer thinner and airbrushed.
The panel lines were preshaded with dark grey enamel (Floquil RLM 66). The model was then painted with Floquil Olive drab over Neutral Grey. The centers of a few panels were post shaded with lightened colors to replicate fading. The control surfaces were masked and sprayed with Field Drab to represent faded fabric doped surfaces. The colorful cowl rings are Testors ModelMaster International Orange.
Future was used as the gloss coat
in preparation for decals. Decals were applied "hot", using the Coffee
Cup Warmer as described by Steve Bamford here on ARC. No silvering was
encountered whatsoever during this process. When dry, the decals were each
sealed with a brush coat of future.
All was then given an airbrush coat of Floquil Flat Clear varnish. Weathering was accomplished with a wash of artist's oils and ground pastel chalk.
The model shows what can be accomplished with the older Monogram kits with a little time and effort. The finished product is an impressive model, and successfully captures the look of the real thing. All those Fifties pointing forward look very intimidating!
Special thanks to Al Wynrib for providing the decals, Dave Southam for the research material, and Ted Johnston for the inspiration to complete this model ("Get off you're ___ and finish that thing!", or words to that effect.)
Photos and text © 2003 by Will Hendriks