- Completed: 2022
- Machine gun barrels-Master Model
- Decals: Eagle-cals Dutch Mitchells
- Formation lights– CMK
This is the second time I have tackled the AM Mitchell, the first one ending up in the bin, having never got to the painting stage, so Im very happy to final have a completed AM Mitchell in the cabinet, albeit not the first Mitchell to grace my shelves, having built the old Monogram B-25J about two decades ago.
My memories at the time of the A.M Michell was its fine engraved surface detail comprising rivets and panel lines plus fasteners, and its detailed interior, both features which garnered it praise in the modelling press at the time of its release. Critiques were too narrow cowl openings and a nose transparency which perhaps sloped too much in profile
Fast forward to this year and a third of the way into the build, my over riding thought was “this aint as good a kit as I remember”
The surface detail was in places shallow, rivets and panel lines were definitely not consistent in depth, fit was average, especially the nacelles and intakes, and transparencies were certainly not crystal clear.
The instructions I remembered being clear and informative did not really point out location points of some parts accurately, leaving the builder to guess on a couple of occasions. That said enough alternative parts are included to build a few different modifications of the B-25C/D Mitchell. The instructions helpfully pointing these out for the kit schemes. If you are doing another scheme though, as I was, you’re best off consulting images.
I pretty much left the interior in the aft fuselage out as you will never see it. The kit pilot seats looked a little chunky, so were replaced with the quick boost resin seats, complete with belts. Rather than painting the rear interior yellow Zinc Chromate, I think I should have used a green chromate. The first hint of fit problems came with fitting the bomb bay, the rear bulkhead not matching the contour of the fuselage at all. A not insignificant gap had to be filled with thick plastic strip. This being an original A.M boxing, the brass shim nose weights were included, these being augmented with some small lead shot poured into a couple of crevices. This precaution proving its worth with the completed model still only just balancing on all three points.
Blast panels in front of and behind the upper turret were cut from thin card on my silhouette machine using the templates printed on the instructions. I still think they are a little oversized though. The ventral turret and guns were a sloppy fit, the soft plastic not helping, the glue join breaking several times. In the end I replaced the kit gun breeches with blocks of plastic strip drilled to take the brass barrels, this being a lot more solid.
The real fight came with the wings though. Whilst the nacelles were a reasonable fit to the undersides, they left large gaps and steps on the top of the wing, with the separate carberetter intakes not helping. These parts required multiple goes at filing, sanding and re-scribing. Just when I thought I was winning, I noticed plastic on the undersides of one of the wings seemed to be delaminating, sure enough, I could peel up flakes of plastic. More supergluing, sanding and re-scribing followed. The plastic in my kit ws soft, almost soapy, which led to me managing to also break one of the wing spars, and nose wheel leg off It didn’t so much snap off as just bend and break during my repeated handling of the fuselage. The nose strut was rebuilt with brass tubing. The instructions call for it to be added prior to the fuselage halves being closed up, the narrow wheel well not allowing it to be added later.
The tail plane assembly fit reasonable well, certainly not as bad as some other online modellers seemed to find, putty was still needed though, but only a smear. The leading edge landing light covers also required a fair bit of fairing in. The separate nose part also came in for some judicious sanding on one side to remove a slight step.
The kit wingtip lights and upper fuselage formation lights were all removed and holes drilled to accept aftermarket CMK lights, although these were the last items added. The kit cowlings were opened out slightly by wrapping sandpaper around an appropriately sized bit of dowel. They do not need much sanding to look a little better. I had a set of quick boost engines which look far better than the kit engines, but they need pushrods and ignition wiring adding and I was losing patience with the build, so used the kit engines after all. If you do use the kit engines, you will need to remove a section of the attachment collar, otherwise the crankcases protrude proud of the cowling face. There is a faint scribed line around the collar, which I used as a cut line.
After an uneasy ride, we had arrived at the painting stage
Paint and Decalling
Right from the start, This was going to be finished as a R.A.F 2Tactical Air Force machine with D Day stripes. Two decal sheets from my decal bank contained such subjects, one from Dutch Decals and a much better quality item in terms of colour and printing from Eagle Cals. the plan was in place……until I saw a 2TAF Mitchell on Britmodeller forum that the builder had portrayed with the upper surface stripes removed leaving just traces. I loved the look, and although it was a different SQN we know for a fact that all aircraft had their upper stripes removed by August 1944, although some Mitchells had them reinstated to guard against friendly fire. How to paint traces of D Day stripes though, I considered applying super thin paint, hairspray chipping, micromeshing before deciding on using water soluble Mission Model paints for the stripes. But this is leaping forward many steps. First the basic colours were applied using MRP Neutral grey for the undersides and Mr Color Olive Drab for the upper surfaces. This was then mottled and streaked with the OD tinted with flesh, then tamiya Khaki Drab, and finally Desert yellow in order to build up a multi layered variated Olive Drab colour. Fresh OD was then used for a few select panels to mimic replacement panels.
D Day stripes were then masked out and applied with thin coats of MMP thinned with water. Just like in real life the top stripes were then scrubbed off with a stiff brush moistened with water. Not happy with the first attempt which looked too symmetrical from side to side, I resprayed the stripes before, again scrubbing them off, this time aiming for a fa more irregular look. I left some remnants around panel lines and raised detail. This second attempt looked far better. An overall wash using Mig Dark wash was then applied to the upper surfaces with ABt 502 Paynes Grey being used on the lower neutral grey. I found Abts version of Paynes Grey far bluer than other Paynes Greys I have used, nothing alarming just something to be aware of.
Decals were then applied, the decals, being printed by Microscale , going down fine. Eaglecal providing photos of the actual machine in the instructions. Upon studying these, I realised I had added the flat window instead of the astrodome, and also my chosen machine had the fixed 50 calibre gun in the nose as well as the flex .50. What did I say about studying photos? I need to take my own advice! The spine window came out reasonably easily and was replaced with the astrodome. I decided to leave the nose armament alone, as I could see damage arising with any attempt to remove the nose transparency.
Several thin coats of Dullcote were then applied to get a dead matt finish, before oil leaks were added with several applications of……oil paint! Raw umber mixed with black and starry filth were the colours of choice. One engine had marked breaking to represent a damaged or severely leaking engine.
The transparencies were then unmasked to reveal a stain or crack in one pane of the cockpit. There was no option but to remove it and add the alternative cockpit canopy. As luck would have it, this was the canopy that should have been used in the first place, having the additional framing evident in the photo.
The soft plastic kit aerial posts were replaced with brass wire. The last wall hurdle thrown at me came when I noticed that somehow one of the small dutch orange triangles had superimposed itself over the nose art, I wondered where that triangle had gone!. naturally I managed to tear half the nose art off trying to remove it necessitating ordering a new set of decals from Ultracast in Canada. SIGH!
Whilst the Dutch Decals decal set also carried the same nose art, it was nowhere near as sharp as the Eagle cal sheet. This just left the bomb doors, undercarriage doors and wheels to be added, and she was done.
Im pretty happy to finally have a completed Accurate Miniatures R.A.F B-25 in my cabinet, even if the kit was a chore to build. Like my revell tornadoes, the experience of this build led me to sell all other A.M Mitchells in the stash. One is enough!
The A.M kit has not aged well, and is another of those kits that could do with a new modern tooling, although Im not sure who this would come from, perhaps HKM will downscale their 32 scale J model. The only manufacturer I see doing new tool twins these days would be I.C.M and they may well take years getting back on their feet following Russia’s inhumane invasion
One thought on “Accurate Miniatures 1/48 B-25C/D Mitchell”
Superb Bruce! You have made an excellent job of a difficult kit and the finish really is outstanding. I love it!
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