1/48 B-25D

Converted from 1/48 Revell B-25J

Images and story by Peter Johnstone

This is how I converted a Revell B25J to a B25 D in 1/48.

At the time of writing this article no model manufacturers produced a “D” model Mitchell that was exactly the same as the Aussie one.

Australia was the recipient of quite a few B25’s during the war. Some of these aircraft used were the “J” model and some were “D” models. These “D”s were very late model “D”s incorporating a lot of bits in pieces that were going to be used in the cannon armed “H” model. These modifications included the gun blisters on the chin and the waist guns as seen on the later models. These waist guns were not staggered as in the “J” model but opposite each other and slightly different in profile.

The US Navy used a similar configured B-25 but with some subtle differences.

Documentation of the Aussie D’s is in very short supply but Steve Mackenzie gave me some valuable information.

The Aussie D had 2 guns and a cannon in the glazed nose, a fume extractor under the nose, two unstaggered waist guns and a single rear fifty with a different glass house from the “J” and late model cowlings.

The reason I used the Revell J was because it was cheap so if I stuffed it up I wouldn’t cry too much and at that stage I couldn’t buy AM B-25 anywhere in Australia. As a matter of fact it was given to me for free from one of the members in our model club. (thanks Reg).

After I had started the conversion, in typical fashion, Accurate miniature announced that they would be releasing a D model later in the year it remains to be seen if it can be converted to an Aussie “D”. (still waiting two years later).

The Guys from Accurate Miniatures were most helpful in supplying the cheek blisters to me, but from the info I had, they still needed some slight modifications. The Aussie blister appeared more rounded on the corners. I made resin castings from their guns and modified them to suit, problem number 1 solved.

Problem number two was where I was going to get the rear glazing for the rear gun. The guys from Snowy Mountain Hobbies were most helpful, they supplied the glazing from one of their old kits for me.

Problem number 3 was the relocation and modification of the waist guns to suit. First I had to cut them out of the fuselage and then relocate them. Simple, now I don’t know about you guys but I have a hell of a time covering up relocated panels. Then after I thought it was all done I found out the top of the “D” waist gun blister was different to the “J” model. If you look at the blister from the side the “J” has skinny blister at the top and fat one at the bottom. The “D” has fat one top and bottom, a bit putty and careful sanding fixed that problem.

Next was the relocation of the top turret, this was a lot easier than I thought. I scribed around and around and around the existing turret frame until it came out, then I used a set of compass dividers to cut out the new hole. I then used the plastic I had cut out to patch the other hole. After that I drilled a hole in the top to take the navigators blister. This blister came from the AM set as well.

I had to cut down the tail for the gun as this was slightly different to the ‘J’, more like the C model without the glazing.

The one job I did not do because I wasn’t real sure if it needed to be done, was to thin down the rear fuselage and secondly I chickened out.

It was also about this time that I had to give myself a pep talk because after all this work I realized that nearly everybody who saw the model wouldn’t realize what work at gone into it but then at least I would.

I rescribed the whole aircraft because of all the cutting and patching I had done. I then sprayed the whole aircraft with filler because the panels line were too deep and I am still not a hundred percent happy.

I now had to finish the tail and put the whole lot together. The front glazing needed another hole because the Aussie “D” had two guns on the right hand side of the aircraft one above the other. A couple of extra window were cut in the sides of the aircraft and these would be glazed with clear glue.

The inside of the aircraft was painted in accordance with the many references available for the painting of the inside of a Mitchell of which no two are alike. I didn’t detail the area you couldn’t see mainly because I didn’t know exactly how they would look and secondly you wouldn’t see them.

External painting was to be foliage green, another area on which no two researchers agree. I used the decals from the Aussie Decal set, I knew I had to modify the letter as each letter had a 45 Degree cut on the outside corners of the rounded letters and square cut on the inners. Guess what I forgot to do, modify the letters.

I weathered the aircraft by using Polyscale Foliage Green mixed with different amounts of White to achieve the desired effect. I then spray matt black and Tamiya smoke for staining and applied a little chipping with a silver pen.

I completed this kit over nearly 12 months and next time I will write a list of things to do, because I forgot to put weights in the nose and forgot to modify the lettering.

I am now lead to believe the canopy over the cockpit was a little different; Check out Ryan Hamilton’s B-25 on this site.

I would like to thank everybody who supplied me with information and parts.

 


 

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