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Tom Cleaver
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H-K 1/32 B-25J and PBJ-1

February 10, 2013 · in Aviation · · 7 · 3.7K

I am spending the weekend getting the third of these built, the B-25J Strafer, so thought I would put up some pictures of my other H-K B-25J models.

"Ruthie" is from the 340th Bomb Group, the "real" Catch-22 outfit (Joseph flew in the unit as a bombardier in the 488th Bomb Squadron). This was the first test shot, which arrived without decals, so I had a friend blow up the Bombshell Decals sheet to do this. Kits World has now released this with one of the sheets, so it's not that hard to do. The B-25Js arrived in the unit after their earlier airplanes were destroyed in the March 18-23 1944 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the greatest explosion since 79 AD, which did more damage to the USAAF in Italy than anything the Germans did in the entire war; they were transferred from Foggia to the USS Corsica (so called because the island became a "stationary aircraft carrier" with all the US air bases). The airplanes arrived in factory new natural metal. After the Luftwaffe bombing raid of May 13-14 1944 (which is memorialized in the novel as Milo Minderbinder's "payoff" to his German black market partners) the B-25s were hurriedly overpainted on their upper surfaces with either RAF or Italian paints, for camouflage. In my case, I did this with Xtracyrlix RAF Dark Green, with a "hard" edge since it was most likely brush-painted in the field. By the end of the war, over the course of 898 missions the 340th BG, the last US mdium bomber unit to enter combat in the MTO in April 1943, set the highest "bomb tonnage dropped" mark for medium bomber units in the MTO and additionally maintained the best bombing accuracy record in the MTO during the last year of the war, in addition to sinking the Italian cruiser Taranto in La Spezia harbor and blocking the Brenner Pass.

The second, which was the production kit from H-K, is done as a PBJ-1 from Marine bombing squadron VMB-611 "Seahorses," the last Marine bombing squadron to enter combat (after a trip around the Pacific courtesy of the US Navy and a crazy captain of the ship half the unit was "lost in the system" for five months, which they literally escaped from by "jumping ship" in Ulithi Harbor and being rescued by the aircraft section), flying in the Southern Philippines in the Mindanao Campaign.

The only real complaint I have about the kit is the props, and I understand an aftermarket company is producing corrected props. Other than that, it is definitely the best kit ever made, and well worth the approximately US$169 price it can now be found at. You'll also want to get Terry Dean's nose weights (two). The plastic landing gear is strong enough despite the weight.

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17 additional images. Click to enlarge.

7 responses

  1. Those are some great looking Mitchells. I can't wait to get my hands on one of the H-Ks!

  2. Green with envy and why must you twist the knife? ..."I am spending the weekend getting the third of these built, the B-25J Strafer,". Oh the humanity... why stop at two when you can have three. 😉

    Some people.

  3. I don't know how you manage to find the time-even what you have told me doesn't jibe...Great work, as always.

  4. Pretty impressive collection of Mitchells. 1/32 is big, the three of them together has got to look cool. I have seen a few buildups of these kits online, they do look great. I will never have one so I must enjoy by viewing all you lucky guys that do get one. Nice work Tom.

  5. Gorgeous look! In my opinion, the most beautiful bomber 2nd world war.

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