Monogram 1/48th PBJ-1H (B-25H) Landing on ShangriLa
As kid I loved the line of Monogram 1/48th scale aircraft models. Their bomber series let you build highly detailed good looking models that represented the planes that won the war in Europe and the Pacific. I always liked the B-25 G & H models with the big 75mm cannon in the nose. In the end it was often removed and adding more fifty’s was a better solution. This led to the J model with eight fifty’s in the nose, four more on the cheeks and two in the top turret to bring fourteen fifty caliber machine guns pointing forward. It proved to be a devastating weapon to Japanese shipping.
The U.S. Navy also used the B-25 but referred to it as a PBJ-1. One of the Navy’s PBJ-1H’s was modified for carrier trials. The B-25 had already proven it could take off from a carrier earlier in the war during the famous Doolittle Raid. President Roosevelt told the world that they had taken off from their bases in Shangri-La. Sometime later someone got the bright idea to see if it could also land on a carrier. The PBJ-1H was modified with the addition of a tail hook and the removal of the tail skid. There was also some probably some internal structural modifications in the fuselage to take the stresses of tail hook grabbing the cables.
The first successful landing on a carrier occurred on November 15, 1944 by Lt. Cdr. H.S. Bottomley when he landed (appropriately) on the USS ShangriLa. I have to believe that it must have been a pretty incredible sight to see that big plane coming in for a landing. When I saw pictures of it, I just knew that I had to build it, not only because of the unique subject matter, but because I love the three tone camouflage. Doing a little research I found that North American who originally built the B-25 was absorbed by Boeing. I contacted Boeing and was able to get a drawing of the tail hook showing its location and length on the B-25.
This is the Monogram kit that I bought back in the late 70’s when I was still in high school. I have lugged that kit around all these years knowing that someday I would build it. Other than the scribing of the panel lines, the tail hook and the removal of the tail skid, the kit is pretty much right out of the box. It is very typical Monogram of the time with excellent interior detail that holds up even well today, and a mediocre fit of many of the main components that builds up well if you take your time and work at it. It is not perfect but I am really happy with the way it came out. I can say that it turned out to be a fairly low stress high fun time kit.
7 additional images. Click to enlarge.