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Walt B
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Monogram 1/48th PBJ-1H (B-25H) Landing on ShangriLa

February 10, 2013 · in Aviation · · 18 · 4.1K

As kid I loved the line of 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 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 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.

Reader reactions:
9  Awesome 1 

7 additional images. Click to enlarge.

18 responses

  1. Very nice, the subtle differences in the finish. And just the right amount of weathering, too. Good job and SHARP, CLEAR pics.

  2. Great B-25 Walt! I love the old Monogram kits too.

  3. It's great. Love it.

  4. Very nice work on the Monogram kit, Walt. I too prefer the G and H versions.

  5. Having recently scribed a much smaller Monogram kit, I salute you for the tedious and tricky work that is,andthe model is fantastic, too.

  6. Nice work, Walt. Great finish on the B-25 and the carrier deck.

  7. Really nice, Walt. And a rare one to boot. I've done my share of these and they never get tiresome. You can even leave the panels in raised detail, because it looks like what you see near a real one (I see Photo Fanny, the Museum's B-25, every month out at Chino).

    Excellent work on painting it as a PBJ.

  8. And I'll add a special thanks for sharing the story of the type and the last photo - I've learnt something new today!

  9. Killer B-25/PBJ-1H. The Army Air force thought well of the type to keep them well into the fifties for training bomber pilots which explains on why there are some 300 odd airframes still floating around in museums or seen at airshows. Monogram made this kit into a classic. Walter your handy work makes this kit stand proud. Its a Ten in my book.

  10. Very interesting painting, impressive!

  11. Thanks everyone for the kind words. I had a lot of fun with this kit and played a lot with the painting of it. In general I am really happy with the way it turned out. It was fun and trying something new keeps modeling fresh and interesting.

  12. This truly is a beautiful build! I saw it at Orange Con in 2010 and it is more impressive in real life.

  13. Great work, Walt.
    I am trying to do the same aircraft. Could you share your research data on
    the tailhook installation? Thanks.
    p.s. I'm also doing the P-51D that did carrier quals at the same time. Could
    you also share your Boeing contact? Thanks again.

    • Ed, I can't seem to message you, I am not sure you registered as a member of the site. Anyways, send me an email and I will forward the email from the Boeing rep. It took me a while but I found it. My email is [email protected]

  14. that is stupendous...gets my vote...i'm building a three tone pby and taking notes...just stunning...just voted...2 thumbs up

  15. not to doubt without proof , but has anyone else seen images of a b-25 ever landing on a carrier. there have been many re-enactment takeoffs done over the years but to my knowledge and having spoken to b-25 pilots and aircraft historians there has never been a take off. i would surely like to see that image. thank you.

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