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Tom Cleaver
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1/32 H-K Models B-25J Strafer “Betty’s Dream”

March 1, 2013 · in Aviation · · 14 · 3K

The latest from H-K Models, the B-25J "strafer" done as "Betty's Dream" from the 499th BS "Bats Outta Hell" of the 345th BG "Air Apaches" using the new Eagle Editions decals.

"Betty's Dream" is historically important for escorting the one and only full set of surrender documents back to Japan. She had also been one of the escorts that picked up the two Betty bombers carrying the surrender delegation over Mt. Suribachi and escorting them down to Ie Shima off Okinawa, from whence the delegation was then flown on to Manila to settle out the surrender terms. Two sets of documents were returned. The first Betty did not refuel, since American avgas was too rich, and ended up crashing in the Inland Sea when they opted not to land on Kyushu to refuel and headed straight to Tokyo. The second airplane was forcibly refueled and American mechanics adjusted the engines to take the upgraded fuel. Vic Tatelman, the pilot of the well-known "Dirty Dora" B-25D and the only man to ever fly two tours as a strafer pilot flew as co-pilot on "Betty's Dream" for the return flight ("After all I had been through, there was no way I was missing this," as he told me). The Japanese were told that if they attempted to fly over water after reaching Kyushu, they would have an engine shot out and be forced to land. "Betty's Dream" escorted the plane to Yokota, then executed a low level pass at under 100 feet over the base before returning to Okinawa. The surrender documents were safe and the Pacific War was really over.

The airplane was one of the first production run of B-25s in the summer of 1943, when they were camouflaged at the factory. Its history before being sent to the 345th in June 1945 is unknown, but it had been put through the Townsend, Australia, modification center to have its glass bombardier nose replaced with the new factory-designed 8-gun nose before being sent on. Vic told me that the 345th did not keep the package guns with these ships, since the recoil of 16 50-caliber weapons harmed the airframe. "Betty's Dream" was one of the last B-25s in the 499th BS to get the full "Bat's Outta Hell" nose markings.

The H-K kits are not really that much more difficult to assemble than the series. It definitely needs two of Terry Dean's nose weights. There will be a more complete review at Modeling Madness this coming Wednesday.

Thank god this one is going out to Chino tomorrow, where they have a whole hangar big enough to store these monster models. 🙂 (Sorry for the blah backdrop, but there are only so many places at La Casa de Gato where there is space for a model this big to be photographed and the kitchen table is the best.)

Reader reactions:
1  Awesome

8 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. Beautiful work Tom! Can't wait to get a chance to see it at Planes of Fame!

  2. This plane looks gorgeous, the b-25J was my first plane I ever built. God it looked horrid!

  3. Looks a little wooden...the back drop that is. The rest of the photo's is fantastic. Again, "Green" with envy for some one who has do another HK B-25. What does this make three kits. You'll probably end up doing a fourth, when they come up with the cannon version... 😉

    • Yeah, I'll probably have to slog through that one. Reviewing is dirty work, but someone has to do it. 🙂

      • I've been reading one of the problems of doing a large scaled model is the amount of paint and over spray being used in the work space. One chap wrote about painting." And god was it fun, catching parts of the model on my desk, on the lamp, on the airbrush hose, spilling the paint on the floor from the colour cup, I even managed to spill some paint onto the tail !"

        Looks like a paint booth and the great out doors in warmer times for these larger builds for some.

  4. Nice work Tom I think it really looks great. I have yet to do a solid nose J version but hope to some day. So many great schemes from the Pacific Theater. I like your panel work and exhaust stains on this model. It will be a nice addition to the museums collection.

  5. Super work, super sized. Nice.

  6. Great job Tom! And timely too, for I'm about to start the Monogram 1/48 B-25J. That one will take a lot of display space too I'm afraid. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Beautiful and huge model. And also inspirng to finish my 1/48 Mitchell on the bech.

  8. Love it Tom! I was thinking about getting my hands on one of those, or maybe waiting and getting the B-17 to REALLY clog things up around the house!
    Love the weathering, you always do a great job with that. Not too much, not to little. Bravo on another fine job!

  9. Saw it first-hand yesterday at Chino. The model is really impressive, and Tom's work is great. It's a big model!

  10. said on March 3, 2013

    Very nice B-25!

  11. Excellent paintwork Tom, the panel fading looks great.

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