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In-Box Review
172
B-25 Mitchell Mk.II
North American Mitchell Mk.II
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Introduction
Airfix has tooled and released a new North American Mitchell MK.II in 1/72. It is item A06018. If you would like to follow along as I build this model, please visit via Click here for additional images for this review, at the end of this review.

The B-25 is one of the better known medium bombers so I won't recount its history, but I will let Airfix describe it:
    In Royal Air Force service, the capable North American B-25C/D Mitchell tactical medium bomber was designated the Mitchell II, with the RAF being the only force to operate the type of raids into occupied Europe from bases in Britain. In the weeks following the D-Day landings, RAF Mitchells were sent to operate from advanced airfields in France, to provide support for advancing Allied ground units.

    The Royal Air Force were long time admirers of this ‘Magnificent Medium’ and through the critical Lend-Lease programme, they were able to procure no fewer than 910 for the war effort. Used extensively on strategic bombing raids both before and after the D-Day landings, the Mitchell’s of the RAF were also sent to obliterate potential German V weapons sites in occupied Europe.

I don't know how many original 1/72 B-25 kits have been released by different companies over the decades but there are probably dozens. I also do not know how many new kits have been tooled up in the past decade although I think we have needed a new early B-25. Airfix has delivered.

The Kit
This model is in a fairly big box. It is sturdy and safeguards the parts well. The sprues - "frames" per Airfix - are sealed in a baggie. Five light gray and two clear sprues hold 165 parts. Two types of canopies, cowls, and other components allow a modeler to assemble two variants of the Mitchell II.

Frame A
    Bomb bay doors, closed
    Bomb bay rear bulkhead with wing spar
    Propellers, Hamilton Standard
    Wings
Frame B
    Bomb bay front bulkhead with wing spar
    Bomb bay interiors with open doors
    Bombardier compartment deck
    Flight deck
    Fuselage
    Nacelles
    Stabilizers
Frame C
    Antennas
    Belly turret fuselage panel
    Bombs
    Cockpit bulkheads, seats and pilots
    Crew hatch(s) and ladder(s)
    Engines, firewalls, cowlings and nacelles
    Flaps
    Landing gear & wheels
Frame D
    .50 caliber machine guns
    Air intakes
    Bomb bay doors actuator
    Bomb bay top
    Bomb racks
    Bombardier bulkhead
    Control yokes
    Elevators
    Instrument panel
    Main gear door actuator
    Pitot
    Top turret stand
    Vertical stabilizers and rudders
Frame E
    .50 caliber machine guns
    Cowls, Clayton "S" individual exhaust
    Tail skid
Frame F (clear)
    Landing light covers
    Nose greenhouse
    Turrets
    Windows
Frame G (clear)
    Bombardier nose
    Cockpit canopy
    Rear fuselage panels
    Windows

Molding is crisp. I found no flash or sink marks, or seam lines visible without magnification. Clear parts are clear with no distortion. That's the good news.

The bad news is that there are many ejector circles. It appears that Airfix might have cleverly positioned them where one will not see them after assembly, but this supposition remains to be seen.

Exterior pieces have a slight texture. The semi-monocoque construction is simulated with recessed panel lines, although some raised detail is used where appropriate. Landing gear struts, trailing edges, gun barrels, antennas and the pitot tube are surprisingly thin.

The parts breakdown is mostly conventional. The upper fuselage between the cockpit and nose glazing is a clear piece that must be painted. I think it unique that Airfix designed the fuselage open either side of the top turret, each gap provided a large clear part to filled with. I am not sure if that is to allow peeking in as the turret stand or to facilitate better painting around two round windows.

Wing spars are used to join the airfoils to the fuselage. Each wing nacelle is separately molded in four pieces.

Airfix designed this kit with a nice interior. So much so that the fuselage halves are not joined until step 22. As you may have noticed in the description of sprue frames and parts, you have choices of not only the variant of B-25, but also whether to build it configured for take-off, approach, cruise flight, and with bomb bay doors open or not.

That is the general description. Let's continue the preflight in greater...

...Detail
Airfix engineered a lot into this model. Optional parts allow one to build a couple of variants of B-25. You can chose to build the B-25C block-15 Clayton "S"-shaped flame dampening stack cowling, or the exhaust collector ring design; either have separate cowl flaps. Block-25 B-25Cs sported a new windscreen with less framing, and two types of nose greenhouses are provided. Some items, such as air scoops and the Clayton "S" exhaust stacks, must be attached individually. You have the choice of flaps and gear up, or down.

A B-25 had fabric covered control surfaces and these are sculpted with the traditional shallow scalloping between ribs. Interestingly, while Airfix molded the ailerons with the wings, the rudders and elevators are separate parts. Airfix even molded the trailing edges of the trim tabs open - no more risking a slip with the razor saw!

For interior detail there is molded-on framework of circumferential stiffeners, longerons and longitudinal stiffeners, and formed sheet longerons. Bulkheads are included for the bombardier compartment and both ends of the bomb bay. The deck for the cockpit and bombardier station is a two-piece affair.

The landing gear consists of oleo-pneumatic strut assemblies with torsion links, drag and retracting struts, and separate torque links. These are fitted with nicely done wheels.

Inside the bomb bay you will find molded structural components, a separate horizontal bulkhead, and separate bomb racks and door actuators. Four 500-pounders arm this kit.

Crew compartments consist of a cockpit with separate pieces for the instrument panel with rudder pedals, seats, and yokes and throttle quadrants. Like it or not, the instrument panel is a decal. Low raise shapes mimic electrical boxes, radio panels, and other consoles. The bombardier station is also detailed. Two pilots are included. They appear to be in RAF kit. Detail is soft.

On the other side of the bomb bay is the compartment for the top turret gunner, with an assembly for the machine guns and ammo feeds, and stand with appliances molded on it.

All .50 caliber machine gun have acceptable detail including dimples representing cooling holes for the barrels.

Those clear fuselage panels - are they to peer into the interior?

I am surprised at how the R-2600-13 Double Cyclone engines are depicted. A nicely detailed front cylinder row is depicted but the back row is very plain and molded as part of the firewall. At least the nose casings are separate parts.

Airfix has tooled a good amount of detail in this B-25.

Instructions and Decals
Airfix created a good instruction sheet using halftone illustrations. It is very detail through 82 steps. Do not let that spook you - many are the same item, only for let or right assemblies. The gray parts are showing in gray, the clear parts in light blue. The different plastic part numbers are shown as open circles for gray parts, and filled black triangles for clear parts. A table defines the usual assembly icons.

Assembly progress is illustrated in a fashion new to me. In each step the previous piece/assembly is in red. It also used black symbols to show the assemblies of pertinent previous steps.

Painting and decal placement are shown on separate instruction sheets. Black-and-white line art views are used for Position of common stencil data. The same drawings are colored in for painting instructions.

An impressive crisply printed decal set allows a choice of two Mitchells.
    Scheme 1: FL212 EV-W ‘Nulli Secundus’ 180 Squadron RAF Dunsfold 1943
    Scheme 2: FV923 SM-E Lasham 1943

I did not count how many individual decals exist but there are 31 separate data groups, most with stencils for multiple locations. The decals appear thin and they have minimal excess film around the edges. Colors look good and even the yellow stenciling looks opaque. The instrument panel is very detailed.

I look forward to using these decals.

Conclusion
Airfix's recently released North American Mitchell MK.II is a welcome addition to the 1/72 flight line. With clean crisp molding, a high level of detail, and parts for at least two variants, and impressive decals, it should be a fun kit to build. The well designed and annotated instruction sheet should make assembly easy.

The kit is not perfect due to the many injector circles although it remains to be seen if they are noticeable once everything is attached and closed up.

I look forward to putting glue to plastic and building this model, and recommend it.

Please remember to mention to Hornby USA and vendors that you saw this review here - on AeroScale.

Click here for additional images for this review.

SUMMARY
Highs: Two variants can be made with optional parts. A high level of detail and nice surface molding. Impressive decals.
Lows: Many ejector pin marks.
Verdict: Airfix's new Mitchells are a welcome addition to the 1/72 flight line. With clean crisp molding, a high level of detail, and parts for at least two variants, and impressive decals, it should be a fun kit to build.
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: A06018
  Related Link: B-25 Data
  PUBLISHED: Sep 26, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.03%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 79.26%

Our Thanks to Airfix!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2019 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

just need them to release it in 1/48 too 😆
SEP 26, 2019 - 10:25 AM
   

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