WingScale 1/32 B-25J Mitchell

KIT #: 3201
PRICE: $129.99 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Tom Cleaver
NOTES: Decals by Dutch Decal. Two other variants will be available later. Photos courtesy of WingScale

HISTORY

             We donít need to go into a history of the North American B-25 Mitchell here.  If youíre interested in these new kits, you already know all that, and what you want to know is, should you get one of these kits?

THE KIT

             The kits are three different versions: 3201 is the standard glass-nose bomber; 3202 is the 8-gun strafer; 3203 is the B-25H with the solid nose and 75mm cannon.

             WingScale has provided me with a test shot from the T5 run, which is approximately one generation removed from what you will see in the box when you get it in February 2011.  They have also provided Modeling Madness with a number of high quality photos of a built-up test shot. I can assure you from a hands-on examination of the kit that these photos accurately portray what you will get.  Since this is a test shot, I did not receive the photoetch fret or the decals; the decals are by Dutch Decals and my experience with them is that their work is excellent.

             Getting on into the kit, it features: separate flight controls; detailed cockpit, top turret, bomb bay and landing gear; white metal landing gear; full color reference manual.

The production kits will include a poster of the very well donít box art, and a certificate with production number (the production run is 2,500 of each kit, for a total of 7,500).

             WingScale provided me with early prints of the full color reference manual. Those who are familiar with Wingnut Wings kits will see a similarity.  This is one of the best instruction manuals I have seen by anyone.

             The surface detail is engraved, and provides full rivet detail.  While the actual airplane features raised rivets everywhere but the leading edges of the flying surfaces back to the main spar, and there are lapped panels, this detail looks very convincing to this picky reviewer.  It is very light and petite (unlike the products of some other companies I wonít mention here) I have had the good fortune to be around a lot of B-25s, up close and personal, since almost all modern B-25 restorations are done by Aero Trader out at Chino Airport, and like what I see here.  As with most kits, the fabric detail is overdone; I have spoken to Martin at WingScale about this, and he hopes to change that to something more realistic-looking with the production kits.

             The control surfaces are all separate, and can be posed dynamically.  In 40 years, I have yet to see a B-25 sitting on the ground with the flaps dropped unless it was undergoing maintenance.  Unlike many kits with dropped flaps, where you cannot raise the flaps without a lot of extra effort, the flaps on this kit can be posed up or down without problem.

             The cockpit detail is very convincing.  The instrument panel in this kit is plastic and requires decals for the instrument faces.  There is a possibility (I emphasize, a possibility) that the production kits will feature a photoetch instrument panel and other panels.  What is here now is fine and would be perfectly acceptable if this does in fact become the production standard.  The rest of the fuselage has the usual detail one expects from a B-25; in my book it is mostly just extra weight to be dealt with in getting the model to nose-sit, but the areas around the waist gun positions will look very convincing.

             The clear parts are very clear, and you will have no trouble seeing the detail you put into the nose, the cockpit and the gun positions.

             The engine detail is superb, and can be shown in greater detail since the side panels of the cowling are separate, allowing a modeler to pose an engine with the cowling open.  The props come with separate blades; however, the blades are keyed, so there will be no problem getting the appropriate pitch.

             This is a big model (approximately 30% larger than the Tamiya Lancaster, holding kit parts next to that model), with an appropriate weight, so itís a good thing that WingScale has provided solid metal landing gear legs.  The wheels are plastic, with good detail.

             Given the weight, getting the model to nose-sit will be difficult.  Terry Dean is, as I write this, already working on a molded nose weight for the kit, which I think will be absolutely necessary.

CONCLUSIONS

             Some people have speculated that this is a scale-up of the Monogram B-25.  Not so!  This is a stand-alone design, with lots of great detail, and very accurate.  It is to my mind, having made just about every model ever released of the B-25 going back to the Monogram Speedee-Bilt kit, the very best kit of the B-25 I have ever seen.  At a price of $130, it ranks as one of the great bargains in contemporary modeling.  Highly recommended.  With such a short production run, youíre well-advised to pre-order today from your nearest distributor.

 Review kit courtesy of WingScale.

Tom Cleaver

December 2010

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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