Accurate Miniatures 1/48 B-25B






All 16 Doolittle Raider aircraft


Tom Cleaver


For all you panting purchasers who have been crying "how long must we wait??!" was it worth the wait: YES!


Named for General Billy Mitchell, American proponent of strategic air power, the North America B-25 "Mitchell" was the best all-round light-medium bomber of the Second World War. The airplane was docile and adaptable, with all-round excellent performance and particularly good handling characteristics. It was one of the most popular aircraft among Allied aircrews. It was manufactured in greater numbers than any other American twin-engine bomber, no less than 9,816 B-25s being accepted during the war, and it served a number of Allied air forces.

(I can personally attest to the outstanding handling and maneuverability of the B-25, because out at Chino we throw "Photo Fanny" around the sky like a P-38 on our air-to-air photo missions and the airplane never complains, though I did when I nearly fell out once!)

Had the B-25 only ever flown one mission against one target, it would be ranked among the truly historic aircraft of the war for the attack against Japan flown by 16 B-25Bs led by LCOL Jimmy Doolittle off the carrier "Hornet" on April 14, 1942. The scheme required an airplane with an overall range of 2,400 miles carrying a one-ton bomb load. The volunteer crews came from the 17th Bombardment Group, the first USAAF unit to fly the Mitchell. The raiders successfully bombed targets in Kobe, Yokohama, and Nagoya, as well as Tokyo. Though all sixteen aircraft were subsequently lost, and the military damage inflicted was negligible, the raid accomplished to major items: it gave the United States and her allies in the Pacific War a "shot in the arm" at a very bleak period of the war; more importantly, it led the Imperial Japanese Navy to plan the invasion of Midway, which would lead to the decisive battle of the war, one which doomed Japan to eventual defeat.



Modelers have been waiting now for close to two years since Accurate Miniatures announced their series of early B-25s. Opening the box clearly demonstrates that all other 1/48 scale B-25s that have been produced prior to this kit are now effectively obsolete. A quick study of the parts breakdown reveals that there is a strong likelihood that the series will extend beyond the announced B-25B, B-25C/D and B-25G, since the horizontal stabilizer is done in such a way that the tail position of the B-25 H and B-25J can be created down the line.

The big box is full of 8 sprues of crisply-molded dark grey plastic, of the quality we have come to expect from the company that produced the TBF Avenger, SBD Dauntless, Il-2 Shturmovik and F3F. Separately packaged is a very clear sprue of cockpit glass; there is some distortion here due to the shapes that had to be molded, and it looks like dipping these parts in Future will be necessary to allow viewers to see the interior in all its glory.

And the interior is indeed glorious. Everything is there.

A very nice touch is the inclusion of brass weights which come in pieces, so that they can be slid into the various nooks and crannies necessary to make the glass-nose B-25 sit on its nosewheel without filling up that beautiful interior with fishing weights.

The decals include all the serial numbers to do each of the 16 aircraft used in the Tokyo raid. The boxart airplane is Ted Lawson's "Ruptured Duck," one of three airplanes to be named, and the one which was immortalized in his book "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" and the classic movie of the same name written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson. It's a lead-pipe cinch that this will be the airplane most modelers will make; I know it is a fact your reviewer will be doing so.

For those with ants in their pants who want to make other, different Mitchells, be aware that this is a B-25B; without major detail modification, there is no way to make it into something else. For those who want to make Mitchells serving in the RAF with D-Day stripes, or in Red Air Force insignia, etc., you will have to await the release in a few months of the B-25C/D Mitchell; there really are significant differences between the two sub-types.

In the meantime, you can do a lot worse than make one of the 16 aircraft this kit will produce. This is one of the best plastic model kits ever made, and should go a long way toward giving Accurate Miniatures the financial strength to continue one of the most adventurous release lists ever created by a major mainstream kit manufacturer. The kit is excellent value for the money.

You can look for a full-build review of my review copy of this kit within the next month.

Review kit courtesy of Accurate Miniatures