Testors/Italeri 1/72 B-25C Mitchell
$6.95 SRP when new back in the mid 1980s.
Scott Van Aken
North American B-25 Mitchell was an American twin-engined medium
bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. It was used by many Allied air
forces, in every theater of World War II, as well as many other air forces after
the war ended, and saw service across four decades.
The B-25 was named in honor of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S.
military aviation. By the end of its production, nearly 10,000 B-25s in numerous
models had been built. These included a few limited variations, such as the
United States Navy's and Marine Corps' PBJ-1 patrol bomber and the United States
Army Air Forces' F-10 photo reconnaissance aircraft.
The first variant used in combat was the B-25B, though it was built in small
numbers (120). The B-25C was an improved version of the B-25B: powerplants
upgraded from Wright R-2600-9 radials to R-2600-13s; de-icing and anti-icing
equipment added; the navigator received a sighting blister; nose armament was
increased to two .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns, one fixed and one flexible. The
B-25C model was the first mass-produced B-25 version; it was also used in the
United Kingdom (as the Mitchell II), in Canada, China, the Netherlands, and the
Soviet Union. (Number made: 1,625.) The B-25D was identical to the B-25C, the
only difference was that the B-25D was made in Kansas City, Kansas, whereas the
B-25C was made in Inglewood, California. First flew on 3 January 1942. (Number
made: 2,290.) Early versions of this aircraft had a collector exhaust while
later variants had individual ejector exhaust.
It is surprising that,
unless someone snuck one by me, after all these years, the Italeri kit is still
the best and in many cases only one around of the early B-25s in this scale. Monogram did a
snap kit of this variant, but it is not as nice as the Italeri kit. I would have
thought that Hasegawa would have done this version by simply coming up with new
fuselage halves and engine cowlings, but that has not happened yet.
This particular kit is a Testors rebox and is the most often found version on
vendor's tables. It is from the raised panel line era and while the fabric
detail is a bit overdone, it isn't anything major. It has been probably thirty
years since I did one of these and while I don't remember any difficulty, the
truth is that all Italeri kits require at least a bit of work. Apparently the
bits for a B-25B are included as the instructions note these. The two markings
options use either early or late exhaust so you need to make that choice during
You get a nice cockpit with a pair of seats, floor, control columns and center
console. An instrument panel fits on the forward bulkhead and has an instrument
piece that you cut out of the instructions and paste on. An aft bulkhead is also
provided. The kit has a separate nose section so that the B-25J gunship can be
done using many of the same sprues. This kit requires the nose gear leg and
turret to be installed before closing the fuselage halves. The entire nose
section is clear and has only a plastic floor to fit inside without any real
Wings are upper and lower halves with engine nacelles broken into left and right
pieces. There is no wheel well detail and the main gear have to be installed
prior to closing the nacelle halves. All but the very small gear doors on the
main gear are molded closed, so there really isn't much to see in there anyway.
You get two banks of cylinders with no pushrod detail. There are two different
cowling options with the ejector exhaust being used for the 38 BG option. There
are two clear tail cones, one for the B and the other for the C/D. The cockpit
canopy is nicely done as is the nose, with well defined frame lines. Other clear
bits are used for the top of the turret and landing light lenses. I should
meintion that you'll need plenty of nose weight so cram any spare space forward
of the wings to keep this from tail sitting. Though a 38th BG strafer is one of
the options, you'll have to make your own side gun packs. A drawing is provided
to help in this regard. The lower gun position is also provided, but in the
Pacific this was often unarmed as the planes usually flew at low level. A tail
stand is provided in case you did not put in enough weight.
Marking are for two planes. One is the box art plane from the 405 BS/38th BG.
This group had tigers, wolves and dragons on the nose of their planes. This one
is a dragon. It is OD over neutral grey with green fin tips. The other is a
North African plane from the 83BS/12BG and is in sand over neutral grey with
chipped leading edges showing the underlying OD. My kit has two decal sheets,
but I'm not sure just how viable they may be. Fortunately, there are aftermarket
decals out there if you look.
This kit can often be found from vendors for under $10
and is well worth the effort of building, especially if you like the Mitchell.
To the right is your editor's build from 1985.
Thanks to me for picking this one up.
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