Hasegawa 1/72 B-25H Mitchell

KIT #: 00547
PRICE: 3200 yen SRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2003 base boxing


The 12th Bomb Group was relieved from combat operations in Italy in early February 1944, and ordered to proceed by British ship back through the Suez Canal and on to India to help the British Fourteenth Army repel a Japanese invasion from Burma at Imphal in a war threatening the whole subcontinent and the Indian Ocean. They arrived at Bombay on 12 March 1944, and after a four-day train trip to Calcutta and a day on a river boat to Dacca in eastern Bengal, the 81st and 82nd occupied a field at Tejgaon Airfield and the 83rd and 434th at Kurmitola Airfield.

The 12th was equipped with new B25Hs and B-25Js and flew its first mission as part of the Tenth Air Force, bombing Japanese supply dumps at Mogaung, Burma, on 16 April 1944. A similar situation to El Alamein existed where a couple of divisions of the British Army were surrounded by a Japanese force at Imphal, the gate way to India from Burma, and threatened British control of the whole sub-continent and the Indian Ocean. The British still controlled an airstrip, however, and the 12th were called upon to fly ammunition to the British troops, landing behind Japanese lines to unload the ammunition carried in their bomb bays. After three weeks of "ammo" runs, the British had defeated the Japanese invasion and prevented their invasion of India.

After some vicious fighting, the British captured Meiktila on 3 March and swept down the road to Mandalay, which was defended by 400-year-old Fort Dufferin complete with high thick walls and a wide moat. The 12th was called upon to bomb the fort on 9 March 1945, which they did successfully with 2000-pound bombs dropped from 200 feet by four Mitchells, followed by attacks from 6000 feet by another squadron, and a 35-ship blasting of the entire area of the fort to complete the job.

The last major mission of the 12th was an overnight where the crews spent the night under the wings of their B-25s at Rameree, near Rangoon, and took off the next morning to bomb Ban-Takli airfield north of Bangkok, Thailand after which they were reequipped with new Douglas A-26 Invaders and were still training when the war ended.

This is, as mentioned, the basic boxing for the B-25H as such, it provides markings for three planes from the 82nd Bomb Squadron. There have been two other boxings so far, one being a PBJ-1H and the other with similar markings to the basic boxing. H models were used more than with the 82nd and the Marines so I'm surprised that some of those other, somewhat less flamboyant, markings have not been boxed.

Anyway, you get a standard B-25J kit with a small sprue for the H gun nose. As you'd expect, you don't get the J model nose transparencies, which is standard fare for Hasegawa. Of course, if you wanted to build a J model, they have several boxings for that.

Cockpit is the norm for 1/72 with decals for instruments and enough 'stuff' in there to look properly busy. No co-pilot's seat is shown and you'll be removing one of the control columns. There is actually quite a bit of detail that goes into the interior, including front and rear magazines, bombardier/gunner's seats, and interior bomb bay racks. Yes, the kit does come with a bomb bay just like the J and a tail gunner's position, just like the J and an upper gunner's position, also just like the J.

In concert with most B-25 kits, Hasegawa has you install the nose gear before closing the fuselage halves and there is really no work-around for this so keep it protected. Main gear are the same way. All the large gear doors are molded closed as was the norm when the gear was not cycling through. The engines for the H/J have individual exhaust stacks and you have to attach about half of the little bits to the cowling.

One nice thing about gun ships is that there is some room for nose weight. Hasegawa doesn't tell you how much so a wise modeler will pack what he can under the cockpit prior to attaching the nose. Since the engine nacelles are not hollow in the front as in the Italeri kit, that is an option that is closed unless you glue a slab or two in there when closing up the nacelles. Though the instructions have you adding the guns then gluing on the nose, I'd tack it in place without guns until after painting/decaling so that you won't tear your hair out getting the nose decal to fit.

Instructions are well done with the usual Gunze references. All three planes with the 82nd are in OD/Neutral Grey from late 1943. Each has a slightly different nose art and you get 'Dog Daize', 'Eatin Kitty' and LeRoy's Joy. Decals are old school Hasegawa where the white is actually off-white, but they should function well if you use hot water.

The only other B-25H in this scale is the fairly old Italeri kit that is based on their B-25J. These can be difficult to locate as their releases are spotty, but they can be found.



January 2019 

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