PBJ-1H/J Mitchell

Published: November 15th, 2011     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
John R. Lee, IPMS# 11172
Scale: 1/144
Company: Minicraft Model Kits
Price: $12.99
Product / Stock #: 14625

The kit comes in a sturdy top opening box - great for holding the parts as you work on the model. There are thirty-eight light grey plastic parts and two clear sprues, one being from the Minicraft C-47/DC-3 kit that uses only the Astrodome part. The small decal sheet (11/4" by 41/2") manages to include three schemes, one Navy (the only named aircraft) and two Marine.

As I found the PBJ with the radar nose interesting, I decided to make that one. With a little research I found a right rear-quarter picture of the aircraft in the Osprey Combat Aircraft #40 "PBJ Mitchell Units of the Pacific War" book on page 82. This picture and others in this book show that many of the PBJ's had no fifty cal. package guns on the fuselage sides, so one of the first jobs was the removal of these guns.

I appreciated that the glass nose on this radar-equipped aircraft was painted blue, saving a lot of tiny window frame painting.

Before gluing the fuselage halves together, I painted the interior with Model Master's #1718 Interior Green (FS 34151). I also added a good sized hunk of lead to keep it on its nose gear. The instructions would have you install the horizontal tail at this time. By removing the locating lugs on the tail piece I was able to slide it in after I had cleaned up the fuselage seams. This was fortunate, as the openings for the tail piece didn't line up and I had to widen one side a little to let the tailplane sit level. I slipped in a piece of sheet plastic to fill the gap and added a little thick Mr. Surfacer 1000 as filler to fill the gap completely. A little sanding finished the joints off. Next, I put the wings and nacelle halves together and filled as necessary. As a side note to the fuselage, both the fairing behind the tail gunner's position and the under-fuselage tail skid/bumper were short cast, as was one of the cowlings.

This was not unique to this kit as I have kit #14590, also a B-25, and it has the same problems. Next, I added a couple of antenna posts, the nose clear piece, and the nose radar unit. I have yet to find out if there are one or two antenna wires coming off the vertical rudders, and if I do find that out I will add them. I also spent a couple hours on the internet looking for a picture of the camera in the right side gunner's position as I would like to scratchbuild one and make this a really unique aircraft. I took a small round file and filed a little groove in the leading edge of the wings, then glued pieces of round clear sprue and sanded and polished them into landing lights. I later punched out a round piece of Tamiya tape to mask them for painting.

After all the sanding and everything was right, I washed the model with some warn soapy water and let it dry overnight, covered to keep the dust off it. I airbrushed on three light coats of Model Master #1718 Navy Dark Sea Blue. I also placed a strip of Scotch tape on the bottom of a glass pie dish and sanded it to give the Dark Blue paint a grip, using the painted tape as window frames later on. Next came three coats of Model Master Clear Gloss and then on with the decals. I then airbrushed three coats of Model Master Clear Flat. I then proceeded to cut thin strips of the Blue painted scotch tape to make the window framing, finally applying a little drop of Future Floor Wax to each pane of glass both to make the windows shinny and to hold the Scotch Tape in place forever.

Next, I painted the prop blades Flat Black and dipped the prop tips into a lid of Chrome Yellow paint. Adding the pitot tube from brass wire and kit machine guns finished it off.

Even with the few minor problems, this can still be made into a good looking model. This is the sixth 1/144th B-25/PBJ that I have made, and I plan on building the Kwajalein aircraft also, along with 340th BG aircraft with the natural metal window frames over an OD finish and Neutral Gray from kit #14590.

All in all, another fun build.  Thanks to Minicraft Models for the kit and IPMS for the opportunity to review it.

  • Overhead
    Overhead
  • Right front
    Right front
  • Right side
    Right side
  • Left front
    Left front
  • Canopy and radome
    Canopy and radome