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North American B-25G

by Ian Robertson

 

North American B-25G Mitchell

 


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Introduction

 

The B-25G was the first Mitchell variant to carry a 75 mm nose cannon. The cannon, which measured 9.5 ft in length (about 3 m) and weighed almost 900 pounds (400 kg), became the responsibility of the navigator to load during an attack. Although a total of 21 rounds were carried on board, only 4 rounds or so could be fired during an attack because of the time needed to hand feed the 15 pound shells. A direct hit from the cannon could sink most Japanese coastal vessels, the prime target of B-25Gs operating in the South Pacific. Even Japanese destroyers were vulnerable to an attack by these B-25 "cannon ships".

Based on the B-25C/D design, the B-25G variant had a shortened nose with two .50 caliber machine guns mounted above the cannon. Some Gs had a tail gunner's position installed, and a few also had side gun blisters added at a field modification center in Townsville Australia. These gun blisters became standard on later Mitchell variants. The blisters on the G were directly opposite one another on the fuselage whereas the blisters on later variants were offset slightly. A total of 405 B-25Gs were produced (serials 264802 - 265201).



 

My Model - The Fictitious "Katy Did"


 

My objective was to build a late B-25G with both the tail gunner position and side gun blisters. To my knowledge there are no decals available for such a G variant. Therefore, after a brief period of wavering over the importance of historical accuracy in model building, I opted to create a fictitious aircraft using spare nose-art and serial numbers.

 

 

My goal was to create a model with nose-art that was consistent with the style of the times. I decided to name the aircraft "Katy Did", in keeping with my profession as an entomologist and because of the double entendre. I did not come up with the name - I saw it on a Corsair.



 

Modifying the Model

 

In an earlier article on Hyperscale I described the (almost) out-of-the-box construction of an Accurate Miniatures B-25D (resin tires, etched brass seatbelts and Aeromaster decals were the only additions I made). Let me emphasize that this kit is great out of the box and looks very much like a B-25! However, for my second attempt at the kit I decided to indulge in some modifications using a variety of aftermarket products, kit-bashing, and minor reworking of the kit parts. I used the B-25B (Doolittle Raider) kit plus the B-25G conversion parts. The modifications I made are outlined below.

Before I proceed further - I have two tips for building the AM B-25: (1) hold off on adding the front landing strut until late in construction - it will break off if you add it in step 9 as suggested. (2) hold off adding the dorsal turret until the model is complete, including the paint and decals. The turret will fit into the completed fuselage if you remove the small tab located beneath the gun barrels. Painting around the turret would be a nightmare. OK, now for those modifications**




1) Engine Cowls

The undersized engine cowl openings in the Accurate Miniatures kit have been a flashpoint for rancorous discussion. After using the kit cowls on my B-25D I decided to use the Cutting Edge resin replacement cowls on my G variant. To illustrate the difference in appearance between the cowls I took head-on photographs of my two completed models. While the difference is noticeable to me, modelers will likely continue to disagree over the significance of this modification to the overall look of the model. The replacement cowls are more accurate and look better in my opinion, but they add significant cost to an already expensive project. Also, I'm now convinced that with a little filing and sanding the kit cowls can be improved without the use of replacement parts.






2) Astrodome


Although I've heard little discussion on the topic, I found the clear astrodome in the kit to be overly large and bulbous. Using photographs for reference, I filed the base of the astrodome in my G kit until I got a more satisfactory shape. For comparison I show the unmodified and modified astrodomes on the finished models.

 




3) Side Blisters


Installing side gun blisters was the biggest challenge in building this model because there was no going back once I tore into the Accurate Miniatures kit. I first cut the blisters from a Revell/Monogram B-25J kit. These pieces were then used as templates to direct where I should cut holes in the Accurate Miniatures kit. The holes were cut slightly undersize using a dremel cutting disk and then filed to accept the blisters from the Monogram kit. The seams were filled with putty and sanded flush. Three stages of construction are shown in the image below.

 




4) Tail Gun


Accurate Miniatures supply a tail turret for their C/D kit and G conversion. The framing on this turret seems a bit off to me (i.e., it looks different from the photos I have of B-25D/G tail turrets), but it certainly provides the correct impression. I sealed the hole where the rear gun projects from the fuselage using metal foil and epoxy. My initial plan was to use only metal foil to simulate the flexible covering that surrounds the gun barrel, but this was flimsy so I added some 5-minute epoxy and engraved it slightly as it became hard so that it would appear like flexible material. The epoxy was then painted brown and touched up with a wash of black paint.

 




5) Other Details


Once again I used True Details weighted resin tires (with much of the weighted effect sanded off) and etched brass seatbelts (lap belts only). I replaced the kit's armor protection plate under the pilot's position with a thinner piece of sheet styrene. Within the fuselage I placed a piece of sheet styrene over the lower turret position so as to provide a solid floor between the side gun blisters. I have no references to support this modification - it just made sense to me. No "glass" was added to the side gun blisters. Although glass in clearly present over the blisters of later B-25 variants, it appears absent in the G. The figures shown in one of the photographs are from Tarmac (painter) and Verlinden (pilot).

 


 


 

Paint, Decals and Weathering


 

I started by painting the model with SnJ aluminum since I wanted to have bare metal show through in various places. I then pre-shaded panel lines with black. The underside of the model was painted neutral grey with Polly Scale acrylics; the topside was painted "faded olive drab" using Aeromaster acrylics. To give the faded olive drab some texture I sprayed subtle variations of the color over the model in various locations. RAF dark green was used for the patches of green on the tail and wings.

 



Fine grit sandpaper was used to create abrasions in the paint, some of which exposed the aluminum base coat, particularly on the leading edges of the wings, cowls and propeller blades.

The decals came from a variety of sources, including some from the kit. Dry transfer decals were used for the name "Katy Did". The serial number on the tail is appropriate for a B-25G, but I do not know if it was used on a G variant with a tail turret and side gun blisters.



 

Conclusion


 

Having now completed two Accurate Miniatures B-25s, one out of the box and the other with replacement cowls and additional modifications, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed building both kits and they look great sitting side by side on my shelf. In my opinion any shortcomings of the kit can be overcome and need not incur much expense (although they did in the case of my model - OUCH!!).

 


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Model, Images and Text Copyright 2001 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 25 August, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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