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HK Models B-25J Mitchell (Glass nose) 1:32

  • Price around £142.50 GBP
  • Materials: Injection Moulded Plastic and some etched brass

Review by Les Venus (May 2012)

Background…

The HK Models 1:32nd scale B-25 Mitchell is here and must have been one of the most anticipated kits ever. Its ancestry is well documented being the re-incarnation of what was to be Wingscale’s first kit. I won’t bore you with the background as it is complex and I still don’t know the facts so why dwell on it here. The issue is that it is here and that is what counts.

For my part I have been nagging at Geoff for some weeks (that maybe months) about this kit release and hoping that SMN would be one of the first to cover it and most importantly of course that I would be the one to build it. Well as you read this the answer to both questions is clear. Thanks Geoff.

Back in the old Wingscale days, I seem to recall that their first release was to be a 1:32nd scale B-17; I am glad that HK models didn’t do that. The B-25 is iconic and probably the most successful medium bomber in history. It’s also a great looking aircraft with that twin fin arrangement and tricycle undercarriage. Catch 22 is featuring on Sky Movies at the moment and if you haven’t seen it watch at least the first 40-minutes when you will see a magnificent taxi and take-off of 12+ B25-Js it’s incredible!

Perhaps its most iconic mission was the Doolittle raid when the said named Colonel took 16 B-25s off the deck of the USS Hornet. Keen readers will recall that I built the Hornet and all 16 of its B-25’s for SMN and followed this up with a 1:32nd scale SBD-3 Dauntless that was also on the ship that day. Well now it’s the Mitchell’s turn.

Watch this you-tube video for inspiration:

For me the Mitchell is a great kit for this scale. Yes it’s big at 643mm (w) X 547mm (L) but still manageable and with the right space is not too big to store at home. There is a smaller precedent for excellence for a model of this aircraft with for me the Accurate Miniatures 1:48th version being sublime. Can HK Models live up to that? let’s see.

The box…

The huge lid and tray style box is robust and inside the kit is further protected by a corrugated card insert that fold into the tray. This is a kit that will survive all that the Royal Mail or other carriers can throw at it, so have no fear in ordering it online.

The box art showing a shark-mouthed OD/DG scheme is adequate but not in the Hasegawa, Tamiya, Wingnut Wings league. It’s more early Trumpeter and in truth not great. This said, the robustness and size of the box literally had Geoff and I acting like kids at Christmas when we first saw it in his kitchen; enough said! For the casual shopper looking to buy, I do like the ‘Academy-like’ detailed shots of the kit on the box sides, which really will have you looking over your shoulder to see where your wife or partner is before getting out the credit card and buying the kit.

Instructions…

This of course is the first HK Kit and thus the first look at their instructions; at this stage I have to say, I like them. They are a B&W well printed booklet that is stapled and about A3-ish (portrait) in size.

The usual aircraft history is limited to a sentence with HK Models suggesting the internet as an excellent source of Reference material. I have no problem with this at all in theory but as a modeller who has been spoilt on the ultimate instruction/reference books that come with Wingnut Wings kits, they are a step down. They are though better than Revell and as good as Trumpeter and Airfix so not too shabby at all.

The instruction layout is good including a sprue map and a colour guide that has FS colours, Hobby Color and Tamiya as paint references. These are numbered and are used extensively throughout the build for all subassemblies and component parts. There is also a warning on the front page about the need to fit the undercarriage at the stages shown in the instructions as they won’t fit after assembly. Helpful this and will for most avoid tears (me for one). I think looking at them prior to starting my build that they are logical and probably were produced with the modeller in mind so again well done HK!

The main painting guide and decal placement page is poor but I will cover this later in this review as there are some significant issues here.

Inside…

There are 28 sprues covering all the 514 parts. What is very good is that none of the parts seem superfluous as is often the case with Trumpeter kits with their propensity for gimmicks. All the parts add something to the kit that can be seen and is in keeping with the scale. It may be that there may be too few parts but I will understand this more when I build it.

What’s very impressive is how carefully the parts are packed in their poly bags with delicate parts like cowlings double packed to ensure they don’t bounce around and snap. Best of all though is the logic of the sprues. Each has parts that are relevant to a section or subsection and thus logical. The Trumpeter F-100 I am just completing was the exact opposite of this and some Revell kits as well as others seem to have a pick ‘n mix approach to sprues. Well done HK – great start. I think on this occasion you might find it helpful for me to go through the sprues and pick out the highlights. So here goes:

Sprue A…

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