North American B-25 Mitchell Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part IV

This is the Hasegawa B-25J with the canopy and nose pieces in place. My B-25J will be a strafer with the nose glazing painted over which allowed me to add weight in the nose. This view also gives an impression of what will be visible through the canopy.
This is one of the Airfix B-25C, this one will also be a strafer. The canopy masks are from ASK. The resin gun pack on the fuselage side is from Quickboost, it is a style not included in either kit but is needed for certain aircraft. The Evergreen panels represent the extra armor applied to this particular aircraft.
As things move along various sub-assemblies are painted so they will be available at the end of the build. I generally tape the smaller bits to cards for painting and to ease handling.
Here is a comparison of the main gear doors, The Hasegawa doors on top are just slabs but the Airfix doors are thinner and better detailed. I’ll make some replacements for the Hasegawa doors from sheet plastic. The main landing gear bay doors on the B-25 were normally closed, they only opened when the gear was actually cycling, so no need to add any detail to the bays.
I checked the Seamwork with Mr. Surfacer 1000, corrected any flaws and re-primed. This is the Hasegawa B-25H. I noticed some flow lines in the plastic on the Hasegawa kits. This is not an issue on a camouflaged model, but on a Natural Metal Finish the flow lines can show through if you don’t use a good primer.
Three of my subjects will be strafers from the 345th Bomb Group. These are beautiful aircraft with interesting combat records, but the intricate nose art makes them difficult to model. I’ll be using the DK Decal sheet for the markings. On DK’s web page they provide a PDF file so modelers have some chance to mask off the underlying colors correctly. Here I have printed out the PDF and laid Tamiya tape over the patterns to cut out the masks.
Here are the masks after some careful cutting.
The masks applied to the model for “Dirty Dora”. Even with the masking templates there are half a dozen ways this can still go sideways and ruin the models.

Hasegawa Mitsubishi G3M2 “Nell” of the 901 Kōkūtai in 1/72 Scale

This is the Hasegawa G3M2 “Nell”.  The subject aircraft was found on wrecked Naha Airfield on Okinawa on 1 April 1945 and was extensively photographed by American troops. It was assigned to the 901 Kōkūtai, a maritime patrol unit which was equipped with several different aircraft types.  The “C” marking on the fuselage side was a visual aid to formation flying while on anti-submarine patrol; at the proper distance the “C” would appear to be a closed circle.

The model was built out of the box, with only tape belts added to the interior.  Hinomaru were painted using Maketar masks, the remaining markings are kit decals.

Hasegawa Mitsubishi G4M2 “Betty” of the 708 Hikotai of the 762 Kokutai in 1/72 Scale

This is Hasegawa’s Mitsubishi G4M2 Type 1 Land Based Attack Bomber Model 22, Allied reporting name “Betty”.    It is marked as a machine of the 708 Hikotai of the 762 Kokutai.  This unit was decimated in the Philippines in 1944.  Insignia are painted using Maketar masks, the tail codes are from the kit and were well behaved.  I also used a canopy mask set which is very helpful with the greenhouse canopies.  You can see into the cockpit area through the canopy and to a lesser extent into the nose and tail positions.  It wouldn’t be a total waste to detail these areas although not an absolute requirement either.  The most useful reference I found was the Revi volume, very thorough with a separate plan sheet in 1/72 scale and color side profiles.  My subject is from one of the profiles in that book.

North American B-25 Mitchell Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part III

There are two challenges for this build – preventing the models from being tail-sitters and the nose art. My worst-case scenario for getting enough weight in the Mitchells was this glass-nosed B-25C – all the others will be strafers and therefore weight can be added far forward in the nose.
Here the fuselages have been closed up. At this point I sanded seams and re-scribed any lost panel lines as the model is easier to handle. I went over the re-scribed lines with MEK to remove any burrs.
The main gear legs are the fulcrum point, just like a see-saw. Any weight aft of the main gear legs contributes to the model being a tail-sitter, any forward helps keep the nose down. Adding weight loads the main gear, but contrary to popular belief if the balance is perfect the nose gear bears no weight at all.
My build is a marginal case, but I think I’ll be okay when all the parts are on. The model will stay where you put it, either on the tail or on the nose. I will leave a way to get more weight into the engineer’s station if I need to.
Hasegawa just says to “use ballast if not using support”, and waits until the final step to remind you. They do provide a step stool to prop up the tail if you need it. This is the nose for the B-25H, which is the best place to start as it is as far forward as you can go. I glue the BBs in place with 5-minute epoxy, which will flow out of the gun holes if not sealed off.
The BBs are epoxied in place. This is a good chunk of weight at the end of the nose, and is therefore more effective than anything added further aft.
The Hasegawa B-25H will not be a tail-sitter, I used about 65 BBs in all due to being able to use the nose.

Hasegawa Grumman F4F-4 of MM1 Donald Runyon in 1/72 Scale

Machinist’s Mate First Class Donald Runyon grew up on a farm in Alamo, Indiana and joined the Navy at the age of twenty-one.  He earned his wings as an enlisted Naval Aviation Pilot.  Assigned to VF-6 operating from the USS Enterprise (CV-6) in August of 1942, he scored a total of eight victories in the Wildcat during the Guadalcanal Campaign, including three Aichi D3A Vals and an A6M2 Zero on 24AUG42.  Rising to the rank of Lieutenant, he added three more victories during a second tour with VF-18 aboard USS Bunker Hill (CV-17).  Runyon survived the war, an ace with eleven victories to his credit.

North American B-25 Mitchell Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part II

“Construction begins with the cockpit” is passe but eventually every build gets there. The Airfix kit has good interior detail, but much of this will be hidden inside the fuselage. Airfix does give the modeler the option of open or closed bomb bays.
The Hasegawa kit has even less detail. The ammo boxes to the rear could be omitted without anyone being the wiser, and would lessen the weight to the rear of the aircraft a little.
I added some quick sidewall detail to the Hasegawa kit, but I didn’t go overboard. I’m firmly not in the “but I’ll know it’s there” camp, my interest in adding detail is directly proportional to the likelihood it can be seen. I did add the interior differences particular to the B-25H, mainly a radio in place of the co-pilot’s station and the Navigator’s seat moved back a bit.
B-25 kits are notorious tail-sitters. When adding weight you want to be as far forward of the main gear legs as practical. Airfix says to add 25 grams under the cockpit. I looked it up, three BBs are a gram, so 75 BBs. I filled under the cockpit, behind the instrument panel, the Navigator’s tunnel, and closed the forward crew access door and added the rest to the Engineer’s station. Only 72 BBs in total but I think it will be enough.
I was going round and round with the interior colors, just when I thought I’d reached a conclusion I found an exception or a contrary opinion. Zinc Chromate is a preservative mixture, not a color, and there was a range of final appearances. After I saw a discussion where it was offered that Zinc Chromate Green was actually Yellow I’d had enough. It may be but I was done. The bomb bay is Alclad Aluminum, The Bronze Green in the cockpit is a mix of Mr. Color 511 and 326, the Zink chromate is a mix of 27 and 511.
I was doing the props, wheels, engines, and bombs as I was going along, and then realized that on the B-25 the bombs would be interior parts and easier to install before the fuselage halves were joined. I finished a mix which included several 250-pounders from the Arma Mustangs, in all enough for a 2,000-pound bomb load each for six aircraft.
Here is the Airfix B-25C which will have a glass nose with the interior completed and washed.
An overhead view showing a few additions. The yellow seat cushions are actually photographs of real cushions, reduced to scale and printed on photographic paper. I used the same trick to make instrument detail on the fuselage sides. Belts are masking tape, and I added armor behind the pilot and co-pilot’s seats.
This is the Hasegawa fuselage before being closed up. Both of the Hasegawa builds will have gun noses so there is a little less concern about getting enough weight, but I was taking no chances. If I end up with a tail-sitter I can close the forward access hatch and add weight there, as one option.
In a controversial move, The B-25G and B-25H did away with the co-pilot and moved the navigator to the starboard seat. He was also to serve as the loader for the 75 mm cannon carried by these variants. The gun was derived from the main gun carried by the Sherman tank, and packed a wallop. It was carried in the tunnel under the cockpit, filled here with BBs.

Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” of the 58th Shimbu-tai in 1/72 Scale

This is a re-build of an old Hasegawa kit to represent an aircraft of the 58th Shinbu-tai.  The original model was finished several decades ago.  It was repainted and received several detail enhancements, and decals for the Arma Hayate kits.  Tail markings are from an old SuperScale decal sheet.  The fuel truck is the old Hasegawa release form the 1970s, coincidentally another re-built kit.

Construction post here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/08/26/hasegawa-nakajima-ki-84-hayate-frank-rebuild/

North American B-25 Mitchell Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part I

Mitchells! This is a small batch of Mitchells, the 2018 Airfix C/D and the 2008 Hasegawa B-25H and J. These are both nice kits, but Mitchells came in a variety of variants and were subject to conversions and modification in the field. The Pacific Mitchells also present some painting challenges, but the artwork is irresistible.
Here are the main sprues from the Hasegawa kits. Parts breakdown is conventional, and these are molded in the typical Hasegawa hard plastic with finely engraved panel lines.
Sprue “C” has the tail assembly and various interior and detail parts. The fuselage gun packs are optional, not all Mitchells carried them. Locating holes for the gun packs are to be drilled out from the inside to accommodate aircraft with them. The kit provides only one style, so some subjects will need some help from the aftermarket.
Sprue “E” has the engine and other details, sprue “D” is interior parts. The engine is basic, but what is there is good and will look the part with a little added detail. The included bomb load is two 1,000-pound bombs. The interior bulkheads include sections of the main spars to help get the dihedral right.
The Hasegawa business model is to release several versions of the same basic kit with different detail parts and decals. On the top are the unique sprues for the B-25H, on the bottom sprue “M” and “J” are for the B-25J.
The Airfix B-25C/D is a quality kit, but the plastic is much softer the Hasegawa’s. The kit features finely engraved panel lines. Airfix has fired their trench digger, the panel lines on their more recent kits look just right. There is also subtle rivet and fastener detail in some areas which sets of the panel lines nicely. Note the bombay doors are molded into the interior detail – no broken doors on this model.
Sprue “C” has the engines, which are pretty well rendered. The kit provides optional flaps to represent both raised and lowered positions, but the raised option has a sink line through the middle which will require filling. The bomb load here is four 500-pound bombs.
The tail surfaces are all positionable. Also included are two options for the cowlings, one with the single exhaust port and the other with the individual ports.
There’s lots of aftermarket for the B-25, here is a sample. I am really impressed with the Master gun barrels, they are incredibly detailed and really draw the eye.
I began with the engines, Airfix is the lighter plastic, Hasegawa is darker. The top row is stock kit parts, the bottom row is dressed up a bit. For the Airfix engines I added ignition wires to the back row. For the Hasegawa engines I added wires and push rods.
Here are the main wheels with resin aftermarket – Airfix, Hasegawa, Eduard, and Quickboost. The Quickboost is the smallest of the group. From my perspective none of these are so bad they will detract from the finished model, your mileage may vary.
A comparison of the engine cowls, Quickboost on the left, Hasegawa on top, and Airfix below. The cowling opening is 36” in real life, which is 0.5” in 1/72 scale. I measured the openings, Quickboost came in at 0.508”, and went egg-shaped when I removed the casting block. Hasegawa was too small at 0.466”, which doesn’t sound like much but is noticeable. Airfix came in at 0.492″ but went to a perfect 0.500” after the interior mold seam was removed. I expanded the openings with a 0.5” drill bit from the garage, the widened kit parts are on the left, uncorrected parts on the right.

Hasegawa Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate “Frank” Rebuild

This is an older build of the Hasegawa Ki-84, which was first issued in 1987 according to ScaleMates. I recall building this one in 1985, so now I’m not sure when I originally completed it but it has been in the display case for years. It was painted to match a profile in Thorpe, but neither the model nor the research has aged well. Thorpe identified it as an aircraft from the 52nd Sentai, but current thinking is that the tail markings indicate it was actually from the 102nd Sentai and that the camouflage was a solid color, not mottled.
Somewhere along the line the tail wheel was lost, so that’s definitely something which needs repaired. Since I was building a batch of the new Arma Hayate I decided to dress this one up as I went along.
At the time the conventional wisdom was that everything inside a Japanese aircraft was supposed to be painted transparent blue, so that is what was done. I managed to pop off the canopy in one piece and repaint the interior green, adding masking tape seatbelts and an instrument panel while I was at it. I also added a landing light made from clear sprue to the leading edge of the wing. I blended this with superglue and filed it to shape before polishing it clear again.
I was also able to sand off the canopy framing and polish it clear. The canopy was then masked and put back into position, with any visible seams addressed with Perfect Plastic Putty.
I primed everything with Mr. Surfacer 1000 and this is where the Hasegawa kit shows its age. This must have been one of the last molds Hasegawa cut with raised panel lines before switching to recessed ones. The shape looks good, rescribing the panel lines would really make this kit pop.
I wanted to use the Brown over Gray Green scheme from the last months of the war. The browns were mixed with a few drops of Red and applied in thin layers with variations in the density to alter the tone.
I replaced the guns and pitot tube with Albion Alloys. The mask has been removed from the landing light on the wing. One thing I didn’t replace is the landing gear – the legs are much too thick.
I found a suitable replacement for the tail wheel in the spares box, the missing tail wheel was the proverbial camel’s nose in the tent which originally started the whole idea of a re-build. The bomb and drop tank are spares from the Arma Hayate, which was also the source for all the decals except for the tail markings, those are from a SuperScale sheet.
Here’s the old kit under a fresh coat of paint. While there’s no comparison to the new Arma kit, I couldn’t bear to throw this old bird away after all these years, and it will look just fine in the case with the others.

More photos here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/09/08/hasegawa-nakajima-ki-84-hayate-frank-of-the-58th-shimbu-tai-in-1-72-scale/

Hasegawa Grumman F4F-4 of Captain Marian Carl in 1/72 Scale

Marian Carl opened his account while flying from Midway Island on 04JUN42, downing a Zero.  He was among the ten fighters from VMF-221 to return to the island out of the twenty-five sent up that day.  Carl then deployed with VMF-223 to Guadalcanal, where he became the Marine Corps first ace, eventually raising his score to 16.5.  He returned to VMF-223 as Commanding Officer for a second tour in the Solomons, downing two more aircraft to bring his total to 18.5.

After the war Carl became a test pilot and set speed and altitude records.  He served in Vietnam, where he flew combat missions but refused official recognition or medals for his actions.  He retired from the Marine Corps as a Major General in 1973.  He was killed in 1998, protecting his wife from a home intruder.  He was 82 at the time of his death.