1/48 B-25B “Doolittle Raider”

Last night I was trying to decide the next build. With yesterday being December 7th, TCM was showing some of the old war movies. They were showing the classic “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”. So I decided to build the Accurate Miniatures 1/48 B-25B “Doolittle Raiders”. This should be a nice build with lots of details being added. I will be doing the “Ruptured Duck” which was the aircraft followed in the film.

The “Ruptured Duck” was the 7th aircraft to take off of the USS Hornet. It was piloted by 1st Lt. Ted Lawson. He survived the raid and wrote the book on which the movie was based on. I will be adding the Eduard photo etch detail kit which details the complete interior. Starting on the cockpit now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detailed and finished the cockpit. Started to paint and detail the bomb bay area. Waiting to assemble the bomb bay until I get to the fuselage so that everything lines up.  The kit has a butt fit for the bulkheads so I want to make sure they fit correctly. Still need to weather/highlight the bomb bay area. On the Doolittle raiders aircraft to reduce weight the tail gun was replaced with broomsticks to reduce weight. However the upper turret still had the machine guns. I am replacing the plastic barrels with photo etch and wire and detailing the turret support.

 

 

 

 

For this week’s update I am working on the interior. The rear upper turret is together and detailed. I added a piece of clear acetate for the safety glass on the turret. The cockpit and bomb bay bulkheads have been installed. I then finished the starboard side of the fuselage and added weights so the aircraft won’t sit on its tail when finished. Still lots more details to add and finish the port side.

 

 

A special update before the holidays. The Doolittle Raiders carried three 500lbs bombs and a 100lbs incendiary bomb for their load out. After some research the incendiary bomb was an OP-1664 spec bomb. It consisted of 32 individual bomblets. Each bomblet was packed with a thermite package in a steel tube and an aluminum hollow tail. The rods were strapped together with canvas straps and aluminum end caps. When released, the canvass straps were released allowing the rods to separate during the fall and spread out over the area.  On impact the explosive charge ignited the thermite and dispersed it similar to a roman candle spreading burning thermite in a 50 foot radius.

The kit does not include this bomb. So I took 32 1mm styrene rods and cut the 1” long and arranged them in a section cut from a drinking straw. This was then glued to a styrene base. I removed the straw section and then added the rest of the rods to the bomb. I used a strip of styrene and some 32awg wire on the top and found some photo etch straps to wrap them. Finally I removed one of the rack mounts from one of the 1000lbs bombs in the kit and attached it to the top. I painted it the colors I could find for OP-1664’s that were used in the pacific. Steel nose where the thermite sits, steel center section where the explosive and trigger is and aluminum where the tail is. The rest of the body was painted medium gray. The incendiary bomb was then mounted in the # 4 position in the bomb bay.

The fuselage was then put together. This required minor putty on some of the seams. I added some weights to the nose behind the dash and installed the detailed nose bulkhead. I am now working on the nose section. For the Doolittle raiders the Norton Bombsights were removed so the design would not fall into enemy hands and a basic bombsight was made. This bombsight was nicknamed the “Mark Twian” bombsight. Using photos of the actual bombsight, I scratch built mine using a piece of styrene and a strip of photo etch for the guide. Still working on detailing the side of the nose.

 

 

With the fuselage together, I worked on the engines and some more details. I assembled the bombardier section to the front. I added a “Field Upgrade” they did to the B-25. This added an armor plate to the top of the fuselage just aft of the upper turret. The kit engine cowls have too small of an opening for the B-25B. I used a round dowel and some 400 grit sandpaper to open them up by .05”. The engines did not have the pushrods molded on them (and no parts in the kit to add them) so I used some 32 awg wire and made my own.  Once the cylinders were cleaned up, painted and weathered I added the photo etch wire harness and installed the front engine cover. Next I will be working on the wings.

Starting to look like a B-25B! The tails and wings are on. The fit was pretty good. Some very minor filling of small gaps was required.  I then turned to the bomb bay doors. The photo etch parts completely replace the kit parts. Each door consists of five pieces. I used an aluminum handle of an Xacto knife to place and shape the curve of the door to match the fuselage. The inside of the doors were painted bright aluminum then weathered slightly with black pastel chalk. I am now working on the landing gear. The photo etch details have been added to the struts.

Continuing forward the bomb bay doors have been now installed. The landing gear has been detailed and installed. I added the crew hatches and other details to the bottom. The bottom has been base coated with neutral grey and the top base coated with OD green. Need to tape off for the boot black areas and add some details to the top then move on to the decals.

This has been a difficult week on the B-25B. Calling this the good, the bad , and the ugly week. The good is paint and decals done. The aircraft is nearly done with the exception of some minor details. I will be mounting it onto a resin base that looks like the deck of the USS Hornet. It will be tied down just like it was on its journey across the Pacific. The base is the Eureka XXL USN Aircraft Carrier Wooden Deck Base. It comes with a resin insert, wooden frame, and steel arresting cables. It is very nice and very detailed. I used a teak colored primer then top coated it with deck blue. I weathered it using some sandpaper and pastel chalk. The fit of the kit has been very good with minimal gaps.

For how I did the recognition lights check out my tutorial in the tips and tricks area. Recognition Lights

The bad is the decals. The kit decals are poor. They are slightly off register and very thick. I had a rough time getting them to adhere to the model.

And finally for the ugly part. The Ruptured Duck logo aside from being difficult to adhere also was not very accurate and the coloring is wrong. It actually came off while I was painting the recognition and formation lights. After some internet searching I found the logo that closely resembles the original (as described in the book “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo”)  and was used on the aircraft from the movie. I had to make my own decal for this. It looks a lot better than the kit decal.

Stay tuned as I near completion of this kit representing a historic aircraft.

The B-25B is now complete! It has been mounted to the deck and tied down. I used Berkley 50lbs test braided fishing line to simulate the ropes. Then I used two tweezers to make the knots. Finally they were then painted with Tamiya Buff (XF57). Once it was mounted I used EZ-Line to rig the antenna lines.  Aside from the issue with the decals I really liked this build. The kit is well detailed and the fit was very good. It now sits on the display shelf while I decide what the next build will be.

 

 

2 thoughts on “1/48 B-25B “Doolittle Raider”

  1. Hi there and thanks for posting your progress! I have this kit in the stash and it will be built one day. Question for you: when you say “corrected cowl” what does that mean? What is wrong with the kit cowl?

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    1. The front opening of the cowl is too small of a diameter. It needs to be opened up by .05 inches.

      Like

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