Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

HK Models 1/48 scale B-25J Mitchell “Glazed Nose” plastic model kit review

A new tool of a popular plane that doesn’t quite warrant the hefty price tag
Kit:01F008 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$139.99
HK Models
Building options; full engines; nice surface detail
Fuselage halves off sprue at the factory; ill-fitting turret; soft interior detail
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 237 parts (1 cast metal; 11 photo-etched metal); decals
Growing up in the late 1970s and early ’80s, I had two choices for a 1/48 scale B-25: Revell and Monogram. Revell’s was an early variant, with the top turret aft of the bomb bay, and rather gimmicky (supplanted in the ’90s by the excellent offering from Accurate Miniatures). Monogram offered the later variants with the turret forward of the bomb bay and 75mm cannon (for an H) or either glass- or hardnosed (for a J).

While possessing excellent interior detail, the Monogram kit’s raised panel lines on the exterior have fallen out of favor with most modelers. Can HK Models’ new B-25J do for the 50-year-old Monogram kit what Accurate Miniatures did for Revell’s?

More than 230 parts sport excellent recessed exterior detail and a full interior. From a parts breakdown, it looks like HK Models may be planning a strafing-nose J and a cannon-armed H for future release. Two small, photo-etched metal (PE) frets include seat belts, bolt-on cockpit armor, and glare shields for the leading-edge landing lights. Two styles of canopy and nose glazing are included to accommodate the choice of placing either three or five guns in the bombardier’s compartment.

Two decal options provide markings for an aircraft in olive drab over neutral gray and an overall bare metal scheme. Both have beautiful nose art.

The clear parts in my sample had a wavy, stippled, distorted texture I hoped a dip in Pledge Floor Gloss (PFG) would solve. Instead, the plastic parts or whatever agent was on them repelled the PFG. After cleaning with Windex and rinsing in warm water, I tried again with slightly better results. After repeating the process four times, I achieved satisfactory results.

The first construction step starts with the pedestal base of the top turret and the floor underneath. I followed the instructions but wished I had waited until the final assembly to glue the pedestal in place. Unless you get it perfect, you will have trouble adding the upper portion of the turret and fitting the clear dome in place later.

The instructions did not mention the decal for the instrument panel, and I question some interior color callouts. Check your references. The details in some areas, such as the tail-gun controls, are soft but look good once under glass.

I installed the interior fore to aft, as shown in the instructions, and had difficulty getting the bomb bay securely in place. I think it would have been easier to place the flight deck and the bay first, then trim the turret floor for an exact fit. The cast metal nose weight is a nice touch and fits securely.

HK Models removed the fuselage halves from the sprues before packaging. I wish it hadn’t. There were centimeter-long rough patches on the joining edges every two inches. Even after cleaning these up, the fuselage needed more filling and sanding than I would have liked. This means having to restore all the rivet detail and panel lines.

The fit of the tail structure was nearly perfect, as was the fit of the wings and nacelles. The flaps attach at the nacelle and the fuselage and fall out if the wing-to-fuselage joint moves even slightly, so make sure to glue it. Connecting the flaps directly to the wings would have been better.

I would have appreciated better alignment aids for the turret structure. Everything eventually fit under the domes but at the cost of skewing the guns resulting in the barrels toed in and unparallel.

The one-piece cowls are extraordinary and prove that manufacturers do not need multi-piece affairs to provide incredible detail. The cowl flap basically clicks in place, and the whole unit can slide over the engine.

The “glazed nose” bombardier’s section gets built and added just before the final assembly. Being overly cautious and not wanting a taildragger, I added some lead shot under the floor. While the starboard .50-cals mount to the floor, and a rack keeps them parallel to the centerline, the port guns just glue to the fuselage sides, toeing them in.

To correct the issue, I reamed both the guns and clear parts to align the barrels with the starboard ones. In fact, I did this to all the guns and mounts throughout the build so I could easily slide all the barrels in place after painting.

Antenna placement is only vaguely indicated in the instructions, and there’s no indication on the fuselage. References weren’t a great help, so I pulled a Monogram B-25 off my shelf and used the instruction in there as a guide. Add them after painting, not like I did.

The color chart in the instructions does not match the color charts on the decal sheets. For instance, H designates red in the former and orange in the latter. I found this out while placing decals and noticed that the cowl rings should be orange, not red.
The Indian head decals needed multiple coats of Microscale Micro Sol setting solution to shrink down over the complicated detail on the tails.

The HK Models 1/48 scale B-25J looks spectacular when finished, with top-notch surface detail, fantastic engines and cowls, and a good fit all around. HK captured the shape of the gull wings, which has proven difficult for other manufacturers.

HK Models’ kit does have some shortcomings, though. The flaps, turret, and interior detail could be better. Also, no resin details or precut masks are included, which would often come in a kit of this price.

Does HK’s B-25J surpass the Monogram kit? In many ways, most definitely. It still lacks the interior detail of the vintage kit, and I think the older model has a nicer turret. Plus, the grimy clear parts were an unforced error. But engineering and external details definitely go to HK. If you decide to take the plunge, make sure you have plenty of modeling experience.
Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Essential finishing techniques for scale modelers.
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our Privacy Policy.