Sunday, July 15

Zotz 1/72 B-25J Mitchell at War Pt. I Reviewed

We have already looked at this sheet in 1/32 scale but we thought we would check these two sheets off against each other and check them out for all of the 1/72 scale B-25 (glass nose) kit owners out there who desperately need some nice decals for their Mitchell – so without further ado we compare and contrast Zotz Mitchell at war Pt. I

Zotz 1/72 B-25J Mitchell at War Pt. I

Product #
Scales: 1/32 + 1/72 (Reviewed here)
Colour Schemes: Seven B-25J glass nose bombers
Printed by: Zotz in Mexico
Available from: Zotz Site where you can buy directly - Squadron, Sprue Brothers, Mid-Ten Hobbies, Stevens International, Hannants and Scott’s Model Workshop also carry this set if they are closer to you.
Price US $15 + P&P

The kit can be found in amongst the hobby shop shelves from Hasegawa, Revell and maybe even a rare Airfix version of this kit is available, but mostly the decals I have seen are pretty staid affairs. Zotz have come to the rescue with seven (!!) new colour schemes to choose from on your kit. We will look at each of the colour schemes and show you some pictures of the real thing while we are at it.

The decal sheet comes in a plastic resalable bag all the way from Mexico and were backed with a hard cardboard letter which is the norm with these decals – they have never been damaged in my experience and I have had a heap of them from Mexico to the UK so safe and fast delivery can be assured.

The contents of the pack included in this case

Inside the zip loc bag are two decal sheets of and two colour pages of instructions with profile sand history of the aircraft on them. This decal set also comes with small a vinyl mask of the front of the B-25 “Sag Harbor Express” so you can apply the blue colour right to the nose instead of forming a large decal to transparencies – a good thing too – this would have been tricky otherwise, this will help you out amazingly with your painting, I couldn’t imagine making it myself in this scale. 

The instructions come on two double sided sheets of coloured glossy paper which has the front cover image one side – the seven profiles on two sides and the top and bottom profiles on the last side. Let’s start with this page…

The top and bottom profile page comes complete with colour matches for all of the aircraft and a top and bottom profile of the B-25 complete with placement of the decals.

This sheet also explains where exactly you place the guns on these aircraft, a really handy tip if all you had a was a picture to go on of one view (and sometimes not even that) For instance you go from a single nose gun on “Angel of Mercy” to nine on the Apache Princess – this is a really handy reference if you cannot fit pictures on the sheets – well done.

This part of the instructions also has the placement of the vinyl masking sheet on it as well – this is for the “Sag Harbor Express” decal choice where the front of the glass nosed aircraft has been painted over in a deep blue colour and this is a much better way of doing it rather than wrapping a large decal around the area and dealing with lots of split decals you have to match together.

The supplied sheet of decals:

Before we look at the decals for each aircraft we will give you an overview of the sheet on offer. You don’t get aircraft stencils, but you do get a large set of stars and bars for one aircraft and of course the individual markings for each kite. The decals are printed by Zotz themselves in Mexico and on examination  they are printed finely with some tiny detail replicated very well in real life – the decals have as little carrier film as the need and are of a satin finish when applied.
The decals held to the light so you can see the thickness and carrier film - a plethora of colours are here that all look good and strong.

The white is strong and not opaque and the printing is in register with everything coming in neatly where it should be within the artwork. The decal is strong and settles down very nicely into the laser cut rivets – more on the application of the decals later. I am more than happy with the artwork and the colours, thickness and minimal carrier film.

Road test - The Application:

The decals were going down on a bed of Testors aluminium plate and a coat or two of future to seal it. (These are the set of the 1/32 scale decals for the same set but larger scale we already reviewed)
With some Micro sol in these pictures you can see how well these decals adhered to the fine detail of the kit.
The profiles and research:

On these instruction sheets you also have two sides dedicated to the seven aircraft’s profile – showing where to apply decal with some little supplemental drawings on the occasional added decal in other spots on the aircraft that need to be identified. We will go through them one by one and I will show you close-ups of the artwork on display.

B-25J "Nasty Nancy" s/n 43-36001 of the 75th BS, 42nd BG "Crusaders", 13th AF, based in the Philippines during 1945.
 Nasty Nancy is seen here in Olive Drab/ neutral Grey colours with the lovely lady riding a long bomb surrounded by the American style stars on the starboard nose section with the "Nasty Nancy" and the 42nd bomb group's "Crusaders" shields on both vertical tails.

The 42nd Bomb Group's Mission #48 was assigned to the men of B-25J “Nasty Nancy”.  Their job was to fly in circles at 10,000’ over the city of Saigon, in broad daylight and lure Japanese fighters into a dogfight. This aircraft was credited with four shot down in this action.

B-25J "Milk Run" s/n 43-3890 of the 82nd BS, 12th BG "Earthquakers", 10th AF, based in India during 1944-45.
 A censored pic. from the war With Milk run in the foreground
 The 12th Bomb group all liked to incorporate their mascot into their colourful machines - this one - "Milk Run" was well documented during the war and you can see even in the censored picture the dogs on the front and the ID number on the tail - the Serial number however is censored in this picture
The decal of the dogs carrying clubs with a nail sticking out of the adorned the port nose of the aircraft and following the big dog - (with teats) hence the expression "Milk Run" - which was also used for and easy or boring mission. Easy i suppose if you carry a big stick! Here is the nose section so you can compare the artwork. I think the artwork is pretty spot on.
There is also the large "46" ID Number on the aircraft and the correct serial number of "33890" on the tail supplied in these decals

B-25J "Sheridan Express" s/n 43-3958 of the 22nd BS, 341st BG,  14th AF, based at Yangkai, China in the summer of 1945.
 Named and painted in a morning in honour of the famous Anne Sheridan who visited the aircraft's CBI base in 1945. Armed with only a rough sketch the artist drew and painted (with the aid of a stick and about two inches of frayed rope as a brush) the famous lady on the port nose.
The red colour of the hair was apparently the focus point on the real aircraft's art. Apparently on arrival at the base Ms. Sheridan turned out to be a blonde when she finally arrived at the base!!
 Apparently the C/O of the unit thought that the artwork was too bright and would attract the attention of the enemy - so it was removed shortly after Ms. Sheridan's visit - what a shame!

B-25J "Angel of Mercy" s/n 43-35982 of the 428th BS, 310th BG, 12th AF, based at Corsica during 1945.
The only natural metal aircraft in this decal set it is also the lightest defensively armed and an aircraft attached to a dramatic set of photographs. You can see in this rare colour picture (right) from the war that the  nurse has been captured in the artwork in style as well as in the right colours - truly lucky to have such good photographs to work from Zotz have yielded a good result here -  the decal is on the left of course!!
This is B-25J "Angel of Mercy" of the 310th Bombardment Group, 428th Bombardment Squadron stationed at Ghisonaccia, Corsica. See the "Angel of Mercy" crash-landing article here - a great little connection to these decals that have been captured pretty well here

 Pictures of the crash - You can see on the tail that the yellow band on the vertical tails is outlined by three black stripes - I think it must have been a late change but it is clearly marked here not to use the second set - kudos to Zotz for holding back and making sure this is just right on the finished product instead of simply just not bothering.

B-25J "Sag Harbour Express" s/n 43-36030 of the 499th BS, 345th BG "Air Apaches",  5th AF, based in the Philippines during early 1945.
Take note that this 345th BG "Air Apache" machine had an extra MG in the nose just like "Apache Princess" which is also featured on this sheet. It is nice to get the information on the sheet - very hard to find a picture of this aircraft. Right here though is the decal o f the bat which goes over the blue which you used with the supplied mask.
The decals and the mask for the blue nose colour - much better than a massive decal it would be a lot easier to just trace the outline decal around the nose - smart thanking and easier for the modeller. the writing is looking like a match to me in the size and font - I couldnt really find any other wartime photos of this bird. Also included (and noted on the decal sheet are the white bands around the engine cowling to edge the blue, the small bat around the centre nose .50cal gun an the large mouth and eyes on the nose which simply go on top of the blue nose.
"Sag Harbor Express" piloted by Lt. Arthur Browngardt of Sag Harbor, Long Island, NY of the 499th Bomb Squadron "Bats Outa Hell", 345th Bomb Group "Air Apaches" based in Tacloban, Philippines. The aircraft was on a low level strafing mission and dropping parafrags over Clark field on January 7, 1945 when it was hit by Japanese anti-aircraft fire on the right engine. Losing power and altitude, it lost control and clipped the roof of the Catholic Parish Church in the town of Angeles (now Angeles City) and crashed to a nearby school Holy Angel Academy (now Holy Angel University) killing the entire crew. Parts of this aircraft are on display at the Holy Angel Academy museum and a helmet from it was donated to another local museum.
B-25J "Apache Princess" s/n 43-28152 of the 501st BS, 345th BG "Air Apaches", 5th AF, based in the Philippines during the spring of 1945.

 Apache Princess is currently flying today - but don't be taken in - this is not the wartime airframe but a different aircraft painted new 9 not very good) nose art. This aircraft S/N 43-36030 was another Olive Drab/Neutral grey ship from the "Air Apaches" bomb group. Note the red cowling intakes and white stripe mid-way through the wing. The nose art again matches very well the original wartime shot.
Again pictures of this wartime aircraft are scarce - the real kite was shot down by Japanese AA fire in May 1945 - here thought at least is a picture of the tail art of another aircraft from that group so we can see the similarities

B-25J "Green Dragons" s/n 43-27971 of the 405th BS, 345th BG "Sunsetters", 5th AF, based at Morotai during late 1944.
Oww well here I go again only one picture of this quite famous aircraft from a well-known group - all of the dragons in this group had slightly different green dragons on their fuselages - so I am going only from this picture but what Zotz have done passes for accurate to me.
The shot is colourized so ignore that - but just look at the shape is all I can say.
This bird is well known from the dispatches - here is the gun camera footage from the mission in which it took on the Japanese freighter the "Takasu Maru"
 As far as I am concerned I put a lot of work into researching this review and if the guys at Zotz did their due diligence as well and they must have doubled that in research - It is clear to me the replication of these decals and the artwork here shows that the research has been done and the artwork is great.

A great thing for 1/72 scale modellers that they can have these great markings in their own scale – there is also a “Gun Nose sheet from Zotz available now on their site with five different markings so if you have a 1/72 B-25 you also have no excuse now to make it!!

Great work to the Eli and the team at Zotz!!

Adam Norenberg

You can order this decal sheet from the Zotz Decals excellent new website or from the other stores mentioned in the header of this review