Monday, May 12

AC Models 1/32nd scale WWII B-25 Mitchell crew -ready to take off in our review

Modellers have been crying out for more aircraft crew in 1/32nd scale – and the call is slowly being answered. Pilots and a crewman here and there – but then the large scale bombers arrive! Lucky for us AC models have a new 32nd scale full crew of six for the B-25 that we have built up today in our review…

WWII B-25 Mitchell crew
AC Models
1/32 (54mm) scale
Kit contains six figures
Parts all cast in grey resin.
Available from AC Models Distributors worldwide

For as long as I have been a modeller interested in larger scale kit – since I was a boy I suppose- 1/32nd has been rare air when It comes to kits. The trickle has turned into a flow recently. Companies are now taking a punt and releasing larger and very complex kits with BIG models. HK Models as an example have made the B-17 and the B-25 bombers in 32nd scale. Apart from a kit from Legend in Korea (in 35th scale no less) there has not been a whole bomber crew set released to the market yet in this scale.
AC Models from New Zealand has release a figure set of  six WWII B-25 Mitchell crew figures in 1/32 (54mm) scale. It seems this is the remedy to all of those big bombers with no one to populate them, and so as soon as we saw them we thought it might be good to show them off to you. The anticipation was heightened when we looked at one of AC Models kits recently – the 75mm USMC stretcher team in the Pacific, Peleliu. We liked it and thought the sculptor had a lot of quality.
With this new release we got the box of six figures packed with polystyrene padding and the individual figures were in a package with each almost vac sealed individually so you do not get the figure’s parts mixed up.
Here they are all “wrapped in plastic”
The resin / casting.

I see that Yannis Sagiadinos of YS Miniatures has done the casting for AC Models and his work is very clean. There is a little extra resin here and there – especially in the back of the necks of the figures. This isn’t a big deal and it can be cleaned up pretty easily.
There are also two figures with a seam running down one side and this again can be cleaned up without too much of a problem. The undulating wrinkles of the uniform keep the removal a delicate but really an easy job to clean up the figures.

The slight seams are easily cleaned up even in the thick wrinkled clothing.
There are some casting block remnants to remove on the feet and on the inside of the arm joints. A sharp knife and some careful cutting (careful of those fingers) leave you with some arms which join the body without a problem.
This photo shows how similar but different the crews were attired.

In the box
The six figures in the kit also include parachutes and flight helmets as well as the extra dangling parachute harness straps that hang off the figures. When I refer to these figures ill talk about them as you see them on the boxart – numbered one – six from left to right.
Each of these aircrew wear an AN-6513 1A parachute with its Q.A.C. (quick attachable chest) harness on their chest as well as a “Mae West” inflatable life vest. Shackles and clasps detail out these figure’s torso’s nicely as the harness straps dangle between the legs.
The parachutes are very nicely sculpted and look as good as any aftermarket chutes we have seen. Just as nice as the True Details parachutes that are on the market and there is even the detail of the chords is visible.
The type B-2 leather and wool lined flying cap was a great warm weather hat for flight and ground crews. They were very popular in the European theatre of operations especially.  Two of these figures are wearing the cap on top of thick tousled hair. 
These aircrew (nos: 2 and 4) have these on their heads and they sag quite correctly as the peak becomes a bit flappy with age as do the side flaps. These are very worn looking and the fur lined side flaps and thick leather will weather under a drybrush very well.

Two flyers are wearing the USAAF officers visor cap is made from Olive drab wool on the cap’s top with a woven center band and leather visor on the peaked front. The large badge – which can be clearly seen on the resin figures, is actually an American Eagle with stars and stripes on the shield that resides on the eagle’s chest. The eagle’s right claw holds laurel, while in the left claw, he holds a bundle of arrows.
I would think that the two figures wearing these crusher hats are the pilot and co-pilot as they aren’t carrying their own chutes either! Then again one of these might be a navigator as the captain wearing a flat crusher cap is the pilot/ aircraft commander.

No: 1 – front left
This figure is made up of three grey resin parts which consist of the legs and torso with a left arm that – like the feet has a small casting block to remove. The head is attached to a collar section of the service shirt that simply slips into the neck joint of this figure’s torso (don’t nearly cut the block off like I nearly did!)

The head’s crusher cap is worn looking at the peak and it sits pretty well on the head while the face is nicely realistic. Just like the rest of these figures the wrinkles on the arms and legs along with the pinched cloth on the helmet really do look heavy and well worn.
The legs are all as on piece with the torso – the left arm is a separate part that has small casting blocks on the inside of the joints. These are a little careful work to remove.
The pilot carries his leather flying helmet in his left hand as he struts forward. The separate parachute straps dangle between his legs. His body language is seen looking to the left towards his comrades as they go forward.

No: 2 – second to the left
Four parts of this figure in resin make this flyer as he is seen – like his comrades strutting forward on the tarmac.
Both of his arms are separate and must be removed carefully from casting blocks. Both of his hands have straps moulded into them which you must be careful not to grip too hard as you remove the casting blocks. I broke one of these off but it wasn’t a problem to re-join them to the hands.
I think he is wearing a pair of flying overalls as his legs are wrapped in quite baggy pants. His collar pops out of his inflatable vest as the straps for his harness joins between the legs. They flop nicely.
This young man has a tuft of hair protruding from under his A2 leather flying cap. He is carrying his own chute and flying helmet in his hands as he walks forward. His collar and upward glance make him look youthful and enthusiastic. 

No: 3 – centre left
This figure has four parts in grey resin that make him up. Again his head slips right into his torso joint easily (like the others you can turn his head to either side if you wish) and he is wearing nothing on his head. Thick tousled hair in short back and sides is the order of the day.
Again he has a casting block attached to the feet and his arms that simply snips off without collateral damage. Again you need to just take care to not break the straps in his hands whilst removing the blocks.
Baggy trousers wrinkle and drape around his legs as he walks forward, his harness joins under the torso again and he is carrying his padded leather helmet and hefty back parachute.
Here he is all made up and looking pretty dashing – like from a propaganda photo almost or a LIFE photograph. 

No: 4 – centre right.
As he walks forward you really notice how much smaller this figure is – he trails behind a little in this dio and I think he could be the young pup of the crew. It is certainly shown on his fine – almost pretty face which adorns a B-2 leather flying cap.
The inflatable vest, baggy pants and hefty chute also serve to make this flyer a little smaller looking. His left arm has straps coming out of the hands which dangle even lower between his legs than his fellow crew members. His back is nearly bent with the weight of his ‘chute and his flying helmet he is carrying while trying to catch up to his mates.
  The large vest on his chest and inflatable life vest hold up his collar which even more makes him look smaller than his comrades. I like the slight variation in size. The equipment is the same so he is in the same scale – he is just a smaller bloke.

No 5:  Second to the right figure
This figure I think is the captain of the “ship”. He is wearing a flat forage-style side cap on his head which sports the two bars of a captain’s rank. He is carrying his own chute again like most of his comrades.
His arms are a separate join to the body and the right arm is kind of odd – if you don’t look too hard you are ok but the more you look at it it can look a little odd..
It sits in there just fine but as he is gesturing in an “OK” gesture - the arm is just a little anaemic. I would fill this little to enlarge the root of the arm. Then again it looks just fine – I think I might be looking a little too hard!

 No 6: The last figure on the right
This is probably the co-pilot or pilot. He interesting to me as he harries an M1 helmet which often flyers did. He is also wearing the officers crusher peaked cap and his facial figures sports massive grin as he looks to the right. I think he is conversing with the figure on the immediate right of him who I think is the aircraft commander.
Like his comrades, he wears an AN-6513 1A parachute with its Q.A.C. (quick attachable chest) harness that again dangles between his legs behind him as he struts forward.
His left and right arms are separate and fit in through some locking notches which are really convenient (after the casting blocks come off) – his right arm is a little tricky to fit but after it all goes together looks great.

He looks so happy as he walks forward and looks to the right.

The groundwork
The groundwork here is quite convincingly like a small piece of tarmac. Lines of concrete and some subtle tyre track and even more subtle feet treads are a good general guide to securely locate these figure on the very handy base.
Here they are all made up - They look very happy as a group - i think they are all on the satisfying walk after the end of a mission - though they can be placed at any time this is the feeling i get from their animated faces and poses
The sculptor here and I like the look of his hand’s work. He has a definite style of his own and is an artist indeed.
Although I find them a little stylized these are leaning to the right side of that curve. The figures are pretty easy to put together and they look very “layered” as the flying underclothes – the jackets then the harness, life preserver all add another layer to the painting. The rear of the figures are just as layered with the harnesses and the choice of slightly different clothing on each of these figures adds to the real life situation you would most definitely find in real life. 
A great set with a lot of painting potential, This is also a much-needed set which I think should sell very well. You could split them up into smaller crews but this would almost be a shame. Well done on this set to AC Models

Adam Norenberg

This set is now available from AC Models’ Distributors Thanks to them for sending this to us to build and review..