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The Battle of Britain and
The Psychedelic Monster

by Terry Moore

 

North American B-25J Mitchell
converted to cinema camera ship for shooting of the movie, "The Battle of Britain"

 


Revell-Monogram's 1/48 scale B-25J  is available online from Squadron.com for less than $20.00

 

Introduction

 

After watching the Movie Battle of Britain in the theatre (I stayed for 3 straight showings the day it premiered in Seattle) it marked a point where I became very interested in movie airplanes.

I found a book about the time the movie was released entitled Battle of Britain, the Making of a Film, by Leonard Mosley, which covered the production of the film. Amongst all the Spitfires, Hurricanes, "Heinkels", and "Messerschmitts" was this very brightly colored aircraft with the interesting nickname Psychedelic Monster. It was Jeff Hawke's B-25 and was utilized as the camera ship for the production. I thought that a model of the Monster would be really different.

 

 

Unfortunately, there was not enough information on the airplane at the time and my intent to build the Monster was delayed until very recently when I found another book about the production, Battle of Britain, the Movie, by Robert Rudhall. There were considerably more photos of the Monster, enough to allow me to build a model. So, 30 plus years later I was finally able to start my own Monster.

 

 

Construction

 

I used the Monogram B-25 as my basis for the Psychedelic Monster. It's an older, but decent kit.

The model was basically built out of the box except I removed the armor panel from the sides of the nose under the cockpit and modified the engine exhausts. \

The clear nose camera position was a vacuformed copy of the nacelle end cap from the Polar Lights USS Enterprise star ship, attached to the nose and faired in with styrene and putty. I also opened up the tail gun position and added the wind deflector and extension from sheet styrene.

The upper blisters were from a Monogram B-29, as was the 2nd football antenna.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

The challenge for this model is the wild paint scheme. I assembled the model but left the wings off to make painting easier(it was!). When I paint a model, I just grab the closest color to the one I need off the paint rack, this model included. I end up with a variety of paint types.

I painted the wings with Floquil white, Floquil yellow and Testor's black.

My choice of masking material is Tamiya tape, and to put it mildly, I used a bunch!

The fuselage was painted with Model Master red, Tamiya white and green, and Alclad II for the forward fuselage.

I had a friend create the movie logo on the nose in Illustrator and he kindly printed me a set on his ALPS printer as well.

 

 

After the decals were applied I glued the wings to the fuselage.

Prior to painting I made sure that the fit was good enough so that no putty would be required. It was not.

 

 

Finishing Touches

 

Due to the fragility of the landing gear (I broke the nose gear a few times) I decided not to add weight to the nose, so I put a crewman at the rear hatch and he is actually holding up the model.

The last bit of detailing I did was to lightly draw over the raised panel lines with a sharp mechanical pencil, to bring some of the details out. Also, when I posted a photo on HyperScale's Plastic Pix forum some time ago, it was suggested that I add some exhaust streaks, which I did, using pastel chalk.

It certainly adds a bit of color to my display case - and that's putting it mildly!

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

 

B-25 Mitchell Units of the MTO
Combat Aircraft 22
Author: Steve Pace
Illustrator: Jim Laurier
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: 12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 April 25, 2002
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1841762849
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Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2005 by Terry Moore
Page Created 16 May, 2005
Last Updated 15 May, 2005

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