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P-51D Mustang

The second P-51

Kit

Kit Manufacturer

Scale

Price

Options

Out of Box (OOB) or Modified

Rating (1-10 10=best)

P-51D Mustang

Monogram

1:48

$8

Markings, exhaust

7

Note: Second aircraft added 6-18-03

The P-51D Mustang is one of the most recognizable aircraft to come out of World War II. Developed from the earlier Allison powered P-51 and P-51A, through the Merlin powered P-51B/C, it finally gave the right combination of range and performance to escort the heavy bombers over Germany and give the Luftwaffe a run for its money.

This is the old (but good) Monogram kit. The molds are starting to show their age, as the fit's a little worse for wear, but it still goes together rather well (and holds its own compared to newer releases, moreso for being under $10!)

The kit itself is quite simple to build. Most assemblies are well made and well thought out, and the new instruction sheet (where was it when I first built this?!?) is very clear. The cockpit interior is Interior Green or Zinc Chromate Green. The wheel wells, gun wells, and engine "bay" are Zinc Chromate (yellow.) On this sample, the engine "bay" didn't go together very well (just the underside of the nose, really,) so I glued the cover shut. If you can fit this together decently, it's nicely engraved and detailed.

The kit decals are acceptable, allowing you to build "Big Beautiful Doll" or one other aircraft, "Miss Marilyn." Aftermarket sheets are available for P-51s, (several just from Aeromaster) if you're interested in other markings. As most D-model P-51s were delivered to the USAAF in natural metal, I finished mine with Rub'n Buff. It took two applications, but turned out relatively decently. Coat it with Future to keep any other masking from pulling up the coat (though it's easy enough to put back,) or paint the olive drab glare panel first and mask it off. (Rub'nBuff will cover it.) One other thing to note - the wings were not natural metal, but aluminum laquer - to maintain their laminar flow properties. The fuselage is natural metal, and should show some metal shading differences.

I picked up a few Aeromaster sheets - covering any variant from the P-51b to the P-51k. They make excellent decals. I took a little time to figure out which scheme I wanted to do, and finally - more for the mustang on the side of the nose than anything else - decided to do a P-51d from the 2nd Air Commando Group, 10th AF, from the Pacific P-51D Mustang Part II sheet (it also kept me from having to match yellow or blue paint to the decals.) The decals are set up for the Hasegawa P-51d, which is apparently different slightly in dimensions from the Monogram kit. The decals worked out OK though (those lightning bolts were a bit more of a pain than I anticipated.) I'll have to try the Hasegawa kit out with some of the others.

With that, the model was finished - some work, given the age of the kit introducing small fit problems, but no big deal. It's a good kit, and again - for less than $10, you get an accurate kit that doesn't look bad at all. Reccommended.

6-18-03: Well, I've just finished a second one recently - the other "in the box" markings of Miss Marilyn. I mostly didn't want to deal with another all-metal-finish aircraft after building a Hawk 75 / P-36G in Peruvian markings. This one is partially silver (finished with sprayed on silver paint, SNJ polishing powder, and a few BareMetal Foil panel highlihgts) with most of the rear of the aircraft in Medium Green.

I'd say the molds are getting older... there was a bit more flash this time around, plus some fit problems. The nose required a good bit of sanding to get rid of the seam "step." Still, it went together reasonably well. The biggest issue, for me, was the gun bay on the wing - I opted to close it this time, and not put in the gun detail. The bay covers didn't want to fit well at all, and frankly... it looks butchered.

In construction Construction was otherwise similar. I used something new to mask the cockpit (canopy not attached,) intakes, and wheel wells - Silly Putty. Yep, the stuff in the "egg." It actually works rather well - just be careful of "strings." After the silver paint was dry, I actually hand-brushed PollyScale Medium Green onto the fuselage. I guessed at where the stripe was going to go (provided as a decal.) i actually fell a little short, and had to do some touch-up, but it came out reasonably well. Note that if you do this scheme, you'll want strong decal solvent - Solvaset works - and a lot of it, for the checks on the nose.It helps with everything else, too - like the top insignia, which covers an aileron actuator. I did use the decals for the wing stripes - they fit nicely, settled down with the solvent, and didn't give a problem. I also covered the green areas with Future mixed with Gunze Sangyo Flat Base. I've gotten to love this stuff - it can be hand-brushed on, come out streak free, and evens everything out. Trust me... you want to use this as a final coat.

Still a reccommended kit... just be aware they are old molds, and may develop fit issues.

Completed Miss Marilyn