P-51B Mustang “Phony Pony!”

KIT #: RIF RAF Spitsfire - Kit #85-1738, Messa Schnitzel 109 – Kit #85-1746
PRICE: $12.99  MSRP ea
DECALS: Used ones from various old Mustang kits.
REVIEWER: Bryan Bodily



For all you rivet counters: Put down the magnifying glass and the calipers and step away! This model was never intended to win an IPMS contest. It was a, “I wonder if I could” kind of model. My brother thought that it was something to write about and I said maybe it is.


The “Phony Pony” P-51B Mustang is a kind of Frankenstein model based on two Revell kits; the RIF RAF Spitfire and the Messa Schnitzel 109. The majority of the plane is from the Messa Schnitzel kit. This project start out as a “fun” project and it ended as such, with little concern of scale, panel line, correct dimensions, and correct colors used. I am sure that if Revell wanted to create this neat example of a famous plane the detail would look better.


I wanted it to resemble the “Ding Hao!” P-51B. I think I came fairly close. Ok, ok… the tail numbers are not correct and most of the markings, but who cares!




This project contains two kits (RIF RAF Spitfire and the Messa Schnitzel 109) and is not for those who would be concerned about starting with two kits and end with one model.  There is a bit of cutting, sanding and good ole’ eye balling it. The decals are from both 1/32 and 1/48 scale Mustangs. I have thought about creating a semi-kit for this project if there is enough interest. This is not for the beginner. It is up to you on how much detail you choose to add. Just remember this is for fun!


The kits are a nice change of pace and never meant to be on the same detail scale level as Hasegawa or Tamiya. This is exactly why they are so much fun! Unlike a real scale project… if you mess up, and destroy a scale feature, the IPMS contest win is lost. Not so with this plane! Who cares? Fix it and it is still “scale”!


I began this project by first building a Revell RIF RAF, which is a fun kit! When the Messa Schnitzel 109 came out I bought it and started to scope it out. I notice immediately that some of the parts were exactly the same. I think it is great that Revell could come up with two kits for planes that were on opposing sides during WW II (well, not exactly these planes) and have them easily recognizable. I then thought, “I wonder what other plane can be created by using the majority of the same parts?” I started by hand drawing the future model on a piece of paper and the Phony Pony is the end result.




 1)    You need to go to your local hobby store and purchase a Revell RIF RAF Spitfire and the Messa Schnitzel 109 before they are out of production. I purchased my kits at a great local shop. I am a stock holder (I think so, because of my “investments”) and paid dividends in models, but don’t tell my wife!

2)     Remove the main fuselage, tail sections, propeller, propeller shaft, exhaust pipes, cockpit piece, and wing from the Messa Schnitzel 109 kit. Then remove the canopy, turtle deck, propeller, propeller shaft, pilot, and the spinner from the RIF RAF Spitfire kit.

3)     Use a propeller shaft from one of the kits and cut the props into individual sections. Be careful to separate them as even as you can. The rest of this requires a “sand and fit” task to create the four bladed prop around the prop shaft. Try not to glue the blades to the shaft. Use the RIF RAF spinner and fill in two of the prop holes on the spinner. I used styrene sheet pieces and putty. I like the Tamiya putty the best. Take the spinner back plate and remove all the prop cradles (I do not know what else they would be called). The lone remaining cradle is used to align the back plate and the spinner. Place the completed four bladed prop on the back plate and place it over the other good remaining prop shaft (that was not accidently glued to the prop). Mark where the blades will protrude out. Cut and fit as necessary to make it work.

4)     Assembly of the Messa Schnitzel 109, I meant the Phony Pony’s wing. I removed the wheel wells in the attempt to create Mustang inward retracting landing gear wells and found that the wing was becoming very hard to hold all together. So I opted to fill in the holes by gluing styrene sheet material over the holes and filling as needed with additional material and putty. Place styrene pieces behind the radiator holes. Remove the radiator scoops off the bottom of the wing and fill as needed. I used styrene sheets and sanded them flush.

5)     Now it is time to split the wing. If you choose not to split the wing it is OK. I did this because it gives that distinct Mustang shallow tapered leading edge with the steeper taper trailing edge. Mark the center of the wing. Now use a razor saw to cut through the center section (do not cut it length wise), BUT not all the way. Leave a little of the wing connected to help with aligning. The wing is separated 7/16” at the training edge. Then cut a piece of styrene to be glued on the inside surface of the wing to maintain the spacing. Glue an addition piece to fill in the gap. Sand as needed.

6)     Shape the tail feathers to a Mustang tail feather shape. Glue the two horizontal stabs together and sand and fill as needed.

7)     Place the RIF RAF turtle deck on the Messa Schnitzel’s fuse. Remove the vertical tail as shown in the pictures. Cut and fit the new Mustang tail section on.

8)     I gave the RIF RAF pilot a nose job and reduced the size and length in fear that it may create stability problems if it was introduced in the slip stream. The RIF RAF pilot looks more like a P-51 pilot. Assemble the pilot and paint as you wish.

9)     The P-51B Mustangs did use the Spitfire canopy, but it was only the center section. I came up with the “scalloped” window by using a 7/8” circle cut from tape and then cut in half. The tape is placed over the rear of the canopy and putty is applied around the edges. Do not allow the tape to sit too long or the putty chemicals will fog the plastic under the tape!

10) The exhaust pipes are cut down to shorten the length and sanded flusher to reduce how far they stick out. If you like the big exhaust, go for it and use them as supplied.

11) The belly and nose scoop are made from Tamiya Smoothing Putty / clay. It is a two part epoxy / clay that is kneaded together and formed to the rough shape and then sanded to final shape. The space created under the belly radiator scoop is created by placing a piece of styrene with a triangle shape cut. This allows the shape to look pretty close and to create the gap. If you are going to do this, make sure that the epoxy clay does not stick to the spacer!

12) All that is really left to do is glue it all together. I masked off the canopy prior to gluing it in place because I knew that some putty is going to be needed. This helps prevent scratching the canopy as the putty is sanded smooth.

13) Now you need to decide if yours will be British or American. If you are going to use the RIF RAF’s decals you are set. Just find a picture of a Mustang you like and try to make your Phony Pony match. If you are going to go with an American Phony Pony, you will notice that the wing insignias are about 1/32 scale size. The fuselage is too small for the 1/32 scale decals. This is why I used the 1/48 scale insignias on the fuselage.

14) I created a stand with a brass rod for display.




As mentioned in the article I gave the pilot a nose job, removed the pipe, and did not use that hand part. I painted the pilot’s helmet leather color and the goggles black. The base under the pilot looks like a life vest and so I painted it flat yellow. The cockpit is painted black with white for the instrument detail.


Now you need to decide if yours will build a British or American Phony Pony.


I decided to make mine American and tried to make it look similar to the “DING HAO!”


I painted my Phony Pony using neutral gray and olive drab. The spinner and nose is painted flat white. All the paints I used are enamels.


If you are going to use the RIF RAF’s decals, you are ready to apply the decals. Just find a picture of a Mustang you like and try to make your Phony Pony match. If you are going with an American Phony Pony, you will notice that the wing insignias (in the kit) are about 1/32 scale size. The fuselage area is too small to use 1/32 scale decals. This is why I used the 1/48 scale insignias on the fuselage. Use what ever looks right. Add any additional makings as you like. Remember that this is your Phony Pony and it can be whatever you wish, and it does not have to match any “real” Mustang… hence the name of Phony Pony!


I tried to follow the same “style or spirit” of the other Revell kits using the approximately the same kind of oversized insignias to kind of make it look like it was a kit and not something created by me.


The 1/32 Scale decals I used are from the Revell P-51B Mustang III – kit #4740 and 1/48 Scale P-51 Mustang decals are leftover from other builds. The decals were applied and flat lacquer was applied as the final seal coat. I did not gloss coat the model prior to applying the decals.




This was fun and I guess if I was seriously thinking of entering it into a contest I might have spent more time, engraved the panel lines and so on.


I would like to see pictures of other Mustangs as they are built.


Thanks Revell for keeping some of the great kits around, for us to enjoy and just for the love of building.


Bryan Bodily


April 2009


Note: Revell seemed interested in doing something like this. Perhaps an e-mail or letter would help to convince them. Ed. www.revell-monogram.com

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