High Planes 1/48 World Jet Mustang






One aircraft


Steve Mesner


Short run



Imagine you wanted to build a 1/48 model of a modern Mustang Unlimited class racer  with a Griffon engine--the Whittington Brothers’ World Jet (race #38), for example. Since you’ll be putting a lot of effort into the conversion, you’d want to start with one of the better P-51D kits on the market, let’s say Tamiya’s. To shore up a couple weak points in that kit, you might want to add the cockpit from the Hasegawa Mustang and the main gear wells from the Monogram Mustang. So far you’ve got over $60 worth of kits involved, you’ve got a bunch of conversion work and scratch-building to do, and you still have to come up with some way to paint or decal all the markings.

Let me save you a bunch of time and money. High Planes has kitted World Jet in a limited-run release by doing pretty much as I just described. The kit is based on a Tamiya Mustang, with Hasegawa cockpit and Monogram main gear wells. All parts have been modified somewhat--some extensively, some subtly--but a close examination reveals their origins, in some cases right down to original tooling marks.


Molded in High Planes’ familiar light blue plastic, the kit seems to accurately capture the extensive modifications necessary to turn a stock Mustang into race #38. These include clipped wings, upturned wingtips, heightened tail and dorsal fin, reshaped lower fuselage, shortened nose with contra-rotating props, and vacformed tiny bubble canopy. Main gear struts are white metal, and the wheels are special racing parts, not copies from a stock Mustang kit. As the kit is based on a Tamiya Mustang, a kit known as a “box shaker” (shake the box and a finished model falls out), I hope and expect that its assembly will be somewhat easier than High Planes’ Conquest I Bearcat, which I built with some effort last year (read the full story in the Full Build Reviews section right here at Modeling Madness).

 In reviewing that kit, I speculated that it might be easier to use the High Planes parts to convert a stock Hobbycraft Bearcat than to build the HP kit. I’d offer the same idea here, but the fuselage is so extensively modified that if you tried to fit the “new” parts onto a Tamiya Mustang, there wouldn’t be much of the latter left. You could use the Tamiya wings (modified) and tail planes with the HP kit fuselage, of course, but at this point I really don’t think that would be worth the added expense. I’ll be able to tell you more after I’ve built it.

Kit decals look quite well done, my only reservation about them being that they have a flat finish, whereas World Jet is polished to a mirror-like shine. I plan to email High Planes about that and see if glossy finish decals are available. I can’t say at this point if the decals represent the airplane in any particular year; I’ll have to do some research on that. The decal sheet includes markings for an earlier variation with a stock P-51 fin. The instructions tell you to use a tail from a stock Mustang kit to build this version but I don’t see why you couldn’t simply cut the kit part back to the stock outline to do this; no need to sacrifice a whole Mustang kit just for that.


I’m looking forward to building this one, and hope to have my full build review of it for you in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can find plenty of great pics of the real World Jet Mustang at . Click on the galleries, then click on any gallery entry that mentions “World Jet” or “Precious Metal.” Good stuff there!  Model on!

Review kit courtesy High Planes models.

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