Airfix 1/72 F-51D Mustang

KIT #: A02047
PRICE: $7.99 SRP
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The Mustang was the plane that the US brass did not want. It was not built for the U.S. and it was felt that adding a 'foreign' design into the mix was not in the best interest of the USAAF. Sure, the Alison Mustang was a respectable ground attack aircraft, and a relatively small number of A-36 as well as P-51 and P-51As were built to replace P-40s in some units, but as an air superiority fighter, the USAAF was banking on the Curtiss P-60, an aircraft that was doomed to failure thanks as much to constantly changing requirements as anything else.

 Well, as we all know, the US never did properly develop an air superiority fighter during the war. The P-38 and P-47 were developed prior to the war and while one had the range, it was constantly plagued with engine failures at altitude, a situation that was never cured.  The other was far too short ranged, even with additional fuel tanks to be a really good escort fighter.  It took US pilots in the UK who had had the opportunity to fly a British Mustang I that had been modified with a Merlin to get the attention of the US brass. It was a hard fought struggle, but eventually the brass gave in and in early 1944, Merlin Mustangs started arriving in the UK, where they were soon found to be just what was wanted.

Post war, the Mustang still stayed in military service with the new USAF and with the nations of many countries. The last military Mustangs were flown by the Dominican Republic until 1984 when they were demobbed and sold to warbird enthusiasts.


Those of you who follow plastic models should realize by now that Hornby has resurrected Airfix from the dead. After grabbing the company away from the bean counters, Hornby has been on a rather aggressive program to release new tool kit. Not surprisingly, most of these kits have been replacements for old favorites, many of which harken back forty years or more. To this reviewer, every one of these new kits has been a winner. There have been some complaints from the usual nay-sayers, but I have to think that none of these folks have actually taken the time to build one of these kits.

So, how does one go from a series one to a series two kit? Well, one adds a sprue. And really, that is pretty much a requirement to properly do an F-51D. But first, here is a refresher on what comes with the P-51D, as none of that has changed and is included in the box. As a review:

The first thing that struck me is how much this kit is like the Tamiya Mustang. Not saying they copied it, but it is sure is similar. It has the separate radiator and ducting like the Tamiya kit. The canopy is separate from the frame, just like the Tamiya kit (BTW, I really dislike this approach to canopies as it provides an unfillable seam). Both standard and 'Dallas' canopies are provided. Even the cockpit looks like that on the Tamiya kit. Perhaps there are only so many ways to model a Mustang or perhaps Airfix decided to go with what works.

Anyway, the cockpit has a separate instrument panel that takes a decal with a nice seat and a control stick that is just begging to be broken when you remove it from the sprue. The side console and radio pack are molded into the cockpit 'tub' along with the upper ducting for the radiator and the tail wheel well. The kit provides a separate rudder and flaps that can be placed in the lowered position. The radiator exit duct can also be posed up or down. Wing pylons are separate and fit into holes you need to open in the wing. The engine has shrouded exhaust and the pylons have drop tanks, but no bombs.

Now for the F-51D sprue. This one does come with bombs. It also has the under wing rockets that were added to most P-51Ds very late in the war, so one can do a late war P-51D with this kit. Like the Tamiya Mustang, the F-51D boxing is really the version that most will want if they want to do a lot of Mustangs. In addition, the extra sprue includes the proper prop.

Decals are nicely done and as this is a series two kit, you get two markings options. One is for the box art plane of the 12th FBS/18th FBG in Korea during 1952. The yellow bits will need to be painted. The other is for a pseudo SEA painted Dominican Republic plane from the last year of their operation. Decals are very nicely done and you get a complete data placement guide as well. Color information during the build continues to be only in Humbrol paints. The Dominican plane is in FS 36622 undersides with FS 341079 and 30219 uppers.   


If you are doing a 1/72 Mustang and want a reasonably priced and nicely done kit, then this is it. Sure, it has engravings that are probably larger than some like and it is not super detailed, but it is a great value for your money and is something you should seriously consider picking up.

March 2013

My thanks to me for spending the loot to bring this one to you. 

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

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