ICM 1/48 Mustang Mk.IVa
|PRICE:||$10.00 on the second hand market|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Includes resin and photo etched parts|
The drawbacks of the RAF's Mustang IIIs (P-51B/C) were few but they were
addressed. The Malcolm Hood helped visibility, but checking your six was still
not easy. The other complaint was only four .50 guns. The P-47 had eight. NAA
modified a P-51B, 43-12102 with a cut down back and a true bubble canopy. Bob
Chilton tested it and two other P-51Bs were taken for full modifications to the
next designation NA-109.
Orders came in and the RAF was sent nearly 900 of these new Mustangs. The P-51D version was called the Mustang IV and the P-51K version was the Mustang IVa. The RAF received 284 and 594 respectively. They had the visibility and the firepower that the pilots needed. The first RAF serial was KH641 and the last TK589.
A very welcome addition was the K-14 gunsight during the early blocks of production. This helped the pilots score more kills with less ammunition. Interesting is that with the Lend/Lease Act, the Mustangs were returned to their maker after the war albiet a little worn. Specs for the Mustang IV and IVa are the same as the P-51D and P-51K.
The P-51K Built at Dallas, Texas. Identical to the P-51D except fitted with four-bladed Aeroproducts propeller.
Many years ago, I built the ICM 1/48 P-51B kit. It was pretty much a copy of the Tamiya kit. Not surprising then that their P-51K is almost the same thing. I say almost as this kit includes a different prop to simulate the Aeroproducts version that came with the Mustang IVa. These blades are on a separate sprue, but the cuffed and uncuffed Hamilton Standards are still in the box if you want to build this as a P-51D/Mustang IV
The cockpit is familiar if you have built the Tamiya kit. You get a clear plastic main instrument panel, but no decal to put over it so if you carefully keep the instrument faces clear, you'll have a bunch of clear holes in the panel. Yeah, my reaction as well. The top of the fuselage duct work is on the bottom of the cockpit piece and you attach the radiator and some wall pieces to it before trapping the cockpit assembly between the fuselage halves. The upper cowling is a single piece, which is nice and you have both shrouded and unshrouded exhaust.
Wheel wells have nice detail, but like most other Mustang kits, the aft portion of the well is at an angle instead of being straight. Separate flaps are provided and you have a separate coolant radiator exhaust door than you can pose lowered. For things under wings you have either bombs of the small drop tanks. As with the Tamiya kit, the canopy and frame are separate. I personally do not like this as getting the canopy to fit properly on the frame has always been difficult for me.
Instructions are small, but adequate and while not the easiest to see (as if done on a printer that was almost out of ink), if you have built many Mustangs, you could probably do this one without using the instructions at all. Thanks to the magic of computer software, the parts diagram is easy to see. Generic color info is provided. You have two markings options, both with 19 Squadron in 1945. One is bare metal and the other is in the standard European fighter camouflage scheme. The decals are nicely printed, but I've always had issues with ICM decals in terms of them conforming and sometimes they do not stick well. I'd recommend aftermarket.
I have been asked if, since this is a copy of the Tamiya kit, if it is a valid cheaper substitute. Based on my single experience with the P-51B I'd have to recommend spending the extra on the real deal. My ICM Mustang did not build all that well, despite being a Tamiya copy. Somehow the quality engineering just did not seem to translate across. Having said that, it is not a difficult kit to build, just be aware that it may well take more work than you'd initially anticipated. I fully plan to build this one so will let you know how it turns out.
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