Revell 1/32 P-51D Mustang (early)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
To say that the Mustang is probably one of four or five most recognizable WW2 aircraft to the general public would be a bit of an understatement. Thanks to the huge number built, the type lasted well after WWII in the armed services of some major powers and even longer in some of the smaller air forces.
It was a plane the USAAF did not want because 'it wasn't designed for us', but thanks to the pressure of pilots in the UK who had flown the RAF's experimental Merlin powered Mustang, a world beater was born. Though the early Merlin powered Mustangs did not reach squadron strength in Europe until very late in 1943, they quickly proved they were the escort fighter the USAAF had been looking for. The D model, with an improved canopy, two more guns and a slightly redesigned wing first started reaching Europe in mid-1944 and by war's end equipped 14 of the USAAF's 15 fighter groups in the theater.
Revell's new release of the Mustang was met with both raised eyebrows and cries of joy. Some wondered why we needed yet another 1/32 Mustang while others were glad to get a new tool kit that wouldn't cost $100.00 or more. I am a 'frugal' modeler for the most part so seeing a new tool kit that won't make my wallet scream is a good thing. Especially when it is a Revell tooling. Actually, Revell of Germany just to set things straight.
The molding is first rate. I had heard of issues with sink areas on some parts so looked the bits over and did not see anything that jumped out at me and said 'GLITCH' in this regard. I had also heard that there were issues with the prop and all I can tell is that the cuff is a bit understated. I also noticed that the elevators were fabric and I thought they were metal. I'm sure I'll be corrected if this is not the case.
Now, Revell is obviously going to do more versions, and it is only smart to start with the version they think will be the 'least popular'. In this case, it is the early D without a fin fillet. This will undoubtedly come later as the tooling points in that direction. To my knowledge, aside from the rather horrible Heller 1/72 P-51D, this is the only kit that depicts that variant from the box. Those who cannot wait for the next boxing can find resin conversions. Also note that this kit comes with the early canopy so you cannot do a late war or post war plane without getting another canopy from somewhere.
OK, now on to the kit. Superbly detailed cockpit that is only lacking belts and has decals you can use for the instrument panel? Check. Little notes showing bits that must be removed or filled to do this variant? Check. Shrouded and unshrouded exhaust? Check. A choice of lower nose vents that are blocked, the one with holes, or the one with louvers? Check. Detailed wheel well that includes a wing spar and is made up of a dozen or so parts? Check.
While on the subject of wings, it is obvious that later boxings will come with rockets as there are holes for the stubs and detail on the other side that you'll have to fill. OK, back to the listing, which includes a radiator coolant door that can be modeled up or down. You can if you wish, do this in flight as there are bits for that, but you are on your own when it comes to a stand. This means you have to cut the gear doors for a lowered option. All the control surfaces are separate and you have parts for both raised and lowered flaps. Canopy can be posed open or closed. There is a choice of bombs, 75 gallon and 108 gallon fuel tanks.
Instructions are very well done and in full color, which is great when it comes to painting stuff. Natürlich, only Revell paint numbers are provided and several need mixed, but generic descriptions are also provided. The large decal sheet is very well done and provides markings for two planes. One is the box art aircraft, 'Lou IV' who's photo has been published a zillion times. The other is 'Desert Rat' in OD over Neutral Grey with invasion stripes on the lower fuselage and the white ID bands on the wings and tailplanes. There are some aftermarket sheets in this scale that are for this version so if you want something different, do some hunting.
Originally, my attitude towards this kit was 'ho hum, another big Mustang', but I happened to see it on a store shelf the other day and thought 'eh, why not'. If it builds as well as their 109s, they have a real winner. It will go into my stash with other 1/32 kits and perhaps I'll even build it!
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