Novo/Frog 1/72 P-51A
Kit Number: 102
Decals: One version, USAAF in SEA
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
Date of Review: 8 August 1997
This kit is of the very early version of the P-51, powered by an Allison instead of the Merlin engine. Use of this engine severely limited its high altitude performance so it was not greeted with glad cries by the USAAAF until re-engined with the Merlin. However, it was very fast and capable at low altitudes so the Allison Mustangs spent their careers at low altitude doing ground attack or low level recce work.
The Novo kit is just the same as the Frog version except; the decals are junk or nonexistent, there is considerable flash on the parts, and they may not come with a box or instructions. With that out of the way, you do get the same medium grey plastic, the same simple construction and the same result. For nearly twenty years after its molding, this was the only 1/72 Alison Mustang available. In 1997 a Czech company released one that must be better than the Frog kit, but I have not seen it so cannot comment on its accuracy.
The kit itself is very similar to the Monogram 1/72 P-51B and if you take into account the differences in the nose and underfuselage radiator scoop, you could swear this was the same kit. It has no boxed wheel wells, no instrument panel, tail wheel doors as part of the fuselage, a decent seat, mediocre fit of wing to fuselage and, as a bonus, the horizontal stabilizers are thicker than their attachment points on the tail!
Once you have gotten past the construction of the kit, it is time to think of a camo scheme. Now I had a great Microscale sheet for a photo recce version (the F-6A) of this aircraft the only drawback was that it had a Malcom Hood in place of the usual canopy. No problem here as I have several of these hoods since they are an option with the Monogram P-51B. I have never used one on the B as the hood is way too wide to fit. However, it is a closer fit on the Frog kit. This is because the Frog canopy is wider and shorter than the Monogram kit. So short, that there is a scale 6-9inch gap between the top of the windscreen and the top of the front of the Malcom Hood. Aft, there is no fit problem. I had to cut the Frog canopy to place the hood, but that was a simple matter of several scribes with a hobby knife. After it was glued in place and masked, the airframe was painted OD and grey using the appropriate Gunze paints. The nose was then masked off and painted white along with the spinner. The white wing bands came from a Scalemaster stripes sheet.
Final work consisted of painting the exhaust with metallizer and the exhaust and gun stains with a dark grey. The final bits were attached, the masking taken off, and there was an early Mustang. The kit is a very simple affair suitable for the first time builder or the detailer.
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