Hasegawa 1/48 P-51 'Miss America'






One aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Metal conversion bits included


When Air Racing returned to the US after WWII, gone were the special built aircraft that had thrilled crowds in the 30's. Also gone were the crowds. For some reason, the sport got off to a slow start. Slow on the ground, that is as there were plenty of war surplus aircraft capable of some pretty fast speeds. You'd see Corsairs, Airacobras, Lightnings, a few Warhawks, and Mustangs. Later in the 50s ,60s and into the 70s, you could add to it the Bearcat, Tigercat, and Sea Fury. But is was the Mustang that one saw the most of. As racing increased in popularity again, especially from the 70s on, you would see major modifications of these WWII birds and increasing amounts of power and speed.

Through much of that time there was Miss America. This aircraft is undoubtedly one of the longest running Unlimited racers that there has ever been. I first saw and photographed her in Mojave in 1976, but she had been competing since the late 1960s. Though she has been on the racing circuit for all those years, the top spot has generally eluded her. Much of that is due to the generally stock appearance. Other than the engine and prop, only the clipped wing tips show that she has deviated from a standard Mustang.


When I first heard of this kit being released, I was interested in picking up the kit. Mostly because I like air racers and was glad that someone had finally decided to do one in 1/48. When I finally was able to pick one up, I removed the wrapper and found pretty much what I had expected; a stock P-51D kit with extra decals. I also found two small bags with new prop blades and modified wing tips. These items are quite well molded and are absolutely necessary to be able to do an air racer. There is also a new VHF antenna to put on the spine.

What is also nice is that the price is no more than what a regular Mustang kit would cost!  It is about time. I was truly worried that Hasegawa would jack the price up about $15-20 for those little bits of metal as they have done for other kits with metal or resin additions. 

There really is nothing for me to add to what has already been written about the Hasegawa 1/48 Mustang. The kit is very nicely molded and has all that you would want in such a kit except positionable flaps. There is a bunch of underwing ordnance like rockets, bombs, drop tanks and bazookas for you to add to your spare parts bin. One thing that Hasegawa missed is that the interior of a Y2K air racer isn't the same as a 1944 fighter. For this, you will have to do some scratchbuilding as most Mustangs in the air today have a different looking cockpit including a second seat where the radios fit. I have heard that there will be a resin interior available for this kit in the near future and will look forward to it. 

I also look forward to a new decal sheet. Frankly, I have little faith in the one from Hasegawa. Two reasons; first of all, it duplicates all the white parts of the markings. I seriously doubt if it will be opaque enough to cover dark blue or red as it seems to be unable to keep the light blue backing of the sheet from bleeding through. (Probably why there was no image of a built up kit on the side of the box) Hasegawa should have gotten Aeromaster or someone who does quality decals to produce this sheet. Secondly, besides being somewhat transparent (which is why it is so hard to see on the scan), I fear that the white is more like a cream color, another general problem with Hasegawa decal sheets.

It is hoped that someone sees a need to do some aftermarket sheets for various air racers as I think they would sell rather well. You can probably do the scheme as shown by using paint  but will definitely need replacement items for the white stars, numbers and other white bits.

As for instructions, you just follow the regular kit instructions and only deviate when it comes to adding the white metal bits and doing other minor mods. There is an addendum in with the decal sheet that covers the modifications

Overall, I'll give Hasegawa an E for effort on this one and just wait for the aftermarket folks to come through so an accurate model can be made.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly by a site that has over 1,300 visits a day, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.