Tamiya 1/48 F-51D Mustang






Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken




Undoubtedly the WWII type that lasted in front-line military service the longest of all others was the P-51D Mustang. It wasn't until the early 1970's that it was finally retired from active duty with the Dominican Air Force.

When the P for pursuit prefix was dropped in favor of the F for fighter prefix, hundreds of Mustangs were so renamed. However, it was as a fighter-bomber that the F-51 was to make a name for itself. It wasn't the skies over Europe, but the ground of the Korean peninsula that saw the most activity for the F-51.

During the early days of the war, the UN forces were pushed into a small area. Too small to house the kind of air fields needed by jets. The Mustang was able to take off, drop its ordnance on an enemy only a few miles away and return for more. Often times Mustangs were flying four or five or more sorties a day. Thanks to the ever present air cover and some brilliant back field maneuvering by McArthur's troops, the communist forces of North Korea were pushed back.

However, the Mustang kept on fighting the ground-attack war even as jet powered aircraft were taking its place. It wasn't until late 1952 that the last Mustang squadron turned in its tired old horses for jet aircraft.



Without wanting to sound trite, it is a Tamiya kit, so you know that it is a good one. And it very much is. It has everything that a 1/48 Mustang modeler could want. The detailing is superb, from the full cockpit to the wide choice of underwing ordnance. In fact, if you are to buy a Tamiya Mustang kit, this is the one you want. Unlike the 8th AF release, you get a number of additional options with this boxing. For starters, you get two  different exhaust, two different canopies, two different propellers, as well as drop tanks, bombs, and rockets. This choice of goodies and a suitable aftermarket decal sheet will allow you to build just about any variety of 'bubble top' Mustang that you can imagine.

The kit instructions are first rate as you would expect from Tamiya. There are color callouts for every step, but they are for Tamiya's own brand of paint and not keyed to any FS standard. One would hope that this would change, but I know it won't. You get markings for three very colorful Korean War era F-51Ds. First is a shark-mouthed plane from the 12th FBS/ 18th FBG. Next is the group commander's plane from the 18th FBG with the multicolored fuselage band so often carried. The final plane is  from the 36th FBS / 8th FBW with a very impressive mission tally. Each of these planes has colored wing and tail tips that need to be painted. I'm also suspicious about the font used for the buzz numbers on two of these planes and suggest digging into whatever reference materials you may have to verify them. The decals are by Scalemaster and unlike those in ProModeler and other kits, are in register and very crisply printed.



This is really a superb looking kit. I have no doubt that it can easily be made into a fine replica with little effort. It would even be a good kit for a newer builder to try as the engineering of Tamiya kits is quite straight-forward.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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