Accurate Miniatures 1/48 P-51A Mustang
KIT #: 3403
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Fernando Rolandelli


311th FBG was composed of 528th and 529th FBGs, equipped with A-36s, and 530th, on P-51As, part of the controversial command held by Claire Chennault. Initially based at Assam, India-Burma border, 530th took part in the raids on Rangoon in November, 1943, fitted with long range drop tanks and using Cox’s Bazaar as forward base. The Japanese were not very impressed by the P-51As, considering it little better than the P-40. The only plane they feared (in a way, for most were eager to clash with them) was the Spitfire Vc.

 Probably the most distinguished Allison Mustang ever, this machine was the original “Spirit of Universal” as a presentation machine paid by the workers of the Universal Engineering Company, Frankensmith, Michigan. It was issued to Capt. England in India, late 1943, being christened after his wife. Contradictory versions have that England scored two or eight victories on this machine, a problem composed by the existence of pictures showing “Jackie” with and without the “75” marking and two victory markings. The plane was still flying in late 1944, when Lt. William Griffith used it to win the Silver Star.


 All previously said in the feature on the A-36 applies to this kit, even though this is a “second generation” Allison Mustang kit, and, as such, molded in Light Grey plastic (the P-51 and the A-36 are from the “first generation”, molded in Olive Drab plastic; the second is composed of this one and the Mustang Ia). They are good, honest kits depicting a badly unrepresented aircraft, sensibly laid and essentially quick and fun to build. However, close inspection reveals an alarming scarcity and inaccuracy in the details – this is not to say that if built OOB they do not look good, but that if there is plenty of scope for making them better and more detailed, at your own risk.


 First thing was gathering some sources to detail the cockpit. The cockpit is generic to all Allison P-51 kits, and therefore lacking accurate detail. Both the sidewalls and the floor were extensively modified, mostly with scratchbuilt items, including the reconstruction of the consoles, radio equipment, armor, gunsight and floor detail. The seat came from an Eduard PE set (bless them, they included two in their set), after I had laboriously modified the kit’s, only to lose it forever; the harness is generic. The interior was painted in US Interior Green FS 34151, using Xtracolor paints. The seat was painted NMF to provide contrast, though it is seen either way in pictures.

The rest of the construction posed no problem; this time, the canopy provided was used, though it is a bit thick; some mimickry of the opening mechanism was concocted. The wing was equipped with a landing light. The paddle blade prop is again correct for a P-51A (though not for a P-51 or Mustang Ia). AM has made no attempt of detailing the radiator exit ramp, and neither did I, again; this is very prominent part of the airframe, and there is no easy way of doing anything about it. In the end I chose to differentiate it by painting it a lighter shade and to weather it accordingly to a moving part.


 The instructions have you paint the model in “Olive Drab FS 34087” (nowadays 34088) and “Neutral Grey FS 36270” (in fact, the model had been originally painted  like that; remains of the incorrect, lighter colours can still be seen in the assembly pictures). Instead, I used my favourite color for OD nº 41, Humbrol 108 “RFC Green” (Robert Archer’s choice) and for the NG nº 43, the White Ensign one. Spinner was painted Yellow; pictures show it a light colour, which could have been White or even NMF, both also used. Drop tanks were left NMF.

Weathering was achieved by a heavy preshading in a dark concoction, general irregular mottle-painting and picking some panels by masking with a lighter shade. After that some chipping was made with a silver pencil, then the same dark juice was flowed on the surfaces as a wash and also airbrushed, and some pastel powder finished the business. I usually strive for a “well used, but not dilapidated” look which is badly captured in photos of models, often looking too plain.

 Well, for all the usually accurate, careful research typical this company, decals are left rather wanting in this one. The people at AM obviously couldn’t get a picture of the right side of the airframe (one can be seen on page 18 of the Osprey book), though they indeed acknowledged the different style on the tail “75s”. The decal sheet only provides one “Jackie” (for the left side, while the right side shows another) and also lacks the unofficial emblem of the 530th (a diving bird), also seen on the right side. I solved the problem by using a “Jackie” decal from another kit and sourcing the emblem from the Ministry of Small Aircraft Production “Allison Mustangs” sheet. National insignia came from an Aeromaster sheet. AM depicted eight victory flags, Cpt. England’s tally, but in the pictures I ve seen only two are shown.


It is a nice model of a nice and rather unsung aircraft, often seen as an early, half-failed predecessor to the classic Merlin Mustang. It can be built OOB for a quick, trouble-free model, or worked up and rendered a good replica.


“P-51 Mustang”, Bert Kinzey, Detail and Scale Publishing

- “US Army Air Corps Color Guide”, Don Archer, Monogram Publishing

- “Straight down – The A-36 Dive Bomber in combat”, Peter C. Smith, Crecy Publications

- Squadron Walkaround “Allison Mustangs”, Squadron Signal

 Fernando Rolandelli

August 2012

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