|PRICE:||$13.23 plus shipping (on sale)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Allison powered Mustang was developed for the British by North American in lieu of that company building P-40s under license. There are all sorts of urban legends about drawing board to first flight in 90 days and other similar myths, but to say the least, the aircraft was developed in a fairly short time. Not only that, but it had several advanced features that made it superior to the P-40s.
Since it was powered by a non-turbocharged engine, it had very limited altitude performance. However, it was very nimble at lower levels. This made it perfect for tactical recon, and armed with four 20mm cannon meant that it could not only fend for itself if attacked, but also made it into a potent strafer when the opportunity presented itself.
So good was the airframe that the British re-engined several of them with Merlins, making it a great high altitude fighter and the rest, as they say, is history.
When Accurate Miniatures came into being, it was the Allison Mustang that led the way. It was a great model kit and still is the best in this scale for this version of the P-51. This particular boxing is for the British Mk.1A and is basically the same as the P-51 (no suffix). Perhaps the difference would be the camera installation, which for the USAAF was an F-6A.
Accurate Miniature's kit is very nicely molded and provides nicely done cockpit detail, including the proper curved floor and interior sidewall framework. The kit offers a clear instrument panel, which I've never really been fond of, though it does allow you to put the instrument decal behind it and have 'glass' instrument faces. In order to use the rest of the airframe for the P-51B/C, you are provided a separate Allison engine nose. It has often been recommended that the separate nose halves be attached to each fuselage half before assembling the fuselage.
Landing gear are very nicely done with inner gear door links that are often missed by other Mustang kits. The tires are separate from the two wheel parts and you have an option for 'flattened' tires. Exhaust can be attached from the outside after the airframe is painted. The clear bits offer both a standard and Malcolm Hood canopy as shown on the box art. The standard canopy cannot be posed open and I'm betting the hood is too thick to slide back.
Instructions are fairly crude by current standards with the construction steps being what looks to be hand drawn. Well drawn but still by hand. Color information is provided with references for a number of different paint companies. You have basically two markings options that differ only by serial and aircraft number. The fairly large sheet is well done though I'd think a couple of times before using the invasion stripes as these sorts of decals rarely work all that well, at least for me. There are aftermarket sheets that have been done to provide more options.
While this is a fairly old kit by some standards, it is nicely molded and builds well. Add to it that I got it on sale and it was hard to pass up.
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