Airfix 1/72 P-51D Mustang
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||New mold kit|
The Mustang was the plane that the US brass did not want. It was not built for the U.S. and it was felt that adding a 'foreign' design into the mix was not in the best interest of the USAAF. Sure, the Alison Mustang was a respectable ground attack aircraft, and a relatively small number of A-36 as well as P-51 and P-51As were built to replace P-40s in some units, but as an air superiority fighter, the USAAF was banking on the Curtiss P-60, an aircraft that was doomed to failure thanks as much to constantly changing requirements as anything else.
Well, as we all know, the US never did properly develop an air superiority fighter during the war. The P-38 and P-47 were developed prior to the war and while one had the range, it was constantly plagued with engine failures at altitude, a situation that was never cured. The other was far too short ranged, even with additional fuel tanks to be a really good escort fighter. It took US pilots in the UK who had had the opportunity to fly a British Mustang I that had been modified with a Merlin to get the attention of the US brass. It was a hard fought struggle, but eventually the brass gave in and in early 1944, Merlin Mustangs started arriving in the UK, where they were soon found to be just what was wanted.
Those of you who follow plastic models should realize by now that Hornby has resurrected Airfix from the dead. After grabbing the company away from the bean counters, Hornby has been on a rather aggressive program to release new tool kit. Not surprisingly, most of these kits have been replacements for old favorites, many of which harken back forty years or more. To this reviewer, every one of these new kits has been a winner. There have been some complaints from the usual nay-sayers, but I have to think that none of these folks have actually taken the time to build one of these kit.
This is a series one kit so a few things are expected. One is that there are basically two grey and one clear sprue. As the series numbers increase, so do the number of sprues. The other is that there is a single decal option. No real worry for most of use who have a pile of aftermarket decals and there will be more produced in the future.
The first thing that struck me is how much this kit is like the Tamiya Mustang. Not saying they copied it, but it is sure is similar. It has the separate radiator and ducting like the Tamiya kit. The canopy is separate from the frame, just like the Tamiya kit (BTW, I really dislike this approach to canopies as it provides an unfillable seam). Both standard and 'Dallas' canopies are provided. Even the cockpit looks like that on the Tamiya kit. Perhaps there are only so many ways to model a Mustang or perhaps Airfix decided to go with what works.
Anyway, the cockpit has a separate instrument panel that takes a decal with a nice seat and a control stick that is just begging to be broken when you remove it from the sprue. The side console and radio pack are molded into the cockpit 'tub' along with the upper ducting for the radiator and the tail wheel well. The kit provides a separate rudder and flaps that can be placed in the lowered position. The radiator exit duct can also be posed up or down. Wing pylons are separate and fit into holes you need to open in the wing. The engine has shrouded exhaust and the pylons have drop tanks, but no bombs.
Decals are nicely done and are for the red tailed 100 FS based in Italy during December 1944. The sheet includes a full stencil suite as well as the red flash behind the prop. Yellow wing bands are also provided and are in segments to fit the main gear doors. However, the wing tips, tail section spinner and main gear doors will need to be painted. The instructions contain a full stencil placement guide and the exterior color and markings guide is on the back of the box. Color information during the build continues to be only in Humbrol paint numbers so you will need a conversion guide if you are using any other manufacturer's paint.
This is another very nice kit from Airfix and pretty well replaces the old one, which wasn't bad, but is now totally obsolete. There have been some who say that the panel lines on this kit are not as large as previous ones. I compared this aspect of the kit with the recent A6M2, and have to say that if you look closely, you will find these are somewhat more petite, but really not that huge a difference. However, every little bit helps and the detailing is quite good for a kit in this price range. I should also mention that I did not find issues with warped landing gear or short shot parts that some have commented on experiencing.
My thanks to me for spending the look to bring this one to you.
Thanks to If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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