Airfix 1/48 'Boeing' P-51D Mustang
$25.00 plus shipping
Scott Van Aken
When WWII finished, the US had an embarrassing number of surplus
aircraft. It was fairly obvious that not all of them would be needed, so
a fair portion of them were sold or even given to various nations around
the world to either rebuild or build up their air forces.
It is fortunate that they were not all scrapped as many of these same
planes were needed to fight the Chinese on the Korean peninsula less
than five years after the end of WWII. The Mustang was also manufactured
in Australia and their planes differed very little from the standard
Boeing (then North American) product. In the US, about the only thing
that changed was the removal of the sealant in the wings and the use of
an uncuffed prop (at least in most instances). All of the remaining now
F-51s were fitted with rocket rails, an option that was installed in
very late war planes.
Many of us were raising eyebrows at the news of another 1/48 P-51D, but the
truth is that those more easily available were of Japanese manufacture and
hence a bit on the pricey side for the folks in Europe. So it just made
sense for Airfix to spend its development money on a new tool Mustang. Like
the Spitfire and 109, one cannot really not make money from such a kit.
If you have seen a new tool Airfix kit in the last few years, little will
come as a surprise. The external detailing is engraved panel lines with
accentuated fastener and even some external rivet detail, the latter of
which is unprototypical unless you are doing a warbird.
Things I like about the kit are a proper tail wheel well, the option of
raised or lowered flaps, an insert for the lower cowling vents so you can do
the version with the louvers instead of holes, and a nicely detailed
interior. The interior instrument panel has raised detail and also a decal
you can use if you wish. The Airfix kit also has a proper main wing spar
that you can see in the wheel well, a feature missed by many others. There
are also two types of exhaust, one without the manifold piece on the top and
you get two different props; one a cuffed HS and the other an uncuffed one
with squared off tips. Be careful on which you use for your model and
looking at photos showed that some of the markings options provided may have
used an uncuffed prop without the squared off tips. If you decide to use
this kit to do a WWII Mustang IV, note that no Aeroproducts prop is included
as some of those planes were actually 51Ks.
For things under wings, you have a lot to choose from. You can put either 75
gallon tanks or 500 lb bombs on the wing rack. The 108 gallon paper ones are
included but not germane
to this boxing. Most importantly, you get rockets and their stubs. The kit
also includes two canopies, one being the standard version and the other the
'Dallas' canopy. If you haven't figured it out, Airfix provides the sprue
for the prop and rockets with this boxing, but the rest of it is standard
WWII Mustang kit.
Instructions are well done with red areas in several of the steps showing
items installed in the previous construction step. The large decal sheet has
three rather pedestrian schemes that will require the builder to paint any
real color. The box art plane has red bits on the flight surfaces, while
there is a Swedish plane and also an Australian one with a red, white and
blue spinner that will be interesting to paint. All of the aircraft are
unpainted metal. The decals are quite nicely printed and provide a full
stencil suite along with a separate page to provide a placement guide for
the data markings.
If you do not already have a lot of 1/48 Mustangs or
are one of those who will only build the latest, then this one is for you. The
'Boeing' thing is because I think it is B.S. that they charge royalties for
something they did not design, did not build, did not name, and was paid for
with taxpayer money.
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