Hasegawa 1/32 P-51D Mustang
|PRICE:||2600 yen SRP|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The P-51D Mustang is one of the few WWII fighters that most Americans know about. Several reasons for this but the biggest is probably the fact that so many of them are still flying. It is impossible to go to any air show and not see one of these warbirds take to the skies.
It's claim to fame was not only that it was the best escort fighter than the USAAF had at the end of the war, but that it was exported to dozens of other nations once the war was over. It also served with distinction in a role for which it was never designed during Korea. Using a liquid cooled engine airplane in the ground attack role was simply making it easier for a stray bullet to puncture a coolant line and cause the plane to crash once the engine seized. Yet that is how it was used in the first two years of the Korean War.
While Hasegawa was not the first to model this aircraft in 1/32, for decades it was the best that there was, and to many, is still a viable option. It is a curious mixture of mostly raised detail with some engraved panel lines. It was originally released in the 1970s and has seen a number of reboxings since then, many of then with the same decal sheet as what is provided in this kit, just different box art.
It would be safe to say that the detail level in this kit is fairly low. It does include a full engine and while all the bits are there for the cockpit, there is almost no sidewall detail. Instead, you have a pilot figure that is supposed to fill the void. The same can be said of the radiator exhaust area which is simply a blanking plate.
The kit does provide an open wing gun compartment with the three guns and ammo belts, but again, the bay is rather sparse. The prop assembly has separate blades and while I cannot comment on the blade's shape, it looks convincing enough to me. Wing pylons are included for two styles of drop tank or a pair of bombs.
Landing gear looks fairly well done and like just about every Mustang kit produced, it has missed the straight wing spar and has a back wall for the gear well that follows the contour of the open well itself. Inner main gear doors are designed to be glued closed so there is no actuator for these doors. In order to show off the engine, a separate upper cowling piece is provided. The glass part of the canopy is separate from the frame, providing a seam that will be quite difficult to eliminate.
Instructions are well done with Gunze paint references. There are three markings options. One is Man O' War as shown on the box art. You'll have to paint the black wing/tail camouflage. A Checkertail option is the secondplane from the 325th FG. Finally with red and yellow checked nose band is 'Butch Baby' in OD/Neutral Grey. Decals are well printed and include the black wing/stab stripes for the initial offering. These are 'old school' Hasegawa markings where the white is off-white so any of the large number of aftermarket sheets out there would be recommended.
While I know that most will opt for the newer (and much more expensive) big scale Mustangs out there, this is still a viable kit for those who want what will undoubtedly prove to be a fairly easy build.
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