|PRICE:||$4.75 when new|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The P-51 was developed as a response to a request of North American Aviation to build P-40s for the RAF. Instead, they came up with a superior design to meet that requirement. However, the engine limited the aircraft to fairly low altitudes. British experiments with the installation of the Merlin engine produced a very much needed high altitude fighter with long range so it could escort USAAF bombers to the target. That aircraft was the P-51B. It led to the most produced variant, the P-51D/K Mustang.
In the mid/late 90s, Revell did a series of nicely done, inexpensive 1/72 WWII fighters. In that group was a Hurricane, P-47, FW-190 and this kit, a P-51B. This version of the Mustang had been kitted a number times earlier by Monogram and Airfix to name a couple, but this one was up to the standards of the time with decent cockpit detail and engraved panel lines.
A complex kit it is not in terms of parts counts having but two main sprues and one of clear. The ciclpit has a seat (with molded on belts) control stick and instrument panel. This is trapped in fuselage halves that have molded on sidewall detailing. Wings have holes to open for the drop tanks or bazooka launchers. This fits to the bottom of the fuselage and then the upper wings are attached.
Two styles of exhaust are supplied, while on the underside the radiator exhaust door can be posed open. Note that there is no radiator trunking. Landing gear can be posed in flight and for gear down the doors need to be cut. Gear legs are nicely molded and the gear can be installed after painting. Gear wells are really too shallow, but most who build this kit won't care.
The prop has separate blades and the canopy is a single piece. The kit provides a DF antenna for the spine. This item was pretty much required for operating over the large spaces of China during the war. Last items are the 'things under wings' of your choice.
Instructions are low quality paper in a notepad style. The two options are the box art plane of the 51st Fighter Group in China and an RAF 112 Squadron. Each option is painted in the standard colors of the time. The decal sheet is nicely printed and matte.
Since this kit was released, there have been other B model Mustangs from Academy and most recently Arma Hobby. However, this one does not have the shape issues that apparently the Academy kit has nor the fussy detail of the Arma Hobby version. This one can be found at a reasonable price with a bit of search engine use and is one that I think most modelers will find pleasing.
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