Revell 1/32 P-51B Mustang

KIT #: 5535
PRICE: $29.95 SRP
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2015 release


The Merlin Mustang just about didn't happen. Hard to believe, but there was a great deal of opposition against what turned into arguably the finest US fighter of WWII. It all started when North American was asked to build P-40s for the British. They said they could do better and in a very short time, the Allison powered P-51A was designed and flew. It was a superlative fighter, but its Allison engine limited it to low level, making it unsuitable for bomber escort. The RAF was delighted with the plane and it soon was issued to several Army Co-operation units for tactical recon and for limited fighter bomber operations. The USAAF eventually bought some and used them as dive bombers or sent them to the CBI.

The British experimented with the Mustang since the airframe was so good, by installing a Merlin engine into it as used by the Spitfire. This transformed the aircraft as now it was not only faster, but able to operate at high altitude. Still, Army brass in the US wanted nothing to do with it as it wasn't 'designed for us' so looked upon as a 'foreign' aircraft. Fortunately, many influential USAAF pilots in the UK had the chance to fly it and eventually their constant pestering and clamoring for the Merlin Mustang resulted in the P-51B. While it meant that the aircraft did not enter service as soon as it could have, once it did in early 1944, the writing was on the wall for the Luftwaffe as now the USAAF had a potent, long range fighter that could stay with the bombers for the entire mission.


Originally released as H-295 back in 1969, this kit has been reissued several times, including once with the same decals as in this boxing. Your editor built this one a couple of times in the 1970s and can attest that it is easy to build and provides a very nice model when done.

A child of its times, this 50 plus year old kit has a mass of raised rivet detail to go along with its raised panel line detailing. The builder is provided a full engine of minimal detailing and one has to build it in order to have something to which can be attached the exhaust and prop. The cockpit is also fairly minimalist for this scale though it does have sidewall detail. A decal is provided for the instrument panel if you wish to use it. You pretty much need the pilot figure as there is no proper lower seat.

The tail gear has to be installed prior to closing the fuselage halves so care needs to be taken when handling the kit. Interestingly, the instructions have you attach the tailplanes and tail gear doors prior to closing the fuselage. Once that is done, one moves to the main landing gear and the wings. Once the wings are on, the landing gear are installed. The builder can do this one with the gear doors up if desired.

The last items are the prop, pitot tube, and the clear bits. You can pose the canopy open should that be your wish as all the center panels are separate. Oddly missing from the kit are wing pylons and drop tanks, something that all P-51Bs carried. These items are even shown on the painting and markings instructions.

Instructions are easy to follow with large drawings for the construction steps. Color information is all generic. Two options are provided. One is the box art plane 'Berlin Express' of the 357 FG in unpainted metal with the upper surfaces in olive drab. The invasion stripes will need to painted on. Interestingly, the box image shows the aircraft after it has apparently flown under the Eiffel Tower. The other is a blue nose 352 FG plane, 'Miss Lace', which has the name and artwork on the right side, something a bit unusual. All the stripes for this one are on the decal sheet, which is nicely printed, though the yellow seems a bit on the faded side to my eyes. There are aftermarket sheets for this aircraft so you have lots of options.


Not sure how many 'modern' modelers will go for a kit like this. No engraved panel lines, no mass of small parts, and lacking a proper seat with no drop tanks. Still, it is a good one for the younger modelers and those who like a nostalgia build. Not hard to find, either.


October 2022

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