Friday 26 July 2019

48th scale Merlin-engined P-51 Mustangs

The count down to the US Nationals and the release of the 'kit of the year 2019' is on. I'm referring of course to the Eduard P-51. So how many are you looking to add to the stash? If any ? Surely any modeller worth his salt already has a large number of P-51s to build?  Here's a look at some of the 48th scale Mustangs in my stash.

The most recent is the new-tool Airfix P-51D and it certainly appears to build up into a fine model. Here's my friend Bob's build (East Kent Scale modellers)

The P-51 B/C kits by Accurate Miniatures, Tamiya, and Pro-Modeler (Monogram/Revell) are apparently very similar, although the Pro-Modeler one is the most accurate out of the box according to Detail and Scale Mustang vol.1, which covers Mustang variants from prototype to P-51 C. Nowadays, this is probably also the hardest one to find. Of course the Tamiya is reputed to have the best fit of all the kits - indeed it's probably one of the best fitting kits ever. For the P-51 D, the Tamiya and Hasegawa kits are also supposed to be very comparable.

Above; the Hasegawa 'D' looks great in the box with a super level of detail in the cockpit and in the selection of underwing stores. The Tamiya kit has one major advantage over the Hasegawa kit - the separate flaps, which are usually seen 'dropped' on shut-down. Their B/C kit also has separate flaps, unlike the Pro-Modeler and AM kits. However the cockpit floor of the Tamiya P-51 B is probably inaccurate, all Merlin engined P-51's had a flat plywood floor, not metal as in the Tamiya kit.The ICM versions look as good as the Tamiya kits that they may have been 'developed' from, with perhaps not quite such a good fit of parts.

Below; Patrick Chung's beautiful Tamiya 'B'

As I guess is well-known, all the kits of the P-51B/C/D/K in 1/48 scale have their wheel wells boxed in, whereas Merlin-engined P-51s featured no well as such -  the wing spar running straight through the wing essentially comprised the well, so in this regard all 48th scale kits are incorrect, but to be honest this is not the sort of thing that worries me as modeller. Although I do have a resin Aires 'bay' in the stash (below) The Hasegawa P-51D/K has very shallow wheel wells (this can be hidden by modelling the aircraft with the undercarriage doors closed).

Also in the pic above; a long out-of-print Jaguar P-51 B detail set, Ultracast propeller and spinner, Aires corrected undercarriage bay and Ultracast corrected flaps and wheels..

Although it is often said that the Tamiya P-51D is an easy build, the assembly of the canopy can be tricky consisting of a frame to which the glazing is attached. I use either a spare Hasegawa canopy or a Squadron vac form canopy (the Hasegawa canopy is slightly wide when compared to the Tamiya fuselage).

Although the flaps and inner wheel well doors fell as the hydraulic system lost pressure I would not get too hung up (excuse the pun) as your model could represent the aircraft just after shut down.  It is easy to find photo's of Merlin P-51's with the wheel well doors just cracked open and the flaps up.

Bearing in mind that I don't have the Fujimi, Meng or Academy or even the Accurate Miniatures kits, my recommendations for an OOB build would probably be the new Airfix tool - I'm starting one of mine as soon as - and the Hasegawa P-51 D. The Hasegawa D contains more under wing stores than the Tamiya kit and appears - in my opinion- to feature better detail.


".. when Revell re released the old ICM kit (we all know that this is rather similar to other 1/48th P-51 B kits!) with the markings for AK-A I just had to buy it and here it is.."

Tony O'Toole

1 comment:

  1. I seen the new the new P-51 at the IPMS national this past week. It is a beautiful kit. But I pasted it up. I got a ton of late model P-51 with the tail fillet. But good newd. October 1st of the year Eduard will be releasing the early "D" model.