Classic Airframes 1/48 P-51H Mustang Build Review Build Review
By Boyd Waechter
|Date of Review||April 2006||Manufacturer||Classic Airframes|
|Kit Number||0426||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, Vac|
|Pros||Nice rendition of this unique subject||Cons||Lots of flash, intermittent panel lines|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
I have built several 1/48th scale P-51 kits in recent years, but I had always wanted to add a P-51H to my collection. A few years ago, there were three P-51H’s available, a resin kit by Collect-Aire and two injection molded kits, one by Classic Airframes and the other by HiPM. At this time (2006), I don’t think any of them are currently available except as collectors kits that can be found on eBay. The Classic Airframes kit was first released about ten years ago and was one of their first series of kits, but it is now long out of production.
Being a limited run kit, it was not quite up to Hasegawa or Tamiya standards and I knew from the beginning that it was going to be an extended project. But, it had all of the main components and I found all of the parts workable with time and a lot of patience. The surface texture of the main parts was a bit rough and most of the engraved panel lines seemed to come and go, and many of them simply disappeared. Prior to construction, I cleaned up most to the lines with a dental tool and also did a lot of re-engraving. Most all of the small parts required substantial clean-up and flash was just about everywhere. In my example, the instrument panel shroud was poured short and I had to rebuild one side completely.
It took me 17 months of work to finish it this model, though I did take 3 or 4 months off last summer to complete another project. It could have been finished in a lot less time, but I compounded the build by doing several modifications along the way. Some of these include:
- Dropping the main flaps
- Replaced air filter inspection plates on engines with brass ones
- Opened lower fuselage radiator shutter
- Scratchbuilt new radiator shutter
- Scratchbuilt fuselage radiator, install inside of fuselage
- Made new tailwheel doors
- Added wing tip lights
- Added landing light
- Added formation lights beneath wingtip
- Added hydraulic lines to landing gear struts
- Detailed disk brakes on inner wheel hubs
- Used Ventura P-51H vacuform canopy
- Added rocket rails
- Added antenna wire
Since I live in the Houston area, I wanted to do a P-51H flown by the 111th FBS based at Ellington Air Force Base during 1952. It is my understanding that this unit had four P-51H’s, all having minor differences in markings and colors. Fortunately, Kedi Decals made a very nice unit emblem for use on George Bush’s F-102 when he flew with the 111th TFW that could also be used on the Mustang.
I painted the model overall with Model Master Non-Buffing Aluminum mixed 50:50 with lacquer thinner. If you spray it on in 2 to 3 thin layers it becomes pretty durable and you can mask over it without much problem. I use 3M’s drafting tape since the amount of adhesive on the tape is minimal. The tonality was done with Pactra Flat Aluminum, Pactra Steel, Floquil Platinum Mist, and Micro Flat. Since the Mustang did not have a great number of dissimilar panels, I kept the tonality to a minimum. Other than the Kedi Decals unit emblem, all of the decals came from various Aeromaster black letters/numbers sheets, mainly 48-011B.
So, once done, I now have a fairly nice P-51H in my display cabinet sitting next to my Accurate Miniatures XP-51 conversion. One of these days I am going to get up the courage to build the Modelcraft F-82G Twin Mustang, a good retirement project in a couple of years.
Thanks to Bob Hanes in West Virginia for giving me the P-51H to build. He was either trying to challenge me or kill me, I’m not sure which one just yet.