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P-51 Mustang

Academy 1/72 P-51/F-6A Mustang IA 'North Africa' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2004 Manufacturer Academy
Subject P-51/F-6A Mustang IA 'North Africa' Scale 1/72
Kit Number 12401 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicest 1/72 Allison-Powered Mustang on market Cons Canopy cannot be positioned open
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $18.00

First Look

Academy P-51 Mustang
Academy P-51 Mustang
Academy P-51 Mustang
Academy P-51 Mustang

While British aircraft industries were ramping up production of new and old designs to reinforce the RAF, delegates from the British government embarked on an extended shopping trip to the United States for potential American aircraft to fill the under-staffed RAF ranks. After visits to Lockheed for the Hudson and Curtiss for the P-40, the delegates paid a visit to North American Aviation to have them to build the P-40 under license to augment Curtiss’ production lines.

North American convinced the British delegates that they could produce a better fighter using the same engine and weapons as the Curtiss P-40, and that a prototype would be in the air within nine months. The rest is aviation history as the resulting P-51 Mustang family would not only serve as a supplemental fighter with the RAF, it would become the mainstay air superiority machine for the USAAF in skies over Europe and Asia.

Academy has expanded upon its Mustang line with a new-tooling P-51 Mustang. Of course, when I say P-51, I mean the first production version that preceeded the P-51A. In correct perspective, the Mustang I as its first owners designated it, was powered by an Allison engine turning a three-bladed prop, and armed with four 30 caliber machine guns. The version represented in this kit is the Mustang IA which replaces the four 30 cal machine guns with four 20mm cannons.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and features finely scribed details throughout. Provided on four trees, plus a single tree carrying the windscreen and canopy, the kit is beautifully detailed. The kit is actually two complete kits in one box. Two of the gray trees and the clear parts make up the Mustang IA, the third gray tree is a complete kit of a Willys Jeep with 'Follow Me' markings on the decal sheet, and the final tree is a cargo trailer for the Jeep.

The flaps and flight controls are molded in place, so surgery will be required to lower the flaps. The main wheel wells have nice depth to them.

The good news/bad news is that the cockpit transparencies are molded in four parts - windscreen, canopy, and two rear side windows. Since the canopy does not slide open on this version (it folds to the side) you won't be able to position canopy open without some careful surgery or a vac replacement from True Details or Falcon.

As far as options go, the kit offers you two types of dorsal radio antenna mast and positionable radiator exhaust door position. These early Mustangs did not carry external fuel or weapons.

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • P-51 (F-6A), 41-37322, 154 OS/68 OG, North Africa, 1943
  • P-51 (F-6A), 41-37365, 111 TRS/68 TRG, Algeria, 1943

This is a nice little kit that will go together quickly and fill a void for a nice early Allison-powered Mustang. The bonus of a 'Follow Me' Jeep in the kit is a nice touch that will come in handy for other projects if not used with this model.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!

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