Airfix 1/24 P-51D Mustang Kit First Look
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||August 2009||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Kit Number||3505||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Greatly detailed large model||Cons||Poor and incomplete decal sheet|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$81.95|
The sleek and deadly Mustang was originally developed for the RAF by North American Aviation in a remarkably short time. It’s hasty development did not prevent it from developing into one of the most successful and important fighters in history. Nearly 15,000 were built, the bulk of which saw action in the European theatre of WWII. They provided long range escorts for American bombing missions deep into Germany and allowed the Allies to gain air superiority over German territory. Later, they were employed effectively in ground attack roles. Mustangs were used by over 50 nations, even as recently as the present day.
The D version introduced the “teardrop” or “bubble” canopy, to improve rearward vision.
Armament was increased with the addition of two more machine guns, bringing the total to 6. The gun sight was changed from the N-3B to the N-9, and in September 1944 it was changed again to the K-14B gyro-computing sight.
P-51D’s became the most widely produced Mustang version. A total of 8,156 were built, 6,502 at Inglewood, 1,454 at Dallas and 200 by CAC at Fisherman’s Bend, Australia. Production totals for Mustangs was second only to that of the P-47 Thunderbolt.
Airfix is a model company based in the UK. This kit has a copyright date of 1977. At that time, Airfix 1/24th scale kits of aircraft were being marketed by MPC, which was a division of the General Mills Fun Group, Inc., based in Mt. Clemens, Michigan USA.
I purchased my kit at the local Toy Fair store (now long gone) for their marked down price of $6.77 (marked down from the MSRP at that time of $8.00).
The kit comes in a large tray and lid type box. The boxart is a photograph of the model made up. It is in the markings of the Mustang flown by Major Ed Giller of the 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, and had the serial no. 44-72123. It’s fuselage code is CY-G in white. The nickname “The Millie G” (sometimes mistaken as “The Millie P”) is on the nose. This was in reference to his wife Mildred. This aircraft was delivered to the USAAF on January 20th 1945.
After being sold to Sweden, at the end of the war in 1946, this aircraft has changed hands several times and can be seen today at San Isisdro AFB, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, resting on a pole. It served with their air force for almost 30 years.
Major Giller is a decorated pilot, who logged 115 combat missions, was wounded by flak, and shot down 3 German aircraft…including a rare downing of a Me-262 jet fighter.
However, I notice that the box art subject is sporting 4 kills below the cockpit vs. what I read about Giller, that he only had 3.
As an aside, there is a restored P-51D-10NA, owned by Trent Latshaw in Tulsa, OK. It is painted in the scheme for The Millie G. However, it is NOT the original aircraft.
The aircraft is in bare metal undercarriage, with this angled up towards the top of the nose. Above this angle the top is very dark olive drab, separated from the bare metal below by a red stripe. The rudder is yellow with a rampant black mustang on it. The nose has a green and red checkerboard on it and the propeller spinner has bands of these two colors on it also. Propeller blades are black with yellow tips. There is a single black stripe around the wing roots of the wings. The model pictured is mounted with drop tanks and rockets (both provided in the kit). Five color walk-around photos of the model are in one corner of the box art also. It is stated that the model will make up into a wingspan of 18” and will be 16” long. Quite a display shelf hog for sure!
Features of the kit are: a detailed Packard-Merlin engine, authentic cockpit with controls and instruments, detailed armament, removable wing and body panels, retractable undercarriage, sliding canopy, rubber tires, bombs, rockets, a pilot figure and drop tanks. The kit is aimed at modelers age 10 to adult.
The two side panels of the box are identical. The give a one paragraph history of the
P-51D, a list of the kit’s features again and color box arts of 4 kits in Airfix’s 1/24th scale line: a Me-109E, a Spitfire Mk.1a, a Ju-87B Stuka and this Mustang. I have done reviews of the first 3 of these here on Cyber previously.
Inside the box are 6 huge chalk white parts trees that fit the tray tight in all directions. These are in a sealed cello bag. A tree of clear parts and one of black vinyl tires are floating around loose. The windscreen on the clear tree had broken off the tree. The large decal sheet and instructions complete the kit’s contents.
The instructions consist of a staple bound booklet of 20 pages.
Page one announces that the instructions are an ASSEMBLY & OPERATING INSTRUCTION MANUAL. Below that statement is a black and white line drawing of The Millie G. At the bottom of the page, Fundimensions thanks the U.S. Air Force Museum Research Div. for their help in writing the instructions. The technical information, parts identification, and illustrations on pages 17 & 18 were taken from USAF P-51 flight handbook and USAF P-51D Mk. IV erection and maintenance instruction manual dated 20, December 1944, No. AN 01-60JE-2.
Page two begins with PLEASE READ THIS FIRST instructions, with some illustrations of hobby tools. To the right of this the history of the P-51D.
Pages three through fourteen give a total of 35 assembly step drawings. There are no parts tree illustrations in the instruction booklet. The trees are not alphabetized, but they do have the part numbers next to the parts. This means searching through the near 200 parts on the trees for what you need that is shown in a assembly step. Bad move Airfix.
Colors are called out in each step as needed. In step 6 are illustrations of the cockpit side panels and dash board with labels telling what each instrument is. The dashboard is a 3 part assembly, with a white plastic face with holes in it for the clear panel to mount through for the dial faces. The gun sight part mounts to the top.
The cockpit detail is nicely provided for, but could stand some after-market seat belts.
The bubble canopy can be made to slide open and shut. There is a full engine in the kit with removable panels provided to see it. The same for the wing gun compartments…removable panels there also. Control surfaces are all separate too. Detail is of the both engraved and raised variety (the fine rivets being raised).
In step 31 modelers are to drill a small hole in the bubble canopy for the radio aerial wire to pass through. A second hole is to be drilled in the front of the tail for the other end of this wire to be attached.
In step 35 you can opt to mount any combination of the drop tanks, bombs or rockets.
Page 15 has a 2-view of The Millie G scheme (this is the only marking in the kit provided). These are profiles of the port and starboard sides. An illustration of the decal sheet appears there also.
Page 16 has a 2-view of the top and bottom of The Millie G. It shows that the black stripes around the wing roots were also on the horizontal tail surfaces too. The decal sheet is illustrated again here too.
The decal sheet illustrations show a bunch of stencil marks. However, the actual decal sheet is missing these on it. The should have been printed in the area between the rampant Mustang horses and the kill marks Which makes the 3-view line drawing on page 17 useless that shows were to apply these stencils…sigh. I could not help but notice, also, that the decals used on the box art photographed model have better definition and shading (especially the nick name on the nose) than the decal sheet in the kit has.
Page 18 has what appears to have come out of a manual. It is two illustrations and instructions of how a pilot should enter the P-51D.
Page 19 is also from some manual. It has a illustration of a sample training mission.
Page 20 is mostly blank, with only General Mills Fundimensions address at the bottom. It also mentions that Lionel, MPC and Craft Master were under their corporation umbrella in the 70’s also.
This kit, in this boxing is out of production. However, it is in re-release and back under the straight Airfix banner as kit no. ARX14001 at the MSRP of $81.95 and available at
The parts trees are not alphabetized.
The first large chalk white tree holds: the starboard fuselage half, bombs, rocket parts, engine parts, belly air sc9oop, cockpit floor etc. (87 parts)
The second large chalk white tree holds: the port side of the fuselage, the propeller spinner and back plate, exhaust pipes, cowling panels, more rocket parts, the canopy frame, pilot figure etc. (approximately 68 parts) Some parts have been knocked off this tree due to friction against other trees in the large stapled cello bag.
The third large chalk white tree holds: ailerons, rudder halves, the dash board, landing gear legs, drop tank halves, machine guns and more rocket parts etc. (36 parts)
The fourth large chalk white tree holds: the propeller blades, horizontal tail surfaces and elevator halves, main gear doors, more rocket parts etc. (15 parts)
The next 2 chalk white trees hold the wing halves. The lower wing half is full span. (3 parts)
The clear parts tree holds the cockpit transparency and wind screen, dash board lenses and wing light lenses (9 parts).
The black vinyl parts tree holds the main gear and tail wheel tires. (3 parts)
The decal sheet, already described, completes the kit’s contents.
This is one big, honking neat aircraft kit. Older modelers, like myself, who have weaker eyes will really appreciate it’s size.
I recommend it to experienced modelers, because of the part count in the kit. I also suggest getting better after-market decals for it.
I purchased my kit, years ago, at a Toy Fair store here in town that went out of business. The price tag on it says that it was a MSRP back in the 70’s of $8.00, with a marked down price by Toy Fair of $6.77. At today’s greater price for this kit, it is still a kit worth having. The Mustang has always been at the top of my favorite’s list anyway.