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P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Kit

Hasegawa 1/32 P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2016 Manufacturer Hasegawa
Subject P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Scale 1/32
Kit Number 08244 Primary Media Styrene, White Metal
Pros Easy build Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $71.99

First Look

P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Kit
P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Kit
P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Kit
P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Kit
P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Kit
P-51D Mustang w/Rocket Tubes Kit

The P-51 Mustang is well known as one of the finest fighters to emerge from the Second World War. It was ironic that those Mustangs that were issued to the RAF under Lend-Lease were usually pushed off on Commonwealth squadrons because the Mustang was originally developed for the RAF. Before the US had entered the war, the British were trying to get various US aircraft companies to produce the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk for them. When they approached North American Aviation, that company offered a better design using the same engine and would be built less than four months after contract award. While the aircraft lived up to the company's promises, the engine lacked performance above 15,000 feet which curtailed both the P-40 and P-51.

RAF engineers took one of the early Mustangs and replaced the Allison V-1710 with a proper Merlin engine and the results were so good, North American revised their design accordingly and incorporated the Packard-built Merlin 66 (V-1650) engine into the P-51B/C. When the Fw 190 debuted with its distinctive canopy for all-round visibility, the RAF soon created the teardrop canopy for the Typhoon and a similar canopy design was introduced with the P-51D/K. After the war, the Mustang would soldier on through the early stages of the Korean War until the fledgling jet fighters could effectively enter the fight.

Here is a historical kit reissue from Hasegawa. This P-51D kit was first released in the 1960s which makes this model over 50 years old! The kit has been regularly reissued by Hasegawa over the years and in this case, offers some new-tooled parts for this version. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts, one set of low-pressure injection-molded parts, and a set of white metal parts. Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Fair cockpit (aftermarket options are available)
  • Optional pilot figure included
  • Positionable canopy
  • Packard-Merlin engine which can be detailed
  • Removable engine hood to display engine compartment
  • Ailerons/rudder/elevators/flaps posed neutral/centered
  • Wing gun bay doors are positionable
  • Gun bays have guns and ammo belts
  • Includes white metal DF loop antenna

External stores options include:

  • 2 x metal drop tanks
  • 2 x paper drop tanks
  • 2 x 500lb bombs
  • 2 x bazooka rocket launchers (new white metal and plastic parts)

Markings are provided for two aircraft:

  • P-51D, unknown, 2 ACG/10 AF, 24, India, 1945, 'Little Indian'
  • P-51D, 44-63822, 47 FS/15 FG, 150, Iwo Jima, 1945, 'Li'l Butch'

The decals also provide a nice set of airframe stenciling.

Given the age of this tooling, it is no surprise that the model offers raised rivet details which can be quickly erased with a sanding stick, especially on the wings where there were no visible rivet details. This kit attempted to introduce some scribed panel lines on the fuselage and wings, but these are too exaggerated and are best filled. Another common mistake also in this kit are the wheel wells - they are boxed-in where the full-scale aircraft have the wells open up inside fore and aft of the openings. There are aftermarket fixes for this glitch should you opt to update your model. You'll want to find an aftermarket cockpit set for this kit as well given that there are some impressive sets available that would enhance this model. The Mustang lover will want to address other details that are also needing update and you can search online for some of these other suggestions.

Given the age of this kit, I am really surprised that Hasegawa hasn't retooled this subject. Granted that there are at least two modern P-51D toolings now available in 1/32 scale, the P-51 and Bf 109 are reliable selling subjects and given the great work Hasegawa has done with their updated P-40, Bf 109, and A6M toolings, isn't it time to come back to the P-51?

My sincere thanks to Hasegawa USA for this review sample!

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