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P-51B-5

Mastercraft 1/72 P-51B-5 Mustang Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2005 Manufacturer Mastercraft
Subject North American P-51B-5 Mustang Scale 1/72
Kit Number 30490 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice selection of decal subjects Cons Canopy cannot be positioned open
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $3.94

First Look

P-51B-5
P-51B-5
P-51B-5
P-51B-5

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.

The P-51B was the first major step in improving the performance of the Mustang replacing the Allison engine with the Packard Merlin. The combination of this airframe and engine would provide the allies with the war's top performing piston-engined fighter.

Mastercraft has released the P-51B Mustang in 1/72 scale. This kit is molded in medium gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus a small tree containing the clear styrene canopy, gunsight and light lenses. The kit appears to be produced with low-pressure molds as there is a slight texture to the surface of the parts and a slight hint of flash as well. The detailing on the surfaces is nicely scribed.

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 cockpit transparencies are molded as one part. As you can see in the photo, the canopy in this version is the Malcolm Hood which was lifted from the British Spitfires to give Mustang pilots better visibility.

A note about these kit instructions. This is one of the best-illustrated sheets I've seen recently. The parts are shaded light blue, gray or black to convey relative color information and the shading is further labeled with the proper Federal Standard 595 color number and color name. On the down side, the instructions are for the non-Malcolm-hood version of the P-51B so consequently the canopy and dorsal antenna information is incorrect.

Markings are provided for four aircraft:

  • P-51B-5, 43-6935, 364 FS/357 FG, C5-T, 'Hurry Home Honey', Jun 1944 as flown by Capt Richard Peterson
  • P-51B-5, 43-6704, 486 FS/352 FG,PZ-H, 'Hell-Er-Bust', Sep 1944 as flown by 1Lt Edwin Heller
  • P-51B-5, 43-6431, 354 FS/355 FG, WR-A, 'Man 'O War'', 1943 as flown by Maj Clairbourne Kinnard
  • P-51B-5, 43-6374, 354 FS/355 FG, AJ-A, 'Ding Hao', 1944 as flown by Col James Howard

This is a nice little kit that will go together quickly. Recommended!

My sincere thanks to Hobbyshop.cz for this review sample!

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