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P-51D Mustang

21st Century Toys 1/18 P-51D Mustang Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review March 2006 Manufacturer 21st Century Toys
Subject P-51D Mustang Scale 1/18
Kit Number N/A Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice finish and detailing - excellent improvement in accuracy over initial P-51D release Cons Propeller (see text)
Skill Level Novice MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

P-51D Mustang
P-51D Mustang
P-51D Mustang
P-51D Mustang

Many of you are familiar with the fantastic aircraft and armor releases from 21st Century Toys. Their early 1/18 scale P-51D Mustang was simplistic, but still colorful hanging from the ceiling or sitting on the shelf. Since those early releases, in the aircraft category alone, we've seen some amazing subjects in continuously increasing levels of difficulty and detail. We have all in 1/18 scale: Ju 87 Stuka, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning, Spitfire Mk.I, P-40B Tomahawk, Fw 190D-9, and more.

With each release, each subject would get more realistic in shape and outline. With the help of their ace staff modeler, the folks at 21st Century Toys have been putting out some excellent new subjects and paint schemes. With that success, they decided to go back and re-work one of their first releases - the P-51D Mustang.

The original release wasn't bad, but it was designed as a robust 'toy' and was engineered accordingly. This required some compromises in shape accuracy to facilitate those early molds. Little did they know that their aircraft would become such hot collectors items!

With this release, several items were improved and one item still eludes them. On the plus side, the wing dihedral that was non-existent in the first release has been corrected. The landing gear is smoother in its operation, as is the sliding canopy. The pilot figure is a radical improvement over the initial offering.

On the not-quite-there side is the propeller. In the first release, the shape and profile of the propeller was good, but each blade was really twisted from the hub to the tip more like the prop blades used on a turboprop engine. In this release, the shape, profile, and even the thrust twist are there, BUT they've somehow introduced a rearward bend to each prop blade. Look at the side profile shot and you can see that sweeps aft like one of the new high-tech propellers of today.

The flight controls and flaps are movable. The canopy is also movable as is the propeller.

The landing gear is retractable, though the down-lock is not as solid as some of their other releases, so if you attempt a Bob Hoover 'Dixieland Waltz' as he did with his P-51D, your landing gear will unlock.

The P-51D offers SO many possible paint schemes from both World War II and Korea. This release from 21st Century Toys is very nicely finished, but there is nothing to prevent you from stripping and applying your own markings. As with the other releases from this company, the final subjects sitting on your shelf or hanging over your desk are only limited by your imagination, reference materials, and skills.

Or you can enjoy the beautiful finish that comes straight out of the box! I have done nothing to this model other than remove it from the box and snap it together. Well done!

While I may update the finish on the aircraft at some point, this P-51D looks great exactly as-is and is hanging in my workshop at the Cybermodeler labs.

This release is definitely recommended. You can find these at any one of the retailers listed on the 21st Century Toys website.

My sincere thanks to 21st Century Toys for this review sample!