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P-51 Kit

Minicraft 1/144 P-51D Mustang Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2009 Manufacturer Minicraft
Subject P-51D Mustang Scale 1/144
Kit Number 14591 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautiful kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $8.95

First Look

P-51 Kit
P-51 Kit
P-51 Kit
P-51 Kit

North American's Mustang fighter was a huge success once the Allison engine of the early Mustangs was replaced by the license-built Packard Merlin. The P-51B/C Mustangs were a formidable threat to the Luftwaffe. Like most fighters of the early war, the P-51B/C had the standard hood design of the day which was more of a greenhouse type that was streamlined into the rear fuselage. Aerodynamically, this wasn't a bad thing, but combat experience with this type of cockpit enclosure revealed fatal rear visibility. The Americans, British, and Germans set to work on the problem.

North American addressed this visibility issue with the next version of the Mustang, the P-51D/K. The rear fuselage was cut down and the canopy enclosure replaced with a teardrop canopy. Additional improvements included the addition of two more 50 caliber machine guns, bringing up the total to six, additional fuel tanks, and a new gunsight. The P-51D was produced in Inglewood CA, while the same aircraft built in Dallas TX was designated the P-51K.

Minicraft has re-released the Crown 1/144 P-51D kit originally produced by AHM. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. The kit is a simple build and quite nicely done for its petite size.

This release provides two spinners, one to overlay the propeller and the other without holes to simulate the engine running. The kit also provides two sets of gear doors - one closed for in-flight display (with the solid spinner) and one set with the gear struts and main gear wheels integral for strength for gear down.

Markings are provided for three examples:

  • P-51D, 44-11773, 23 FG, 199, 1944, 'Little Freddie'
  • P-51D, unknown, 332 FG, 88, 1944
  • P-51D, 44-14812, 352 FG, HO, 1945, 'Slender Tender & Tall'

This is a nice kit that will go together quickly and provide a colorful addition to your scale flightline. This is another nice installment in Minicraft's growing line of 1/144 scale aircraft.

My sincere thanks to Minicraft Models for this review sample!