Tamiya 1/48 P-51B Mustang Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Standard Mustang bugs
After North American developed the early Mustangs for the RAF, the USAAC knew that the US was going to be plunged into war and watched the development of this type with keen interest. When the RAF realized that this outstanding fighter was still limited in its performance above 15,000 feet, they re-engined several with the Merlin 61 engine and Rotol four-bladed propeller which gave the Spitfire its performance at altitude. The results were outstanding and North American shifted production to this new type.
Designated as P-51B, this new fighter was powered by the Packard-build Merlin engine in its Inglewood CA plant. Parallel production was opened in Dallas TX, with those aircraft designated as P-51C. These new fighters entered the war in 1943 and soon made their presence known to the Luftwaffe.
We took a look at the stock P-51B kit from Tamiya last year ( look here) and today this kit remains the best P-51B Mustang in any scale (to date). While there are several P-51B/C kits in this scale, none go together as nicely as the Tamiya kit. This particular limited edition kit is one of several that have come from Tamiya which include some different options and new decals as well.
Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on three parts trees, plus a tree of clear parts. Detailing is all finely scribed throughout. While the kit is an easy build and features some nice options, there are a few bugs in the kit as well:
- The cockpit floor is depicted with a curved surface. Once you install the interior in the fuselage and assemble the model, you'd be hard-pressed to tell if that cockpit floor is curved or flat, but if you want it accurate, simply replace the curved section with a sheet of styrene cut to exact dimension and your floor will be flat
- Wing panel lines are finely scribed, but other than the ammo bay doors, there shouldn't be any lines there at all. The P-51 featured a laminar flow wing which means that the wing surface was carefully filled and finished so that airflow was smooth over the wing. You should fill in most of the panel lines
- Main wheel wells are boxed-in as they are on just about every other Mustang kit out there. If you look at our photo walk arounds, you can see that the rear of the well is the main spar and this provides maintenance access to the hydraulics and wiring that run through the wings. There are some nice aftermarket resin wheel wells available now to fix this area
These might sound like big problems, but they are relatively minor bugs that are common to most Mustang kits out there. Most people won't even notice these points when they build their kits.
The kit has optional wing pylons from which you can hang the metal drop tanks provided in the kit. Among the options with this kit:
- Choice of standard or Malcolm hood
- Choice of open or closed standard canopy
- Optional seated pilot figure
- Optional standing pilot figure
- Positionable flaps
- Positionable rear radiator flap
- Choice of exhaust stacks
- Optional 108 gallon paper drop tanks
- Optional 500 lb bombs (two)
- Paint masks included
Markings are included for the same aircraft at two different times:
- P-51B-10-NA, 42-106703, 328 FS/352 FG, PE-S, 'Snoot's Sniper', as flown by Lt. Francis W. Horne, Jun 1944
- P-51B-10-NA, 42-106703, 328 FS/352 FG, PE-S, 'Snoot's Sniper', as flown by Lt. Francis W. Horne, Aug 1944
The Tamiya P-51 Mustangs are the easiest models to build and render the best results for the least effort. If you want to take a break from some of the more challenging projects 'out there', this is still one of the best kits available to just have fun and still achieve a master's result.
My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!