1/48 Tamiya P-51D Mustang

Gallery Article by Burt Gustafson on July 23 2013



For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of my Tamiya 1/48 scale P-51D Mustang. I recently read the book “Fighter Group” by LtCol (Ret) Jay A. Stout. The book tells the remarkable story of the USAAF’s 352nd Fighter Group, the “Blue-Nosed Bastards of Bodney. The book inspired me to build a North American P-51D Mustang. The model here depicts a P-51D of the 352nd FG 487th FS flown by Lt Col John C Meyer.

The kit was a nice build with an excellent parts fit throughout, very little filling or sanding. The cockpit module goes together well and fits nicely into the right fuselage half. I chose to build this kit with a seated pilot that came with the kit. With the seated pilot you cannot see the front instrument panel. The 2-piece canopy/windscreen assembly is crystal clear, and fits perfectly. 


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When the P-51D first entered combat operations in Europe, they were painted olive drab on the upper surfaces with gray under surfaces. Later they sported a medium green camouflage pattern. At combat speeds and distances, with these paint schemes, the P-51D looked like an ME-109. As a consequence, a number of P-51s were shot down by friendly fire. To stop this fratricide and the hassle of painting the aircraft, P-51s were left in a bare metal finish. Additionally, it was easier for German pilots to see the P-51s, and the P-51 pilots wanted the Luftwaffe pilots to see the Mustangs from a long way off.

For a short time, P-51s of the 352nd FG had an unpainted spinner with a blue nose band immediately behind the spinner. It was about a month or so later that the paint scheme that helped immortalize the 352nd began to appear. The blue paint started at the spinner, wrapped itself under the nose, and then swept up and back to the front of the wind screen.

The nose of my P-51D “Blue-Nose Bastard” was airbrushed with Model Masters Bright Blue enamel paint. The wheel wells were painted with Model Masters Interior Green. To get the bare metal finish I airbrushed several light coats of Alclad Polished aluminum over a primer coat of Model Masters Gloss Black.

The kit gives you the option of decals for two aircraft. I went with the decals for the 352nd FG, 487th FS, with no invasion stripes. I know Alclad does not recommend using any glossy lacquer or Future over the polished aluminum paint. However, I hand brushed two coats of Future over the model so that any decal solution would not interfere with the aluminum paint. I let the Future dry and cure for three days before I started applying the excellent kit decals. The large letters on the sides of the fuselage and the tail let other pilots know what squadron the aircraft belonged to and who was flying the aircraft. The HO on the fuselage sides identified the aircraft as belonging to the 357th FS. The large letter on the tail was the first letter of the pilot’s last name. The large letter M on the tail of my model identified the aircraft as belonging to Lt Col John C Meyer.

This kit was a pleasure to build—an easy build. The parts fit was excellent, cockpit and external detail is also quite good, the decals were super. The overall quality of this kit is excellent, typical for a Tamiya kit. I was pleased with the finished model.

Burt Gustafson

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Photos and text © by Burt Gustafson