is my P-51B Mustang in 1/32 and Yes it is Revell’s old kit. It is also
the only kit in existence that I know of in this scale. (However, I think
there might be a whole new resin kit available now). I spent more than six
months working on it and now it is the newest addition to my collection. I
would like to share her story.
For starters, let me introduce myself. My name is Ben, I’m 28
years old, I build models everyday, and I am currently active duty in the United
States Air Force. This is the first time I have submitted anything on
Aircraft Resource Center, which is a wonderful website, by the way…. Keep it
think I really need to go into the history of the P-51 so I’ll get right to
bought this kit thinking it was a 1/48th and I got home and realized
it was not! I got pretty excited since I only paid ten bucks for the
thing… that is until I opened the box and saw how poorly detailed it
was. It sat on my shelf for three years until I decided it was time to
build it. Originally I was just going to build it OOB but the plane was
quite big and I wanted it to show detail. One note on details….
I traditionally like to build models OOB, whether they are crappy in detail or
exceed the detailing limits. I don’t build big planes all of the time, I
mostly do 1/48 and don’t bother spending the money on all the fancy AM parts
and PE accessories and then spending forever building the model. If
that were the case, I would probably build one kit per year! Besides, I
really enjoy building models the way I did when I was a kid growing up…
Get one, open it, fantasize about how it’s going to look when done, and build
it! Then go out and get another one! I’m just a kid in an
adult’s body doing the craft that I love, as a hobby… not as a job.
This model however was different. It was big, and had a lot of
opportunities for super detailing. If I was going to build it, I was going
to use whatever I could get to make it look good. This
project was just a nightmare from day one. The kit is incredibly
inaccurate and had a ton of shortcomings that I had to try to overcome. So
I looked at what aftermarket stuff was available, needless to say, there was not
that much. :(
what I used in addition to some first time scratchbuilding….
PE details from Eduard. This little set just did wonders for the
cockpit and exterior.
Merlin Engine for Engines and Things. This actually caused a lot more
work than was needed.
Moskit Hollow Exhausts. These little guys are just great. I will
definitely use these again on future models. Highly recommended.
Resin weighted wheels from Cutting Edge. Much better than the kit
Prop spinner, cowling, tail wheel assembly, external fuel tanks and a
gunsight from a Hasegawa P-51D, courtesy of Larry Hawkins, and
separate prop blades from another Hasegawa kit.
Several different AM decals from Eagle Strike.
Solder wire, safety wire, aluminum foil, masking tape, clear plastic, thin
cardboard, and a lot of freaking superglue!
References. Squadron’s P-51 Mustang walkaround,
photos from the internet, and Escort to Berlin : Fighters of the
of the Eduard parts went into the cockpit and I must say, they made it
look soooo much better than what Revell had as far as details go.
It was the first time I had ever used a PE set before, by the way.
:) I also tried to add more little details, such as a hand-held
cockpit light, a manual gunsight, glass for the reflector gunsight,
seatbelts made out of tinfoil…. Wow, it’s amazing what you can do with
that tinfoil stuff! The little headrest was made out of
it as well. On the real aircraft, the headrest was
actually a small bag pouch, used to store things. Must
have been gentle on the pilot’s head as well…. Maybe it was a personal
preference anyways. The radio comp was detailed with
wires and little black boxes. You can’t see them very
well in the pictures, but they’re there.
couldn’t find any AM canopies so I had to use what the kit offered…. It
sucked, it really did. I mean it didn’t even sit straight on the
fuselage. I had a heck of a time getting the front piece to
settle, but eventually did.
The landing gear struts were horrible, but I managed to use them with the
help of superglue. I did have struts from Hasegawa, but they were used and
the ends were broken off so I didn’t think they would have good support.
I added brake lines made from solder wire. The kit tailwheel was
awful, so I used one from Hasegawa. One of the only areas that I did not
pay a lot of attention to was the wheel wells. They are way to shallow and
inaccurate, but by the time I got to them, I didn’t want to deal with ‘em.
The .50 Cal gun holes were really wide and open so I just used plastic
glue tips cut down to size so it would fill the void and resemble the ends of
the gunbarrels. I added beefed up plates around the shell
ejector holes for the guns.
scratchbuilt the landing light assembly out of clear plastic and curved it to
the shape of the wing.
some actuator struts out of stretched sprue for the landing gear doors.
I didn’t add
any antenna wires on the plane. Usually the first thing to
get broken off anyways. :)
decided that I wanted the flaps and horizontal stabs to be in the down position
so I cut them out and repositioned them. The flaps were open on the inside
end, so I used Q-tip sticks, putty and tin foil to fill the gaps.
plane had a lot of raised rivets needless to say. So I sanded
them down and tried a poor attempt at a rescribe job. I have
to admit I really don’t like rescribing. But I did a little
here and there and got rid of some of the raised rivets. Although
it lost a lot of surface detail, I am quite pleased with the result.
images below to see larger images
the powerplant area. The biggest issue with this build was
the engine. From the nacelle all the way to the propeller
came problems. This is what took the majority of the time.
First of all, I hated the kit prop. It looked really
Mickey-mouse. The blades I thought were too skinny and the
spinner looked small and didn’t have the correct shape. So,
I decided to use a different prop. I could’ve used the
stock engine, but I wanted one with a lot of detail so I picked up a resin
Merlin engine from Engines and Things. Pretty detailed,
however it was not designed to fit into the Revell Mustang. It
was too big so I had to cut and trim alot of details off so
it could fit in the engine compartment. Then I had to figure
out how to mount it and make it sit perfectly straight. This
also raised another issue… The engine had no moving parts
to allow a propeller to spin. I just used the old heat and
flare method to fix that. But my biggest concern was making
sure the engine and Hasegawa propeller would be properly aligned. The
other issue I ran into was I had to cut most of the front fuselage away (where
the propeller meets the cowling) in order to accept the front of the engine.
This meant I had to try and scratch build the air intake and rebuild the
top portion. That took a couple weeks…. And it ended up
being a waste of time and effort. By then I received some
spare parts from Larry Hawkins. I was planning on using only
the prop spinner, but it was much too big for my rebuilt nacelle. So
naturally, I was irritated and I decided to cut off the rebuilt nose section and
start over. This worked out well though since Mr. Hawkins
also sent me the back end of the spinner assembly, which housed the correct
looking intake and upper cowl. (I did have to scratch build a
duct out of tinfoil for the intake, otherwise the engine would be visible
through the hole).
part was a little wider than the Revell Fuselage, but It was better than
nothing and it looked good so I used it anyways. I had
to do more plastic surgery by cutting and grafting the Hasegawa nose
section onto the Revell kit. After many hours of
puttying, filing and sanding it had a natural look. Looking
at the final finish, I couldn’t tell there had been any surgery at all!
A proud moment for me indeed. I dressed up the
engine with some wires and hoses and piping. The real
thing has a lot more than mine actually shows, but I think it looks good
as is… Especially with the Moskit exhausts. These
really make the engine stand out. They are superthin
and are very realistic looking. You can’t go wrong
with Moskit! I did drill out some holes where the top
cowing attaches to the nacelle to spice up the framework. I
found a photograph of a Merlin engine that had Rolls-Royce printed in Red
on it. I don’t know if Mustang Merlins of WW2 had it
or not, I just thought it looked cool. :)
last major issue on the engine was the top cowling. When
attached to the nacelle, the horizontal exhaust ports were way too big.
I made them more narrow by cutting thin cardboard and matchsticks and
grafting them to the cowling. A little superglue, sanding and
puttying and they were blended into the cowling. Now they
look better and have enough room to allow the exhaust pipes to stick out.
but not least are the fuel tanks. Revell didn’t even supply
them with the kit. They did have the pylons though…. But
nowhere on the instructions were they to be used. I had to
figure out exactly where they were to be mounted, since there were no locating
holes. The standard tanks came from Hasegawa. I
added fuel lines made from solderwire and masking tape.
painting and markings. One thing that makes this aircraft
unique is it’s camo scheme. It was rare to see a
camouflaged Mustang in the European Theatre during the war. I
used neutral gray, olive drab and dark green. I used Model
Master Metallizer for the primer coat hoping to get a “chipped paint”
effect. That didn’t work that well and added extra work
anyways. I’ll just stick with primer gray next time.
The markings of this plane belonged to Maj. Duane Beeson, one of the
highest ranking Aces of the 334th Fighter Squadron, who scored over
twenty victories in Spitfires, Thunderbolts, and his North American P-51B.
He was shot down in this Mustang on April 5, 1944 by anti-aircraft fire.
He was captured and spent the rest of the war as a POW.
He was freed by the Russians in 1945. After returning
to the states, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and unfortunately, died in
1947. He was only 26 years old.
only decals from the kit that I used were the identification letters and the BEE
emblem. The rest came off of an excellent set from Eagle
Strike Decals. Some of them silvered on me, but not too bad.
The kill markings were each put on one at a time. They
came from different decal sheets.
this old kit is an oldie, but a possible goodie… depends on how good one wants
it to look. I have been building models since I was seven and
this has to be the worst kit I have ever built in the last twenty years.
There were a lot of other setbacks that I didn’t mention. As
a matter of fact, I almost quit the project because I was so frustrated with the
endless problems. It was probably the most awful model to
build, but this awful model ended up looking fantastic IMHO. I
am very proud of this kit. I finished it up right before
deploying to the Middle East and it was wonderful to come back home and seeing
her sitting on the shelf lookin’ all sexy. :)
This is the
first in my “WW2 Fighter Aces” Series in 1/32 scale. Other
models that I’m looking forward to are some of the not-so-common aces such as
Bf-109G, Joseph Priller’s Me-109E, Hans-Ulrich Rudel’s JU-87G Stuka, John D.
Landers’ P-51D Big Beautiful Doll, Robert Scott’s P-40E, Hans Dortenman’s
FW-190, Francis Gabresky’s P-47 just to name a few.
to Larry Hawkins, this model couldn’t have been completed without his help.
I Hope you
enjoy my P-51.
images below to see larger images