P-51D / Mustang IV
Easy Assemble Authentic Kit
1:48 Hobby Boss
Few can hear the Name North American Aviation without thinking of the famous P-51 Mustang, a single seat air superiority fighter/fighter bomber developed by North American Aviation. The prototype was rolled out in September 1940 an astonishing 102 days after the contract was signed with British Purchasing Commission. The Mustang was designed and built during this period, something which would not even be conceivable these days of massive budgets and contract over-runs.
The original Mustangs were fitted with Allison engines which were only efficient at lower levels, and most of the original RAF order went to Army Co-operation command for use as ground support aircraft. Its only later in its life when the Mustang airframe was mated with the Merlin Engine that the P-51D or Mustang IV was born. This would turn out to be a truly exceptional aircraft, indeed Capt "Winkle" Brown rated this as one of the top 3 piston engine aircraft he flew, and he flew a lot.
A total of 8,156 P-51D's were built: 6,502 at Inglewood, 1,454 at Dallas and 200 by CAC at Fisherman's Bend, Australia. These aircraft served with many Air Forces all over the world after combat service in WWII and Korea. Some were even converted into racers for the famous Reno races, and many survive in flying condition to this day.
At first I thought offering from Hobby Boss would just be an upscaling of their 1.72 kit, however it does provide more parts than its smaller counterpart. and is a different kit, though probably produced from the same CAD drawings. The kit comes in a fairly substantial box, with a view of the two decal schemes on the box lid. The box contains four plastic sprues in pretty much the conventional form for an aircraft of this type. The parts are very well moulded with no flash and the panel lines look appropriate for the scale.
The first sprue has the fuselage sides, tail planes, gear doors, landing gear and exhausts. The effect on the tail planes looks a little over done for this scale, and I was disappointed to see that there was no detail on the insides of the cockpit area. Given that this will be seen through the canopy its a little let down, although this is supposed to be an "easy kit". The exhausts look a little small but you are not really able to gauge this 100% while they are still on the sprue.
The second sprue holds the upper and lower wings. These look very nice, there is gear well detail built into the wings which looks good to me. The top/bottom wing halves split the guns but these are solid and would have to be drilled out anyway to add a little realism if being tackled by a more advanced modeller.
The third sprue carried the prop, wheels & drop tanks. The prop looks good, it looks like a P-51 prop, although the cuff detail is perhaps a little soft. The detail on the wheels also looks a little soft, and the drop tanks look like good representations of the real things, with moulded in sway-braces terminating in the attachment points. The join line has been helpfully placed on the actual seamline that runs around the horizontal circumference of the tank, which is helpful.
The fourth sprue is the smallest and covers the cockpit details. These are pretty sparse. You get a one part moulding of the floor with the radio racks behind the seat all in one, which is to be expected at this expected skill level. The seat is a two part affair with the main seat attaching to the armoured(?) part behind it. There is control stick, and the instrument panel has the rudder controls moulded to the bottom of it. If you don't want to paint the panel then a decal is provided. The detail again for this looks a little soft.
There are also a pair of poly-caps for attaching the landing gear legs.(not shown), which is quite a good idea, allowing the younger modeller to play with their creation without worrying about the gear legs, although how long this would happen without them getting lost is another matter entirely!
There is one clear sprue containing the canopy and rear view mirror, this is exceptionally well packed in its own bag with protective foam wrapping around the part. The canopy is a large one piece unit and looks clear if a little on the thick side. There is a large tab at the front which clicks into the main body and a smaller tab at the back which fits into the canopy run back slot. This is another good idea for the younger modeller, reducing the need to smear glue all over the clear parts.
The kit provides two decal options:
- 1. P-51D 44-14789 USAAF of Capt John B England 362nd FS 8th Air Force. This is an olive drab machine with a yellow & red checked nose, and yellow/red spinner.
- 2. Mustang IV "Dooleybird" KM272 QV-V No.19 Sqn RAF.
There has been some argument in the past as to the original colours used on KM272, Hobby Boss have gone for blue nose checks and yellow canopy surround. I don't know if its right or wrong? but it looks good and should appeal to the younger modeller. In addition to the sheet of main decals a second sheet of stencils is provided. The decals are glossy and in register. I have used Hobby Boss decals on their 1/72 kits and found them to be excellent - these look no different.
To test the "Easy Assembly" tag I had a quick 5 minute mad dash at the kit with the sprue cutters and knife, in a completely unscientific way, but with only very basic clean up, no glue and no tape the model comes out like this.
This is welcome great kit from Hobby Boss. While it might not appeal to the "serious" modeller it is part of a good bridge between snap together kits and full on model kits which should help to get youngsters into modelling. I would also say as nice quick build it could make a nice antidote to a bout of Advanced Modeller Syndrome (AMS), which if untreated can render competent modellers incapable of making progress on a kit whilst struggling for additional references and worrying over colour choices for every tiny aspect of the model.
Recommended - especially for the budding modeller.