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Side-by-side comparison build: Airfix (Swedish J26) vs Eduard (probaby 8th AF) P-51D in 1/48


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Hello everyone-

 

After finishing the Mig, for the next project I'm doing a dual build, comparing the Airfix vs Eduard Mustangs. I got the Eduard one later and have read the general conclusion that it is superior, but let us see for ourselves. The Eduard one should have everything needed for a great built as provided inside the box. I have a photoetch set and some seat belts for the Airfix kit. I also have a set of Master P-51D brass gun barrels but am unsure if I will use them or not. This is actually the first time I've built a P-51 so I will eagerly accept the help and feedback when it comes to questions and accuracy issues I encounter during the builds.

 

KuYJMpM.jpg

 

The Airfix kit will be built as a Swedish J26. The kit comes with decals for Red L of F16 based in Uppsala. The aircraft, numbered 26014 in Swedish service, was a P-51D-20-NA built with the serial number 44-72177. It was one of a group of Mustangs delivered to the Swedish Air Force at Bromma in April 1945, and was eventually sold on to the Dominican Republic in 1952. This is the plan for now; but I am in contact with a relative who flew the J26 Mustang at this time, and might switch to build his aircraft if I can get the information and resources.

 

EiWYb22.jpg

 

For the Eduard kit, I'm still deciding. All the aircraft are P-51D-5. I'm leaning towards Chattanooga Choo Choo on the box art or maybe the green-nosed Caroline, we shall see.

 

The cockpit floors side-by-side: Eduard has some crisper detail around the control column.

 

4enLZfT.jpg

 

Comparing the seats brings me to my first research question. Both kit instructions call for the "two-part" seat. Eduard's is clearly superior. The airfix representation has a thick rim of the seat bottom, as well as built-in cushion and seat harness that I would like to replace.

 

B8IGxpl.jpg

 

However, when looking at a preserved Swedish P-51D in Linkoping, I see that it has a different type of seat, a "bucket seat" with prominent rivets:

 

cWY8Avt.jpg

 

As luck would have it, the Eduard kit supplies this type of seat as an un-used extra, and with minor work it will fit well to the airfix cockpit.

 

v95mGJv.jpg

 

JTDxVEZ.jpg

 

So for my first question to any lurking Mustang experts, which seat type should I use in the Swedish example? The preserved aircraft is also a P-51D-20 from the same delivery, so in the absence of conflicting evidence I guess I can use the Eduard bucket seat? I'd appreciate any help in the matter.

 

The Eduard seat armor has much more detail in the back, I'll wait to do some test fitting before deciding how much I want to replicate on the Airfix kit depending on how much will be visible.

 

rKSJW07.jpg

 

Now, the next research area I'm trying to figure out is gunsights. Did the J26 delivered to Sweden have the K-14 gunsight? The aircraft was delivered new to the USAAF in January 1945, and I think the K-14 was in widespread use by then. Looking at photographs of Swedish Mustangs, I can see two types of gunsight being used:

 

I believe this is a standard N-9 reflector sight, not a K-14:

WOxExbZ.jpg

 

And I've also found two images with gunsights that I can't identify. The bases look sort of like a K-14, and there are two panes of glass as part of the sight, but it's surrounded by a metal structure with circular cutouts. Maybe this is a Swedish-derived sight instead?

 

fLXjF68.jpg

 

QJacy0P.jpg

 

Does anyone have an idea of what these are or what kind of sight to install into a J26 Mustang? Between the parts provided in the kit and some aftermarket I should be able to easily install a K-14 or a N-9, but I still don't know what the unknown type of sight is, and it might be harder to scratchbuild should I need it. 

 

Thanks for reading, and again I appreciate any help/feedback with my initial research questions.

Edited by MeneMene
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Preliminary work so far:

 

I got the Eduard and Airfix cockpits to roughly the same state. First, the Eduard cockpit:

 

nDH2Goj.jpg

tm7C52H.jpg

 

Followed by Airfix:

 

T5tC27f.jpg

K2VJw64.jpg

 

There's still lots of work to do with oils and painting some details. The Airfix kit is going to be a machine after 5 years of use whereas the Eduard kit is a wartime P-51, so I kept the weathering much lighter.

 

The Eduard kit has much more detail behind the seat mounting, although most of it will be covered up once I install the radio and battery equipment on the rack behind it. I might try to add the bulkhead with the cutouts to the Airfix kit but don't think I'll go much beyond that.

 

I made some progress on the seat question- the bucket seat is the Schick-Johnson seat, and the two types were interchangeable. It was more commonly used in a wooden form on the early P-51 models, but then was used occasionally in a metal form towards from P-51D-15 and on. Becuase I have a picture of the preserved Swedish P-51 with a Schick Johnson seat, and the default seat provided by Airfix is not the greatest, I will use the Eduard SJ seat on my Swedish Airfix P-51 build.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not much behind extra detail the Eduard kit has behind the seat armor bulkhead can be seen once the battery/radios are in place behind it, so I'll leave it as is on the Airfix kit. I did, however, do some scratchbuilding with some wire and plastic to recreate some other missing details such as the fuel filler pipe, rear fuel gauge, and cabling.

 

SnDsLXS.jpg

 

Side-by-side when painted:

 

OLozpvg.jpg

 

After the addition of the seats and their belts:

 

ZZ5u5V0.jpg

 

Basic comparison of the cockpit sidewalls. As usual the detail on the Eduard representation is much crisper, with the framework actually being a separate piece.

 

FBWvCoo.jpg

 

95O0Z14.jpg

 

The mounting for the instrument panel is different in the two kits, and you need to add it earlier on the airfix kit. Here is the instrument panel with krystal klear drying on the gauges.

 

tqOftiP.jpg

 

To recap, here are views of each cockpit before it's time to close, after some washes and oil paints for weathering and the addition of the final details.

 

Eduard first:

 

MF6WIqO.jpg

 

ofYNQWB.jpg

 

LABZqBg.jpg

 

lsL8AQR.jpg

 

One thing left to do is the throttle. The Eduard kit is going to represent a wartime P-51D in the autumn of 1944, with a N-9 gunsight instead of the later gyroscopic sight. As such, I need to change the throttle handle from the bicycle-grip style featured in the kit (used to set the gyro gunsight range) to a simple rounded knob found on earlier P-51's. Once that change is made we can close up the fuselage.

 

RC6CFQE.jpg

 

The Airfix version, a bit more weathered as it's an aircraft after several years of service rather than brand new. As an opposite to the Eduard kit, I need to add the bicycle-grip throttle using some plastic rod, but that should be quick.

 

673dU7E.jpg

 

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Test-fitting:

 

QNyzEJP.jpg

 

The Eduard fit is excellent, the only troublesome area seems to be right behind the radiator exit, but we will get to that later.

 

The Airfix kit will need a bit more work. The fit of the parts for the fin fillet is poor, and results in a gap in the upper fuselage that will need to be filled. It also has some fit struggles in the rear fuselage between the tail wheel bay and the radiator.

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very cool project!!! looks awesome, one tip if I may, the radio battery rack was  as NAA footage shows, and the wood floor was only black painted in the areas where the feet was in contact, the other was in IG and there was an brownish canvas under the seat to access the ventilation system, some pics here, cheers

Screenshot-575.png

IMG-1189.jpg

P51-Dradiorack22.jpg

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IMG-20200111-031459.jpg

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On 2/20/2020 at 11:27 AM, antonio argudo said:

very cool project!!! looks awesome, one tip if I may, the radio battery rack was  as NAA footage shows, and the wood floor was only black painted in the areas where the feet was in contact, the other was in IG and there was an brownish canvas under the seat to access the ventilation system, some pics here, cheers

Thank you for the help! I'll repaint the battery rack black.

 

For the floor, do you know if this was universal or if there was any variation? The Airfix kit seems to have the divider line I can use on closer inspection, so I'll repaint the back portion of the floor no problem. The Eduard kit, however, just has one contiguous piece, and so far it's been the more detail oriented kit. I can still mask it off and repaint it, but just making sure that it's an essential change before going through the trouble, especially considering not much will be visible in the end.

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21 hours ago, MeneMene said:

Thank you for the help! I'll repaint the battery rack black.

 

For the floor, do you know if this was universal or if there was any variation? The Airfix kit seems to have the divider line I can use on closer inspection, so I'll repaint the back portion of the floor no problem. The Eduard kit, however, just has one contiguous piece, and so far it's been the more detail oriented kit. I can still mask it off and repaint it, but just making sure that it's an essential change before going through the trouble, especially considering not much will be visible in the end.

Hi mate, the wood floor were separate pieces, here you have some reference  pictures, also  a "B"model cockpit,

cheers

IMG-3900.jpg

OLI2.jpg

P-51-DFloor-Top.png

f6swiss-intervalvometer-image-count.jpg

41073570962-023dfc3907-b.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I went back and repainted the battery rack and rear portion of the floor to their correct colors. I did not paint the canvas under the seat as not much of it would be visible when everything is closed up.

 

AdV1ijX.jpg

 

Both fuselages are closed:

 

zZZauSA.jpg

 

The Eduard fuselage went together perfectly, with the airfix I was left with a small gap at the rear of the fuselage. I also went over the panel joins for the extra pieces like the fin fillet with some mr surfacer to blend them in better.

 

tKs6HwD.jpg

 

The Swedish mustang I'm doing seems to lack the vent holes. The Eduard kit comes with all three options, but the Airfix only includes the perforated one and the one with the raised louvers. So instead, I filled the holes of the perforated plate to turn it into a smooth one.

 

w7G3vpK.jpg

 

One of the first major accuracy problems I found was that the two kits have drastically different size/shape of the oil cooler vent. The Eduard example is much wider and longer, and seems to be correct based on the plans I can find, the Airfix representation is very undersized.

 

5gcR6Fh.jpg

 

The joins in this area of the airfix kit were not the best either. Here, I've taped over where the line should be, and I will fill it with CA+talc to get a straight edge.

 

W9PCYwS.jpg

 

While I work on slowly and methodically filling the fuselage seams, on to the wheel bays. Both kits feature the correct "open" design that's been lacking from kits in the past, but continuing the trend, the Airfix example is much cruder in terms of detail, and is also very shallow, not featuring the full depth of the bay. It's as if the roof of the bay is sunken down, absorbing the detail. I also drilled out two holes at the front of the Airfix bay, but as I moved lateral I ran out of space to make the rest of them because of this lack of bay depth. It also lacks most of the reservoir tanks and fittings that the Eduard kit includes from the box, I will see how much of it I want to scratch build.

 

2eEIqfe.jpg

 

Still, there's some room for improvement in both kits, as the P-51 wheel well is a nest of cables and wires. Here I've started to add some to the Eduard kit, still much more to go.

 

5k2n1AQ.jpg

 

At this point, I'm pretty disappointed with the Airfix kit overall. It seemed it got all these enthusiastic reviews when it came out, but from what I've been able to tell it's a pretty crude kit lacking in lots of detail, including some incorrect ones. I haven't built the Tamiya kit so I don't know how much of an improvement it is, but I don't think it lives up to the hype now that the Eduard representation is out.

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Nice stuff so far! Yeah, that Airfix well is very poor in comparison. I find the Airfix plastic to be very soft and very easy to scratch too. The polar opposite of Tamiya. Eduard's is nice and stiff too.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul

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58 minutes ago, pommie commie said:

Nice stuff so far! Yeah, that Airfix well is very poor in comparison. I find the Airfix plastic to be very soft and very easy to scratch too. The polar opposite of Tamiya. Eduard's is nice and stiff too.

 

Cheers!

 

Paul

 

I've been looking at it some more, I don't see any easy way to fix it. If it were the opposite I could make it narrower, no problem, but I don't see how I can safely/cleanly cut out more material from the sides and then make a new door to go on top of it.

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This week I've been working on further cleaning up the fuselage seams, as well as adding the gunsights and equipment to the cockpit ahead of installing the front canopy section.

 

The Airfix build will feature the K-14 gyroscopic gunsight, and I've obtained a set of three resin sights by Eduard. Here is one installed onto the kit's glareshield.

 

8Mch6B9.jpg

 

Here it is after some paint, drybrushing, and the addition of the two acetate pieces representing the lenses as well as the photoetch protective cover. From pictures these shields on the Swedish mustangs were slightly different, but the general idea is the same and I was running out of options on how to make them myself without resorting to creating my own photoetch, which I will defer to another time.

 

ryJKN6U.jpg

 

vmbyDsb.jpg

 

The Eduard kit is set up with the N-9 reflector sight, based off the kit part with the addition of an acetate lens.

 

2talk6X.jpg

 

KXJTvAs.jpg

 

The early D models also had a backup ring-and-bead sight. Here I've installed the one from the Master P-51D brass gun barrel set. I'm probably going to use the kit guns on this project and use the brass weapons on a Corsair build I'm starting, but I can still use the sight that comes with it, as it's a slight improvement over the photoetch that comes with the Eduard kit.

 

a8cuqo8.jpg

 

The two projects side-by-side. I'm cleaning up the last of the fuselage seams. One area that's giving me a lot of trouble is the nose air vent that I puttied over in the Airfix kit, it doesn't sit quite flush with the rest of the fuselage and as such it got a little bit of dimpling while sanding, I'm still trying to work out what the best thing to do is.

 

x0Egt04.jpg

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The Eduard wheel bay is close to finished:

 

F9pYaZE.jpg

 

All major subassemblies together:

 

D5iszIP.jpg

 

The Airfix build still needs a bit more work:

 

uxKj4Kc.jpg

 

Now for the big dilemma of the day: The Eduard kit has the puttied over wings. The Airfix features big prominent rivets over the areas that were puttied, and of course has them completely absent on the areas that were not!

 

ZDbvcFO.jpg

 

So now I need to figure out if it's worth it to putty the wings or not. This is going to be a post-war aircraft in the Swedish Air Force around 1950 or so- I would guess that the original putty might have come out by then, but I don't know if it was religiously re-applied? I would guess so, because the aircraft in reference photos all seem to be very well maintained in peacetime. What do others think?

 

If i decide to fill them all, what's the best way to do this as smoothly and painlessly as possible? Carefully paint multiple layers of surfacer until all detail underneath is obscured, then sand smooth? Or is there an easier way?

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I committed to filling the rivets on the Airfix wings.

 

Here are the wings after several layers of Mr Surfacer followed by sanding and rescribing

 

2sPjWLB.jpg

 

And under a polished coat of primer:

 

7985AbK.jpg

 

You can still barely see some areas of the rivets depending on the angle of the flight- I think I'll keep it like this to give the hint of something there.

 

FnVf35M.jpg

 

I added the anti-vibration strut to the inside of the Airfix air scoop to match the Eduard kit (which comes with a PE part for this purpose)

 

7pcaQzt.jpg

 

Time to start painting:

 

I primed the Eduard kit in gloss black, and then applied Alclad RAF High Speed Silver to the wing areas to represent the aluminum lacquer.

 

HreuG9q.jpg

 

It came out fairly monotone and uniform, which I guess is what I want, but I'm sure I can add some depth/variation during the weathering stage with washes and oils.

 

KzgqZYa.jpg

 

After masking those areas off, a coat of AK Aluminum on the fuselage started the NMF portion of the process. I'm going to let this fully dry/cure for a day or so before starting to mask off individual panels for some variation and painting the other details.

 

G2wHJBm.jpg

 

n7VSrOJ.jpg

 

JnronYt.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some Mustang progress

 

On the Eduard build I've painted the anti-glare panel and the green nose

 

3LCJzRY.jpg

 

F2hPFg5.jpg

 

I also installed the landing gear; they took a little force to get in the locating aids, and I accidentally broke one of them off near where it attaches to the wheel. Some careful alignment and CA glue seemed to lock it back in place, but I'll have to be careful with it.

 

uowMV03.jpg

 

Now for the more troubled of the two builds: I became very frustrated with the way the cooling vent panels were situated and my attempts at filling the holes, I couldn't get an even surface and still saw little bumps where the holes used to be. So instead I just covered the whole thing with Milliput and sanded smooth to start fresh.

 

WPTjPLx.jpg

 

Now I need some scribing assistance. I'm trying to use these two unused panels from the Eduard kit as templates to scribe the corresponding shape on the Airfix kit. My options seem to be 1) temporarily fix these panels in place and then carve around them. The problem is that is easier said than done, I tried gluing them on with white glue (something that wouldn't leave a mess when I took them off later), but even after a day of drying the parts shifted a little bit when I tried to scribe against them. Also, the parts are designed to be inserted into the fuselage from the inside so there's a bit of an overhang which makes it hard to scribe right up against the panel edge.

 

P0uR1MU.jpg

 

Option 2 is to take this tracing and somehow make a rigid template of the same shape that I can hold in place. Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't have the equipment to make my own photoetch.

 

3gXgy8D.jpg

 

Grateful for any assistance with the scribing questions.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

dXLq4zh.jpg?1

 

WETtDfC.jpg

 

Scribing results are mixed. It's tolerable but could be much better. Considering the area will be natural metal I've set it aside for a bit to figure out what to do.

 

Progress is much better on the Eduard build. Here is the masking for the green noze.

 

zNcy019.jpg

 

The end result

 

CGqdyZk.jpg

 

I painted the area around the exhaust titanium and added some heat staining evident in some photos.

 

Qc45ptR.jpg

 

A close up:

4JhUR5M.jpg

 

I originally added some chipping to the black stripes, and then noticed later on a photograph of the real aircraft that they were pretty clean and intact. I kept the chipping on the leading edge and repainted the rest.

 

s4HJTc4.jpg

 

y0QYpAK.jpg

Edited by MeneMene
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I’ve enjoyed catching up on this comprehensive comparison! I really don’t have any other comment, other than it’s crazy how poorly the Airfix kit has “aged”. 

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This is a really great comparison build, thanks for sharing. 

 

Having struggled with the Airfix kit which is now on the shelf of doom and with the Eduard kit in the stash I know exactly where I’ll be going next time I fancy a P-51.  

 

I had had exactly the same troubles as you with those cooling panels on the nose.  And just about everywhere else!

 

James

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  • 2 weeks later...

The ugly duckling now has paint! I managed to get the Airfix kit put together and rescribed enough for a NMF (hopefully). We will see how she looks when I lay down the aluminum. I already added the silver lacquer to the wings.

M1EU6CC.jpg

Eji47Oo.jpg

 

Major progress on the Eduard build. Decals in place

zgEL9k1.jpg

 

Followed by an oil wash. Per photographs, the propeller didn't have any of the Hamilton-standard logos or stencilling, so I left it black.

urZ1hVG.jpg

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K518x8k.jpg

 

Some light fuel stains

ePdUMzV.jpg

 

Added small details like the backup gunsight post, bomb racks, antennas

k1Ya4dc.jpg

 

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