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F-6D/K Mustang ProfiPACK (82103) 1:48


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F-6D/K Mustang (82103)

1:48 Eduard ProfiPACK

 

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The P-51D was developed by the North American Aviation company as a fighter for Great Britain, but due to the poor performance of the engine initially fitted, it wasn’t all that good.  Fortuitously they slotted a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine into the airframe and it brought out the best of its design, which included the energy efficient laminar flow wing that gave it the potential to escort Allied bombers all the way to Berlin with the addition of drop-tanks and a lean mixture when not in combat.  It was flown in this guise as the Mustang III in British service, and as the P-51B/C in US service, then as the P-51D with the bubble canopy and cut-down aft fuselage, with an additional fin-fillet added later to improve stability that had been reduced by the new shape and fuel tank location. 

 

The same "D" variant that was made at the Dallas factory with hollow AeroProducts props was designated P-51K to differentiate, and when they repurposed a number for photo-recon purposes they kept the identifications after changing the name to F-6, so there were F-6Ds and F-6Ks in about equal numbers.  There were two cameras mounted in the fuselage, with one camera mounted obliquely in the side of the rear fuselage, firing to the left, with the other was mounted underneath, just aft of the radiator flap.  Apart from some other minor changes the aircraft was fully combat capable, so didn’t need an escort to carry out its assigned task, and some of its pilots became Aces flying recon.

 

The Kit

We were treated to the initial release in ProfiPACK form of this new tooling and it’s now almost everyone’s favourite Mustang in 1:48, with a number of variants with filleted and unfilleted tails to differentiate them.  This new boxing has some different sprues, most notably in the fuselage department to accommodate the camera openings.  In total there are six sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a fret of Photo-Etch (PE) brass with nickel-plating and much of it pre-printed both in colour and with clear, domed and glossy instrument faces, a set of canopy masks (not pictured), large decal sheet and instruction booklet with the markings options printed in the rear in colour.

 

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The prop blades above fell off the sprue during transit.

 

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Construction begins with the cockpit, beginning with the seat that is built up first with PE belts, then the cockpit floor, tanks and radio gear are added in, with sidewall framework dotted with PE parts on both sides.  It shapes up to be an extremely well-detailed cockpit, and the PE parts are numerous and impressive.  The tail-wheel bay is made up, the radiator pathway and a spinner backing-plate are all slipped into the fuselage along with a PE grille and exhaust backing panel before they are closed up.  There are some minor changes required around the fuselage, beginning with an antenna hole that needs opening up, a small intake to be removed from the lower port engine cowling, and if you are doing decal option B, a small upstand and lens hole under the camera aperture will need removing and filling respectively.

 

The wheel bays are built up next with some advice regarding colour added along the way, splitting the bay down the middle and bracketing it front and back with bay walls that have a healthy number of partial ribs added once in place.  This assembly is fitted to the full-width lower wing and joined by backing panels to the spent brass chutes, a central insert that shows through the bay, and a clear part for the three identification lights, plus a couple of holes will need opening up for drop tanks if you’re using them.  The wing tops go on and the ailerons fit into tabs in their recesses, with some room for offsetting if you wish, then the leading edge receives inserts for the guns.  There is also a small oval inspection panel on the starboard that will need filling, a square hole in the leading edge of the wing needs opening for some decal options, and some panel line surgery will be required under the nose for other decal options, a PE template being provided to assist with this.  The wings are mated to the fuselage, and tiny clear wingtip lights are slotted in on long stalks, then the tail fins are begun.  The filleted fin is a separate insert and the elevator fins with their flying surfaces are inserted into slots horizontally, while the rudder can be fitted at any suitable angle.

 

You may have noticed the lack of comments about the instrument panel during building of the cockpit, but we’re getting to it now.  The finished coaming and rudder pedals drop into the fuselage, but are first decked out with a multi-layered instrument panel made from pre-painted PE.  The camera lenses are inserted into their positions, and a small deck at the rear of the cockpit is installed, then the model is flipped and two radiator doors under the tail are fitted at the same time as the tail strut with separate wheel, with bay doors and closure mechanism added along the way.  Inside the main bay a pop-up landing light is slotted into its mounting point, a PE divider is added to the radiator intake lip, and chin-scoop plus the correct panel under the nose (yes, decal choices again), then you must remove some tiny raised bumps forward of the flaps, then it’s on to the main gear legs.  The two-part diamond treaded tyres have the hub caps added before they’re fitted to the struts, which have separate styrene scissor-links and door attachments slotted into place.  The flaps are each made up from two styrene parts with a tiny piece of PE added to the inner end of each one and a coat of silver paint on the curved leading edge before installation.  Those are all slotted in place on the underside along with the rest of the bay doors and some antennae, and at that point you can put her down on her wheels.

 

The prop is made from two paired blades that fit perpendicular to each other in a choice of two types of spinner, with a couple of parts options for the different decal options, and even a choice of three canopies depending on your decal choices.  The canopy has a couple of interior parts added before it is fitted, then the windscreen and PE backup-sight on the coaming, a choice of tubular exhausts or the more prominent angled style.  There’s also another optional aerial on the spine for one of the decal choices and a d/f loop for three others, plus an optional PE aerial with base and the traditional mast behind the canopy.

 

The final building decision is whether to fit drop tanks, and if so which type?  There are two pairs of tank types that fit either fit flush to the shallow pylon, or with one of two types of flat supports either side of the pylon, hiding some nice anti-sway braces that are glued into the pylons earlier.

 

Markings

By now you should have your decal choices long decided upon.  You have six choices, and they’re all based on a bare metal airframe with silver lacquered wings.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • F-6D-15, 44-14874, flown by Lt. John E. Jacoby, 82nd TRS, 71st TRG, 5th AF, Johnson Field, Japan, September 1945
  • F-6D-10, 44-14699, flown by Lt. Clifford S. Slonneger, 109th TRS, 67th TRG, 9th AF, Gosselies, Belgium, 1945
  • F-6K-10, 44-12223, 118th TRS, 23rd FG, 14th AF, Chengkung, China, 1945
  • F-6K-15, 75th FS, 23rd FG, 14th AF, Luliang Airfield, China, 1945
  • F-6D-15, 44-15417, flown by Lt. Edwin H. Pearle, 2nd FS, 2nd ACG, Cox ́s Bazar, India, Spring 1945
  • F-6D-10, 44-14659, 111th TRS, 68th TRG, 12th AF, Fürth, Germany, July 1945

 

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Decals are printed in-house with good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas.  The stencils and locations where silver lacquer is used are dealt with over a couple of pages in the instructions to prevent clutter and replication of effort, which is fair enough.

 

 

Conclusion

We already know the quality of the basic kit, and this box continues that theme with PE, masks and a nice decal sheet adding to the package. You just have to choose your decal choice at outset to prevent any mis-steps.

 

Very highly recommended.

 

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Review sample courtesy of

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