Monday, November 23, 2020

Revell, P-51D-5NA Mustang (Early Version), 1/32 Scale, Kit No. 03944

When the Revell P-51D-5NA Mustang (Early Version) was released, I was immediately interested.  I grabbed the P-51D kit when it came out having looked at some reviews, which were glowing, and it was duly added to the stash.  (I had completed the Revell Mk. IIa Spitfire in 1/32nd scale, and it was a really nice kit at a really nice price.  I presented a post on that model in April 2018.)

At the time, Hobbico was going bankrupt, and they owned the American part of Revell, as I recall.  It looked like Revell kits would be somewhat hard to acquire for awhile.  As it turned out, Revell Germany picked up the pieces, and the kits were generally available without much delay.

Having just finished a couple of 1/72nd scale models, I was thinking of something in 1/48th, when I spotted this kit gathering dust.

Assembling a 1/32nd kit is very different form 1/72nd scale or even 1/48th scale.  In the larger scale, there is so much more detail.  Even a simple seat may have a number of parts revealing how it operated and what it really looked like.  Actually, when I am assembling a 1/32nd scale project, I have more of the feeling I am assembling something akin to the real thing.  I really enjoy the build, but I am still faced with finite display space, and the time investment in the project tends to be very long.

After Market:

    EagleCals P-51D EC#139
    Eduard Canopy Masks JX210
    Eduard Interior Details 33186 (for an improved instrument panel)
    Eduard Seatbelts STEEL 33187

Speaking of seats, the truly excellent full color instructions do not tell you which seat to use.  There are two.  I assume that most modelers constructing this kit are doing some of their own research and soon discover which seat to use.  Isn’t the research part of this hobby anyway?

The instrument panel in the Eduard cockpit detail set (#33186) came out very well.  See below.  There are several switches and control handles which were remarkably tiny and a challenge to deal with.  There are a number of such pieces to integrate into the side panels.  This is a process that takes considerable time, at least for me.

The kit instrument panel is perfectly okay, and I assume that the Revell decal instrument panel will settle down easily over the raised detail.  That is how it worked on my Revell Spitfire Mk. IIa.

For me, the dreaded part of this project was the natural metal finish.  I used Vallejo Acrylic Metal Color paints.  I have used them before on 1/48 and 1/72 projects with no problems.  They can be masked, and the finish is relatively durable and able to withstand handling while the kit is finished.

Here, I had problems, all of my own making.  1) I found trying to obtain the gloss undercoat while manipulating this large a model proved difficult and I kept getting overspray issues.  2)  For the first time I used the recommended Vallejo gloss overcoat to seal in the metal color coats.  In a couple of places I laid it on too thick, and it took weeks to dry.  (I wish I had stuck with my usual Microscale Satin.)  3)  The roughness of the finish in a few places caused me to skip a weathering wash, which I had planned.  I was concerned it would look bad if I applied one.  So, the model has a “factory fresh” look.

As I said, none of this is a criticism of Vallejo.  It was all my not-so-good technique.

The EagleCal decals worked perfectly with Tamiya Strong decal setting solution.  The top and bottom of the stabilizer halves and the sides of the rudder each have their own very large decal to produce those stripes, i.e. six big decals in all.  They were a challenge.  Luckily, Vallejo Model Air Red was a good match to help mate everything together.

All in all, this Mustang proved much more of a challenge than I envisioned coming out of the starting gate.    I am looking forward to the next 1/32nd scale project.  I have the Revell 1/32nd scale Bf109G-6 in the stash.  I think I will go for that one adding only some seatbelts and some decals for a different ship.

These new Revell 1/32nd scale models are really quite good.  I am sure they do not have anywhere near the extreme detail or ease of assembly that the Tamiya kits have.  But at a fraction of the Tamiya kit price, they are more than worth it to me.  

Mustang cockpit floors were made of plywood.  Painted or wood grain?  I am not sure.

Right side of cockpit with a few PE bits added.  Revell includes some decals that would do.

Left side of cockpit.

Finished Eduard instrument panel. 

The yellow wing and stabilizer stripes are painted.  The red wing tips are also painted.

The red stripes on the tail surfaces are EagleCals.

I left bombs and drop tanks off for a cleaner look.

A landing light can be seen poking out of the wheel well. 

Happy modeling and comment if you care to.  Thank you for visiting.