Tamiya 1/48 P-51D
I recently picked up the limited-release “P-51D 8th AF Aces” kit from an estate sale at the LHS. I hadn’t picked this up when first released because I wasn’t sure I wanted to do anything with the kit decals. As it turned out, these decals are great, and I have kept the other options for the next time I break down and do another Tamiya P-51D. for the record, the decals cover John Landers’ P-51D “Big Beautiful Doll,” early and late in its career; Clarence “Bud” Anderson’s Old Crow in camouflage and NMF; and Chuck Yeager’s “Glamorous Glennis.”
The kit was built strictly OOB. Since a very good pilot figure is included (a special, since the original pilot is still as awful as always), I decided to fill up the cockpit to distract from its very basic provisions. The only modification was that I filled in the panel lines on the wings to get the look of the original with the “puttied” wings.
The model was painted with the Vallejo acrylic metal paints. Rather than use the Vallejo primer, which gives a “rough” finish in my experience and doesn’t look any better when rubbed down, I misted on thinned Tamiya X-1 Gloss Black until I had a nice smooth “mirror” finish. I then masked off the rudder, painted the olive drab anti-glare panel and masked it, then went to work with the metal. I did the “puttied” wings which were painted with aluminum lacquer using the “Aluminum” shade with a drop of Gloss White in it to “grey” it out. This was then masked using drafting tape (very low-tack, perfect for masking NMF schemes). The “Aluminum” was the base coat for the rest, with various panels masked and painted with “Duraluminum,” “White Aluminum,” and “Satin Aluminum.” The paint grabbed the primer and didn’t pull up. It’s strong enough to be handled without any rjub-off. The final finish looks like Alclad, but without the stench while applying it (a good way to avoid SWMBO getting upset with the lacquer stink wafting through the house).
All the markings are decals, and the decals went down very nicely under a coat of Solvaset.
Hard to believe the Tamiya Mustang is now 22 years old. I recommend the True Detals cockpit interior (with the cockpit area of the kit thinned out) and a Squadron/Falcon vacuform canopy, which will really improve things. But this shows the kit done OOB is certainly acceptable.
If you run across one of these 8th AF Aces releases, it’s worth picking up.
19 additional images. Click to enlarge.