1/48 Accurate Minatures P-51A Mustang XP-51 s/n 41-039
Here’s a few pictures of my Accurate Miniatures early P-51A Mustang that I built a few years ago.
I’ve always been a big fan of early / pre war colors on both the US Army Air Corps / Army Air Force, and US Navy “Yellow Wings” era. During this time frame of the “roaring 1920’s” through 1941, some of the most beautiful planes were produced in the United States, in both military and the civilian markets.
What’s not to like about highly polished bare metal ? Unless of course you’re the one who has to polish the plane…
I used some reference photos of a surviving prototype XP-51 Mustang from a website called “Mustangs, Mustangs”. There is a ton of information there about all P-51 variants, including the early RAF versions. One photo also came from the Langley NASA research center.
I modeled my plane after this early version “XP-51” using the Accurate Miniatures P-51A kit almost straight out of the box. The only addition is a stretched sprue antennae cable made from a clear plastic tree that was salvaged from the kit plastic, and a drop of CA glue to represent an insulator on it.
I did not include the twin .050 caliber machine guns that were located under the nose. They look like they were blanked over on the prototype. The kit propeller looks a little too wide, but it’s probably OK to use in an early “A” model.
In hindsight, I probably should have painted the wings silver instead of covering them with “Bare Metal Foil”. On the Mustangs, the rivets in the wings were filled over with a body filler type putty and sanded smooth, then painted. This was done to preserve the laminar flow characteristics in the wing and to reduce drag. The fuselage would have been polished metal.
The kit was a joy to build. No filler was needed anywhere.
I decided to drop the inner landing gear doors that are attached under the center of the wing. On the real plane, these doors would remain closed until hydraulic pressure dropped off after the engine was shut down. Then gravity would work it’s magic and the doors would begin to drop down. The doors could theoretically be in any position between fully open to closed shut for this reason. They could even differ a little between sides with one door being a little higher or lower than the other side.
This plane was built using “Model Master” enamels. I masked off and sprayed the 13 red and white stripes on the rudder. The flat black anti glare area ahead of the cockpit and the rear of the propeller blades were also sprayed.
The propeller spinner and main landing gear wheel well interiors were sprayed in aluminum. The tail wheel doors were painted in green zinc chromate.
The rest of the plane is finished off using various shades of Bare Metal Foil. I used “Ultra Bright Chrome”, “Chrome”, and “Matte Aluminum” shades of foil on the plane.
The only drawback to using this as a final finish is that I had a problem with the wing roundel decals started to curl up. It could have been the decals I was using which came from my spares box. I used “Future” to adhere them back down. I also had to cut away all of the clear backing decal film on the “US ARMY” lettering that is under the wings. The clear decal material toned down some of the high luster of the Bare Metal Foil.
In the end, I really like how the plane turned out, even though it may not be a 100 percent accurate build as far as the prop and fuselage guns are concerned.
Soon I need to get cracking on finishing up my early 1/48 scale A-20 Havoc. It’s also a bare metal foil plane… and I’m hoping that it will look nice parked next to my early Mustang.
I have plans in the future of building a NMF P-40, P-38 and P-39 as well, all in early US Army Insignia.
As usual, comments are encouraged…enjoy !
33 additional images. Click to enlarge.