Kit Review: 1/32 scale P-51D-5NA Mustang, Revell of Germany, kit number 03944, Part 1
This article is part of a series:
This kit review will be in two parts. Sadly this one is no longer being produced at the moment. All of the molds have been purchased by a new company when the parent company of Revell went bankrupt a little while ago, so hopefully it will get in production again soon... One can only hope.
So if you are on the fence about getting one of these (if you can find one online), this review may help you make a decision. They are out there for purchase, but they are getting very expensive now, even more expensive when you factor in the shipping costs.
Luckily I bought mine at the LHS and left the shop paying only a little more than $25 for mine when they first came out.
Much has been written about the P-51...so I won't bore you with a repeat of history. There are also quite a few kits available for the type in all scales. So when this one was released a little while ago I came as a surprise to me. The main thing that really made this one a great purchase was the price they were originally being sold for. Granted it's not a Tamiya 1/32 Mustang, but it's not bad for your investment either at the original selling point. Your money, you choice...
Recently over the past 5-6 years or so, Revell of Germany was on a roll and came out with some great new subjects in 1/32 scale. They had a Ju-88, a He-111, He-162 (and a He-219), Arado Ar-196 float plane, a few new Spitfires and 109's, a two seat Me- 262, ...all popular subjects.
and then they came out with this one. This version they released is the "early" D model bubble top Mustang that lacks the tail fillet on the vertical fin...
It comes packaged in the typical style box that we all have come to know. It opens on the ends, and has some nice print on all sides. Your typical information on various paint colors needed to complete the model are listed as are other building supplies.
It is listed as Skill 5 and has 158 parts. It measures in at 30 CM long (11.81 inches) and has a 35.2 CM wingspan (13.85 inches) .
The kit instruction booklet is nicely printed in color.
It has pictographs which are explained inside the first page... which is also explained in multiple languages.
The required colors needed to build the model are listed next. These are also listed in multiple languages and use Revel color call outs for their line of paint.
The recommended colors are carried over to the next page. On the following page, they have an illustrated parts diagram ...
Which is broken down by the parts tree and number.
This parts breakdown is carried over to the next page as well. The illustrated parts are numbered in the same fashion.
Then we start the actual construction phase. It's no surprise here, but you build the cockpit first. The nice thing is the parts are shown on the instructions in the appropriate shade they should be painted. I personally would do a little research before committing to the colors used, since there were several variations used during the production of the Mustang. The wooden floor was also painted black on some planes. The instructions have you leave the floor in the natural wood color, augmented with interior green. This looks cool when done properly...
Here you see where the early style tail is fitted against the fuselage. This tells me there were plans for later model Mustangs in the pipeline... Hopefully this will eventually happen, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
If you look closely at the fuselage side walls, you will see where the color "Interior Green" is called for.
I included this picture below, as it shows an important step in the assembly. It shows the proper positioning of the completed cockpit assembly and the radiator / duct work assembly.
If you look closely you will see there are two different variations with the radiator assembly. One incorporates an open tail wheel well, where the other has this area sealed off should you decide to build your Mustang "wheels up".
Once the fuselage is buttoned up, the wings are built next. The upper and lower wing halves are a single piece affair, and it is mated to the fuselage in one piece just like the real plane was built. The nicest thing is the wheel well... It is correctly represented just like the real full sized Mustang.
One other thing I picked up on is there are some small depressions visible inside the wings for rocket mounts. This also tells me there were plans to produce later versions of the Mustang.
It has you build up the wing spar which acts as the rear most portion of the main landing gear wells. Many companies, especially in the smaller scales have this incorrectly molded and square off the wheel wells using the door opening as the rear walls.
Here's where the model building process and the real life assembly methods coincide. A one piece wing is attached to the fuselage. Hopefully there will not be a gap problem here. I'll be finding out soon...
The Revell of Germany Mustang has the option of either raised or dropped flaps. Both sets are included so you have options here. The set that is dropped has a different end molded on it where it sits next to the fuselage. No scratch building is necessary there to show this proper detail.
This next photo shows some more interesting features of this kit. The main landing gear doors are all molded as one piece. They are as they would be if the main doors were all closed as if the plane was flying and the gear retracted. You have to cut them apart to pose the gear in the "Down" position.
The canopy can be posed "Open" or "Shut", and the tail wheel is installed late in the assembly process. I like this last tail wheel feature a lot... The main wheels are constructed using the traditional method using an inner and outer half.
The propeller is made up of various parts and is not too complicated. The prop itself is molded as a one piece unit, making it hard to goof up.
There are some under wing storage options. There are two 500 pound bombs. There are also two different style of under wing drop tank supplied. One is the compressed paper version, while the other was metal.
There are decals supplied for two different planes. First up is "LOU IV" / "Athelene". This one is a rather controversial marking choice. In the past there was a big time online argument as to whether or not this plane was painted in Blue or Green upper surface camouflage colors. Now Dana Bell has done some more research on it and it looks like it just might not have been blue OR green after all... but blue AND Green. A combination of both. This also ties in to exactly what the veterans said...those who actually worked on (and flew) these planes from this unit.
Don't shoot me, I'm only the messenger. It could have been a combination of both colors as pointed out by Mr. Bell.
The other marking choice is for a plane called the "Desert Rat"
This one has the more conventional OD Green over Neutral Gray colors...
The kit supplied decals are very nicely done. My example was printed perfectly. They include the small stencils and markings for both planes. The decals are printed in Italy, and could quite possibly be made by Cartograph.
The clear parts are molded well in my kit. I have read online where others had a canopy that was short shot. Not so on mine... thank goodness !
Only one style of canopy is included. If you want the later "Dallas" style sliding portion, you'll have to find it elsewhere... This sliding canopy looks to be proper for an early D Model Mustang.
Another nice touch is the light frosting where the frame is located. I'm hoping this will make it a little easier to mask off and paint...
I'm going to continue on with the remaining plastic parts in the next installment, so please stay tuned. From what I have seen so far with this Mustang, it seems to be a nice one !
If you're interested in how this one will build up, I've started a build journal on it. You can see how it comes together by following this link:
Comments are encouraged.