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James Kelley
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Airfix 1/48 North American P-51D Mustang "Little Indian".

December 13, 2021 · in Aviation · · 18 Comments

"Little Indian". Flown by 1st Lt. Harold Hettema Jr., Kalaikunda, India, 1945. I wasn't able to find much information on LT Hettema, other than:

He flew "Little Indian" as part of the 2nd Fighter Squadron of the 2nd Air Commando Group.
He had one confirmed kill.

Basically a guy doing his job.

This is the second one of these kits I've built, and having learned from my mistakes the first time around, I'm pleased with the result. If you take your time, and make sure the internal supercharger intake trunking is perfectly square in in the proper seating it should be, the fuselage halves go together well. Elbow grease and a little filler is still required, but mastering this step allows the rest of construction to proceed drama-free. Internal cockpit colors are GSI-Creos Mr. Hobby Aqueous, and the Natural Metal Finish is AK Extreme Metal Aluminum and Dark Aluminum. Weathered lightly with Ammo by Mig Panel Line Washes.

Some thoughts I have about this kit...

The surface detail is fantastic. Some may find it a little deep, but I love how the engraved detail holds a wash.
Out of the box, the cockpit detail is wonderful. Airfix consulted with Roy Sutherland (Barracuda Studios) and the decal sheet includes some correct cockpit placards/data plates. There are a few ejector pin marks on the sidewalls, but once assembled, they're invisible.
Flying surfaces can be articulated up or down, port or starboard.
Three bubble canopies are included. They are identical in every way. Can't have too many spare clear parts, right?
Two types of wheels are included, diamond tread pattern & smooth tread.
Parts provided for in flight, "gear up" approach. Stand sold separately lol.
"New" Airfix decals are amazing. Brush on some MicroSol, and they look painted on.
Decals include interesting liveries across the P-51D stable.
75 and 108 gallon "paper" drop tanks are included.
Machine gun inserts negate the need to sand between barrels, ala' Tamiya.
Upper engine cowl sits atop natural panel lines.
Included bazooka tubes are cool.
Main gear well/wing spar is nicely detailed, and accurate

The f#[email protected]*^% tailwheel is engineered in such a way you are guaranteed to snap it off at least twice per project.
The bubble canopy does not sit atop the fuselage appropriately.
While I like the "new" Airfix instructions, these ones are occasionally vague on small parts placement with regards to orientation.
The tires are weighted. I dislike weighted tires.
Drop tank details are soft. They're essentially unusable.
Filleted and filletless tails are included. This area requires the most filler and is an aggravation.
Machine gun inserts fit is poor, requiring filling and sanding literally everywhere else.
Bazooka tubes fit is poor. Lots of Mr. Dissolved Putty here.
Landing gear detail is a bit soft.

2021 has seen me become involved in a bit of a torrid love affair with Airfix. I think I've built 6 or 7 so far this year, and I've got a tall stack of red boxes in the corner of my studio, including a vintage kit or two. As with any passionate relationship, the highs are high, and the lows...are low. If you take your time with their quarter scale P-51s, you'll be rewarded with an accurate pony for your collection, and a sense of satisfaction that your elbow grease paid off.

11 additional images. Click to enlarge.

18 responses

  1. That’s really nice! I’m not the world’s biggest Mustang fan but I have a couple those kits in my stash and may now have to move them up the assembly schedule! I like the CBI and Pacific schemes a lot. Great inspiration.

  2. Fantastic looking Mustang! You did one helluva job!

  3. What model is perfect ? All of the "It Mustangs" the Eduard kit, The Meng kit and now the Airfix Mustang all have some issues and price being one of them. Its up to the individual modeler to find that sweet spot on their Mustang of choice. I must say James you've found the sweet spot in making this Airfix kit.

    Two thumbs up.

  4. My oh my is that a great build!
    Do you want to trade for a flying boat?
    Wonderful as usual..
    California Steve

  5. Nothing much to really whine about when it comes to these Airfix ponies. This is one spectacular "Stang", James. Your Airfix comments are spot-on.

  6. This is a beautiful pony, James @jkelleycrna
    Airfix definitely has made an improvement with their new tooling compared from what I remember of their kits in the past. But, like you mentioned, not everything is perfect.
    Nevertheless, besides some issues, you realized a great kit with nice paintwork and details.
    Well done.

  7. The canopies are different. There's one "Los Angeles" canopy, the "standard" bubble. Another is the early "teardrop, which doesn't have the rear part of the bubble so high. The third is the "Dallas" canopy which is "flat" in profile in the rear area, with a distinct "drop" at the very end to the framing. The one problem with the Airfix canopy is it is a bit thick, making it hard to position correctly open (rear tip touching the upper fuselage. I found the "secret here was to scrape the lower edge from inside, and get about a 45-degree "knife edge," but start about 1/8 inch from the bow, so you don't see that. Then the canopy will sit right (an easy alternative if you have an Eduard kit is to substitute one of those extra canopies, since they're thinner).

    You did some nice paintwork on this and got a good-looking result with the kit decals. The Airfix P-51 is the best bet for those on a budget, though the recent price increases bring it up almost to the discounted internet store price of the Eduard profipack.

  8. Amazing job, James!
    Wonderful paintwork!

  9. A very solid build James. All those photos show a perfectly built and painted Pony. The NMF is as shiny as you can get and I concur, those decals look terrific, the “painted” look is there alright. Thumbs up

  10. Fantastic modeling, your skills really show here James!

  11. That's a great-looking Mustang - the lightning bolt markings make the aggressive Mustant look even more so! Well done.

  12. That's a great-looking Mustang - the lightning bolt markings make the aggressive Mustang look even more so! Well done.

  13. Nicely done James she's a good looking pony.

  14. James that is one hot horse. The combo of lightnin' bolts and bazooka tubes, just does it. Great job.

  15. This is a very nice looking Mustang, great job!

  16. Great build! I agree about weighted tyres. They're often overdone. Same with "weathering". Sometimes panel lines look like a WWI trench.

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