Profile Photo
Harvey R.
35 articles

Tamiya P-51D Mustang, 1/48. 'The Red Tails'.

March 25, 2022 · in Aviation · · 21 · 2.4K

A was an aircraft missing from my collection until a few months ago. I decided to go with 's rendition of the Mustang over Eduard's more detailed version as at the time I fancied a quick and simple build to get the creative juices flowing.

The Build quickly highlighted an issue, with such a simple and well designed model I really should have bought 2 kits! With only 2 main plastic sprues this is among the most simple model I've done and it lends itself perfectly for a quick build, or a palette cleanser after an intense model project. I can't stress how much I enjoyed this nice simple kit, which even had an easy wheels up modification for a change.

I wasn't able to find Tamiya's boxing for the Red Tails, so I went with montex masks. These were quite disappointing as they lack the inscription on the starboard side this model should have, whilst including 6 seperate masks for 'Bunnie' which seems a little bit overkill to me.

Why choose the Red Tails? Well I've seen one flying around the local area a few times, but I also wanted to choose a scheme that would allow me to do a bare-metal model. After enjoying the results with MRP metallic paints on previous builds as a underlayer for chipping fluid, or as the underside on a Japanese aircraft, I felt I was ready to attempt this scheme.

The model was primed in grey and the stars and bars painted on. The metal painted mostly with MRP Super Silver, which is very similar to their White Aluminium but was the bottle I had on hand at the time. I mixed a tiny amount of black or grey into the paint to allow some variations when masking off specific panels. I then used a darker colour, Duraluminum, for those darker panels near the exhaust.

The wings on these Mustangs during the war were painted with an Aluminium Lacquer paint as the rivets were all puttied over the provide a smooth surface for the laminer flow wing, I tried to replicate this with the Super Silver mixed with light grey. I've come up with a slightly better approach which involves mixing tamiya flat white with MRP Titanium, but at the time I had in my head that a grey would be best. Eitherway, this provides some different colour on the wings.

The red was painted with a few different colours, I think it looks a little too brick red in person but the camera picks it up quite nicely how I'd like it to be.

Finally to show off the job of being a long range escort fighter, I gave the model the drop tanks required for such a role.

With all that another American aircraft sits on my cabinet and one that was becoming a bit overdue, and with the Thunderbolts being done at the moment I should have the most of the most famous fighters done with an obvious absence of a P-40, a build to consider for the future.

This model was built along with the previous model posted, Eduard's Fokker Triplane. I enjoy building in pairs, and this wasn't an amazing combo! But it was a nice calm build to help get through with the fiddly Fokker.

Reader reactions:
18  Awesome

4 additional images. Click to enlarge.

21 responses

  1. I normally don't comment on Mustangs but this one is quite the eye-catcher. The nicely done Red Tail scheme, in-flight set-up with pilot, even the nice stand really do it. A spinning prop would only heighten the effect I believe that can be photo-shopped these days. Well done.

    • Thank you kindly! I would like to try my hand at using a motor to achieve a rotating propeller at some point, I'm normally not a huge fan of the acrylic disc style propellers as I find many models look more toy like with them, but when they are done right they look incredible. I think personally I prefer the regular propellers as it reminds me of a kid playing flight simulators and pausing the game to take screenshots, but each to their own preference!

      It's a bit of a blessing and a curse that Tamiya kits use the poly-cap system for propellers, they sit a lot better than without but they don't spin quickly. I built Tamiya's ancient A6M3 which had a plastic pin type propeller and was able to take interesting photos by using a fan to spin the propeller.

  2. Nice work on this Mustang, it’s very beautiful !

  3. Amazing build Harvey @scalerambush
    Your paintwork is excellent as always.
    A great addition to your collection.

    • Thank you very much! It'll occupy a place next to the Thunderbolts when they're done, though I am starting to run out of space in the existing IKEA cabinets!

  4. Really nice realization Harvey @scalerambush. The in-flight position is really nice. Thanks for posting.

  5. Great work, the inflight pose shows the beautiful lines of the Mustang

    • Thank you! I agree, to be honest the Mustang has never really been my favourite machine out there but seeing it on a model up close (especially before I put the drop tanks on it) gave me a greater appreciation for it. I'll have to grab a P-51B/C sometime.

  6. This is spectacular. Getting me excited to build my own Tamiya P-51d, will be looking back at this post for inspiration and reference!

    • Thank you! It really is a sweet kit, possibly my favourite of theirs. Whilst their P-38 is probably the epitome of a near snap-fit build (and I hear the Phantom II is even better), this P-51 really was so simple, quick and issue-free that I will definitely pick up some more in the future whenever I'm feeling in the mood to have a relaxing build.

  7. She is a real beauty! Well done!

  8. That's a really great job. I like how you displayed it with the acrylic base. As a confirmed Mustang- A -Holic I can't imagine anyone not having a Mustang in their collection. There are so many colorful schemes and significant aircraft to choose from. You chose a great one! The Tamiya kit is still a great kit. What it lacks in detail it more than makes up for in ease of assembly.

    • Absolutely agreed! I think next time I'll get a B/C, personally I've always found some of the famous aircraft with olive drab schemes to look really nice.

  9. A hot looking Mustang!

  10. Nice result on this one, @scalerambush. The Tamiya kit can still produce a great model.

    • Thank you, I absolutely agree. I would like to get one of the many Eduard boxings at some point and do a more detailed Mustang at some point.

      I'm sure other companies have their good points, but it seems there's a really nice combo with the easy build Tamiya kit and the impressively detailed Eduard.

  11. Indeed, a hot looking Red Tail and base, @scalerambush. The pilot is a very nice touch.

    • Thank you! Here's a bit of a closer up. Not my finest work as, to be totally honest, I don't have a great deal of brown and black brush paints suitable for skin-tones in my toolbox since naturally black pilots are a rarity in WWII model subjects. Eitherway he looks more than fine when strapped into the finished model.

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  12. Well done Harvey, in the hands of an experienced modeler that old Tamiya kit can still produce an excellent model of a P-51. However, shame on you for not having build a P-40, so many paint schemes, so many Allied Air Forces, so much fun.

    • My issue is just that! So many schemes, almost too many to choose from!

      I was thinking of getting a P-40 recently, but after enjoying this build I went with Tamiya's P-47s instead. I've always wanted to do a RAF P-40E taxing along the desert sand with a mechanic on the wing as seen in some famous photos, but the choice between that, the classic Pearl Harbor P-40B, an aged and weathered RNZAF Machine, a snow covered Soviet bird, the famous Flying Tigers, or even a machine from that shortly operational captured Japanese squadron is a choice that's very hard to make a commitment to any one scheme.

      I've always thought that if you were stuck in the hypothetical situation having to build only one type of aircraft for a year, the P-40 is by far your best option, not that I imagine such a situation would ever occur!

      • Harvey you're so right, once you get started you end up loving that A/C. Over the last ten years I've ended up building 23 of them, no two alike. So much fun especially when you start researching the Squadrons as well as the pilots.

        2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

Leave a Reply