Hobbycraft 1/24 P-51D Mustang




$99.99 MSRP


Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken


Better make room for this baby!


Ask American modelers and aviation history buffs to name the most important US fighter of WWII and most will mention the P-51 Mustang. That is probably because of all the warbirds still flying today, many of them are the Mustang. Face it, the plane is just cool. It is a superb aerodynamic package and sounds just great when flashing past at air shows. It was also a work horse of many air forces post war. In addition to being used successfully in combat by the USAF during the Korean War, it was the major type operated by small and large air forces around the world. The last military Mustang was operated by the Dominican Republic, which didn't give up its P-51s until the early 1970s!



Undoubtedly, the first question one will ask about this kit is: "$100.00?!!!!!?". Yup, that is the MSRP  of this beastie. Is it worth it? Well, that is something you'll have to decide for yourself. One thing is that this is not a Hobbycraft-designed kit. This is, in fact, the new Trumpeter kit in Hobbycraft boxing. What these guys are trying to do is to capitalize on the success of the Tamiya 1/32 Zero by going them one major scale larger. Much of the design of the kit is quite similar in concept to the big Tamiya A6M.

The moldings are all that one has come to expect from the big Trumpeter models. It is nicely engraved with no flash, no sink marks (that I could see) and very few ejector pin marks. Those that were found were on the back of parts and would be invisible once the kit is built. The kit has rubber tires (which some may not like), springs for the landing gear, wire and hinges for the movable control surfaces, rubber-like material for wire looms, ammo belts, and brake lines (among other things), a full engine, and full gun bays. The engine parts are molded in a silver-grey styrene.

When looking for options, there is a choice of two drop tank types or bombs for the wing pylons. The kit also comes with 5" rockets. When looking at the sprues, uncuffed Aeroproducts prop blades are also provided, though not shown as used in this boxing. Also included, but not shown in the photo, are three 1/24 resin pilot figures: one fully kitted, one in dress uniform and saluting, and one in working uniform with garrison cap standing at attention. Not sure just why they were put in there, but they are well molded. Another option is a pair of clear upper cowling parts so that you can install those and show off your engine.

The instruction booklet is 16 pages with 2 pages dedicated to the parts diagram and the rest containing the 31 construction steps. All of the information is in both English and Chinese. The color chart only calls out Aluminum and Olive Drab 41. In the construction steps, other colors are noted as needed. I have to take exception to what they call for the interior. I don't think that 'metallic blue green' is appropriate for the interior color, nor is 'olive drab' what one would paint the wheel wells, or engine braces or firewall. They do call for the floor to be wood brown, though with the second decal option, this and the interior may well be flat black. You'd think that with a kit of this level of detail that seat belts/shoulder harness would be included, but it is not. I'm sure that some aftermarket person will soon fix this omission, but it should have been included.

Decals are for two aircraft. One is the box art plane, 'Short Fuse', though I think that is supposed to be 'Short Fused Salle'; I could be wrong. The other is for an RCAF Mustang with a red, white and blue spinner and GM*V codes. The decals are glossy, well printed, and should work quite well. Decal placement and exterior color guide are on the back of the box. Undoubtedly, this kit will spur a bunch of aftermarket sheets for those who want to have something a bit different.



A few observations on this kit. One is that the canopy appears to be the earlier version that doesn't have the 'flattened' top as was typical of late war and almost all post-war Mustangs. The plastic is a bit hazy as well. Secondly, no WWII Mustang that I know of had rocket rails installed. That means you'll have to fill in the holes for them. Finally, the engine exhaust are molded with the heat exchanger so that will limit somewhat the schemes that can be done for those who really want to have everything prototypical. I'm sure that Squadron or someone will come up with a replacement canopy and exhaust (though the other styles should have been included). So is it worth the major funds? Well, I'd have to say that it is. It is well in line with other very large kits we've seen from Trumpeter and others. It has a high level of detail and many neat options. The big question (no pun implied) is how many will actually build this beast once they get it home?

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