Tamiya 1/72 P-51D Mustang






See review


Scott Van Aken




Going into the history of the P-51D is like doing the same for the 109 and Spitfire. If you don't know anything about it, you just haven't been paying attention. Needless to say, the Mustang is one of those aircraft that was crucial to the ending of the war in that it was the first Allied fighter with the range and the speed to be able to escort bombers to all their targets and still be able to hold off attacking fighters.

It is also one of the few WW II fighters whose military service lasted well into the 1970s. Not bad for a plane designed to last 400 flight hours. It is now a staple of the warbird show circuit, and I doubt if there is anyone who is even remotely interested in aircraft who has not had the opportunity to see one fly. 


This particular kit is a downsized version of its very nice 1/48 stablemate. It is one of series of downsized kits that Tamiya will be releasing. It is a good plan on Tamiya's part as it allows the 1/72 fan the ability to build some very nice kit. As to whether it is worth the premium price is something that the buyer will have to determine for himself. Already the Bf-109E and Spitfire I are scheduled for release in 2000.

Now, on to the kit itself. It is everything you would expect from Tamiya. Superb detailing, a bunch of well engineered parts, and options to do different variations on the theme. This is the WWII issue. Your options are different exhaust stubs, different canopies, and the choice of whether or not to install drop tanks and wing racks. It is obvious that a Korean War version is coming as there are holes in the wing for the rocket stubs.

There is some sidewall detail in the fuselage halves. There are no ejector pin marks in any visible locations, which is nice, as even Hasegawa hasn't been able to do that on all its 1/72 kits. The canopy can be positioned open if you desire. The frame and clear canopy are separate bits. Now I personally would prefer to have the frame as part of the clear canopy as I generally mess up installing the clear bit, but many like this arrangement.

What is missing are the separate flaps. I don't know how Tamiya could have possibly overlooked this as one rarely sees a Mustang sitting on the ground with them up unless the engine is still hot! But, there it is!

There are markings for three aircraft, all of them rather common markings that most P-51 builders have done before including Nooky Booky IV and Petie 2nd, which have been done to death! The decals look very nice, but one can see the blue backing through the white part of the insignia. The third aircraft E2*S, has a camo upper surface and invasion stripes. No way will the white be opaque enough to not allow the camo the show through. Most of us have oodles of aftermarket decals for Mustangs so will undoubtedly use one of those. 

About now, I'd tell you about the instruction sheet, but I bought my kit at a swap meet and it is sans instructions! Well, not a problem as real modelers don't need no steenkin' instructions!

It really is a super kit and if the subject draws you and the price doesn't scare you away, you'll love it!!

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet! 

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