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72nd Aircraft > General Discussion > P-51B

Title: P-51B
Description: Discussion on any and all kits

Russell M - November 14, 2010 02:16 AM (GMT)
Start of with the much maligned P-51B. Tamiya hasn't heard the call for their kit to be reduced to 72nd scale so lets hash over what is available and figure out what is the best way to get a good one.



John Thompson - November 14, 2010 06:04 PM (GMT)
I'll poke my hat out the door first on this one - the Academy version gets my vote for Best P-51B, so far. The Hasegawa kit is nice enough, but IIRC, it has a P-51D-shaped wing root extension. The Airfix is one of those "shaped like a ____" kits, but is soft on details. The Monogram P-51B seems to be well regarded, but lacks much detail out of the box - excellent for its time, but its time is past. I haven't heard too many complaints about the Revell kit, but I haven't tried to hold it up to any drawings, either. I'd probably rank them as follows:

Too bad we can't get Charles Neely in on this! Does anyone own a set of his P-51B drawings? A quick search using the words Charles Neely P-51 turned up lots of references to him and his drawings, as well as a few forum posts by him himself elsewhere on the subject.


dknights - November 14, 2010 10:09 PM (GMT)
I've heard decent things about the Revell kit but don't own one. I'd love to build a P-51B.

Russell M - November 14, 2010 10:53 PM (GMT)
My first thoughts on this one, I have in hand the Hasegawa, Academy, and Revell/Germany kits. I will try to obtain the other 2 if possible, if not comments by other will do. For length I used 32' 3" span 37' those seem to be the common agreement in my references.

1. The Hasegawa kit was one of the first issues in the new AP range of kits that started to appear in the early 1990's. This is a truly outstanding kit let down by a completely mis-shaped wing. At the time of it's issue this kit set a new standard for cockpit detail, individual correctly shaped prop blades, shrouded and unshrouded exhausts, and innovative engineering molding the quarter windows with the fuselage section that surrounds them. The overall fuselage length is about 3" short in scale. The wing has been described elsewhere as being the D model wing however D-like is a better description. The wing is about a scale 3"+ short in span and has a leading edge kink that resembles the D model. The chord length at the root is correct however and the kink actually eats in to the chord of the wing so to correct it you would need to add to the leading edge of the wings rather than reduce it at the wing root as some have suggested. The landing gear bay is also much to shallow. The sit on the landing gear is about right. It is puzzling with some of the changes to other kits in their range that Hasegawa have done nothing 18 years later to rectify this problem in an otherwise outstanding kit. Not accurate out of the box, several ways to fix it but all will require aftermarket or a second option.

2. The Academy dates from 1999 and loosely resembles a scaled down Accurate Miniatures P-51B. The kit mirrors many of the features of the Hasegawa kit with the exceptions of the prop blades not being individual and the tail section of the fuselage being molded separate for a separate release as a P-51C with a ventral strake. The wing does have the proper leading edge kink, the span is about a scale 3"- long. the chord at the wing root looks to be about a scale 2" long. The wing also has a pattern of rivets roughly over the landing gear area and slightly behind on the bottom that were stiffening plates applied to post-war airframes. The gear bays while not full depth are better than the Hasegawa kit. The wing has one large shell ejection port which is correct but lacks the 2 smaller ports. The fuselage has a few minor glitches, the windscreen is a little to long and the canopy is a little to short giving an overall strange shape and the cowling tapers to much not having sufficient width for the rocker covers of a Packard Merlin. The overall fuselage length is about 3" short in scale. The sit on the landing gear is a little high, the most of all the kits. As said before the same features are present as in the Hasegawa kit but most seem thicker or softer than that kit. Acceptable out of the box, much improved with a few tweeks.

3. The Revell Germany kit dates from the late 90's when they were re-tooling some of their "pocket money" range. Some have said it is based loosley on the Monogram kit but I don't see that much similarity. The wing has the correct leading edge but is the shortest being a scale 6" short in span. The chord at the root is also a little short, about 2"- in scale but looks correct propotionally due to the short span. The gear bays are about the same depth as the Acadeamy kit but the shape of the bay where the tire retracts and the door are not the correct shape. It has the correct single hole for the shell ejection port but also lacks the 2 smaller holes. The fuselage is generally correct but the quarter windows have an odd shape and the windscreen is much to short and the angle appearrs to be to steep. If assembled in the manner set out by the kit the exhausts protrude far to much from the fuselage. The rudder and elevator display a fabric cover which is appropriate for Allison engined Mustangs but was changed to an aluminum skin on the P-51B. The fuselage is right on the mark for length but the canopy and cockpit seem to be positioned about 3" to far to the rear in scale. Seems to sit a little high on the landing gear. Landing gear, wheels, cockpit, and prop are adequate. Marginally acceptable out of the box but the undersized wing is noticable as well as the quarter windows, with some tweeks could be built but the wing is still undersized.

My opinion based on the kits at hand. All of the 3 kits seem to fit well so that should not be a consideration. If you want to build a P-51B out of the box go with the Academy, if you want to tweek it build up the cowl just aft of the spinner over the exhaust, replace the canopy with a vacuform and add a True Details interior. If you want a really accurate P-51B use the Hasegawa kit with the Academy or Hawkeye Designs wing (out of production) and a True Details or Aries cockpit. If using the Academy wing the chord shoud be reduced on the trailing edge from the chord width on the Hasegawa fuselage to nothing at the tip. I have done this to a kit I have and the only modification to fit the Academy wing to the Hasegawa fuselage is at the center of the wing under the radiator inlet, other than that the wing fits like it was made for the Hasegawa kit. The Revell Germany kit while acceptable out of the box is short in span and has some other oddities that make it the third choice. If building it I would at the very least remove the fabric effect from the rudder and elevators, rework the exhausts to fit properly inside the cowling, and replace the canopy or sand in and mask the quarter window to the proper shape.

Mark Schynert - November 14, 2010 11:12 PM (GMT)
IIRC, the quarter lights on the Revell are completely misshapen.

I've got the Academy "C" and I don't think I'm doing better than that, short of wasting a lot of money on a Hawkeye Conversion resin wing for the Hasegawa.

Russell M - November 15, 2010 03:35 AM (GMT)
A couple of photos of a P-51B built using the Hasegawa/Academy method. The model was built by Chris Lubinski a few years ago.

user posted image

user posted image

Falcon50EX - November 15, 2010 05:19 PM (GMT)
Could you cheat the wing root chord discrepency by lowering the flaps??

(i don't know squat about Mustangs.....)

Also, would the Olde Monogram be a good "core" airframe, onto which you could add detail parts from the more contemporary kits?? I ask cause i'm thinking about upgrading an old F8F Bearcat.


Russell M - November 15, 2010 11:39 PM (GMT)
Lowering the flaps is a possibility, the way the Academy wing is engineered it will require a lot of reinforcing of the area where you cut the flaps. The flap hinge point seems to be in the correct place and the flaps are too big so you would probably wind up making them smaller anyway. I'm trying to find a Monogram kit to look at again before I put anything down about it but I think for the most part it's a case of fondness through the fog of years. From what i remember the shape is pretty good but there is soooo much other stuff to do just to bring it up to the standard of the other 3 kits it kind of washes with the extra effort. you are also talking about the cost of a second kit so it seems to me if you were of the mind to by 2 kits just get the Hasegawa and Academy.

Mark Schynert - November 15, 2010 11:46 PM (GMT)
Yeah, I kept the Monogram around for a long time, but it has only shape going for it--I'd much rather put up with the Academy niggles than go through a down-to-the-studs rebuild of the Monogram kit.

Russell M - November 20, 2010 09:48 PM (GMT)
I have submited the first draft of this one to RR for the web site so if there is any more input please get it in by Sunday evening. Want to get the first of these up and on the site!

Russell M - November 23, 2010 02:26 AM (GMT)
Does anyone have a Monogram P-51B they would be willing to give some feedback on. In the interest of being thourough we would like somthing on the merits or drawbacks of bringing this kit up to standard as it has the reputation of a very accurate outline.

Graham Boak - November 23, 2010 10:23 AM (GMT)
It certainly looks the part, but apart from what nowadays would be massive oversimplification of the cockpit and the wheelwells, it had two drawbacks that I recall.

The canopy was poor, not fitting right and looking a little squashed (as I recall). Some issues did come with the Malcolm hood, which got around most of the problem, if that was what you wanted.

There was no attempt at a lower nose between the spinner and the chin intake - there was just a hole from the intake forward.

For the 1960s it was superb; it was the kit of choice for decades and generally still bears up quite well.

peebeep - November 23, 2010 10:58 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (Russell M @ Nov 23 2010, 02:26 AM)
Does anyone have a Monogram P-51B they would be willing to give some feedback on.

If I can recover mine from the loft stash I'll post up some sprue pics.


Russell M - November 23, 2010 07:19 PM (GMT)
Thanks for the obsevations Graham. If you can do that it will be much appreciated peebeep.

Bolie97 - December 5, 2010 04:33 PM (GMT)
Another problem with the Acadamy kit.

The scoop under the nose is not right! Compare the Acadamy to the Tamiya P-51D kit for example. The Acadamy is just a gash, like on a smily face. This is wrong. It is more of a pucker. It is the same on the B,C,and D. I started to make a correction piece from the Tamiya kit some years ago. The Tamiya intake is seperate as is the Acadamy. By putting a shim on the back of the Tamiya scoop and doing a little bit of contouring, an acceptable chin scoop can be made for the acadamy kit. I was working on this and planning on making a resin copy when I moved from Ohio to Florida. The master is probably still in the Acadamy box with the kit. I'll have to dig it out of the pile and see if it's still there.

Jim Johnson
72nd member of the 72nd group

peebeep - December 12, 2010 09:32 PM (GMT)
Apologies for not posting this sooner, but I have limited personal mobility at the moment, ladders being difficult and this was in the loft stash:

user posted image

user posted image

The mouldings are very clean and tidy and the outline shape appears to be very good. Panels are raised line and the wheel wells/interior are devoid of detail except pilot, pilots seat and radio gear behind the seat. This is all nicely moulded as are the bombs, drop tanks and undercarriage components. The transparencies are commendably thin and clear, the only potential gripe being the bulbous looking Malcolm hood component.

I've a soft spot for old kits like this, especially as they can often be picked up on the cheap.


Ham - December 18, 2010 04:34 PM (GMT)
I like the Hasegawa kit best, even with it's problems. It has the best overall shape in my opinion. The Hasegawa nose is the best of all Mustang kits, including the Tamiya -D. The Merlin is a wide engine with most of the breadth across the tops of the rocker panels. Look at photos of a late Merlin Spitfire (VIII or IX) as an example. On my Hasegawa -B kits, I filed and sanded the kink to make it match the drawings in the Squadron-Signal P-51 Mustang Fighting Colors book. One of the other forums listed those as the only accurate -B drawings. I don't really know. I usually don't put a lot of faith in drawings as they are someone's interpretation. I have for faith in my own Mark-1 eyeball and actual photos.

I have the Revell of Germany -B but I have not built it. In built up photos I've seen, something just doesn't look right in the cokpit area. Perhaps it's those mis-shapen quarter panel windows.

I also have the Academy kit and built it to about 80% before setting it aside. I just couldn't live with the terrible carburator intake. It looks more like the Joker's smile from Batman than the delicate intake on a Merlin Mustang. I tried grafting on the nose of Hasegawa's 1970's vintage -D but it still didn't look right. I may pull the wing off and try and graft it on a Hasegawa -B.

I built the Monogram kit up into the 1970s but don't considider it as serious competition to these three.


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