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1/24 scale Trumpeter (sort of)
Mustang Mk.IV

by Frank Mitchell


North American Mustang Mk.IV


Trumpeter's 1/24 scale P-51D Mustang is available online from Squadron.com




One of the advantages of being around this hobby since the Pleistocene is the fact that one accumulates lots of old kits. Some are complete, and some have been robbed of various pieces over the years. Since most are not worth much, one does not feel particularly guilty about robbing even more pieces when the need arises. 

Thus it was when the 24th Trumpeter P-51D was released. The more people that complained about the various shortcomings, the more incentive there was for me to see if it could be built, and what would have to be done to make it better. Hopefully, even better than the old Airfix kit. Therefore, over several weeks as a very part-time process, I got down the new kit, the Airfix kit, and even (most) of an old Bandai kit and began fiddling with the parts and masking tape. Although there is not general agreement as to which set of plans is the most accurate, by using a combination of lots of photos (some blown up to 24th scale), and about six different sets of published drawings, I decided that it could be done, albeit with a fair amount of work. However, since I tend to tackle those projects that offer the most opportunity for masochism, I began construction.  





Please remember that the following are my views; your mileage may vary. I mention this only because all kinds of angst appears when such icons as the ’51, the 109, etc. are mentioned.  

As you read, check out the photos; they should make the words a bit more useful.  

As compared to the old Airfix kit, the Trumpeter has much to recommend it. The wing is far more correct, as are the majority of the fuselage, the tail, the drop tanks, and many other parts. Things that are not so great are the shape of the nose, the canopy, and the fact that the entire cockpit seemed to be placed too far to the rear of the fuselage.  

To attack the first, I experimented with the Airfix parts and discovered that simply replacing the Trumpeter upper engine covers with the with the Airfix parts did a great deal to help, and the use of the Airfix spinner completed a “more proper” shape.  

To address the placement of the cockpit, the whole area was removed along with the needed extra material in front of the windscreen. This also made the cockpit detailing much easier, to say the least.



Once the detailing was done, the cockpit area was replaced further forward and the space (now) behind was filled with styrene.  



I could not live with canopy; never have I seen a picture with that shape. The answer was, obviously, a new canopy (the Airfix did not work for a variety of reasons, and the Bandai was simply out of the question; in fact, nothing Bandai was used).  



From here on, it was pretty straightforward, and involved mostly Trumpeter parts, with some tweaking here and there. There was, obviously, a fair amount of sanding, priming, re-scribing, etc., but no major issues.  





The paint is Gunze, and the scheme was found in the publication On Target Profiles #2, RAF and Commonwealth P-51 Mustangs. Natural metal Mustangs are so boring... 





So, was it all worth it?



From a monetary standpoint, of course not. Trumpeter should certainly have done a better job on the kit, particularly for the money. However, my only defense is that I already had all the extra pieces laying around and besides, this is the kind of project that intrigues me and keeps my interest up.

Most importantly, when I was finished, I liked it, which, I guess, is the reason we do some of the rather silly things we sometimes do.



Additional Images


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Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Frank Mitchell
Page Created 07 July, 2006
Last Updated 07 July, 2006

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