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Tamiya's 1/48 scale
P-51C Mustang

by Jun Temma


North American P-51C Mustang


Tamiya's 1/48 scale P-51B/C Mustang is available online from Squadron.com




Here is Tamiya’s 1/48 scale P-51C built almost from the box.

This kit is excellent and, in my opinion, superior to Tamiya’s P-51D. Even so, there are some minor weak points. For starters, the fuselage is a little too wide. The kit is 2mm (=0.08inch) too wide measured at the national insignia and 0.5mm wide at the cockpit and nose. Therefore the canopy top is arather odd shape compared with the actual aircraft. However, this is a hard problem to fix so I didn’t correct it.



Also, the ammunition access panels are wider than one section of wing ribs. Unfortunately I noticed this after completion – too late to fix.





The cockpit was basically built straight from the box with some additions. The N-9 type gun site was scratch-built of plastic scrap and vinyl chloride plate. Photoetch seat belts were added. A bulkhead was added behind the cockpit to protect the inside of the windows from overspray . Some recessed rivet detail was added using a photoetched riveting tool .

Dihedral was increased slightly. The leading edges were sanded. The kit’s gun holes are slightly too big, so I filled them with plastic rod and drilled them out again to 1.5mm (0.06inch) in diameter. When I drilled, the outer gun holes were moved toward inner guns. The gun barrels were replaced brass tube.

The back half of the spinner and propeller blades were from Hasegawa P-51D. Some details were added to the main gear.

Historical background

The markings represent "BERLIN EXPRESS" P-51C-3-NT s/n42-103309 flown by Lt. William B. Overstreet of the 363rd FS, the 357th FG, 8th Air Force, in June 1944. Decals are from AeroMaster sheet 48-288.

An original photograph is in "P-51 Mustang Nose Art Gallery" (Campbell). The instruction of AMD figures the main gear cover is silver, but I guess the black belt hides behind the 108 US gallons fuel tank in the photo.


Most of the 8th AF’s P-51s were not equipped with antenna wire because the SCR-522 radio system for the 8th AF's Mustangs used the blade antenna instead of the wire. However, "BERLIN EXPRESS" was fitted with the stick type antenna mast, so I guess the SCR-522 was not equipped and the antenna wire was used.

Following Aeromaster’s instructions, the wheel hubs were red and sidewalls were painted white. There is no comment as for the rearview mirror, but I painted it red. It is my only artistic license!

Some P-51 wheel wells were painted Zinc Chromate Yellow, and I painted mine this color. It is worth considering, though, that other photographs show silver sidewalls on these Mustangs too.



Painting and Markings


I adopted an easy approach to window masking. Only four pieces are required to cover the window. Four pieces of masking tape were cut out in order to be same shape.


I always use Mr. Color paints. Markings for example D-Day stripes, checker and national insignia were all painted before Silver.

Then, I sprayed an undercoat of Silver which was #8 Silver 50% + #46 Clear 50%. Next, Finishing Silver which was Alclad Polished Aluminum 50% + #46 Clear 50% (Mr. Color Thinner was available). The panels around exhausts were painted Mr. Super Stainless.

Mr. Super Stainless was drybrushed lightly on Finishing Silver. This painting technique using airbrushing together with drybrushing is very effective for duplicating a weathered Natural Metal Finish.

After applying decals, Flat Clear (#46 Clear 50% + #30 Flat Base 50%) was sprayed over the model as a sealing coat.


Mr. Super Chrome Silver was lightly drybrushed again on Flat Clear top coating.



Next, I added chipping on the wing root and panel edges with Silver, Medium Gray, Zinc Yellow and Olive Drab using a very fine brush. Pastels were selectively used on some panel lines and D-Day stripes.





With its extra width, Tamiya’s P-51C appears a little macho but is still good-looking as it is.

The red mirror is exquisite color balance, isn't it?



Additional Images


Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2005 by Jun Temma
Page Created 22 April, 2005
Last Updated 22 April, 2005

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