Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Hasegawa's 1/32 scale P-51D Mustang
"Dizzy Rebel"

by Ian Robertson


North American P-51D Mustang
"Dizzy Rebel"


Hasegawa's 1/32 scale P-51D Mustang is available online from Squadron.com




While searching the Little Friends website ( http://www.littlefriends.co.uk ) for modeling inspiration, I came across several photographs and a color profile of Lt. Robert H. King’s P-51D “Dizzy Rebel”.  The catchy name, distinctive black and white nose bars of the 20th FG, and weathered paint on the wings made “Dizzy Rebel” the perfect choice for a 1/32 scale Mustang project.



According to the Little Friends website, the P-51D “Dizzy Rebel” (LC-B, serial 44-13687) was a long-serving member of the 77th FS, having previously been Capt. Harold Gjolme's “Duration Plus 6”, then Capt. James Herbert's “Paper Doll”, before being reassigned to Lt. King.  The aircraft was finally lost when Lt. David Baldock was killed in a crash-landing at Vresse, Belgium on 23 August 1945.   

Below are photographs of Lt. King, who hails from Wilmington, NC, and his aircraft “Dizzy Rebel”.  These images were posted with the permission of Peter Randall, webmaster of Little Friends.

Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

The Kit 

Hasegawa’s 1/32 P-51D Mustang is an older generation kit that has received considerable criticism among those familiar with the subtleties of the Mustang’s shape and design, as well as from those simply anxious for a newer tooling.  I will not address those issues here because overall I found the kit to be a satisfactory platform for a larger scale Mustang, plus it was the best option available (Note: shortly after I began construction Dragon announced a new 1/32 P-51D tooling for release later in 2006.  Time will tell how it stacks up to the competition). 

I made the following modifications and additions to the kit:

Scratch Modifications

  • Removed raised rivet, panel, and hatch details on all surfaces.  Filled trench-like panel lines on fuselage.  Scribed new panel lines on fuselage (but not on wings) and added subtle rivet details to fuselage. 
  • Opened the rear of the wheel wells back to the main wing spars
  • Dropped the flaps
  • Added machine guns; reshaped gun fairings
  • Printed custom decals on Testors Decal paper (all except national insignias and propeller markings).  Nose art was designed in Photoshop; fuselage codes and serial numbers were modified and upsized from other sources.  Aircraft data plate was modified with correct serial number.

Aftermarket Additions

  • Wingz resin cockpit set
  • Eduard photoetch placards
  • Moskit hollow metal unshrouded exhausts
  • True Details resin wheels
  • Squadron vacuform canopy (rear section only) with scratch built brace






The Wingz resin cockpit is well detailed and fits beautifully into the Hasegawa model.  A recent review of 1/32 P-51D cockpit sets by Craig Quattlebaum (go to the reviews section of http://www.largescaleplanes.com/) identifies some inaccuracies in the Wingz set, so you may want to refer to his article or check your references. 



For me the Wingz cockpit was perfectly adequate, plus I had already completed my model before Craig’s article was published.


Hasegawa provides only shrouded exhausts in their kit.  However, the exhausts on “Dizzy Rebel” were not shrouded (see the photo of Lt. King).  Luckily, I was able to purchase Moskit’s 1/32 scale unshrouded hollow metal exhausts for my project.   

Attaching the Moskit exhausts requires careful planning – they do not simply ‘drop in’.  Because the kit’s exhausts are designed to mount onto the engine, it seemed obvious that I should modify the engine to accept the Moskit exhausts.  However, when one starts working with the kit’s engine, it becomes apparent that Hasegawa provides no solution for mounting the engine within the nose of the model!  You gotta be kidding me!!  This major oversight is a problem because the engine also serves as the mount for the spinner, so if the engine is positioned askew the spinner won’t be centered on the nose.   

I approached the problem by working backwards.  First, I mounted the spinner plate to the engine while the engine was sitting loosely within the nose.  I then secured the spinner plate to the cowl with tape, making sure that it was centered.  With the spinner in place I knew where the engine should be located within the nose.  I fixed the engine permanently into place using plastic braces (photo 1).



Using a Dremel cutting wheel to remove excess plastic, I modified the engine to accept the Moskit exhausts at the correct angle (photos 2 & 3).  Note that in photo 3 the exhausts were not permanently attached – this step was reserved until construction and painting were complete.


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Wheel Wells 

All current Mustang models incorrectly portray the wheel wells as being defined in size by the perimeter of the gear doors (any bets for the 1/32 Dragon release?).  In reality, the rear portion of the wheel well remains open as far back as the main wing spar.  Therefore, I removed the rear section of each wheel well and extended it with plasticard to the main wing spar (Photo 1). 



I also added internal supports made from strips of styrene (Photo 2). 



The rear spar was painted yellow chromate whereas the remainder of the wheel well was painted interior green. 


Dropping the flaps was a straightforward procedure.  First, I removed the flaps from the wings and glued the upper and lower pieces together.  I then extended the inner end of each flap (on raised flaps this area is hidden under the wing root fairing) (Photo 1). 



I also thinned the wing root fairing along the trailing edge because this area was exposed with the flaps dropped (Photo 2). 



The curved inner surfaces of the flaps were created using strips cut from styrene tube (Photo 1).   


The gun details and fairings on the Hasegawa kit are not very good.  As shown in Photo 1, the fairings on the upper side of the wing stop abruptly.  I used Tamiya putty to reshape the fairings, although in Photo 2 this is hard to discern.  I also made new guns muzzles and blast tubes from syringe tubing and styrene tubing, respectively. 



Note that the inboard gun muzzle was staggered such that it did not protrude from the blast tube.

Landing Light…..I mean mirror

Hasegawa provides a landing light that is nowhere close in appearance to the real thing.  However, it seemed well suited as a rear view mirror on the canopy, so that is how I used it. 



The landing light is still missing from my model.  One of these days I’ll scratch build one….or not.



Painting and Markings



Dizzy Rebel’s fuselage was natural metal, whereas the upper wings, elevators, and portions of the tail were olive drab (or possibly RAF green).  I chose olive drab for my model because the wings seemed to be the same shade as the antiglare panel on the cowl.  The camouflage on the wings was heavily weathered, making this aircraft a particularly appealing subject.  There were even large sections of chipped paint on the flaps.   

Once basic construction of the model was complete, I primed the entire model with Tamiya fine grey surface primer and sanded the surfaces smooth with a micromesh sanding cloth.  Any visible seams or scratches were patched up with Tamiya putty, sanded, and then primed and polished again.   

Before applying the natural metal finish, I painted and masked the black and white bars on the nose.  Some aircraft in the 20th FG group had black bars over natural metal, but photos of LC-B clearly show there was intervening white.  I also painted and masked white circles on the tail in preparation for the “B” decals.



With masking in place, various shades of Alclad II metalizer (duraluminum, semi-matte aluminum, aluminum, dark aluminum, and polished aluminum) were applied over the entire model.  To weather the metal surfaces I brushed on sloppy washes of thinned Tamiya black acrylic.  I find this an excellent technique for bringing out a worn metallic look over an Alclad finish.  An added bonus of the wash is that it accumulates in panel lines, rivets, and other recesses without being overly uniform.  Should unwanted pooling of the wash occur, the stains can be sprayed over with Alclad or sanded out. 

I sprayed Polly Scale USAF olive drab (with a touch of RAF green) on the upper wings and elevators.  Soon after the paint was dry to the touch I wet sanded the wings with a micromesh sanding cloth (3200 grit) to expose traces of the natural metal finish beneath.  I also used postshading and highlighting to further the weathered look of the wings.



Chipping on the flaps was achieved by applying liquid mask to the areas I wanted bare metal, and then peeling away the mask after the olive drab had been applied.  At this point the edges of the chips were too stark, so I sprayed olive drab lightly over the flaps and then wet sanded as described earlier. 


Apart from the national insignias and propeller markings, all decals were custom made using a Hewlett Packard Inkjet printer and Testors clear decal paper. 

I used a color profile of “Dizzy Rebel” from the Little Friends website as the starting point for the nose art.  The artwork was then improved in Photoshop using the photo of Lt. King (with the nose of his aircraft in the background) as a reference. 



Although the artwork printed nicely on decal paper, it was too translucent when applied to the model, even when doubled up.  Therefore, I painted over the decal by hand.  I used Boyd’s sunburst enamel for the red and Tamiya’s lemon yellow acrylic for the yellow trim.  Printing the artwork on white decal paper would have solved the problem of translucency, but it would have been difficult to trim away the white edges.  I think my solution was preferable.



The black decals were not problematic.  I scanned and resized letters from other sources, and created my own black circle with a clear B in the middle (hence the need for the white disk I masked on the tail earlier).  Note that the “B” on the starboard side of the tail is not centered on the disk, as is evident in photos of the aircraft.





While the Hasegawa kit shows its age, with a little extra effort a nice 1/32 model can be achieved.  Hopefully the upcoming Dragon release will raise the bar considerably, and open the floodgates for those wanting to tip the scales away from large scale Axis aircraft.   





Images were taken outdoors with a Nikon Coolpix 5400 digital camera.  The “unsharp mask” tool of Adobe Photoshop was used to restore some of the clarity and crispness lost during image compression, and a blur tool was used to diffuse the rear edge of the base with the background.



Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2006 by Ian Robertson
Page Created 29 June, 2006
Last Updated 30 June, 2006

Back to HyperScale Main Page