P-51B "Bluenose"

Published: February 15th, 2015     
Product Image
Reviewed by: Chris Smith - IPMS# 39182
Scale: 1/48
Company: Academy Models
Price: $55.00
Product / Stock #: 12303
Product provided by: MRC

Introduction

June 6, 1944 "D" Day was the day when the allied armies crossed the English Channel en mass and landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin the slow march across Western Europe This battle was the start of the allies invasion which ended in Berlin with Hitler's surrender. 2014 marked the 70th anniversary of this monumental event. Each day, we lose more of those who participated or lived through this battle. Kits, like this one, help us (and especially the younger builders out there) remember what happened on that day and why it was so important to the course of WWII. The P-51 has been covered by many other sources, as has the "Bluenose" 352nd Fighter Group based in Bodney Norfolk, UK.

The Kit

This is a re-boxing of the Accurate Miniatures P-51B, initially issued a few years back. It's packed in a nice box with a color painting of the subject aircraft flying over the English countryside. The side of the box includes a color chart so you can gather the paints you might need at the same time you pick up the kit. Inside, you get the kit itself molded in grey plastic and clear. The Accurate Mustang kits have gone through several reviews so I won't get to deep here. In short, its stands with most of the other Mustangs kits out there. The gear wells are boxed flush, which is not correct. But, the shape and surface details are still relevant. The clear parts are the only let down. The framing detail was a bit faint in some places and the sprue attachments will require some polishing and a future dip to make clear. There's a single sheet that describes what happened on D-Day, which gives a background on the invasion stripes that take center stage on the models finish. The instruction sheet is also a carry over from the Accurate Miniatures kit and includes a paint and decal guide. The main attraction is the decal sheet. The only option, in this kit, is a "Bluenose" P-51B of the 352nd FG as it appeared in June 1944. The only colors you need for the basic airframe are Olive Drab, Neutral grey and blue for the nose. The invasion stripes are all in decal form. The decal sheet is from Cartograf and as expected, is printed in perfect register and all the colors appear correct.

The Build

This kit has a few things you need to note in order to build a nice Mustang. The interior detail stills holds up compared to the other kits out there. Gone is the instrument panel decal to back the clear molded panel. The instrument panel is still molded clear, but just paint it and highlight the details. You will need to scrounge up some seat belts because there is none included. The radiator (part #82) is actually installed in reverse of what is shown in the instructions. In step 4, the rear section of the fuselage is separate from the forward sections. Install the rear section to its corresponding front section first. If you glue the rear sections together and try to install them in the forward fuselage, you will end up with steps in the joints that are very hard to fix. There's a small fillet on top of parts 1 & 2 that has to be removed since this Mustang didn't have it. The rest goes together fairly easily. The wheel hubs are cast separately to make painting easier. The only gripe I have with the kit is the oil cooler vent door. Its molded in place and the recessed area behind it is almost impossible to fix short of cutting it out and filling the gap with plastic card (I didn't). I didn't use the drop tanks since this aircraft was flying patrols over the French coast, which didn't require extra long range.

Painting and Decaling

The paint guide gives you everything you need to finish your Mustang. As I said before, you'll need three colors: Olive Drab FS34087, Neutral Grey, and what they call Bright Blue. I used Model Master colors for the first two and Tamiya Blue X-4 for my blue. All three were airbrushed with a Grex Genesis. I clear coated the model with Alclad II Aqua Gloss. Now came the real test for this model. This kit is all about the decals. If they don't work, the builder is faced with masking and painting all those stripes. I'm happy to report that they worked very well. I tried a few methods: Plain water, Micro Set and Solvaset. All three worked fine. The only place plain water might not work is when you overlap the decals on an edge. I found they didn't fold or lay down without some setting solution. Solvaset seemed to work the best for that. All the stripes are included on the decal sheet. They even give you some extra white and black to fill any gaps. I didn't use them when I should have. The only issue was the national insignias on the fuselage. The black and white stripes showed through, but its not too bad. In retrospect, I should have used the extra white decals to back it. The Squadron codes (P,Z,L) were a bit confounding. When the stripes were applied, the painter either painted over the codes or left a gap around them so they could be read. On this particular aircraft, it appears the codes were painted over the "S" hence being relocated to the nose. Using that same logic, I cut the portion of "P" and 'Z" which the stripes covered. I also did not include any stencils over the striping, assuming these were covered too. After some light weathering and airbrushed exhaust stains, I used a flat coat to knock down the gloss.

Conclusion

This was a fun build. I've done a couple of the Accurate Miniature Mustangs so I knew where the bugs were. The decals make the kit work. The manufacturer recommends 14 years and up or a skill level of 4 or 5. I think a younger modeler could build this kit with a little help. I score the kit an 8 of 10 because the molds are showing a bit of their age, especially the clear parts. The decal sheet is a solid 10. Altogether, this is a nice presentation of a great aircraft, as it appeared in the critical moment in WWII history. Thanks to MRC and Academy Hobby Model Kits for this fine effort. As always thank you to IPMS for providing this fine kit for me to review.

  • Before decals
    Before decals
  • Finished
    Finished
  • Finished
    Finished
  • Finished
    Finished
  • Finished
    Finished
  • Finished
    Finished

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