P-51D Mustang Pacific VLR version 1/48 Build log – Part One

One of my personal favorites, a widely loved aircraft, P-51D Mustang, is on my desk. When I was building models as a kid, the supply of kits was ample but uneven. I built lots of Vampires, Beaufighters, Spitfires, Hurricanes, even a P-61 which was a rarity, but the Mustang eluded me. Not it’s twin cousin even, the P-81, which did honor me with it’s grace. Well, now it’s mine as a birthday present (along with another universal favorite, Spitfire Mk.IXc) and boy, did I took my time preparing for the build! The Hasegawa’s kit (which it is) is great in detailing and looks very well rounded, promising abundance of humble modeling pleasures. Nevertheless, I purchased Eduard’s 49 268, and ye olden Eduard’s 48-015 for it has perforated air filter covers and a not widely known but a very cool set of A.M.U.R.Reaver wheel wells.

I did some research on Mustangs, their history, how and where they were used and got fascinated by the story of 506th Fighter Group based on Iwo Jima in 1945 and specifically by the very long range missions they undertook escorting B-29 bombers to Tokyo. This determined my general choice of a prototype, complete with natural metal finish and twin Uncle Dog antennas. I have yet to decide on the specific plane though.

So yeah, I’m packed up good, it’s only the skill I lack now 🙂 Yeah, I’m not nearly as much concerned about the detailing as I am about painting. I have yet to perform a paintjob worthy of my aspirations and the Mustang is already under way. Man!

Alright, enough of the prelude, here goes the action.

This time I decided to start not from cockpit but from wheel wells. Hasegawa’s kit provides a very nicely modeled wells as part of lower wing halves and, while in some other case this would save some work, not on my watch, mister. Using back side of X-Acto blade I carefully scraped the wells out. My goal was not to ruining them in the process as I need them to practice detail painting on. Here’s what I got:

Kit's wheel wells

Most of the wing’s surface is covered with 3M scotch to save it from scratches during what’s starting to look like a major perfection struggle.

I folded the PE parts using my brand new (and already indispensable) The Small Shop’s 5 Speed Hold and Fold and am very much satisfied by their precision.

Folded wheel wells

While doing that I got a part of the instruction wrong and incorrectly folded a small notch which represents what looks like a door drive safety limiter here

Door drive limiter

Feeling something fishy I looked up some photos and there it is, other way around. This is the reason one of these notches is separated on the photo above, I’m cutting them out and gluing in place in correct position.

Trying everything in place. Looks good, although I’m concerned about front side of the well actually reaching the well border. It’s hard to tell right now but I might have to augment the forward well wall a bit for it to reach the well border properly. Yes, even after moving wheel well assembly a bit forward where it should be after taking the picture 🙂

Wheel well dry fit

Here is how the forward wheel well wall (whoa!) should attach to the border (on the right)

Wheel well forward lip

The wing plastic is a lot thicker than scale as it is customary in our hobby, so it’s going to be thinned to make place for the wells. I’ve started with making a groove to guide the effort.

Wheel well groove

And this is where I finished feeling that another precision cut out might be beyond me for the day.
Cheers and have fun!

Leave a Reply