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Tamiya's 1/32 P-51D

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I received my Tamiya 1/32 P-51D mustang kit a few days ago.

Here are some thoughts after spending "An Evening with the Kit"!

TA60322.jpg

Once more Tamiya has produced a very well designed and engineered kit.

I think I'll start with the obvious conclusion and then expand a little on the things they missed for those interested.

As could be expected after their great Zero and Spitfire kits they came up with the best Mustang kit in any scale.

The kit is fairly complex, extremely detailed and more importantly truly capture the essence of the P-51D.

The shape compares really well to pictures and Charles Neely's drawings and passes the eyeball test under any angle with flying colors.

Tamiya offers three canopies, a Dallas (part P1), a -2 (part M1) and a-6 (partN1), it is an almost impossible part to measure properly but after comparing them to drawings and pictures I am confident they look the part, including the different cross sections.

All the kit's parts are very well molded with sharp and well detailed features and the surface detail is exceptionally fine and restrained.

If you hold a part just in front of you the rivets will only be visible if you happen to catch the light properly, this greatly contributes to the scale effect, so do the thin trailing edges of the control surfaces.

Based on previous Tamiya kits and the first comments from those who already started building it, the fit is (unsurprisingly) excellent.

Tamiya went further with this Mustang kit than any other injection kit manufacturer before (themselves included) in trying to represent the evolution of the P-51D through its six generations with many extra parts for different options.

The complete list of options has been published many times and can be seen on the Tamiya website.

In theory this one box should allow you to build any P-51D (D-5 through D-30) built in Inglewood or Dallas.

In theory only, as a few things are missing or have been missed, thankfully it is nothing that diminishes the extraordinary quality of this kit but some modelers may want to know what to look for.

With the ambition of "boxing" six production blocks spread over two factories and the hundreds of small or big changes this represents in one package it is not surprising that Tamiya missed some things.

Most are small details having to do with the evolution of the P-51D during its production, others are some odd or poor choices by Tamiya and finally a few things have been omitted.

This is NOT an exhaustive list of things to correct, it would be a full time job to list all the changes seen on the different blocks and how they compare to the kit.

I will not list all the kit's wrong or missing switches or other small errors that only a few guys on the planet know about, just the most visible details that make the difference in my opinion.

I will start by mentioning the two biggest misses I see in this kit, the representation of the Dzus fasteners and the lack of "early" dorsal fin fillet.

The Dzus fasteners on Mustangs are flush, this is not open to interpretation it is an easily verifiable fact yet for some reason Tamiya decided to raise the fasteners in a way that is quite visible depending on the lighting.

This bothered me on the test shots as I could see them, they look wrong and will be a pain to correct with a beading tool on the very thin cowling parts, wrong move Tamiya.

Some will mention that the same thing was done on the Spitfire kits, to which I reply: I don't care, I'm reviewing the Mustang and two wrongs don't make a right...

When the Dorsal Fin Fillet (DFF) was added during production of the P-51D-5 (44-13902) it was originally curved as opposed to the straight one seen later (and in the Tamiya kit).

The curved DFF (referred to as swayback DFF) stayed throughout production until the P-51D-15 (included) which means that a lot of "famous" WWII Mustangs that modelers will want to build should have it instead of the late DFF offered by Tamiya.

As a side note the small square panels for the APS-13 antennas on the tail section w/DFF should only be there for aircraft 44-72127 and subsequent as well as earlier blocks retrofitted with the APS-13.

Another poor feature are the rubber tires, they look fairly good but have a nasty seam line in the middle that will be a pain to get rid of.

We also need to see more tread patterns for Mustang wheels, the diamond pattern wasn't the only one and the block and hexagonal / oval patterns were extremely common and can be identified on many pictures.

In my opinion a separate piece for the swayback DFF do be added to the D-5 tail section of the kit and resin tires (diamond, block and oval) are the most sorely needed aftermarket parts for this kit, everything else is secondary.

Tamiya's many options for the kit sometimes make it look like a toy rather than a model and can present their own set of problems.

For example if you want to add plumbing in the wheel wells how then are you supposed to remove the center rib with the clamshell doors in order to replace them with the closed doors for the In Flight configuration?

I didn't take too close a look at the engine since it's not my thing but if it's anything like the Spitfire you will need to choose between the open or closed position for the cowlings as the fit might not be good enough for a lot of "on and off" action.

Another thing to consider is that the cowlings are not a realistic representation of the real things when off.

Nice photo-etched parts are included in the box (I really like the shoulder harness option for seated pilot) but Tamiya makes odd choices, for example we find parts that will be use in future boxings to details the M10 triple-tube rocket launchers and even a Tiny Tim rocket which basically were almost never used on Mustangs!

On the other hand the PE parts do not include the canopy rails that are quite visible on an open cockpit or gun and ammo doors details such as the gun door handles in the open position or the characteristic "teeth" of the ammo doors used to lock them in position.

Speaking of Gun bay doors, the beautifully molded interior details are only good for the late P-51D's, earlier ones looked different and even though we get two sets of doors, they all are the later model.

A gun bead sight to be mounted on the firewall for the earlier blocks using the N-9 gunsight as well as the extra manual ring sight would have also been nice.

Other missing parts include clear separate pieces for the tail light and the battery sump bottle, locking hooks for the wheels (maybe as PE parts) and a dust boot for the tailwheel.

This new kit like all those that came before suffers from an identity crisis, even with all the optional parts it is obvious that Tamiya studied a P-51D-30 and that's pretty much what you get in the box except for the missing square tipped Hamilton Standard propeller and the fact that the BC-966 (parts D51 & D52) IFF transceiver is not to be used on most WWII Mustangs.

Without those what you actually get is closer to a P-51D-25.

Either way you get an easy out of the box late P-51D, for any earlier block you will have to do some extra work.

For the record, the BC-966 mentioned above is the main component of the SCR-695 IFF set that was installed at the factory on P-51D-30's (that's why it's in the box) or as a field mod on a few earlier blocks such as some of the P-51D-20's and 25's deployed on Iwo Jima (also on many P-51B/C's and some Allison Mustangs but that's another story).

Contrary to what the kit's instructions say the inertia switch (part D53 behind the headrest) should not be used, it is a part of the SCR-695 IFF set and unless you build a Mustang that used it this part just like parts D51 and D52 should be left out.

Another feature that only belongs to late P-51D's are the underwing attachment points for HVAR rocket pylons, they should not be on any aircraft before 44-72227 (they come with the pilot's switch-box part D48) .

In the same manner the underwing attachment points for the drop tank fuel lines were different on earlier blocks than what is presented here (under parts A9 & A10).

Surprisingly no plumbing for the drop tanks is included.

Other differences between early and later models include:

- The gun camera opening on the port wing root was round up to the P-51D-15 block when it became square like the one seen in the kit.

- The canopy opening handle was square (instead of elongated) on early P-51D's, that would include all the -2 and some of the -6 canopies, check your references.

The square handle was only on the port side but the later elongated one represented in the kit was on both sides.

In the cockpit:

- The armor plate was mounted 2 1/4 inches lower before the P-51D-20, as a result the headrest cushion was placed higher.

- The WMA seat included in the kit is nicely shaped but a few visible details are missing on the back plate.

Speaking of the kit's seats, based on the instructions it seems that Tamiya would have you put the Shick-Johnson (D32+D38+D39) seat on early P-51D's and the WArren McArthur seat (D19+D21) on later ones.

In fact while the WMA seat was the already the main seat on P-51B's and continued to be so on P-51D's regardless of production block, the SJ was randomly installed throughout the P-51D production, checking pictures is the only way to know which seat was on a specific aircraft.

- Although not very visible the rear cockpit could have been more detailed with a dynamotor for the radio behind the armor plate, liners for the fuel cell, and wooden blocks to keep it from bulging.

- The radio itself lacks detail and is shown front to back in the instructions, the smaller jack should be in the back, it is wired to the antenna mast.

- It looks like a part is missing from the right side wall (D55) just below the oxygen regulator, that's the compartment for the gunsight spare bulbs, I am also surprised to see that no cockpit lights are included.

- Finally, I wish the instrument panel was offered as a PE parts since the instruments look way too deep in the panel when using the kit's parts. The real thing is fairly flat. A few other inaccuracies need to be corrected there but these are small details.

Finally, there several ejection pin marks throughout the kit, they are discreet but a few of them will need to be erased and the instruction's color guidelines should be taken with a grain of salt.

some modelers have already pointed out that based on what's in the box we can expect future releases to include; Korean war F-51D's, F-6D's, P-51K's (Mk.IVA?) and possibly Iwo Jima based VLR Mustang.

I agree with their conclusions.

Tamiya's new P-51D is a truly magnificent kit and I really hope a P-51B/C is in the cards.

Kits have become pricey in the past few years but this one is as good as you're likely to get for your money and should be available at lower prices in the coming months and years (I'm sure it'll be around for a long long time).

Zoukei-Mura has announced their own 1/32 P-51D kit, I'm not a big fan of companies who issue expensive kits looking like they were molded by Monogram thirty years ago and who would have you spend another hundred bucks on extras just so you have all the available details for the kit but I'll wish them luck.

Who knows, maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised!

Now, if only Hasegawa would release a 1/32 P-51H...

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Now, if only Hasegawa would release a 1/32 P-51H...

Ohhhh....i wish they would in 1/48 & 1/32!!!

If only afew more of them had made made it out to the Pacific region in time and actually fought the Japanese

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But how about dose wings? Rivet top or not? Still looks like a P-51 to me.

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I know this sounds crazy, but I've never been a huge fan of the Mustang. Don't know why, because it is truly an amazing and very important aircraft. That being said... I gotta get one! Speaking of the quality of the kit only, it appears Tamiya has really out done themselves. Know the most important question to me, can my beloved Corsair be next?By the way, excellent review Tourist, many thanks.

Chuck

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I will start by mentioning the two biggest misses I see in this kit, the representation of the Dzus fasteners and the lack of "early" dorsal fin fillet.

The Dzus fasteners on Mustangs are flush, this is not open to interpretation it is an easily verifiable fact yet for some reason Tamiya decided to raise the fasteners in a way that is quite visible depending on the lighting.

This bothered me on the test shots as I could see them, they look wrong and will be a pain to correct with a beading tool on the very thin cowling parts, wrong move Tamiya.

Some will mention that the same thing was done on the Spitfire kits, to which I reply: I don't care, I'm reviewing the Mustang and two wrongs don't make a right...

When the Dorsal Fin Fillet (DFF) was added during production of the P-51D-5 (44-13902) it was originally curved as opposed to the straight one seen later (and in the Tamiya kit).

The curved DFF (referred to as swayback DFF) stayed throughout production until the P-51D-15 (included) which means that a lot of "famous" WWII Mustangs that modelers will want to build should have it instead of the late DFF offered by Tamiya.

As a side note the small square panels for the APS-13 antennas on the tail section w/DFF should only be there for aircraft 44-72127 and subsequent as well as earlier blocks retrofitted with the APS-13.

Another poor feature are the rubber tires, they look fairly good but have a nasty seam line in the middle that will be a pain to get rid of.

We also need to see more tread patterns for Mustang wheels, the diamond pattern wasn't the only one and the block and hexagonal / oval patterns were extremely common and can be identified on many pictures.

In my opinion a separate piece for the swayback DFF do be added to the D-5 tail section of the kit and resin tires (diamond, block and oval) are the most sorely needed aftermarket parts for this kit, everything else is secondary.

Tamiya's many options for the kit sometimes make it look like a toy rather than a model and can present their own set of problems.

For example if you want to add plumbing in the wheel wells how then are you supposed to remove the center rib with the clamshell doors in order to replace them with the closed doors for the In Flight configuration?

I didn't take too close a look at the engine since it's not my thing but if it's anything like the Spitfire you will need to choose between the open or closed position for the cowlings as the fit might not be good enough for a lot of "on and off" action.

Another thing to consider is that the cowlings are not a realistic representation of the real things when off.

Nice photo-etched parts are included in the box (I really like the shoulder harness option for seated pilot) but Tamiya makes odd choices, for example we find parts that will be use in future boxings to details the M10 triple-tube rocket launchers and even a Tiny Tim rocket which basically were almost never used on Mustangs!

On the other hand the PE parts do not include the canopy rails that are quite visible on an open cockpit or gun and ammo doors details such as the gun door handles in the open position or the characteristic "teeth" of the ammo doors used to lock them in position.

Speaking of Gun bay doors, the beautifully molded interior details are only good for the late P-51D's, earlier ones looked different and even though we get two sets of doors, they all are the later model.

A gun bead sight to be mounted on the firewall for the earlier blocks using the N-9 gunsight as well as the extra manual ring sight would have also been nice.

Other missing parts include clear separate pieces for the tail light and the battery sump bottle, locking hooks for the wheels (maybe as PE parts) and a dust boot for the tailwheel.

This new kit like all those that came before suffers from an identity crisis, even with all the optional parts it is obvious that Tamiya studied a P-51D-30 and that's pretty much what you get in the box except for the missing square tipped Hamilton Standard propeller and the fact that the BC-966 (parts D51 & D52) IFF transceiver is not to be used on most WWII Mustangs.

Without those what you actually get is closer to a P-51D-25.

Either way you get an easy out of the box late P-51D, for any earlier block you will have to do some extra work.

For the record, the BC-966 mentioned above is the main component of the SCR-695 IFF set that was installed at the factory on P-51D-30's (that's why it's in the box) or as a field mod on a few earlier blocks such as some of the P-51D-20's and 25's deployed on Iwo Jima (also on many P-51B/C's and some Allison Mustangs but that's another story).

Contrary to what the kit's instructions say the inertia switch (part D53 behind the headrest) should not be used, it is a part of the SCR-695 IFF set and unless you build a Mustang that used it this part just like parts D51 and D52 should be left out.

Another feature that only belongs to late P-51D's are the underwing attachment points for HVAR rocket pylons, they should not be on any aircraft before 44-72227 (they come with the pilot's switch-box part D48) .

In the same manner the underwing attachment points for the drop tank fuel lines were different on earlier blocks than what is presented here (under parts A9 & A10).

Surprisingly no plumbing for the drop tanks is included.

Other differences between early and later models include:

- The gun camera opening on the port wing root was round up to the P-51D-15 block when it became square like the one seen in the kit.

- The canopy opening handle was square (instead of elongated) on early P-51D's, that would include all the -2 and some of the -6 canopies, check your references.

The square handle was only on the port side but the later elongated one represented in the kit was on both sides.

In the cockpit:

- The armor plate was mounted 2 1/4 inches lower before the P-51D-20, as a result the headrest cushion was placed higher.

- The WMA seat included in the kit is nicely shaped but a few visible details are missing on the back plate.

Speaking of the kit's seats, based on the instructions it seems that Tamiya would have you put the Shick-Johnson (D32+D38+D39) seat on early P-51D's and the WArren McArthur seat (D19+D21) on later ones.

In fact while the WMA seat was the already the main seat on P-51B's and continued to be so on P-51D's regardless of production block, the SJ was randomly installed throughout the P-51D production, checking pictures is the only way to know which seat was on a specific aircraft.

- Although not very visible the rear cockpit could have been more detailed with a dynamotor for the radio behind the armor plate, liners for the fuel cell, and wooden blocks to keep it from bulging.

- The radio itself lacks detail and is shown front to back in the instructions, the smaller jack should be in the back, it is wired to the antenna mast.

- It looks like a part is missing from the right side wall (D55) just below the oxygen regulator, that's the compartment for the gunsight spare bulbs, I am also surprised to see that no cockpit lights are included.

- Finally, I wish the instrument panel was offered as a PE parts since the instruments look way too deep in the panel when using the kit's parts. The real thing is fairly flat. A few other inaccuracies need to be corrected there but these are small details.

Finally, there several ejection pin marks throughout the kit, they are discreet but a few of them will need to be erased and the instruction's color guidelines should be taken with a grain of salt.

That's it? Sounds like a gem to me then as I can handle it! Besides, most of the Mustangs I want are the extravagant sharkmouths used postwar by Bolivia, Indonesia, Santo Domingo, Philippines, and so on.

Thanks Christian for the run down! I hope you will add more to it as well as anyone else who sees something.

Regards,

Edited by sharkmouth

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To add to what Christian said, some other small but missing details:

- When the K-14 gun sight was installed, there was a small bracket for spare lamp bulbs fitted under the right side instrument coaming.

- The floor mounted fuel gauges have no dial decal provided for them, likewise with the fuselage fuel tank (part D15).

- No heaters (type J-1 or J-4) are represented on the .50 cal machine guns.

- As has been stated before, the NAA logos and "Depress Pedal To Release Parking Brake" mouldings are missing from the rudder pedals.

- Locking lever for ammo tray cover is missing (if displaying with gun bay covers off). This is a prominant feature (up or down position) next to the outboard gun.

That's all... for now.

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Great info. Thanks guys! Archiving this one in the nifty A4 size folder that came in the box :)

BTW, I've also noticed that the molded-on intake on the LH side of the cowling (hinting at a VLR and/or post war F-51D boxing) is both too small and inaccurately shaped. The real thing was a truncated teardrop in side view, but the scoop opening itself was rectangular. The one on the kit is probably about 2/3 as big as it should be.

J

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Who needs all that stuff anyway? It's gonna be a Trans-Con Racer! Anyone have a pair of 1/32 Sky Raider drop tanks? The long pointy ones..

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Who needs all that stuff anyway? It's gonna be a Trans-Con Racer! Anyone have a pair of 1/32 Sky Raider drop tanks? The long pointy ones..

I think they burn people at the stake for doing that, don't they? ;) :lol:

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Thank you for the review. I really appreciate it. Although I'm getting one, and probably building it just as-is with no mods, it's good to know the short-comings of any kit (regardless of how "perfect" it supposedly is) and how to fix them if I wanted to. As GI Joe said, knowing is half the battle. If I know that something is wrong, I can decide if I want to fight that other half and fix it, or if I want to ignore it. If I don't know something is wrong, then by extension, I don't know how to fix it, and won't look into it either. So, thank you again. I really mean that.

Aaron

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Great info. Thanks guys! Archiving this one in the nifty A4 size folder that came in the box :)

J

I was just wondering what I could use that nice folder for.....

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Thanks guys.

ModelMkr is correct and my list is not exhaustive.

Speaking of which, this morning I realized I forgot to mention that the small access panels on the top and bottom of the engine cowling evolved during production, what the kit offers is the latest configuration.

The two pipes for the ventilating system going up on each side of the armor plate are the earlier (and most common) ones, the outlets and their position changed on the P-51D-25.

Finally below the fuselage to wing fairing (on the starboard side where the flap's inner tip meets the fairing) there is a small vent (a tiny hole really) which should be erased unless you build a P-51D-30.

Jennings, the scoop isn't misshaped it is the one seen on factory P-51D-30's and retrofitted to some post war to other blocks.

The larger one is seen on the Iwo Jima VLR P-51's and is a field modification.

This reminds me, I should have mentioned that the scoop should be erased unless you build one of the above (P-51D-30, most VLR Mustangs, or some post war F-51D's).

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Do you happen to have a picture of the larger scoops on the Iwo P-51s? I bought the new Kagero marking set for 3 Iwo Jima Mustangs so I may want to modify mine

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Do you happen to have a picture of the larger scoops on the Iwo P-51s? I bought the new Kagero marking set for 3 Iwo Jima Mustangs so I may want to modify mine

How's this?

5999414797_a2f38c195f_b.jpg

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Note that the back side of the prop (above the cuffs) is almost totally scoured of black paint, right down to the metal. Volcanic dust is very gritty.

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Just a color scheme idea for your Tamiya kit...

GhostGreyMustang.jpg

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Great info. Thanks guys! Archiving this one in the nifty A4 size folder that came in the box :)

So you did pull the trigger on one? I get to ARC so rarely that the last time I read you were stepping back and taking a deep breath on this one.

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So you did pull the trigger on one? I get to ARC so rarely that the last time I read you were stepping back and taking a deep breath on this one.

Oh of course. I was strong until I started seeing pics of the silly thing. I'm weak. :)

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Nice job Tourist, good info to have.

As I only build "perfect models" I shall have to wait :sunrevolves: .......Deep voice in the background Yeah, that means only until he gets the $$ to buy one

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I think they burn people at the stake for doing that, don't they? ;) :lol:

Maybe a pylon racer instead. Anyone have a 1/32 scale Mk58 Griffon lying around? :)

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Thanks for the great review, Christian!

I've got a few years before my eyesight and shelf space force/allow me to build 1/32, so hopefully in time Tamiya releases more-detailed versions of their 1/48 Mustangs that take some cues from this beautiful model. Reading your review makes me want to start another F-51 build just to reap the benefit of your incredible wealth of knowledge.

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I saw that this thread was mentioned on another forum.
It seems like a good time to update some of my previous comments:

- The DFF was not added during production on P-51D-5-NA 44-13902 but appeared with the P-51D-10-NA block and was retrofitted to some D-5s.
The straight DFF did not first start with the D-20 block but very late during the D-15 (and K-15) blocks, possibly the last 5 or 10 aircraft for each.

- The armor plate was indeed mounted 2 1/4 inches lower before the P-51D-20 but the headrest cushion was not placed higher as I mentioned in 2011, the whole thing moved higher not allowing for the canopy to be fully opened.
No decals on the front of the armor plate (on each sides of the seat) for the early, lower armor plate.

On the early P-51D-5-NAs (possibly the first 250 ships) the top part of the armor plate was shorter allowing the cushion mounting plates to protrude on top, this gave the whole thing a rounder look.

- While both seats were interchangeable and randomly installed, the Shick-Johnson seat seems to have first appeared during the P-51D-15-NA production and was probably the most common seat on the last blocks (D-25 and 30s).


For those specifically interested in the P-51D-5 check the following thread out, it should give you pretty much all the info you need:
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/hyperscale/eduards-p-51d-5-with-fin-filet-what-differences-ar-t506831.html

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