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Dotcom

1/72 Mistercraft P-51B Mustang Swiss Air Force

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Hello all,

 

fairly late to the group build, but I chose a small subject which I should be well able to finish in time.

 

On 19 July 1944 P-51B WD*U of 4th FG was escorting a bomber formation to Augsburg when she developed motor problems. Pilot 1st LT Simpson set course to neutral Switzerland and landed in the mountainous region of Ems. As with all aircraft landing on Swiss territory during the war, the Mustang was impounded. She was transferred to Dübendorf where the cause of the engine failure, a stuck radiator flap, was repaired. The Mustang then received Swiss colors and was used for evaluation and air combat training. Needless to say, the model proved far superior to the Morane D-3800 then is Swiss Air Force use. After VE-day, she was returned to the USAAF in her original colors.

 

Based on the very positive evaluation results the Swiss Air Force decided to buy 130 surplus P-51Ds in 1948 as a stopgap until the advent of jet fighters.

 

Unfortunately the same assessment can not stand for this kit.

 

pjMuYGk.jpg

 

Some years ago I picked up the 1/72 Mistercraft P-51B in some rear shelf of my local hobby store based on the appealing box art. Back at home I opened the box and had my jaw drop. This is one of the strangest plastic model kits I ever had in my hands. The sprues contain parts that can be identified as assembling into a P-51B. However the quality of the molding is of an estimated 1970s vintage. There is ample flash, a large count of ejector pin marks in unfavoring locations and generally a rather low level of detail. It does have recessed panel lines but they are quite soft, and the plastic surface is fairly rough or 'grainy'. The decal sheet contains only five Swiss Crosses while there should be six. The strangest thing is the instructions sheet. From the parts breakdown it clearly fits the kit but the parts drawn have much higher level of detail, such as guns, radiator flaps, seat detail and so on, where the kit parts are very crude. In fact the instructions drawings seem to show parts comparable to a Tamiya level kit.

 

Well, lets see what we can do here. Never too shy to breathe some life into such a pig, it's like taking a trip back into the earlier days. Battle plan:

- deal with the mold quality

- add some detail to the completely flat instrument panel, add seatbelts, headrest, throttle lever

- scratch build radiator flaps, guns, etc

- EDIT: correct wing leading edge near root

- paint all national insignia

 

References:

[1] https://www.flieger-hanspeter.ch/Mustang-P_51-B.htm

[2] https://old.hermannkeist.ch/north-american-p-51-mustang.html

 

Happy modelling,

Andy

Edited by Dotcom
References added

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Mistercraft is - in my eyes - notorious for having nice boxart and often beautiful decals, but crappy kits...

 

Have you checked scalemates.com for the history of this kit?

 

 

HAJO

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Hi HAJO,

 

yea I checked...after I bought it. Funny that a kit of this quality enjoys such a varied life...I am also not sure about the relations between Mistercraft and Mastercraft, the instructions mention Mastercraft throughout, so maybe Mistercraft is just a new legal entity in charge of re-issueing Mastercraft stuff.

 

PS I just saw that I will also have to remodel the kink in the leading edge to be less pronounced as the current wing seems to be of P-51D shape.

 

Andy

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Well, some models I saw (or even bought) from Mastercraft/Mistercraft were cheap rip-offs from Matchbox or other kits of questionable reputation.

 

I once used their decals for one of my AH-1Gs - they were ok.

 

 

HAJO

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Getting started. Cleaning up stuff:

J4l3fw9.jpg

 

Instrument panel is totally blank so some gauges were added as very thin slices of stretched sprue:

eHRIK6y.jpg

 

Not super scale in the layout but works for me for closed cockpit doors and scale 1/72:

14PmnOj.jpg

 

Tape seatbelts:

mENIiAV.jpg

 

Black instrument panel, silver drybrush and small drop of gloss clear coat on the gauges. Then ready to get buttoned up:

MuWT0kU.jpg

 

Cheers, Andy

Edited by Dotcom

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Nice work!  It will be interesting to see what you can do to turn this rough kit into a presentable model!

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Not so much to show here...The fuselage is closed up and sanding and trimming in progress:

 

NYGzp3e.jpg

 

Still missing some filling and rescribing along the seams.

When dryfitting the wing to the fuselage I noticed the leading edge seems totally off. The sweep at the wing root is pronounced as on the later P-51D when for the B model there should be less of kink. But worse, the remainder of the leading edge sweep towards the tip seems too straight. The whole wing shape just looks off. Will have to compare it to drawings to be sure. I'm not decided yet whether to fix the outer portion, the inner section should be doable.

 

OsPmaIC.jpg

 

Andy

 

 

Edited by Dotcom
resized images

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Some on and off progress on this build.

The major parts are together. It feels like 10% of the plastic volume was removed in the trimming process. Still left to sand and fill some gaps. On the upside the stabs fit so nicely that they will only be glued on after painting.

The oil cooler shutter and radiator shutter were made from sheet styrene. The cooler intake takes some more work also (it is molded shut). Then the canopy goes on and the painting starts.

 

WSaWq2o.jpg

 

RNEgHuC.jpg

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