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HobbyBoss P-51D/K Mustang

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/48 scale plastic model aircraft kit
The North American P-51 Mustang found its way into the air forces of many other countries during and after World War II — including, albeit through capture, not export, the Chinese communist People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), which was founded in Beijing with two PT-19s, two Mosquitos, and six P-51Ds.

HobbyBoss’ latest entry in its “Easy Assembly” line of 1/48 scale aircraft is a PLAAF P-51D kit. The same kit is also available boxed as a P-51D/Mustang IV in Royal Air Force and U.S. Army Air Force markings; another boxing is in Korean War U.S. Air Force and South African markings.

Cleanly molded in neutral gray plastic, the kit’s pieces are few (43) as separate parts are minimized. Optional parts are limited to drop tanks.

The main components have large alignment pins and locators, which facilitates a quick build of the fuselage and wings. The cockpit interior also is simplified, with no side-wall details given.

The canopy and windscreen are molded as a single component. It is very clear, but there is a fine mold line running down its length.

The fit of the wings to fuselage was good, with a crisp join at the wing roots.

Surface detail is restrained on the fuselage and wings, which feature lightly recessed panel lines, but molded details on the rudder and horizontal stabilizers are somewhat exaggerated.

One thing I did not catch until I was in the final phase of construction was a major error with the landing-gear legs. The oleo scissors are molded facing forward — they should be trailing! As the gear legs are keyed for left and right assembly, correcting this will require some work. You could carefully cut off the scissor links and relocate them correctly. Otherwise, cutting off the locating pins and creating new ones could be another option.

I painted my Mustang with a combination of Vallejo acrylic metal color paint and Tamiya spray paint.

Decals cover two PLAAF aircraft; a selection of generic numbers is provided. The decals behaved well on the metallic paint surface.

My primary reference was North American P-51D Mustang by Robert Pęczkowski (MMP Books, ISBN 978-83-65281-23-4), although I also found a few photos of PLAAF Mustangs on the internet. North American P-51D Mustang: B/C/D/K Models by Mariusz Lukasik (Kagero, ISBN 978-83-61220-06-0) also was useful. Judging by those sources, the kit’s dimensions and shapes are relatively good, though there are perhaps some shape issues at the lower cowling and below the canopy.

I completed my Mustang in a quick 10 hours, and it was a fun build. This is a great kit for beginners or occasional modelers who want a classic P-51 Mustang in their collection.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the December 2017 issue.
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