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Meng P-51D Mustang

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/48 scale plastic model aircraft kit
The P-51 Mustang is always a popular modeling subject, and every kit manufacturer has to have one in its lineup.

Meng enters the competition with a 1/48 scale P-51D. Interestingly, the kit features a push-fit assembly but does so without compromising detail.

The cleanly molded gray plastic incorporates neat recessed panel lines and rivet patterns. Optional parts include: two canopy types; two types of propeller; 75- and 108-gallon drop tanks; and bombs. No pilot is given. Beautifully printed decals provide markings for two colorful Mustangs flown by World War II aces: American Beauty, of the 308th Fighter Squadron and Short-Fuse Sallee, of the 356th Fighter Squadron.

Aided by the push-fit engineering, construction breaks down into subassemblies. The detailed cockpit comprises 19 parts and looks convincing with careful painting.

Generally, parts fit is good. But I had to exert substantial pressure to properly seat each component. If you do dry runs like I do, it may be difficult to pry pieces apart without damaging them.

The fuselage halves merge with separate upper and lower cowl covers, dorsal spine, tail-wheel section, and ventral radiator  intake and exit. All of these parts meet along panel lines, and cleanup is limited to just the vertical fin area — nice! None of the fuselage seams required filler.

The wing’s three major components join separate flaps, ailerons, and wheel wells. Meng’s Mustang is the first 1/48 scale kit to accurately portray the design of the gear bay with the rear wall being the main spar.

Assembly of the wings went smoothly except for the leading-edge insert with the  machine gun muzzles. I could not press them properly into place and needed to fill the interior structure. After that, the part was slightly recessed on top and needed filler underneath.

However, the wings and the fuselage matched precisely and left no gaps at the wing roots.

The extremely clear canopies have a fine mold line down the center. The sliding section fit in the closed position, but when open it seems a bit suspect — it does not sit back on the spine as seen in photos.

I painted my Mustang with a combination of GSI Creos Hobby Color acrylics and Tamiya bare-metal silver from a spray can.

The decals laid down perfectly, and I used decal solution only on large stripes. Building Capt. John Voll’s American Beauty, my primary reference was North American P-51D Mustang by Robert Pęczkowski (MMP/Stratus, ISBN 978-8-3894-5060-9), and Ron Mackay’s The 31st Fighter Group in World War II (Squadron/Signal, 978-0-8974-7514-3).

I completed my P-51D in 15 hours. The assembled kit captures the handsome fighter and matches photos and drawings. As a Mustang enthusiast, I was pleased with the completed kit and plan on building a few more Meng P-51s. While not a kit for beginners, those who have experience with 1/48 scale kits will enjoy this model. I highly recommend Meng’s Mustang to modelers who want a good-looking P-51D Mustang in their collection.

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