Airfix 1/24 scale
by Roland Sachsenhofer
Hobby Boss' 1/32 Spitfire Mk.Vb Trop is available online from Squadron
With an airplane name like "Mustang" and such a demanding kit like that of Airfix, a play on words is obvious: yes, I have ridden this model and stayed on top!
Actually it was a hard ride, but I don't want to break the stick about these venerable kit parts right at the beginning - because such a sweeping judgement wouldn't do justice to this well known and so to speak deserving kit.
Let's take a closer look at a few relevant points!
One of the positive aspects is that Airfix was one of the very first manufacturers who dared to go the extra mile when it was released in 1973. A whole model building world was opened here, which made completely own experiences possible in things size and volume.
My childhood memories also include the great amazement when I was allowed to open this kit for the first time in the middle of the 70s - my big brother had brought one of the first kits with him from a stay in England.
In the meantime some years have passed - and the new opening of the box left no doubt about it: what laughed at me in the big box was pure and somewhat sobering seventies- charm of model making.
Airfix has remained true to itself in this matter, nothing has been changed in the kit forms. Even their storage as loose bulk material, partly already broken off by the massive injection moulding frames, nourished the nostalgia: yes, that's how it used to be, that's how they did it back then! So you can attest to the courage of the battered manufacturer throughout the decades. Once it was the new ways that Airfix had taken with the 1:24 models, today it is the willingness to offer such unchanged.
The shapes and dimensions of the model are, as experts have measured, the best that the large-scale model construction offers in terms of P-51D. However, surface structures - and especially the reproduction of the rivets - have become too large. One consequence of this was that these exaggerations were sensitively ground down or removed.
By the way, the wings have remained without rivets, this is also a proof of the solid model research that Airfix once did for this model.
The fitting accuracy is, generally speaking, not too good.
Especially the two fuselage halves have to be modelled with a lot of effort to a harmonious unit. Also the shape of the transparent parts and the design of their integration into the fuselage unfortunately spoils some details.
According to today's standard, the details within the well visible cockpit are relatively coarse.
Here, a lot of detail has to be added. In my case, "Placards" by Eduard and some freely improvised detail forms provided a little more realism.
A big topic is the design of the landing gear and the landing gear shafts. The inside of the landing gear bays are literally empty, which could be handled with some scratch construction. A harder nut, however, is the lack of any details on the inside of the inner chassis cover. Now, with the best will in the world, this cannot be overlooked!
Fortunately, these flaps were closed on the ground during taxiing, takeoff and landing and, it seems to me, were only opened for maintenance. My solution was to show the Mustang just as it can be seen on many contemporary pictures: with closed inner gear doors, which only makes the Mustang look more elegant and faster. A solution must also be found for the underwing stations, because here, too, the level of detail provided by the kit is no longer satisfactory. On my model I rebuilt it with wire and cable insulation.
The decal sheet enclosed with the latest edition can be used without hesitation. For the shown P-51 I used decals from "CAM Decals". The markings show the machine of Lt. John McAlevey, 370th FS, 359th FG, who christened his Mustang "Skeeter´s Scooter".
He himself gives on a clear website a humorous explanation how he got this nickname. If you are interested, you can read it here: http://www.johnfmcalevey.com/ww2/scooter.htm
Parallel to this project, a second Mustang was built from the same kit forms in a marking used by the Royal Air Force. This was to be shown in flight with the landing gear retracted. The details and design of the pilot figure and the question of how I should credibly portray a rotating propeller were the main focus here - but this is a story of its own, which I would like to present in a following article.
If you are interested in the building process, please have a look here on Scalemates:
As ever, remarks will be appreciated: firstname.lastname@example.org
Model, Images and Text Copyright ©
2019 by Roland Sachsenhofer
Page Created 27 November, 2019
28 November, 2019
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