North American P-51D/K Mustang
Bronco, 1/48 scale
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|Description and Catalogue Number:
||Bronco Kit No. FB4010 - North American P-51D/K Mustang
|Contents and Media:
92 parts in pale grey plastic; three parts in clear plastic; markings for two aircraft.
||Fine surface textures; overall shape looks good; useful options including cuffed and uncuffed Hamilton Standard propeller, choice of ordnance, alternative cowl breather panels, DF loop and more; one-piece sliding canopy section (frame moulded to clear section).
Incorrectly moulded wheel well rear wall; each-way bet on elevators (moulded with both riveted and fabric texture); undersized and strange shaped coaming; long skinny seat pan; no armoured glass for windscreen; tread on sidewalls of tyres only; solid exhaust ends; variable detail quality overall (most nice, some not so much); no paper texture on paper drop tanks; distorted sliding canopy section; some won't like the surface texture moulded onto the wings.
Bronco's brand new 1/48 scale is a real mixed bag. With so many museum examples and excellent kits of the type currently available, I am truly perplexed by the many strange errors and omissions. I also wonder why Bronco has taken a half-and-half approach to the engineering of the model with the fuselage, wings and some other parts apparently being press-fit and the rest of the model apparently needing to be glued. However, surface textures are generally very nice, there are lots of useful options and overall shapes seem to be good (although I'll await the final verdict in the forthcoming public discussion).
Reviewed by Brett Green
When I first read the description of this model and saw some CAD images, I wondered if Bronco's 1/48 scale P-51D/K Mustang was a re-box of the Meng kit.
With the Bronco kit now in front of me, I can state that it is not.
There are some common approaches - most obviously the large press-fit plugs for assembly of the fuselage and wings, and the upper rear fuselage insert - but this is definitely all Bronco's work.
We've hardly been starved of new 1/48 sale Mustang kits over the last few years and there are some beauties amongst them (namely Eduard, Meng and Airfix), so Bronco is facing some pretty stiff competition. Let's see how this offering compares.
Bronco's new 1/48 scale P-51D Mustang comprises just 92 parts in grey plastic, three parts in clear and decals for two Chinese marking options. The box states that the model can be built as a P-51D or P-51K Mustang. Note that the Aeroproducts propeller usually associated with the P-51K is not included with this kit, but the supplied uncuffed Hamilton Standard propeller was often used to replace the troublesome Aeroproducts prop, especially post-war and in the Korean War by the USA and its Allies.
The parts breakdown is quite conventional although there are a number of fuselage and wing inserts to provide for various options.
The main parts of the wings and fuselage are secured by pressing small circular locating artefacts into larger circles on the opposite mating surfaces. Once the parts are pressed together there is nothing stopping you from running a line of liquid glue along the join seam.
Other smaller parts are glued conventionally.
Surface detail is nicely done with crisply recessed panel lines and selected rows of rivets. Panel and rivet detail is present on the wings, so if you want to depict an aircraft with puttied wings, you might prefer to fill and sand these.
Two styles of lower cowl breather vents are included - perforated and blank.
Strangely, the elevators are moulded with both scalloped fabric effect and rivets. These should be metal skinned, so you'll need to spend a bit of time with putty and a sanding stick for a more accurate depiction.
Construction gets underway in the cockpit with a three-part pilot’s seat, instrument panel with raised bezels, rudder pedals, batteries, cockpit floor incorporating the fuel tank, radio and battery units, clear gunsight, and coaming. Some sidewall detail is moulded directly to the insides of the fuselage with the throttle quadrant and a few smaller parts supplied separately.
The seat pan looks a bit long and skinny to my eye, and the moulded on (very simplified) harness is limited to the shoulder straps only. I'm not sure about the egg-shaped head rest either.
I'm not wild about the instrument panel. The dials are undersized and the size of the bezels are exaggerated.
The instrument coaming is too narrow and a bit of a strange shape.
Armoured glass is not supplied for the windscreen.
The tail undercarriage leg is fitted between a dedicated bay and the open doors moulded in place. You can display the tail gear door closed, but you'll have to cut off the moulded-on doors first.
Both shrouded and unshrouded exhausts are supplied but the stacks will need to be hollowed out. They look a bit simplified too.
Hamilton Standard cuffed and uncuffed propeller blades are included. These are moulded in pairs.
The main landing gear bay is reasonably detailed but the shape is incorrect. Bronco has fallen for the old trick of moulding the main gear bay directly into the lower wing instead of supplying a separate straight rear undercarriage wall / main wing spar as the real thing had.
The diamond tread tyres and wheel hubs are separate parts. The tread only appears on the sidewalls. The faces of the tyres are completely bald. Hub detail is a bit "meh" too.
The machine gun panels on the wing leading edge are separate inserts. This avoids the tricky seam/join that would otherwise run through the centre of the gun muzzles.
The radiator flap may be posed open.
Other options include two 108 gallon paper drop tanks, two 75 gallon metal drop tanks, two 100 lb bombs and DF loop.
One style of sliding canopy is included. It seems to best represent an early Dallas type, but it has an exaggerated bulge on each side that distorts light noticeably. I give them marks for attempting the bulges though.
The clear bubble section is moulded with the frame, so you won’t have any trouble getting a nice clean painting line. The windscreen is moulded with a small section of the upper fuselage, once again ensuring a clean join and painting demarcation.
Markings are supplied for two Chinese aircraft.
Both are in overall natural metal
Decals are in register and colours look good. Printing is satin in finish.
Bronco's brand new 1/48 scale is a real mixed bag.
With so many museum examples and excellent kits of the type currently available, I am truly perplexed by the many strange errors and omissions.
I also wonder why Bronco has taken a half-and-half approach to the engineering of the model with the fuselage, wings and some other parts apparently being press-fit and the rest of the model needing to be glued.
However, surface textures are generally very nice, there are lots of useful options and overall shapes seem to be good (although I'll await the final verdict in the forthcoming public discussion).
Thanks to Bronco for the sample.
Text and Images Copyright © 2019 by Brett Green
Page Created 31 December, 2019
2 January, 2020
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