We have been doing a little spring cleaning, or at this current time winter cleaning, and I came across a box of old models that haven’t been touched. One delightful surprise in the box was Tamiya’s 1/48 scale P-51D. I have been super detailing my Tamiya 1/32 P-51D to a point where I could rebuild the real thing and I just want to finish an easy kit. No additional crazy details, I say crazy, of course I will add extra details, but still just a basic quick build.
After tackling the big 1/32 Tamiya Mustang kit, opening the 1/48 scale box was refreshing to see only 55 parts, some of which won’t be used. Like its bigger brother, the 1/48 scale kit is renowned as one of the best P-51 kits out there. The kit has the usual high quality Tamiya grey plastic with wonderful rivet and panel line detail. The cockpit is adequately detailed and will be plenty busy after adding some Eduard goodies. There are numerous resin cockpits available if you like sanding and fitting. The main gear wells are simple with little detail but at this scale any improvements will rarely be seen so I will leave as is. The directions are easy to follow and all the paint suggestions are very accurate. The decals looks a little thick but the amount of aftermarket decals out there for this aircraft are endless.
One of the nice features of this kit is the ability to drop the flaps, this is a major difference when compared to the Hasegawa kit. However, in order to make the flaps flush when in the up position, Tamiya molded a recessed section on the inboard side of each flap. On the real deal this recessed area is not present, this should be an easy fix. Ultracast offers a nice replacement that omits this recessed section and also adds a little more detail.
Another issue is the shape of the Hamilton Standard propeller. The blades have a slight bulge at the base of the cuff and gradually taper down towards the top of the cuff as you move towards the tip of the blades. This is another easy fix or go to Ultracast again, they make a kit that has corrected blades and a higher detailed spinner cone is also included.
My one big gripe with the kit is Tamiya’s tooling design for the bubble canopy. They give you a clear bubble top and a separate canopy frame molded in gray plastic. It takes a lot of fancy glue work to get everything to look correct and aligned. You can resort to a Squadron vacuform canopy, but that is another struggle in itself.
The only tip I can give when it comes to the kit construction is to give the backside of the gear bay a good sanding, part A8. Sanding the top of this part will give you more room to play with when trying to attach the wings to the fuselage. It will also help in getting the top halves of the wings in the correct location with the wing roots.
Markings are included for four aircraft:
As expected from Tamiya, this kit is of high quality and the fit and finish is phenomenal. If you want to build a 1/48 scale Mustang then this kit is one of the best options out there. With the amount of aftermarket options for detailing and decaling you could build P-51’s until the day you die and never build the same plane.