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  • Writer's picture@PlaneThought41

Killer Bee: 1/48th Tamiya P-51B Mustang

Tamiya's 1/48th scale Mustangs are considered to be one of the nicest model aircraft out there to build for any skill level. This "B" version incorporates the differences between the early marks, including the obvious raised spine, but also the wing shape (where the wing meets the fuselage) and landing gear attitude (with less forward rake).

Notable Kit Features:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit

  • Three different canopy configurations: Closed cage, Open cage, & “Malcom Hood"

  • Pilot figure provided

  • Fine scribed panel lines and surface details

  • Positionable flaps

  • Positionable rear radiator flap

  • Two different exhaust stacks provided

  • Optional 108 gallon paper drop tanks

Build Inspiration:

I actually started off building this Mustang as Don Gentile aircraft, however when I got to the decal stage they disintegrated on me. Looking for an option out, I realized that Duane Beeson's aircraft base paint was very similar and I could make the switch without much trouble. I borrowed the "Bee" markings from the ICM kit in the stash and was on my way again - "Keep calm and Decal on"

Beeson got trained as a pilot by joining the Royal Canadian Air Force on June 23, 1941 (after being rejected by the USAAF) and was eventually posted overseas in 1942. At the time the USAAF was arriving in England and Beeson resigned his RCAF commissions to transfer to the USAAF. By 1944, with 80 combat missions completed, he was made commanding officer of B Flight at the age of 22.

On February 28, Beeson got his new P-51B. He and crew chief Willard Wahl named the aircraft "Bee." On March 23, Beeson downed two more Bf 109s, making him one of the Army Air Forces' most successful aces with 17 victories. He got two more kills on April 5 but was shot down by German ground fire and captured.

Heads-Up Report:

  • If we want to go looking for trouble then Tamiya has the cockpit floor incorrect as it is supposed to be a be a flat floor (however the difference is subtle)

  • The instrument panel is decent but lacking dial details (You can use the decal to provide these, if desired)

  • The pilot seat requires seatbelts

Kit Additions / Modifications:

  • Added seat belts

  • The kit decals for Don Gentile's aircraft shattered on me so I had to go steal some Mustang markings from a similarly painted ICM kit and ended up producing Beeson's aircraft (which was fine by me as I had considered this an option)

End Result:

The paint scheme for this aircraft is the standard USAAF Olive Green (FS 34087) over Medium Gray (FS 36270). A faded paint effect was achieved by lightening the base tones of the standard colours and then spaying the true darker tone along panel lines any any areas that may be repaired - with some variance. Wing and tail ID stripes were painted on using off-white. The nose was painted insignia red. The kit panel lines were given a panel wash on top of the gloss coat - post decal application. The final coat of Model Master matt was lightly applied allowed to dry and final weathering added.

I found the better reference picture after I had completed the kit, providing evidence I could have been a lot harsher with the paint weathering!

The After-Build Report:

If you want to take a break from some of your more challenging model making projects Tamiya's Mustangs are one of the best kits available to achieve a great result from minimal effort. With so many finishes this can be a "go-to" kit for some time. - Highly recommended for model makers of any skill level.

Completed build #181 - December 2014 using the 1/48th scale Tamiya #61042-1800 kit.

Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is suppose to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers

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