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Jackie's Cadillac: 1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang

Updated: Mar 15

Here is another "Gem of a kit" by Tamiya - Their 1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang. Not without its (minor) faults, but typically a great build at a reasonable price. What you get in box is a great looking Mustang inside and out, with dropped flaps (if you choose) and fine surface details.

Notable Kit Features:

  • Low parts count (without much sacrifice)

  • Nice raised details in the cockpit and instrument panel

  • Finely engraved surface detail

  • Positionable radiator vent

  • Both shrouded and unshrouded exhausts provided

  • Two styles of blown canopies provided

  • Wing tanks provided

1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang

Build Inspiration:

I came across a set of decals at a model show of Capt. John Crump's P-51D Mustang of the 360th Fighter Squadron / 356th Fighter Group based out of Martlesham Heath, England 1944. He had named his aircraft "Jackie" and since that was my wife's name, as well as being one of the very few aircraft she could readily identify (we watched the movie "Empire of the Sun" together and for quite a while afterwards she use to throw the quote out there "P-51 Cadillac of the sky!") - this combination became a Must Build for me.

1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang

Heads-Up Report:

Some minor points to cover here that are noteworthy, whether you care to correct them or not is up to you:

  • The two-piece bubbletop transparency and plastic frame presents a less than smooth transition for the canopy

  • Flap recessed area (inboard beside fuselage) should be filled if flaps are down

  • Hamilton Standard propeller blades have been critiqued for being wide in chord at the cuff and narrow toward the tips

  • Wheel wells aren't an accurate representation, especially of the main spar

  • Panel lines on the wing can mainly be filled if you are building a newly delivered type, as filler was used to refine the laminar flow aspect of the wing (the gun access panels, which would be accessed often, lost this panel fill)

  • The wings of Mustangs were mostly primed and painted silver, and not natural metal as was the case with the fuselage

For a clearer picture on some of the fixes to the issues listed above, you can reference Ian Robertson's build at the link below:

If you are interested in replicating the silver painted and natural metal finish (NMF) areas of the P-51D Mustang, the photo below sheds a lot of light on the subject. The typical finish of the P-51D is highlighted in the photo and explained below:

P-51D Mustang wing composition

Blue areas - two layers of sprayed putty and polished for the smooth surface entirely with no rivets seen. Then sprayed with a silver paint

Green areas - one layer of sprayed putty and polished for the smooth surface entirely with no rivets seen. Then sprayed with a silver paint

Yellow areas - a silver paint only

1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang

Kit Additions / Modifications:

As it happened, I came upon much of this helpful research after I had finished my lovely low-stress Tamiya kit - Ignorance is bliss sometimes (so I apologise to those who I just introduced a more complex P-51D build next time around - myself included.) As it turned out I built this Mustang pretty much Out-of-Box with the exception of added seatbelts and after-market decals.

1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang


If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed I have a tendency to build aircraft in like-finished groupings. Every once in a while, a reasonably sized group (say 3 aircraft), gets some add-in aircraft (say another 3 aircraft), resulting in excessively long spray booth sets (as well as "fiddly parts" finishing afterwards). This build suffered from being in a rather large group of NMF aircraft. I have since made a note to limit the group size to counter the sometimes resulting feeling of "Let's just finish off this group and move along" that can set in. I was painting with oil-base enamels at the time and used a highly thinned lacquer-based aluminum paint with some panels variations, for added realism. More realism would have been obtained had I spent more time on the finish, however this 1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang still turned out acceptable. The black wing / tail stripes and red nose / tail squadron colours were painted on. The decals were quite thin, pliable and settled in well. The top coat turned out a bit too flat now that I look at the photos. (I'll get it right next build.)

1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang

The After-Build Report:

This 1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang is a nice kit, all things considered, and therefore remains on my recommended kit list. There are other nice Mustang kits in 1/48th scale as well, the Eduard, Airfix and Meng kit have very good reviews and the Hasegawa kit is still decent. Next Mustang build, I will try and incorporate most of the above refinements, whichever manufacturer's kit I end up selecting.

1/48th Tamiya P-51D Mustang

Completed build #110 - August 2009 using the 1/48th scale Tamiya #61040 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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