's new 1:48 P-51D was released last autumn to universal acclaim in the modelling community. Basically, Eduard
outdid all previous 1:48 kits of the Mustang at a stroke and raised the bar pretty darned high for all who dared to follow. It will likely remain arguably the definitive P-51D/K in this scale for many years.
Now, hot on the heels of the initial boxing (see HERE
for Andy Brazier's build of a pre-release sample), comes a Dual-Combo "Royal Class" boxing which packs in two complete kits (plus parts for the early "no tail-filletĒ variant) along with a nice selection of Brassin
upgrade parts and a useful injection-moulded display base.
The kit arrives in a massive top-opening box, bearing a simple stylish gold outline drawing of a Mustang against a black background. The box has a false bottom, with a lift-out sheet of card to protect decal sheets underneath.
If anything the box is maybe a bit too big for its own good, because the sprues in the sample kit appear to have rattled around rather a lot in transit. There was a slightly ominous and unmistakable sound of loose parts when I unpacked the kit to take the photos for this review and, sure enough, quite a few pieces had come off their sprues (in fact, one of the plastic bags had split open, allowing some of the loose parts out (see photos at right).
To be fair, my kit had been in the post twice to reach me, so it undoubtedly faced more of a battering than kits shipped in packing cases to model shops (you can see in the header photo that it's taken a few knocks). That said, based on this experience, I would recommend checking the contents before you purchase the kit in your LHS if that's possible.
With that one gripe out of the way, let's take a look at what's actually in the box. As this in effect a pair of Profi-PACK kits plus extras, you can predict there will be plenty of parts and it certainly doesnít disappoint on that score:
359 x grey styrene parts (plus 84 unused)
30 x clear styrene parts (plus 4 not needed)
4 x pre-coloured photo-etched frets giving a total of 274 parts
18 x resin parts
A sheet of washi tape masks with a complete set for each of the aircraft
Decals for no less than 14 colour schemes
A plastic PSP (Marston Mat) display base
Thatís quite a tally and, at the time of writing, if you were to purchase elements separately, the combined price would be £75.50, so the MRP for the Royal Class Mustang of £57.24 offers a significant saving.
The moulding is superb throughout, with no flash or problems with sinkage. Ejector pins appear to have been kept out of harm's way as far as I can judge from first inspection. So, clean-up promises to be very quick and painless.
The thing that strikes you immediately when inspecting Eduard
's Mustang is the fantastic surface finish, combining crisp panel lines, very delicate rivets and fasteners, plus a sprinkling of raised details on the fuselage. Fabric covered control surfaces are depicted realistically taught, and are treated to quite subtle rib tapes.
Obviously, the correct surface finish for the Mustang's wings is a favourite topic for modellers to argue over, because the full-sized aircraft had most of the surface of the wings filled and primed on the production line. By their own admission, Eduard
have opted for something of a compromise, keeping the areas that were thus treated free of embossed rivets, but still including panel lines. Honestly, whichever route they took, it would be unlike to keep everyone happy, so I think they've balanced it well, because you can often see a hint of panel lines in period photos (particularly as airframes aged and became stressed) - and, of course, modellers can always fill the lines if they wish to go for a factory fresh finish.
A quick check-fit of the main parts shows everything should all slot together beautifully, even without the internal fittings that will give added rigidity.
A Few Details
I won't go through the contents and multiple options too slavishly - particularly as I'm keen to get started on building the kit. Also, Andy Brazier's fine pre-release BUILD
build can give a far better idea of what to expect than I could describe in this in-box review.
But, to give a taste of whatís included in the kit, construction begins with one of the best cockpits I've seen in a mainstream kit in this scale. The Dual-Build actually allows for two complete assemblies to allow for the different equipment fit-outs in the featured versions but, basically, you are looking at over 50 parts for the cockpit itself, with a further 15 or so for the instrument panel
The main undercarriage well is built from 16 parts - and, crucially, Eduard
have got the shape correct, with the main wing spar forming the rear of the well. The tailwheel well is made up of a pair of inserts for the internal structure. These have the gear door moulded "open", so you'll need to do some surgery if you wish to depict your Mustang in flight. A neat touch is that the tailwheel itself isn't fitted at this stage, instead slotting in after the main airframe is complete.
The main undercarriage is crisply moulded, with separate oleo scissors - and, for this Royal Class boxing, Brassin
resin wheels are included, with two different styles of tyre treads provided. In the case of the sample kit, these are block and cross - but don't count on necessarily getting the same combination, because Eduard
state on their website that they are chosen at random when the kit is packed. Whichever styles you get, they are a massive improvement over the diamond-tread type included among the styrene parts, with much better treads and, of course, no seams to hide.
2 styles of resin exhausts are included as upgrades in this boxing too, and they are also a definite improvement over the styrene visions - although it has to be said the originals certainly aren't shabby, as they're moulded with hollowed-out openings.
The kit comes with optional propellers - cuffed Hamilton Standards for the P-51D, and non-cuffed Aeroproducts for the Mustang Mk IVA (P-51K). (Also on the sprues, but unused in this boxing) is a non-cuffed Hamilton Standard with blunt tips as seen post-war.)
The small covers over the air filters in the nose are provided in 3 styles - perforated, blanked-off, or with louvres.
An impressive array of ordnance is provided, with 4 types of drop tanks, plus rockets on zero-length launchers. (Again, not needed in this boxing, but a taste of what Eduard
have planned, there are bombs and bazooka tubes on the sprues.)
The transparent parts are excellent - with beautifully clear mouldings for the 3 types of canopy included. The windscreen is moulded with a section of fuselage to avoid any chance of a bad seam, and washi tape masks provided to use in conjunction with masking fluid.
The photo-etched parts are everything weíve come to expect from Eduard
, with their market-leading pre-coloured parts for the instrument panel, fascias and seatbelts. Also included on the frets are a couple of scribing templates to mark out panel lines on some of the aircraft featured in the markings options.
Painting & Decals
The instructions are printed as a classy 32-page A4 colour booklet on glossy stock. The diagrams are very clear and construction is broken down into logical and easily manageable stages. With so many options in this Royal Class kit (see below), thereís a lot to keep track of, so itís definitely important to decide which colour schemes youíre building before
Call-outs are provided for Gunze Sangyo paints throughout, and a nice touch is that Eduard
provide a diagram showing which parts of the airframe were natural metal and which were painted with aluminium lacquer.
Two large decal sheets are included. The first supplies national markings and stencils, while the second provides the individual markings for a phenomenal line-up of subjects:
A - P-51D-5, 44-13317, flown by Capt. Donald R. Emerson, 336th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF, Debden, United Kingdom, September 1944
B - P-51D-5, 44-13500, flown by Capt. Robert J. Goebel, 308th FS, 31st FG, 15th AF, San Severo, Italy, 1944
C - P-51D-5, 44-13561, flown by Maj. Richard E. Turner, 356th FS, 354th FG, 9th AF, Orconte, France, September 1944
D - P-51D-5, 44-13693, flown by 2nd Lt. Bruce W. Carr, 353rd FS, 354th FG, 9th AF, Orconte, France, October 1944
E - P-51D-5, 44-13837, flown by Lt. Richard Ozinga, 343rd FS, 55th FG, 8th AF, Wormingford, United Kingdom, September 1944
F - P-51D-10, 44-14798, flown by Maj. Joseph Broadhead, 357th FG, 8th AF, Leiston, United Kingdom, January 1945
G - P-51D-10, 44-14467, flown by Lt. Gordon H. McDaniel, 318th FS, 325th FG, 15th AF, Rimini, Italy, March 1945
H - P-51D-15, 44-15080, flown by Capt. Amos H. Bomberger, 361st FS, 356th FG, 8th AF,
Martlesham Heath, United Kingdom, December 1944
I P-51D-15, flown by Lt. Charles White, 301st FS, 332nd FG, 15th AF, Ramitelli, Italy, January 1945
J - P-51D-20, 44-64124, flown by Capt. Leroy V. Grosshuesch, 39th FS, 35th FG, 5th AF, Okinawa, August 1945
K - P-51D-25, 44-72628, flown by Lt. Ralph R. Coltman/ Lt. James E. Coleman, 458th FS, 506th FG, 20th AF, Iwo Jima, July 1945
L - P-51D-25, 44-72671, 457th FS, 506th FG, 20th AF, Iwo Jima, June 1945
M - Mustang Mk.IVA, KH774, flown by Fl/Lt. Ellis F. Blanchford, No. 112 Squadron RAF,
No. 239 Wing RAF, Italy, April 1945
N - Mustang Mk.IVA, KH729, flown by S/Ldr Mitchell Johnston, No. 442 ďCaribouď Squadron RCAF, RAF station Digby, United Kingdom, June 1945
The list is almost bewildering - and deciding which to build is no mean task, because they are all
attractive in their own way and showcase an interesting variety of features. (To make the choice slightly easier for my upcoming Blog, Iíll be adding a set of white-box sprues to allow me to build a third option.)
The decals look to be excellent quality, and Iíve had great results with Eduard
ís own-brand decals on recent builds (where theyíve snuggled down perfectly over some really difficult surfaces), so I expect them to perform very well.
A comprehensive supply of stencil markings is included, along with a full-page placement guide.
ís P-51D is magnificent - certainly the best and most comprehensive kit of this iconic fighter that Iíve seen yet in 1:48. Itís excellent value for money too, both in its Profi-PACK boxings and, especially here as a Dual Combo with added upgrades. For anyone who doesnít feel ready to tackle the extensive photo-etched accessories included in these boxings, a Weekend Edition is sure to be released before long.
Notwithstanding the disappointment of finding parts broken off the sprues in transit, I can thoroughly recommend this Royal Class boxings to anyone Mustang enthusiast with experience using mixed-media parts.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE