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 P-51B, Discussion on any and all kits
Russell M
Posted: Nov 14 2010, 02:16 AM


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Start of with the much maligned P-51B. Tamiya hasn't heard the call for their kit to be reduced to 72nd scale so lets hash over what is available and figure out what is the best way to get a good one.

Kits:

Monogram
Airfix
Academy
Hasegawa
Revell/Germany


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Russell Mapes
Austin Texas U.S.A.

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John Thompson
Posted: Nov 14 2010, 06:04 PM


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I'll poke my hat out the door first on this one - the Academy version gets my vote for Best P-51B, so far. The Hasegawa kit is nice enough, but IIRC, it has a P-51D-shaped wing root extension. The Airfix is one of those "shaped like a ____" kits, but is soft on details. The Monogram P-51B seems to be well regarded, but lacks much detail out of the box - excellent for its time, but its time is past. I haven't heard too many complaints about the Revell kit, but I haven't tried to hold it up to any drawings, either. I'd probably rank them as follows:
Academy
Revell
Hasegawa
Monogram
Airfix

Too bad we can't get Charles Neely in on this! Does anyone own a set of his P-51B drawings? A quick search using the words Charles Neely P-51 turned up lots of references to him and his drawings, as well as a few forum posts by him himself elsewhere on the subject.

John
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dknights
Posted: Nov 14 2010, 10:09 PM


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I've heard decent things about the Revell kit but don't own one. I'd love to build a P-51B.


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David M. Knights
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2013 Finished: SSBN Borei (Not 72nd scale)
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Russell M
Posted: Nov 14 2010, 10:53 PM


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My first thoughts on this one, I have in hand the Hasegawa, Academy, and Revell/Germany kits. I will try to obtain the other 2 if possible, if not comments by other will do. For length I used 32' 3" span 37' those seem to be the common agreement in my references.

1. The Hasegawa kit was one of the first issues in the new AP range of kits that started to appear in the early 1990's. This is a truly outstanding kit let down by a completely mis-shaped wing. At the time of it's issue this kit set a new standard for cockpit detail, individual correctly shaped prop blades, shrouded and unshrouded exhausts, and innovative engineering molding the quarter windows with the fuselage section that surrounds them. The overall fuselage length is about 3" short in scale. The wing has been described elsewhere as being the D model wing however D-like is a better description. The wing is about a scale 3"+ short in span and has a leading edge kink that resembles the D model. The chord length at the root is correct however and the kink actually eats in to the chord of the wing so to correct it you would need to add to the leading edge of the wings rather than reduce it at the wing root as some have suggested. The landing gear bay is also much to shallow. The sit on the landing gear is about right. It is puzzling with some of the changes to other kits in their range that Hasegawa have done nothing 18 years later to rectify this problem in an otherwise outstanding kit. Not accurate out of the box, several ways to fix it but all will require aftermarket or a second option.

2. The Academy dates from 1999 and loosely resembles a scaled down Accurate Miniatures P-51B. The kit mirrors many of the features of the Hasegawa kit with the exceptions of the prop blades not being individual and the tail section of the fuselage being molded separate for a separate release as a P-51C with a ventral strake. The wing does have the proper leading edge kink, the span is about a scale 3"- long. the chord at the wing root looks to be about a scale 2" long. The wing also has a pattern of rivets roughly over the landing gear area and slightly behind on the bottom that were stiffening plates applied to post-war airframes. The gear bays while not full depth are better than the Hasegawa kit. The wing has one large shell ejection port which is correct but lacks the 2 smaller ports. The fuselage has a few minor glitches, the windscreen is a little to long and the canopy is a little to short giving an overall strange shape and the cowling tapers to much not having sufficient width for the rocker covers of a Packard Merlin. The overall fuselage length is about 3" short in scale. The sit on the landing gear is a little high, the most of all the kits. As said before the same features are present as in the Hasegawa kit but most seem thicker or softer than that kit. Acceptable out of the box, much improved with a few tweeks.

3. The Revell Germany kit dates from the late 90's when they were re-tooling some of their "pocket money" range. Some have said it is based loosley on the Monogram kit but I don't see that much similarity. The wing has the correct leading edge but is the shortest being a scale 6" short in span. The chord at the root is also a little short, about 2"- in scale but looks correct propotionally due to the short span. The gear bays are about the same depth as the Acadeamy kit but the shape of the bay where the tire retracts and the door are not the correct shape. It has the correct single hole for the shell ejection port but also lacks the 2 smaller holes. The fuselage is generally correct but the quarter windows have an odd shape and the windscreen is much to short and the angle appearrs to be to steep. If assembled in the manner set out by the kit the exhausts protrude far to much from the fuselage. The rudder and elevator display a fabric cover which is appropriate for Allison engined Mustangs but was changed to an aluminum skin on the P-51B. The fuselage is right on the mark for length but the canopy and cockpit seem to be positioned about 3" to far to the rear in scale. Seems to sit a little high on the landing gear. Landing gear, wheels, cockpit, and prop are adequate. Marginally acceptable out of the box but the undersized wing is noticable as well as the quarter windows, with some tweeks could be built but the wing is still undersized.

My opinion based on the kits at hand. All of the 3 kits seem to fit well so that should not be a consideration. If you want to build a P-51B out of the box go with the Academy, if you want to tweek it build up the cowl just aft of the spinner over the exhaust, replace the canopy with a vacuform and add a True Details interior. If you want a really accurate P-51B use the Hasegawa kit with the Academy or Hawkeye Designs wing (out of production) and a True Details or Aries cockpit. If using the Academy wing the chord shoud be reduced on the trailing edge from the chord width on the Hasegawa fuselage to nothing at the tip. I have done this to a kit I have and the only modification to fit the Academy wing to the Hasegawa fuselage is at the center of the wing under the radiator inlet, other than that the wing fits like it was made for the Hasegawa kit. The Revell Germany kit while acceptable out of the box is short in span and has some other oddities that make it the third choice. If building it I would at the very least remove the fabric effect from the rudder and elevators, rework the exhausts to fit properly inside the cowling, and replace the canopy or sand in and mask the quarter window to the proper shape.


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Russell Mapes
Austin Texas U.S.A.

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Mark Schynert
Posted: Nov 14 2010, 11:12 PM


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IIRC, the quarter lights on the Revell are completely misshapen.

I've got the Academy "C" and I don't think I'm doing better than that, short of wasting a lot of money on a Hawkeye Conversion resin wing for the Hasegawa.
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Russell M
Posted: Nov 15 2010, 03:35 AM


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A couple of photos of a P-51B built using the Hasegawa/Academy method. The model was built by Chris Lubinski a few years ago.

user posted image

user posted image


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Russell Mapes
Austin Texas U.S.A.

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Falcon50EX
Posted: Nov 15 2010, 05:19 PM


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Could you cheat the wing root chord discrepency by lowering the flaps??

(i don't know squat about Mustangs.....)

Also, would the Olde Monogram be a good "core" airframe, onto which you could add detail parts from the more contemporary kits?? I ask cause i'm thinking about upgrading an old F8F Bearcat.

david
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Russell M
Posted: Nov 15 2010, 11:39 PM


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Lowering the flaps is a possibility, the way the Academy wing is engineered it will require a lot of reinforcing of the area where you cut the flaps. The flap hinge point seems to be in the correct place and the flaps are too big so you would probably wind up making them smaller anyway. I'm trying to find a Monogram kit to look at again before I put anything down about it but I think for the most part it's a case of fondness through the fog of years. From what i remember the shape is pretty good but there is soooo much other stuff to do just to bring it up to the standard of the other 3 kits it kind of washes with the extra effort. you are also talking about the cost of a second kit so it seems to me if you were of the mind to by 2 kits just get the Hasegawa and Academy.


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Russell Mapes
Austin Texas U.S.A.

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Mark Schynert
Posted: Nov 15 2010, 11:46 PM


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Yeah, I kept the Monogram around for a long time, but it has only shape going for it--I'd much rather put up with the Academy niggles than go through a down-to-the-studs rebuild of the Monogram kit.
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Russell M
Posted: Nov 20 2010, 09:48 PM


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I have submited the first draft of this one to RR for the web site so if there is any more input please get it in by Sunday evening. Want to get the first of these up and on the site!


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Russell Mapes
Austin Texas U.S.A.

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Russell M
Posted: Nov 23 2010, 02:26 AM


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Does anyone have a Monogram P-51B they would be willing to give some feedback on. In the interest of being thourough we would like somthing on the merits or drawbacks of bringing this kit up to standard as it has the reputation of a very accurate outline.


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Russell Mapes
Austin Texas U.S.A.

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Graham Boak
Posted: Nov 23 2010, 10:23 AM


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It certainly looks the part, but apart from what nowadays would be massive oversimplification of the cockpit and the wheelwells, it had two drawbacks that I recall.

The canopy was poor, not fitting right and looking a little squashed (as I recall). Some issues did come with the Malcolm hood, which got around most of the problem, if that was what you wanted.

There was no attempt at a lower nose between the spinner and the chin intake - there was just a hole from the intake forward.

For the 1960s it was superb; it was the kit of choice for decades and generally still bears up quite well.


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peebeep
Posted: Nov 23 2010, 10:58 AM


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QUOTE (Russell M @ Nov 23 2010, 02:26 AM)
Does anyone have a Monogram P-51B they would be willing to give some feedback on.

If I can recover mine from the loft stash I'll post up some sprue pics.

peebeep


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Russell M
Posted: Nov 23 2010, 07:19 PM


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Thanks for the obsevations Graham. If you can do that it will be much appreciated peebeep.


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Russell Mapes
Austin Texas U.S.A.

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Bolie97
Posted: Dec 5 2010, 04:33 PM


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Another problem with the Acadamy kit.

The scoop under the nose is not right! Compare the Acadamy to the Tamiya P-51D kit for example. The Acadamy is just a gash, like on a smily face. This is wrong. It is more of a pucker. It is the same on the B,C,and D. I started to make a correction piece from the Tamiya kit some years ago. The Tamiya intake is seperate as is the Acadamy. By putting a shim on the back of the Tamiya scoop and doing a little bit of contouring, an acceptable chin scoop can be made for the acadamy kit. I was working on this and planning on making a resin copy when I moved from Ohio to Florida. The master is probably still in the Acadamy box with the kit. I'll have to dig it out of the pile and see if it's still there.

Jim Johnson
72nd member of the 72nd group
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