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1/48 Hasegawa P-51D Mustang 

“Swede’s Steed”

by John Mears


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Ever since I became interested in aviation, the P-51 has taken the trophy as my all-time favorite.  I just can’t think of another aircraft, modern or vintage, that has such a beautiful shape and form.  I’m 16 years old, and have been modeling since I was 5 or 6. (I think my first was a Triumph TR4 car model.)  I’d built a Testors P-51D about 4-5 years ago that turned out pretty nice but it’s gotten destroyed over the years by fiddling around and mistreatment on my part.  Looking to build a much more detailed P-51D in my favorite scale, 1/48, I chose the Hasegawa over the Tamiya based on an article in Fine Scale Modeler (May 2001 issue). 


          This model was the first time I was going to try aftermarket parts.  I nosed around online and got together these products to add to the Mustang: Eduard PE set, Aires Resin Gear Well, True Details Weighted Tires, Seats, and Fast Frames, Moskit Exhausts, Aeromaster decals, and Superscale Invasion Stripes decals. (Sorry I forgot your names, but I’d like to thank whoever donated the invasion stripes and spare parts.)  

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          I didn’t have access to a digital camera at the time, so I don’t have any photos from the construction, but I’ll give a brief summary of it.  I built the model following the Hasegawa instructions, substituting kit parts for PE ones when the time came.  Because the Aires wheel well was designed for the Tamiya Kit, I had to do some major sanding and modification with a motor tool to get it to fit inside the wings.  I used large guitar string for the oxygen hose in the cockpit and added scratchbuilt details to the gunsight.  I used K&N brass tubing to rebuild the upper sections of the main landing gear struts. I intended to use Paragon Designs flaps but they would need a lot of modification to work, so I cut out the kit flaps and added lengths of styrene rod to lower them. 

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Painting and Weathering

          The aluminum finish was achieved with many coats of SNJ Spray Metal Aluminum.  I used Tamiya masking tape to paint the black anti-glare panel.  Although the Superscale invasion stripes were supposedly made for the Hasegawa kit, the wing decals didn’t match the kit very well, so I airbrushed Model Master Acryl Flat White on first then cut out and applied the black stripes and touched it up with more Acryl Flat Black.  I trimmed and applied the full decals for the fuselage stripes and touched up with paint.  The markings are a combination of the Aeromaster decals and the Hasegawa kit decals.   

          Final weathering was done with an acrylic wash and chalk pastels.  The paint chipping was a combination of Testors Enamel Aluminum, Silver colored pencil, and using masking tape to bring up areas of the paint on top of the aluminum.  I know the plane looks extremely stressed and not taken care of properly but I find it much easier to dirty a model up than keep it looking clean.  Sorry for any historical inaccuracies…

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          The model is technically not finished yet, I still have to add the canopy brace and airbrush some more exhaust soot to get rid of the clear edge around the “Swede’s Steed” decals. [p51d_exhaust.jpg Fullsize Right Aligned] I hope to put it on a diorama base and have a pilot standing next to it in the future, but I’d like to get started on my Tamiya 1/32 Zero, which has been sitting under my workbench since Christmas!


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Photos and text © by John Mears

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