Dragon
1/32 P-51D Mustang
Kit Number: 3201
Reviewed by  Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003

[kit boxart image]

MSRP: $44.95

The P-51D is the first 1/32 scale aircraft released by Dragon and, I trust, will be followed by [review image] many more such aircraft. The model is well molded and with little or no flash. The fit is outstanding. The amount of detail molded into the kit is substantial.

Upon opening the box one finds nine sprues with an assortment of under wing stores, photo etched parts, and the usual accoutrement that one would expect with a Mustang.

[review image] There is a great deal of interior detail in the box. The power plant consists of 21 pieces that build into a great-looking engine. The model can be constructed and finished so that the engine is visible through the cowling.

The cockpit is filled with detail as well. The instrument panel is molded from clear plastic and has a "face" made from photo etch. The instrument faces are found on the decal sheet. The pilot’s seat consists of three basic pieces with the restraining straps consisting of 3 photo etched pieces. [review image] The cockpit is further enhanced with 17 pieces that attach to the fuselage interior surfaces.

The wheel wells are actually a single piece which fits into the bottom wing half, also a single piece. It is nicely detailed with various tubes and wires molded into the wheel well. A full set of 6 machine guns, along with some very nicely molded ammo belts are included. This effort is largely wasted though, since there is no way to view this excellent detail unless one cuts open some panels on the wings. The lower wing has the shell ejector holes already in place. I chose to build the model out of the box and did not cut away any of the panels that would expose the machine guns, but it could be done by a modeler of average ability with no trouble.

[review image] The under wing stores consist to two 500 lb bombs, two sets of external fuel tanks, and six rockets. The bombs and fuel tanks are well molded and are enhanced by finely molded mounting brackets and tubing.

The main gear are finely detailed and with no appreciable flash. The tires are soft rubber and have a "flat spot" molded into the rubber. When sitting on its gear the flat spot gives the model a "heavy" appearance and is quite realistic.

[review image] The decals were my favorite aspect of this project. The register for the decals is spot on. Markings are included for 3 different aircraft. "Double Trouble Two" flew with the 352nd FS, 353rd FG, 8th Air Force. "Kay’s Kite" flew with the 374th FS, 361st FG, 8th Air Force, and "Petie 2nd" which flew with the 487th FS, 352nd FG, 8th Air Force. The decals were "ready" to lay down, and in fact resisted re-location efforts, but eventually responded well to a little pushing and prodding to get them into place and did not develop any tears or cracks. The decals accepted the application of Solvaset with no issues.

[review image] The last order of business was the propeller. The spinner comes in two parts, and with the four blades being held in place by a retainer, brings the parts count to 7. Once completed the blade pitch can be adjusted for each blade individually. I did not avail myself of this feature and a little dab of super glue locked the blades in place.

Overall, the model is impressive. The surface detail is excellent, with rivets and panel lines in abundance. The fit on all parts is excellent. If one wants to get into 1/32 scale this is a great kit to work with. It is an easy build for experienced modelers and will provide just enough of a challenge to be interesting for the less experienced.

I highly recommend this kit. Thanks to Dragon for the sample.

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