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The First Build: North American P-51B Mustang

July 5, 2010

Coming back to modeling after ten years away, one of the first questions I had to contend with was, where do I start? What kit do I build to mark my return?

The airbrush...ready to go

I knew going in that it would be a World War II-era aircraft of some type. Despite the staggering advancements of the last sixty some-odd years, the Second World War remains my favorite period in aviation history. The aircraft had character, and, in pretty much every case, fascinating micro-histories all their own.

Of course, narrowing the field to World War II isn’t really narrowing it at all! The sheer variety of planes from that period staggers the mind. Fortunately, I realized it would be foolhardy to take on any ridiculously complicated paint schemes until I got back into the swing of things, so that pretty much eliminated the entire Luftwaffe. And I’ve just never enjoyed building any of the Japanese aircraft.

Now, I did cast a brief glance at my favorite plane of the war, the P-47 Thunderbolt, but set it aside to tackle once I’ve found my footing. That left the runners-up, the P-51 Mustang, F4U Corsair, F6F Hellcat, and Spitfire.

For awhile I was severely tempted by the Hellcat. First, because I’ve somehow never built a Hellcat before, and second, because Eduard recently released a pair of Hellcats that are, by all accounts, some of the best models on the market today. Ultimately, the latter persuaded me to hold off until I could hone my skills a bit.

Eduard's gorgeous F6F-3 Hellcat. I WILL build this kit.

Through all this, I kept coming back to the Mustang. The only catch was that the definitive P-51D was usually flown in the bare metal, and recreating that natural metal finish is, again, not something I want to tackle my first time back.

Ultimately, I decided to go with Tamiya’s 1/48 P-51B Mustang, in part because it’s more obscure than the bubbletop P-51D, in part because Tamiya makes some awesome kits, and in part because the Olive Drab/Neutral Gray paint scheme is about as easy as they come.

Tamiya 1/48 P-51B Mustang

All in all, it feels like a solid kit to get me back into the swing of things. Keep an eye out for a brief history of the Mustang, as well as ongoing build reports.

*As a warm-up warm-up, I also picked up a crappy Revell 1/48 Douglas SBD Dauntless. How crappy? So crappy that it doesn’t come with a pilot’s seat, just a vaguely seat-shaped object molded directly to the shoddy-looking pilot. I don’t plan to finish it outright, but use it as a refresher in assembly, priming and painting, as well as a testbed for some new techniques I’ve been reading about on the intertubes.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Kay McDougall permalink
    July 5, 2010 8:04 pm

    Is that your work area in the first picture? It looks very nice. That must be a new airbrush, it can’t be the old one we sent you.

  2. Doogs permalink*
    July 5, 2010 8:25 pm

    Yep, new double-action airbrush. Picked it up on ebay for a song. And the work area looks a lot nicer as a blurred background than it does in real life.

  3. July 6, 2010 6:05 am

    Can’t wait to hear how it goes!


  1. And then there were two… « damned if you DOOGS
  2. P-51B Build Report 1: Initial Inspection and Cockpit Assembly « damned if you DOOGS
  3. P-51B Build Report 1: Initial Inspection and Cockpit Assembly « Doogs' Models

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