Monday, May 18

Construction Review: 1/48th scale P-51D-5 "Limited Edition" from Eduard

Eduard's new series of P-51D Mustangs are in the large group of applicants for the "Ultimate Mustang" crown - but how does kit's plastic look & more importantly, how does it build up? Alister is building Eduard's boxing of "Frenesi" to see just how it shapes up under a modeller's eye in part I of his construction review...
Construction Review: P-51D-5 "Limited Edition"
From Eduard Model Accessories
1/48th scale
Cat. No. #82101
Cartogeaf decals for five aircraft in six markings in the one box
Masks & photo-etch included
The P-51 Mustang is an aircraft type that really requires no introduction to a community like ours. Not only has the P-51 been the subject of many build articles, but most of the aircraft model builders reading this today have probably already had a go at building a P-51 by now. All the major model kit manufacturers have a P-51 Mustang in their line up and there are many good ones out there, in particular, the Tamiya kits in 1/32 and 1/48, and also the new Airfix 1/48 kits. Eduard has joined this line up now with a new ProfiPACK #82101 kit. This will be the third Mustang entering my completed model collection, and this will not be the last of these Eduard Mustangs for me.
The kit set at the first opening is packed with parts, and being my first Profipack kit from Eduard, I'm thrilled to find the inclusion of a number of extra detail parts in the box. These are resin wheels, resin exhausts, an Eduard Look main instrument panel, a sheet of photo-etch parts, and canopy painting masks. The plastic parts are all in order, and already on first glance, I am happy at the very fine details moulded in. Parts are included in the box for more than one variant of the P-51, which will be useful for those who like to build their own schemes from aftermarket decals. This kit will be built out of the box, and is the P-51D-D5 model. There is a Modelling News article well worth reading full of photos and information on the different P-51-D Mustang models in this boxing if you wish to learn more on the differences between the versions that Eduard have captured here in their kit.

The kit and contents ready to go straight out of the box...
For this build, I also used the Eduard Brassin P-51D exhaust stacks w/fairing, the afore-mentioned "Look" instrument panel and the Brassin Diamond tread wheels.
My build starts in the usual place for aircraft, building the cockpit. The P-51 floor was a wooden one, covered in an anti-slip layer, and this was prone to wear and tear as it aged. So my first step after construction was to paint the wooden floor. 
A simple wood coloured brown paint would suffice, but it is a pretty simple procedure to do as I have pictured below. Starting with a white paint primer base, I then add some wood texture to the white with some acrylic weathering fluid with a flat brush. This is worked and adjusted as need with a wet flat brush to bring up a wood grain texture. Following this, a quick coat of Tamiya X-24 Clear Yellow, then Tamiya X-26 Clear Orange and the effect is complete. 
To create the effect of wear in the next layer of paint to come, I applied Marmite (or you can use Vegemite!) as a mask layer onto the surface, and then applied a coat of Tamiya XF-85 Rubber Black. Once dry I removed the Marmite with a light rubbing of a cotton bud moist with some water. When done that was masked off for the rest of the floor to be painted in black primer, and then Vallejo 71010 Interior Green. 

The next step was to be a very detailed pilot seat. This was removed from the sprues and painted before assembly. I primed with Tamiya AS-12 from the spray can, and then coated all the parts in the Vallejo 71010 Interior Green. After drying for a day, I returned with an old wet toothbrush and created the scratched paint effect you can see in the photos. Just gentle rubbing was required, the acrylic paint would come off quite easily if not careful, and the AS-12 silver underneath is unaffected by the water and toothbrush action. Some extra weathering was applied directly over this with Tamiya Black Panel Liner, the seat then assembled, and the photo-etch seatbelts were added, and super glued into place. The pilot headrest area was painted black, with the black getting a little more of the scratch-off weathering. The brown leather headrest was painted last with Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown, and finished with Vallejo Satin varnish to try and simulate the sheen of leather. With the large fuel tank behind the pilot simply completed in black primer, I could consider the first stage of cockpit construction complete 
Stage two of the cockpit construction consists of the cockpit sidewalls, and various boxes, pipes and hoses in the rear of the cockpit. The parts as pictured are all very nicely detailed, and mercifully almost all attached to the sprue tree where a cut will be hidden after the part is assembled. This makes it easy to paint on the sprue and attach later after painting. 
The manual called for nearly all of the parts behind the cockpit to be finished in black. So keeping things simple, a black primer was again used, then the various rear cockpit parts would then get a light coat Tamiya Rubber Black or Vallejo's Model Air Black applied. I've attempted to highlight these a little with some light grey Tamiya Panel Liner and pastel work with a stiff paintbrush. The cockpit rear section for me doesn't really warrant a great deal of attention, about 70% of it will be mostly hidden from view when the fuselage is joined, but I wanted it to still look nice.
Cockpit sidewalls were next, and after a base of black primer, they too got the interior green colour sprayed. The Eduard Photo Etch really came out to play now. Most of the cockpit details you can see in the photo below are detailed with the photo-etch, and it is far more detailed than I could manage with a paintbrush. My procedure for photo-etch is a simple approach for anyone new to it. Sand off the raised detail on the plastic, then cut out the photo-etch piece you need to replace it with. I cut this off with a sharp Xacto blade, pressing down onto a piece of smooth, solid plexiglass (don't use your cutting matt). Any excess left on the part can be sanded off. To fit these, I hold the small (sometimes tiny!) pieces of photo-etch using a toothpick with a small amount of blue tack on the end, shaped to a point. This is a simple way to hold, apply glue, and place the piece of photo-etch I find. I personally apply the photo-etch to the surface with Micro Krystal Klear canopy glue. It does not set quickly, it allows for a bit of moving about, and will dry clear and transparent without hurting any paint around it. I skipped the photo etch for the levers on the lower left side of the cockpit, these looked a bit two dimensional for me, and were difficult to manage, so I just kept the plastic levers here and painted them instead. It will be difficult to see on the completed model. 
The interior walls of the fuselage were completed, and the enclosure for the rear tail wheel was painted in Vallejo 71107 US Interior Yellow, and fitted. The rest of the visible interior was painted in interior green or Vallejo 71062 Aluminum, and I could finally glue the side walls to the fuselage. After a quick weathering pass over with some black Tamiya panel liner, and tidy up with some white spirits, the interior could be considered done. 
I made the decision at this point to complete the model as P-51D from the 357th fighter group, an aircraft flown by Tommy Hayes, which he named Frenesi. For anyone building a 357th FG model in the future, this website has a very handy section for model builders. It details the finishing specifications for a number of the aircraft, from paint finish to aerial wires. Here is the link for "Frenesi" for anyone building this kit in the future.
This aircraft is finished in the Olive Drab over Neutral Grey paint scheme. However as pictured below, a small section on the outer fuselage is natural metal with the aircraft project number/ serial number in it. To get as many tasks done at the same time as possible this was now painted in Gunze Gloss black, followed by Vallejo Metal Colour 77701 Aluminium, along with parts from the main landing gear housing, radiator system, and landing gear doors, while still on the sprue. Following that a thin coat of Tamiya X-19 Smoke was applied. I find it gives a nice tint to the aluminium colour, and acts nicely as a varnish to protect the paint from any risk of being removed by masking tape. The fuselage natural metal rectangle was masked off and won’t be removed until the model is almost complete. 
Once the gear bay parts and interiors of the landing gear covers being completed at the same time were finished in the same paint steps above, the gear bay was glued together with Tamiya extra thin glue. 
The detail in the gear bay is outstanding. The fit of all the parts was excellent. The finished detail after paint...
Prior to installing the gear bay into the wings, there was a little D-5 model work to be done. Eduard gives instructions to fill two of the recessed access panels under the engine, and to add a new one on the other side. 
A photo-etch scribing guide is included on the photo-etch sheet to achieve this, and after a bit of fiddling around, I managed to secure it in place and used a sharp scribing tool to add this access panel detail. The others to be removed were filled and sanded. In the process of doing this job, I broke off the plastic shown in point "A" on the photo. Perhaps this could be a word of warning for those building the kit in the future. It is quite a weak and exposed point, so do be careful here. However, I hopefully won't have trouble reattaching this it at the very end. Points marked as "B" on the photo, however, are also a potential weak point as there is very little of them holding the nose section to the main wing. My scribing and sanding was done carefully to avoid breaking these. My masking, filling and sanding of the access panels to be deleted I perhaps should have left until later. 
Shortly after this, the gear bay was fitted into the wings, and the wing halves could be joined. These went together well. The fuselage was also joined. The centre of the fuselage, on top with the engine covers has a visible panel line and given I didn't know if I might need to rescribe it later, I made sure I used plenty of Tamiya extra thin glue on the inside of this join (accessed through the propeller hole at this point). I left these major components to set overnight held by 3M electrical tape before going any further. I find this tape is good at applying pressure and holding things in place when stretched tightly, and at this point, there is no paint for it to damage. It's also a cost-effective option. 
Once the wing and fuselage components could be joined, I glued them together and these joins also were held securely with 3M electrical tape to set in place. The tail surfaces and ailerons were then fitted, and when set I could apply Tamiya white basic type putty to all the major joins/seams on the fuselage and the wing leading edge. For the majority of the joins, the fit is excellent, and they could have been sanded back without putty, but this is just my preferred method of approaching seams. 
However, one part of the build required a lot of filler. This was around the gun barrels on the leading edge. These are supplied as a piece containing all four barrels that slots into the leading edge, and while I do think it's a nice idea to model the kit like this by Eduard, it hasn't worked on my kit as planned. I either had to have a gap on top, or a gap on the bottom (comparing the part shape to the shape of the wing). I have opted for a gap on the underside. I filled this with Tamiya white putty, and carefully sanded it back as best I could to meet the shape of the wing as you can see in the photo below.
With the help of Eduard's very nice "Look" cockpit set, I raced quickly through the final stages of the cockpit build. The main instrument panel was attached to the foot pedals completed earlier with the pilot seat, and once the cockpit shroud was painted Tamiya Rubber Black with a dusting of light grey for a bit of fading, the front panel subassembly could simply be dropped into the fuselage. The details on the Look instrument panel are great and include the glass look for the instrument dials. 
One last look into the cockpit for you before painting begins: 
Once the last touch-ups of filling and sanding was completed, I applied the supplied canopy mask to the two canopy pieces. The front part of the canopy I glued in place with a couple of careful touches of Tamiya Extra Thin glue. The main canopy piece fits so perfectly that I found it could be mounted into place quite securely without any need for an adhesive. This is handy as I always like to remove the canopy at the end of a build so I can clean up any dust that may have found a way in there during the build. I opted next for a gloss black paint for a check of the joins...
 ...and then in some of these areas I wanted a bit of metal showing through the final paint layer, I went over this with Vallejo Metal Colour 77701 Aluminium.
Over this as a bit of an experiment, I applied the Marmite mask again. This was applied where the crews walked on the wings under the cockpit and onto the leading edges of the wings and wingtips. The model was then primed with black primer from Vallejo, and once that was done, I could start laying into the colours. Using the black base technique, the lower side started with some Vallejo 71276 USAF Light Grey paint bottle... 
 ...and finally, the thin layer of Vallejo 71051 Neutral Grey was done to blend it all together. 
The lower area was then masked off, and the top side started. I began this with a mottled layer like I did with the bottom, but used this time Vallejo 71044 Grey/ RLM092. Once done, this was layered and blended with the final Olive Drab/ Dark Green colour, and I used Vallejo 71012 Dark Green for this. 
This is where I leave the build in part I of the build. I have already progressed a lot further up to decals stage of the build, so keep looking in to see more of this kit come together and my thoughts about it at the end of the build.

See you again in a few weeks for the final completion of the build.

Alister Curnow

Thanks to Eduard for sending this kit to Alister to build and review. See more of this and their other kits on their website...
For more of Alister's model making check out Alister's Model Hangar...