Wednesday, July 22

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

Alistair was on the home run of his new 48th scale Eduard P-51D Mustang when we last left him. But there was a fair way to still go, with masking, decalling and weathering "Frenesi" still to come. See how he finished off this colourful bird to such a high standard in the second part of his build 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 previous part of this story:

Welcome back to this build review of the Eduard P51D-5 model kit in 1/48th scale. 

We left off having applied the two main colours for this paint scheme, in dark green olive and neutral grey. Next up on the painting agenda is the white stripes on the wings and tail surfaces. To jog your memory from the last time I had decided to go with the scheme of the P-51D from the 357th fighter group, an aircraft flown by Tommy Hayes, which he named Frenesi.
The masking for this was done with Tamiya masking tape for curves in order to get around the curve of the leading edge. However, I start the masking firstly by cutting straight strips of standard masking tape of the desired width and apply these where I want the white of the stripes to be, as pictured below. Then I can apply the masking tape for curves, lining up with the edges of my initial inner tape, and once done, I can remove the inner tape and my area for the stripes is ready for paint, masked straight and true. 
I sprayed this with a mix of white and offwhite from Vallejo. The underside of the wings were painted in just the single white stripe, not the full D-Day stripes shown in the Eduard manual, but as per my reference for the wartime aircraft, I linked in my first article. For anyone who missed it, this is available here at this link.
I expect that Eduard has recreated their livery instructions from the modern warbird rebuild of Frenesi, as this modern aircraft has the D-Day stripes under the wings as well as the lower fuselage. Even still, I couldn't avoid D-Day stripes altogether! So after finishing the standard white stripes, I started masking the D-Day stripes on the lower fuselage. 
As most readers will be aware this is a tricky task at the best of times, but thankfully again, Tamiya masking tape for curves comes to the rescue for this sort of work. A couple of spots received liquid mask where the tape wasn't going to be effective. 
Masking tape, a sharp blade, and a tidy steel ruler were my friends here, and I needed little in the way of touch-ups after the work was done.
Having completed D-Day stripes on a P47D in my past, a lesson learned there meant I decided to paint an approximate shape of the US fuselage insignia in white over the stripes, where the decal was going to be placed. This is because the thin white of the star and bar on the decal cannot hide the stark difference of the white and black stripes it should be covering. So I measured and cut the insignia shape into a strip of masking tape, and laid this in place on the fuselage. 
At the last minute I decided a bit of room to move the decal around would be a better idea, and to help prevent paint bleeding under the tape mask, I decided to run an approximately 1mm thickness of liquid mask around all the edges. Paint bleed can be a bit of an issue trying to build up white, especially as I was trying to do this over the black stripe. 
As it turned out, it was difficult, so I changed my mind and sprayed a dull aluminium instead. This had good coverage without having to lay a very thick layer of paint and doesn't affect the white of the decal. 
At this point, I decided the underside grey was a little bit dark, so back to the masking game, this time in reverse to protect my white and black stripes. When done, it was back to the paint shop for the updated colours. 
And completed, much happier with the colour underneath. 
Following the completion of my last-minute change of heart for the main colours, I could apply a Vallejo Mecha (acrylic) Gloss to the model, and a day later, I could start on the decals. Now I have built a number of kits, and am well practised with Microset and Microsol, but I found myself in trouble here. The decals come off the sheet very easily, which is definitely a nice feature. 10 - 15 seconds on one of the smaller decals is all it needs in the cold water. But I quickly found the decals were difficult to move once placed on my model. In fact, I found them very prone to setting in place a couple of seconds after they had been placed on the model. This caught me out finally with the fuselage left side main US insignia, and it ripped and folded over as I tried to remove it to place it again. As you would imagine, this put a hold on the model. Thankfully Eduard sells a decal set of national insignia for the Mustang in 1/48, which I ordered immediately from overseas. In the meantime, I carried on with other parts of the build. 
The propeller nose cone is to be painted yellow and red, to match the yellow and red checkers on the nose engine cowl. I applied small spots of yellow and red from my paint collection to the decal sheet, to select a set of colours that closest matched the decal. The spinner was primed in AS12 Silver from the Tamiya spray can then painted all over yellow, followed by masking and then the red. After this, I could use a little water on a toothbrush and weather the paint back a little. I then applied the decals for the nose checkers to the aircraft. The colour match was not good. The yellow and red on the checkers was quite see-through (unlike when it was on the sheet of paper) and the dark green underneath was affecting the final result. So in order to match things better, I then applied the colours I used on the nose spinner by a fine brush onto the decal. Since these are Vallejo Model Air colours, they are quite thin already and brush nicely. A thick coverage was not required, I'm just enhancing the colour already provided by the decal. 

The propeller blades came next, and here is my tip for anyone finding it difficult to paint a yellow tip onto their black propeller blades. Start first with a white primer, then paint the yellow tips. The yellow is much easier to apply when painting over white. 
Next, mask off the yellow for the tip, and then paint the rest black. I then applied gloss varnish, applied decals, and followed up with a flat acrylic varnish. After this had dried for a day, I then brushed a wet layer of white spirits onto each blade, and apply a few spots of Tamiya Light Grey panel line wash onto each blade. With a flat brush moistened with the white thinner, the grey is worked in (padded in with the flat side of the brush hairs) and removed, leaving a nice worn/ weathered effect. A final touch applied is a little Tamiya Flat Aluminium (enamel) applied with a sponge to the leading edges of the blades for a little more wear. I use enamel for this so any errors can easily be removed with white spirit.

Landing gear and flaps were built and painted. Flaps were very nicely detailed and needed a number of colours applied. Firstly a gloss black, then aluminium on the top edge that joins to the wing, then the green and grey, followed by more masking and the white stripes as per the wings. 
Fitting the landing flaps was quite difficult. I believe in hindsight I must have glued the top half of the wing to the bottom half too tightly, resulting in the poor fit of the gun inserts, and now the difficulty mounting the flaps. I did a little trimming and dry fit testing of the flaps then finished with glue and pressure to secure them in the right place. This difficulty in mounting the flaps meant I did a little damage to the paint in places, unfortunately.

The landing gear was very nice to assemble. The parts look great and fit well too. I added a brake line to the main landing gear with some offcut electrical wire. I painted these with Tamiya X-1 Gloss Black and followed this up with Dull Aluminium from the Vallejo metal colour range.
This kit comes with resin wheels and tyres. I can't fault these, they look fantastic and build easily. You can even make it out in the photo, that the tiny 1/48th scale tyre inflation valve is included. As the tyres have a flat surface to simulate being weighted, I will have to leave these off the landing gear until the end of the build. 
I used Vallejo Tyre Black to paint the tyres, and this was airbrushed since the Eduard wheels came with paint masks for the wheels. Once dry, I have then dry brushed Vallejo US Medium Grey onto the tyre tread with a brush to replicate how tyres on the P51s looked in photos. 
The drop tanks were completed at the same time as the landing gear, using the same colour as the landing gear, Dull Aluminium. I drilled a small hole into one of the filler caps for the drop tanks to stick a toothpick into it so I could paint it easily. Once all finished I sealed the hole with some filler, sanded it smooth and painted the cap silver to complete the tanks. The real tanks of this design have some piping running between the tank and the wing, but I decided not to attempt this. I don't have a lot of scratch building materials in my supplies, and with difficulty in obtaining things over the Covid-19 lockdown, I left the tanks as they appear out of the box. The tanks have very fine plastic mounting pins, for joining to the underwing racks, but I knocked these off in the process of building and sanding one of the tanks. In reality, I don't see how this was supposed to work anyway in terms of mounting the tank to the wing rack. So I sanded down the wing rack mount to flat, and super glued it to the flat surface on top of the tank. The Profipack had tiny photo-etch arms to fold and fit to the wing rack. I tried one, struggled with my clumsy tools and fat fingers and gave up on them. Sometimes compromises have to be made. 
45 days after ordering my decal set from Australia (- take in mind this is COVID effected timeframe) Eduard 1/48 Mustang National Insignia, part #D48033 arrived on my doorstep, so I got right back into the decal work on the Mustang. The new star and bar insignia went on well, and worked as I had hoped with painting a base underneath the decal. A few more of the Eduard decals I had trouble with after placing them on the model. They were very inclined to stick tight only a second or two after placing, I really wanted more time to move them into position. I lost a few of the stencil decals, and this resulted in a couple not being applied. From the photos I've seen, this doesn't seem to be an issue, a lot of the photos show very few of the decals supplied by Eduard actually applied to the real aircraft in the squadrons at the time in the 1940s. The "No Step" decals on the gun covers on the wing were from my spares kit, leftovers from a 1960s F4C Phantom, as I damaged/lost two of the Eduard ones to my own errors in the process. I found these to be a very stressful set of decals. I found there is little room for error with them. However, once applied and in the correct place though, they set well with Microsol decal solution, and I'm happy with the result. 

Decals complete, I was ready to move on to finishing touches
With decals done, I have then applied a final layer of varnish to seal the decals in, and provide the final finish I wanted. I have mixed approximately 70% matt, and 30% gloss acrylic varnish (Vallejo Mecha type) thinned and applied with the airbrush. 

I find weathering is quite a fun process of the hobby, and I've used a fairly simple process to finish off the model. I've relied heavily on Tamiya panel line washes. Starting with the screws on the engine cowls, these have been carefully filled with the Tamiya light grey panel line wash to simulate the screwheads here that usually lost paint in routine maintenance. 

For panels on the aircraft I wanted a bit lighter in colour (eg a little worn or faded), I've used the same method as on my propeller blades. A thin coat of white spirit is applied to the area, a few spots of Tamiya light grey panel wash are dotted around into the white spirit, and then dabbed and spread around with a flat brush. This, in particular, was applied around the area of the wings nearest the fuselage, where foot traffic would be highest. 

The give a bit more of a dirty look, this technique was also used all over the underside of the model, but with the Tamiya black panel line wash. White spirits brushed on, black panel wash applied, and then dabbed around, removed, blended in etc as required to get the look I wanted. I applied some oil streaking under the fuselage with Ammo by Mig Oil Brusher "Starship Grime". 
The wing roots needed more wear and tear, so I've applied Tamiya Flat Aluminium here (enamel) with a piece of ripped sponge. Trying to make something look natural at 1/48 is the biggest challenge, but anything I wasn't happy with I could remove with white spirits, and start over again. 
Once the panel line wash work was done, I have added a little bit of exhaust staining with coloured artist pastels, trying to replicate the look of photos from the past. There wasn't a heavy exhaust trail on my reference photos, just a burnt grey/brown extending a short way behind the exhaust stacks. The exhausts stacks were resin parts supplied in this profi-pack kit, they are a nice addition as well. Painting these I started with a black primer, painted at an earlier stage of the build. Now I have brush painted these with Vallejo Metal Colour Burnt Iron. Following this, I have used a mix of Brown Tamiya Panel Line wash, and a reddish-brown artist pastel, then brushed this onto the exhausts all over. This gives it a nice rusted texture. After this has dried things are just tweaked a little further, applying black pastel by brush onto the tips of the exhaust pipes for a bit of a burnt look. A drop of Tamiya Black panel line wash into the inside of the exhaust pipes themselves completes the look for me. 

With the build coming to a close, I spent a few days trying to tidy up my errors along the way (correction, I mean lessons learned!). The small bits could be painted and attached to the model, and we can call it completed as you can see in the photos. 

A walk around the whole completed model
Final thoughts...
This is a fine kit, one that will yield an experienced model builder a fine result. My problems with the kit were likely caused by myself, but I will not repeat these when I build this kit again. I've absolutely enjoyed this one overall, and wish to thank Eduard for the opportunity to build this kit and share it with you. I hope the result pictured below will inspire you to build your own Eduard Mustang to discover how great this kit is for yourself.

Some closer-in details of the finished kit...
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...