Mustang MK1a

Kit                                   : P51/P51A Mustang Mk I / Mk Ia
Manufacturer                 : Modelarz
             : 1/72
             : Injection moulded
              : Humbrol, Vallejo
               : Eduard PE set for Mustang I
             : Fighters of the world
         Replic nrs 88
         Wing Masters 9 en 33.


The Mustang has an enormous reputation all over the world and is by far the most well known aircraft of WWII. But not many know that this Mustang was not loved by the Americans in the beginning (because of his low power engine) and that the first types were mainly constructed according a British order. The British called it Mustang I, the Americans A 36 Apache. This version is the Allison 1150 HP version. 

The kit:

I got the kit from a member of my family who had bought it in one of the Baltic states during a visit. I never saw the name of the manufacturer but I liked the aircraft on the box-art. A Mustang was familiar but this version was rather unknown. 

Parts are very thick and it is obvious that it is a short-run type, there is a lot of flash. The cockpit windows look to be rather vac-form because it is rather thin and crisp. 

The blue on the decals for the US variant is too pale, a British version would be advisable. The following options can be build: 

- NA-73 Mustang Mk I, ser. nr. AG-645 (RZ-W) 241 Sqn RAF, pilot F/Lt K. Plumtree,  Scotland 1942.
- NA-73 Mustang Mk I, ser. nr. AG-628 (M) 309 Sqn RAF, England 1942.
- NA-73 Mustang Mk I, ser. nr. AG-546, USSR
- NA-83 Mustang Mk I, ser. nr. AM-214 (C) 309 Sqn RAF, pilot K. Karaszewski, England 1942.
- NA-91 Mustang P-561, ser. nr. 41-37367, 111 TRS, 12 US Air Force, Anzio, 1942.

- NA-91 Mustang Mk Ia, ser. nr. FD-472 (M), 168 Sqn RAF 1944. 

Finding a PE set for a Mustang I enhanced the urge to build this aircraft. The PE set is destined for use on the Italeri model but I am convinced of the fact that a PE set, created for one type of aircraft can fit to many kits if those and the PE are adapted to each other. 


I decided to construct the aircraft on the cover, being the NA-73 Mustang Mk I, ser. nr. AG-628 (M) 309 Sqn RAF, England 1942. 

All parts need thorough cleaning and the pins need to be discarded. Both parts of the body and the wings are very thick and needed a lot of sanding. The inside of the model has some detail but this must be cut away if you want to make use of the PE set. Construction of the PE cockpit asks for a lot of adaptation and I not only needed to sand the plastic away but I also needed to trim some of the PE parts. The end result gives a rather good cockpit, complete with radio set and improved by more than 100%. 

Information on the Mustang showed that the inner wheel doors closed again after releasing the wheels. The kit has those parts in one piece moulded in the lower wing half but the PE set provides better, thinner parts. I cut the old ones out of the wing halves and replaced them. I also closed up the wheel housing on the inside and made some detail by adding some ribbing. 

The fit of the wings to the body was rather good but it was shown again that they were way too thick. I decided to cut the flaps from the wings and to position them in a resting position in order to hide this thickness and did the same with the tail planes. Tough job because of the thick plastic and the need to clean up the parts. I used a lot of putty and Zap-A-Gap, gap filling super glue in order to become a rather good result. 

This model has many panel lines and the filing and sanding results in the loss of some of them. I needed to remake some of them using a scriber.

Once done, the plane was given a coat of Revell white primer followed by some corrections  and sanding with water abrasive paper.

I than applied some pre-shading  on the panel lines using my new airbrush on a low constant 1 Bar pressure and black Vallejo paint. 

The landing gear is basic but can be used. I adapted it using the PE parts and oil lines made from metal wire. The gear and the wheel hubs get silver whilst the inner parts of the landing doors and housing get Aircraft Grey Green. The tail wheel needs attention too and broke but this was repaired with the aid of super glue as reinforcement. The tail wheel doors are replaced with PE. 

The Mustang 1 had navigation lights on top and bottom of the wings, not on the wing tips. The kit shows those places in the panel lines. I drilled them, and the one on the tail out and waited for the end of the build. when they received their respective colours and a drop of Kristal Klear to seal this. You also need to drill out the openings of the machine guns and the landing lights. 

The cockpit glazing was kept closed because I was afraid to damage it beyond repair. 



The first Mustangs have been the point of discussion for many years regarding the interior colour. There are two options you can follow:

Option 1: The Mustang was an American aircraft and US aircraft have Zinc Chromate Primer as interior colour.

Option 2: The Mustang was ordered by the British and the British decided what colours the aircraft should have; in their case Aircraft Grey Green or Interior Green. 

I joined this last option and painted the interior Aircraft Grey Green followed by a light wash and some dry-brushing of the main colour + white. 

The spinner, fuselage band and the underside get a coat of Sky Type S. The upper sides and the body get a Dark Green Dark Earth camouflage. The paint was diluted in 50/50 and was applied in thin layers so that it could cover but that it also was thin enough to let the pre-shading come through. 

Both wings receive a yellow band from front to rear and a yellow band over the wing leading edges. The places where the guns protrude get a red rectangle. These were red painted pieces of canvas that were glued over the machine guns in order to protect them from the cold. They were torn with the first shot.

If you want to make an aircraft that has not flown his mission yet than you can paint them red and leave them that way without openings for the machine guns. 

After the paint had dried, I applied a coat of Klir (Future). The places that need to receive decals get a gloss varnish and once they are set, are sealed with an other coat of Klir.

This is followed by a wash running in the panel lines. Excess wash is cleaned up with lighter fluid. 



The Finishing Touch

An antenna mast is placed behind the cockpit with a wire running to the tail. Right before this mast, an other small wire runs down into the body. I drilled a small hole in the body and put a fine copper wire through in order to represent this wire. 

Both landing lights get silver on the inside followed by a drop of Kristal Klear to seal them. 


If you want to add a Mustang 1 to your collection, dont bother searching for this kit. It demands a lot of work and really needs the PE set to become a rather decent model. I suggest you spend your money on the Italeri kit and the PE set designed for it.

It is a good that I got this kit for free because I would never have spent the money to buy it, not even second hand. I guess its only merit is to exist. 

Anyway, it was a good model to test some painting techniques using the possibilities of my new airbrush. I think that it has a rather good end result and I am sure it will have its place on my airfield. 



Keep m building. 

Erwin Bovyn


Top     Back