Zoukei-Mura | North American Mustang P-51D
Reviewed by Andrew Birnie
The fourth release from the Zoukei Mura stable way back in 2012 is their most populist subject so far; the North American P-51D Mustang, and as the instructions proclaim; The World's Strongest WWII Fighter, I imagine the Japanese original being more elegant, but the sentiment is there all the same, as there is a more than compelling argument that it was the outstanding fighter aircraft of WWII.
The kit comes in a nice sturdy box, with an image of one of the decal options - Miss Marilyn II - on the lid, contained within are the usual suspects, Instructions, with a nice retro cover, decal sheets and canopy masks in their own plastic bag, and then onto the plastic, thirteen runners, two of which contain the clear parts.
The instructions are clear and concise, the cover following the retro style Zoukei Mura employ, which I really like, the instructions can be found on the company website, as can an addendum, which corrects a few errors in the original instructions.
The full contents breakdown is as follows:
- 6 light grey plastic runners;
- 3 metallic plastic runners;
- 2 black plastic runners;
- 2 clear plastic runners;
- 2 decal sheets;
- 1 small canopy masking sheet;
- 1 instruction booklet.
The Plastic Runners
It's impossible not to be reminded of the Matchbox kits of my childhood - their P-51D was the first Mustang kit I built - when viewing the multicoloured runners, which have been consigned to history by Zoukei Mura, now solely produced in light grey, clear, and sometimes, frosted clear parts.
The kit is extremely well packaged, all runners individually bagged, and the clear parts each encased in a thin protective foam sheet.
The detail is extremely fine, as good as any kits on the market, there are a few sink marks - top of the wings, fuselage side panels, which can be rectified with a bit of Mr Surfacer and some sandpaper prior to assembly. The clear parts are superb, though there is a thin seam line down the main canopies, which should be easy enough to remove.
Because of the complex nature of the breakdown of the kit, it is more than advisable to trial fit the parts, tape them together and test fit that completed section to where it goes to make up the model.
A while after taking a first look at the runners, I was doing something else, when it struck me the main fuselage was missing, I quickly returned to the kit, and then saw that the main body encasing the cockpit was made up of four parts, all present and correct, all to be based around the fuselage framework, at the rear of which is a necessary bulkhead, there is also a bulkhead at the front of the multi-part tail section, which might be better not used as it might impinge the ability to flex the rear fuselage to obtain a flush join. The kit is full of such tests, the wing fillets are separate parts, another potential banana skin against getting a smooth join with both fuselage and wings.
Decals, Markings and Canopy Masks
The decals provide options for three aircraft:
- P-51D-5-NA Sr. 44-13837, Miss Marilyn II, usual mount of Captain Robert Welch and First Lieutenant Richard Ozinga of the 343FS, 55FG, sadly the aircraft was shot down on 24 December 1944 near Gerolstein, with the loss of its pilot, Second Lieutenant Kenneth J Mix. According to the American Air Museum in Britain website, the rearing Mustang on the tail was painted red, the kit decal is black, from the sole photograph it certainly looks darker than the red edging along the fuselage, and more akin to the black stripe atop the wing, kudos to Zoukei Mura for their thorough research. A really great resource for viewing 343FS aircraft is the station 131 website.
- P-51D-10-NA Sr. 44-14450, Old Crow, flown by Captain Bud Anderson of the 363FS, 357FG.
- P-51D-24-NA Sr. 44-73108, Red Dog XII, piloted by Major Louis H Norley of the 334FS, 4FG.
This really is a fantastic kit, it's a shame we don't see many being build, and though it does really lend itself to being built with the panels off, revealing the engine and guns, it would make for a magnificent Mustang all buttoned up, ready to take to the skies.
Many thanks to HobbyLink Japan for the review kit, which can be purchased via the following link:
© Andrew Birnie, 2022
This review was published on Saturday, February 05 2022; Last modified on Saturday, February 05 2022