I’ve only been back in the modeling hobby for three years now, but I’m really happy with some of the things I’m seeing come to market just in the short time I’ve been back. Not the least of which is seeing the release of affordable, entry level kits. And I’m quickly becoming a huge fan of Pegasus Hobbies and their E-Z Snapz kits.
Pegasus’ latest release, a P-51B, continues their line of well engineered, affordable kits that are great for kids just getting into modeling, or experienced builders.
I’d “discovered” these wonderful kits last year when I built Pegasus’ Hurricane Mk. I. I was impressed with the fit of the kit most of all- and when I first looked at the parts for this new P-51B, I didn’t have any reason to expect anything less.
And as I got into the build, I was not disappointed!
Just as with the Hurricane, the cockpit- where all aircraft builds must start, or the black helicopters will come for you- was a simplified representation. It’s not bad at all, and contains all the most prominent bits and parts you’d expect to see in the Mustang’s office. It’s not Tamiya- but it’s not meant to be either. And if you’re a scratch builder, it is actually a very nice canvas to work with. I built it completely out-of-the-box, simply because I’m an OOB kind of guy.
Owing to it’s snap-tite design, construction is very quick, and very easy. And if you’re expecting $10 engineering- you’ll be disappointed. The fit of this kit (and all Pegasus kits I’ve seen) is outstanding. Some Tamiya Extra Thin cement provided a tight bond for the parts, and some quick sanding smoothed things out. Be warned: the fit is very good- push it together, and it doesn’t want to come apart easily.
The wings go together equally as well. And they snug right up to the body, close enough that, again, just some cement to bind the plastic, and some light sanding to smooth that out takes care of the whole thing. Add the forward part of the air scoop after the wings!
When it comes to the horizontal stabs, I wish all other manufacturers would take note. Remember: this is a $10 snap-tite kit. I stuck the tail planes in their slots, and they snugged up, fit right, and were level on the first try. No tweaking them up and down, and staring down the front of the aircraft trying to decide if it was straight. It just worked right, the first time. Model industry- take note. See Pegasus. Be Pegasus.
Seriously- I appreciated that simple feature.
The canopy is a single piece. Very clear, though a slight bit on the thick side. Still, it fits very nice, and again, due to it’s snap design, you can fit it in with no glue. (Although I chose to use a little white glue anyway.)
I did break away from a complete OOB build with the paint and markings, having found a subject that was a.) kind of neat, and b.) not a natural metal finish, the side-kick to my evil arch nemesis, Mr. Vacform canopy.
I found Eagle Strike’s Early “birdcage” P-51/P-51Bs, set no. EP48285. The subject I was interested in was “Hun Hunter”, flown by (then) Lt. Henry Brown. What I found neat was a picture of Lt. Brown, kneeling on the wing of his plane, right next to the cockpit. It was a nice detail shot.
Now, I did a little research, and departed slightly from what I see on typical builds of this aircraft. First, a photo I have, though black and white, seems to support the painting instructions that call for aluminum undersides (OK, there was some NMF….). And as the uppers called for British Dark Green, this actually made sense. If the plane would’ve shipped od/gray, no need to paint the uppers. But if it were natural metal, a pilot might want to have something a little less shiny. And I’m sure dark green would’ve been readily available.
Another note of interest was that in the picture of Lt. Brown, the color behind the victory markings was different than the green color of the upper side. As many aircraft had a red backing to the swastika kill flags, I surmised that must be the color. And it clearly showed the red space being substantially larger than the space required by the flags he had at that time- almost as if it were saying “Make room, there’s more to come.”
Except Lt. Brown (then promoted to Captain) was shot down in October 1944 (in a D model P-51). He finished the war in a POW camp, and later retired as a Colonel in 1974.
On to the painting….
The undersides were done in Tamiya aluminum. Standing firmly on my theory that no one should look at the underside of a model, I sprayed that on, gave it a light sanding to smooth it out, and called it a completed NMF underside.
The upper portions were given a coat of Pollyscale British Dark Green, and the white stripes were masked and painted, as well as the red backing for the kill markings. I mis-measured the red area slightly, which, when decals were applied, caused the word “Texas” to slightly overlap. Oh well…. sorry about that.
I did post shading with a very thin dilution of Tamiya smoke, then applied some paint chipping with a Prismacolor silver pencil. Next came a coat of Future, and then the decals.
The decals went down very nicely, using my trusted and true Pollyscale Decal Softener. They snugged down nicely too- I highly recommend those decals. Once on and dry, another coat of Future went on to seal those in.
Next came a panel line wash of…. Newton and Windsor…. Fig and Newton….Winston and Newt…. some oil wash. (I should check the name, but it’s been a long day, this recliner is comfortable, and it’s aaaaaaaall the way across the Man-Cave.) Anyway, I used the aforementioned artists oils and turpenoid (which is derived from turps, I guess) and let it flow away through the panel lines. I’ve gotten comfortable enough with it that I slop it on pretty heavy, and just walk away. Due to the lengthy time it takes oils to dry, you’ve got plenty of time to work. Let it settle nicely in those recesses!
After cleaning up the excess wash, I added some exhaust stains with Tamiya Smoke, and finally hit it with a coat of Testors Dull Coat. I thin that pretty heavily, and build up many coats until I get the right look. (Or what I think is the right look…..)
To say I’m happy with Pegasus Hobbies P-51B kit would be a serious understatement. I loved it. It’s what a build should be- fun, relaxing, no stress, and resulting in a good looking toy airplane. Yes- toy airplane! You’re darn right I flew it around the room several times making engine and machine gun noises!
Seriously- if you haven’t given Pegasus Hobbies kits a try- I encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful modeling experience. And economical too. These days, we need a little cheap fun!
A very special thanks to Larry Thompson at Pegasus Hobbies for so generously and unexpectedly offering me this model kit. Your support of this ministry is greatly appreciated!
You can also take a look at the preview I did of this kit a while back, and see what the parts look like.