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P-51B/C Mustang
Expert Set

Arma Hobby, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Description and Item No.:

Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set

Contents and Media:

87 parts in grey plastic; 12 parts in clear plastic; eleven parts on a single photo-etched fret; self-adhesive canopy and wheel masks; markings for six aircraft options plus bonus decals.

Price:

€24.50 plus shipping available online at Arma Hobby

£23.94 EU Price (£19.95 Export Price) Plus Shipping at Hannants

and hobby retailers worldwide 

Scale:

1/72

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

High quality moulding; excellent surface textures and detail; accurate; many useful options for a wide range of variants; effective use of multi-media; high quality decals.

Disadvantages:

End-opening box.

Recommendation:

Arma Hobby's 1/72 scale P-51B/C kit is highly impressive - crisp surface textures, high moulding quality, many useful options and a very high level of detail. It's a great package with the plastic and photo-etched parts as well as self-adhesive masks. In my opinion this is Arma's best kit yet.

Reviewed by Brett Green

Introduction

 

P-51B/C Mustang

The prototype NA-73X Mustang was designed and rolled out by North American Aviation a mere 102 days after the specification was issued by the British Purchasing Commission. The initial operational Mustang variants were powered by the Allison V-1710 engine, which was optimised for low-altitude performance. The P-51 Mustang flew its first operational missions with the Royal Air Force in the reconnaissance and fighter-bomber roles.

 

 

The combination of a Rolls Royce Merlin engine with the innovative airframe and laminar flow wing design of the A-35/P-51A resulted in one of the best fighter aircraft of World War Two.

A small number of photo-reconnaissance P-51B/Cs were also produced:

Designation

Based on

Numbers Manufactured

F-6C-NA

P-51B

71

F-6C-NT

P-51C

20

Despite its success, the P-51B/C series (Mustang III) was somewhat hampered by poor visibility through its heavily framed canopy. It was also difficult to bail out in an emergency due to the multi part canopy. The Malcolm Hood was a sliding, one-piece canopy designed by the British to be fitted to the Mustang III to address the bailout problem.

However, this was a stopgap measure. The airframe was therefore redesigned with a cut-down rear fuselage and a large, bubble-topped sliding canopy. This would become the P-51D - the definitive version of the Mustang, and perhaps the classic American fighter of the Second World War.

 

 

FirstLook

 

Arma Hobby has developed a strong following since 2020 thanks to their highly detailed and beautifully textured 1/72 scale aircraft releases, also venturing into 1/48 scale for the first time earlier this year.

Arma Hobby has now released their much anticipated 1/72 scale P-51B/C Mustang. This model is in the "Expert Set" series so we are provided with photo-etched parts and self adhesive masks as well as the plastic sprues.

In total, this one comprises 87 parts in grey plastic, 12 parts in clear plastic, eleven parts on a single photo-etched fret; self-adhesive canopy and wheel masks; markings for six aircraft and bonus markings for a captured Japanese option.

 

  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
  • Arma Hobby Kit No. 70038 - P-51B/C Expert Set Review by Brett Green: Image
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The grey plastic parts are delivered on two sprues. Moulding quality is excellent with no flaws or visible moulding imperfections on my sample. Arma’s website advises that long-run metal moulds are used for their kit production, and it really does show.

 

 

Being a long-run kit, the parts are moulded with all the alignment aids that you would expect including locating pins, holes and tabs.

The larger parts are moulded with a satin finish. Surface textures are just gorgeous. Recessed panel lines, circular fastener heads and other structural details are very fine.

The fabric texture on the elevators are represented by subtly raised rib tapes. The elevators are moulded as part of the horizontal stabilisers.

The fuselage is supplied as left and right halves with a few elements that allow some important options.

 

 

The most obvious is the separate rudder, fin and horizontal stabilisers. Two sets of each are included. One set represents the fin without the fillet, while the second depicts the later fin filleted version.

 

 

The fillet is moulded in the centre of the horizontal stabilisers.

 

 

The lower side cowling vents are also supplied separately. Three options are offered - blanked off, perforated and louvered.

 

 

Two styles of antenna mast are provided. A few of the options have whip antennas. This will be best made from fine stretched sprue. A spine-mounted DF loop is also included.

Two sets of exhaust may be found on the sprues - shrouded and unshrouded. Flaps are supplied as separate parts. They are designed to be built dropped. Note also that the flaps seem to have a subtle oilcanning effect along the lines of recessed rivets. I'm not sure if this is intentional but it looks convincing!

 

 

Some cockpit sidewall detail is moulded directly to the inside of the fuselage. Additional separate parts include a plastic cockpit floor, radiator ramps, side console, throttle quadrant; a moulded pair of rudder pedals that fit in behind the instrument panel, control column, fuel tanks, radios and more.

Two styles of pilot's seat are supplied.

Decals are used extensively for the various cockpit faces. A plastic instrument panel is also supplied with raised bezels and switches. The decal sheet supplies two sets of harness straps and instrument panels. I think decals will be very effective in the front office in this scale.

 

 

Photo-etched parts include harness straps, radiator intake and rear radiator face.

 

 

The wing parts are full span, top and bottom. They are thin at the trailing edges. I particularly like the very fine and busy recessed rivets on the centre section of the lower wing.

 

 

The wheel wells are really nicely detailed and the rear wheel well wall is accurately straight. The chord-wise reinforcements are moulded direcly onto the inner surface of the upper wing, which will make assembly very fast and easy.

 

 

A wing spar is provided to ensure that the dihedral will be the correct angle. This doubles as the rear undercarriage wall.

 

 

The main wheels are moulded as one piece each and are excquisitely detailed, including raised lettering. The wheels are subtly bulged and flattened. The tail wheel and strut are moulded as a single part. Detail looks good.

 

 

A generous allowance of ordnance is included. There are two 108 gallon paper tanks, two 90 gallon metal tanks and two 250 lb bombs.

 

 

Variations on the theme of photo recon Mustangs are offered with a number of flashed-over windows and clear lenses.

The canopy parts are thin and clear.

 

 

The standard and Malcolm hoods are included.

 

 

The Malcolm Hood provides two centre sections - one to be used if the canopy is closed and the other if the canopy is open.

 

 

Navigation and formation lights are moulded as part of the wings.

Self adhesive masks are supplied for the canopies and wheels. This will be welcomed by modellers who dislike cutting their own masks.

 

 

Instructions are supplied as a 16 page stapled A5-sized booklet.

The kit is packed into a end-opening cardboard box. I have to say that I have never been a fan of end-opening boxes - access to the parts is more difficult, loose parts can easily be lost while retrieving instructions or a larger sprue, and the format is less structurally rigid, inviting the contents to be crushed when the box is inevitably at the bottom of a pile of kits.

I know it is a nit-pick but I would prefer to see future Arma Hobby releases in a lid-style of box.

I noticed that Arma's new FM-1 / FM-2 Deluxe Set has a side opening box but a sturdy cardboard tray inside. That's a step in the right direction!


 

Marking Options

The kit decal sheet offers markings for four USAAF aircraft (one P-51B, two P-51Cs and one F-6C) and two RAF / Commonwealth Mustang Mk.IIIs

 

 

Stencil markings are printed on the same single sheet, as are propeller logos.

Colour callouts are provided for FS numbers and model paint numbers from a wide variety of companies – Hakata, AK, Lifecolor, AMMO, Humbrol, Vallejo and Tamiya.

Decals are printed by Techmod. They are glossy, colours are well saturated and everything is in perfect register.

Arma has also supplied bonus decals for a captured Japanese marking option.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Arma Hobby's 1/72 scale P-51B/C kit is highly impressive - crisp surface textures, high moulding quality, many useful options and a very high level of detail.

It's a great package with the plastic and photo-etched parts as well as self-adhesive masks.

In my opinion this is Arma's best kit yet.

Thanks to Arma Hobby for the sample


Review Text and Images Copyright 2021 by Brett Green
Page Created 22 December, 2021
Last updated 24 December, 2021

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