Eduard’s 1:48 scale P-51D kit comes on five injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 232 parts (about 80 parts are not used in this version of the kit). Seventeen clear parts come on one clear sprue. It also contains 75 photoetched metal detail parts on one fret (most of them are pre-painted). There’s also a pre-cut, self-adhesive masking set for the windscreen, canopy, and wheel hubs. Markings for six aircraft include:
- P-51D-10 44-14221, “Ridge Runner,” flown by Maj. Pierce McKennon, 335th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF, Debden, United Kingdom, April 1944
- P-51 D-15 44-15449, “American Beauty,” flown by Capt. John J. Voll, 308th FS, 31st FG, 15th AF, San Severo, Italy, November 1944
- P-51D-15, 44-15041, “Petie 3rd” flown by Col. John C- Meyer, 352nd FG, 8th AF, Y-29, Asch Belgium, December 1944
- P-51D-20 44-72218, “Big Beautiful Doll,” flown by Col. John D. Landers, CO of 78th FG, Duxford, United Kingdom, March 1945
- P-51D-20 44-63607, flown by Col. Glenn T. Eagleston, 353rd FS, 354th FG, 9th AF, Y-64, Ober Olm, Germany, April 1945
- P-51D-20 44-63984, “Margaret IV,” flown by, Maj. James B. Tapp, CO of 78th FS, 15th FG, 7th AF, Iwo Jima, May 1945
Strengths: We’ve now recently reviewed several separate issues of the Eduard 1:48 scale Mustang. I would say that this boxing is, in essence, Eduard’s “standard” or “centerpiece” issue of their 1:48 scale P-51D line of kits spanning the Block 10, 15, 20, and VLR (Very Long Range) Mustangs. They all include the tail fillet in the Block 10 and higher along with lots of little subtle differences between them involving particular combinations of antennas, canopy styles, review view mirrors, gunsights, instrument panels, exhaust stacks, and so forth. These include most of the unique VLR parts for markings option F (see below).
All the good things I’ve described about the basic Eduard 1:48 scale Mustang in previous reviews at detailandscale.com apply to this kit as well. As noted in earlier reviews, I think that Eduard can indeed claim “best 1:48 scale P-51D” with this kit, though it is not perfect. To recap, surface details are very accurate. Eduard has nailed the relatively featureless wing surfaces while rivet/fastener details on the fuselage and tail surfaces are as exquisite as they are sublime. Test fitting of the fuselage halves and wings appears airtight. The only fit that seems not virtually seamless involves the upper wing roots. It looks a little fiddly, but I suspect that when all the assemblies come together, the fit should be far more stable.
Eduard’s P-51D has a number of building options, including an open or closed canopy, separate landing flaps, ailerons, rudders, elevators, and radiator exhaust, two canopy styles, the single rear-view mirror, and shrouded or unshrouded exhaust stacks. Optional paper or metal-style external fuel tanks are also provided. Other building options found on the sprues that are not used in this issue of the kit include the uncuffed propeller, bombs, and rockets.
The cockpit features separate frames for the sidewalls, a multi-part seat, and excellent representations of the radio, battery, and fuel tank, down to the separate parts for the wiring and fuel line. The really impressive elements here are the photoetched parts which add a great deal of detail and visually interesting features to the cockpit, such as the pre-painted instrument dial faces, the gorgeous pre-painted harnesses (complete with simulated stitching details), various placards, and the photoetched throttles, trim wheel, and other parts. In sum, the cockpit is a knockout when these detail parts are added.
The main gear well builds up from about 16 parts, and it is very rich with detail, from the textures of the parts and ribs to the fuel lines and pump details. All that’s missing are the smaller hydraulic and electrical lines, and the builder can add those relatively easily if they wish. There’s also a fully enclosed tail wheel well that looks excellent. Another nice feature is a single-piece gun port section on each wing. Unlike the Tamiya kit, for example, the gun barrels do not assemble out of upper and lower halves resulting in some tricky/ugly seam work. Eduard’s engineering approach here is excellent. Also note that on the interior of the wings, there’s a blanking plate on the inside of each wing so that shell ejection ports do not open up into the deep, hollow inside of the wing for all to see.
The masking set will save a lot of time with masking the wheel hubs and a few airframe access panels. The exhaust stacks are great, and even though they are injection-molded, the ends are nicely hollowed-out. Here, there’s no need for a cast resin replacement set. The clear parts look fantastic, and the windscreen has a great extended fairing around it so gluing, masking, and painting will be a very low-risk affair.
The markings options are awesome. Eduard really knows how to capture some colorful, classic, eye-catching schemes, such as “Big Beautiful Doll,” “Petie 3rd,” and “American Beauty.” The decals were printed in-house by Eduard, and they all look great. I can see no technical errors in printing. There’s also a very valuable painting guide highlighting where natural metal versus aluminum lacquer-painted surfaces are found on silver P-51s. These appear to be the “wet transfer” style of Eduard decals that have recently come on the scene. They are applied like any regular water slide decal, but after about 24 hours, the carrier film can be removed.
Weaknesses: There are few substantive critiques that can be of this kit. One minor issue for some folks is that if PE parts aren’t your cup of tea, the detail on the pilot’s instrument panel is really minimal. The idea is to either use the PE parts or kit supplied instrument panel decals. Note that if you want to position the ailerons, rudder, and elevators in anything but the neutral position, you’ll need to remove their mounting tabs. Also, be really careful with the thin plastic strip that separates the left and right wheel wells on the lower wing half (Part B-15). It is pretty fragile, and in some kits, it is warped/bent inward because it is so fine. My sample is unaffected by this issue, but if that’s a problem in the kit you have, just note it will go back to its proper shape when the gear well assembly is fitted. The completed landing gear are a bit weak, so watch out when handling. Also note that for markings option F (the VLR Mustang), this kit does not include the 160-gallon drop tanks. They however can be sourced separately from Eduard sets # 82109X or # 648532.