In 2019, Eduard released the first of a growing family of P-51 Mustangs in 1:48 scale, all of which we have reviewed at Detail & Scale (and which you can find HERE). In this review, we sit down with their latest: the P-51K Mustang ProfiPACK Edition kit that arrived in 2021.
The origins of the “Cadillac of the Skies” began in early 1940 when the U.K. was seeking a stopgap fighter to help hold the line against the German Luftwaffe. North American developed a completely new fighter that became the legendary P-51 Mustang. During WWII, P-51s fought in all theaters of the conflict and claimed 4,950 air-to-air kills. In USAAF service, P-51s escorted bomber formations over Europe beginning in 1943 and increasingly conducted ground attack and close air support following D-Day. The definitive P-51D was fitted with a bubble canopy providing excellent 360-degree visibility, and the aircraft could reach around 440 MPH while its service ceiling was just shy of 42,000 feet. Armament consisted of six wing-mounted .50-caliber machine guns while range-extending drop tanks, rockets, and bombs could be fitted under the wings.
The P-51K Mustang was a P-51D produced at North American’s Dallas plant but fitted with an Aeroproducts propeller. As Hamilton Standard’s production of props for the P-51D simply could not keep pace with the rate of airframe production, Aeroproducts was contracted to supply the Texas plant with a hollow steel, four-bladed propeller for the Mustangs. They were visually distinctive as well, featuring a different blade contour and lacked the cuffs of Hamilton Standard units. These airplanes were designated as the P-51K. However, the Aeroproducts prop was sometimes problematic and suffered from balance issues. In the field, crew chiefs often retrofitted their P-51Ks with a Hamilton Standard unit when the parts became available. A total of 1,500 P-51Ks were built.
Eduard’s 1:48 scale P-51K PROFIPACK Edition kit comes on five injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 248 parts (about 100 parts are not used in this version of the kit). Seventeen clear parts come on one clear sprue. It contains 78 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-51K-5 44-11622 “Nooky Booky IV,” Maj. Leonard Carson, 362nd FS, 357th FG, 8th AF, Leiston, UK, August 1944
- P-51K-5 44-11661 “Iron Ass,” Lt.Col. Jack J. Oberhansly, 334trh FS, 4th FG, 8th AF, Debden, UK, February 1945
- P-51K-5 44-11631 “Etta Jeanne II/The Texan/” Lt. Huie Lamb, 82nd FS, 78th FG, 8th AF, Duxford, UK, March 1945
- P-51K-1 44-11471 “Little Joe/Bubbles,” Lt. Carl H. Colleps, 118th FRS, 23rd FG, 14th AF, Cheng Kung, China, 1945
- P-51K-10 44-12539, “Sigh!/Irene,” Lt. Everett Kelly, 6th FS, 1st Air Commando Group, 10th AF, Asansol, India, Summer 1945
- P-51K-10 44-12073 “Sunshine,” Lt.Col. William M. Banks, Co of 348th FG, 5th AF, le Shima, July 1945
Strengths: We’ve recently reviewed several separate issues of the Eduard 1:48 scale Mustang, and I have completed one build of their P-51D with a second one on the bench. Since 2019, Eduard is progressively releasing a complete Mustang family that (so far) covers the P-51D Block 5/10, 15, 20, VLR (Very Long Range), Mustang Mk. IV, F-6D/K, and here, the P-51K.
What’s new here for the P-51K? Primarily, it’s the decals. All other earlier issues of the had the Aeroproducts prop parts on Sprue H, and the difference here is that you get to use them now. Of course, do note that markings option C (“Etta Jeanne II/The Texan”) features the Hamilton Standard
Beyond that, 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. Eduard can indeed claim the “best 1:48 scale P-51D” with these kits. 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. Fits between the fuselage halves and wings are just about airtight, and the engineering is very well done. It is a real pleasure to build.
Eduard’s Mustang also has a number of building options, including an open or closed canopy, separate landing flaps, ailerons, rudders, elevators, radiator exhaust, two canopy styles, and shrouded or unshrouded exhaust stacks.
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 that add a considerable amount of detail and visually interesting features to the cockpit. These include 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 looks excellent with these detail parts. Still, if PE parts are not the builder’s preference, alternate instrument face decals are also provided.
The main gear well is the best of its kind in 1:48 scale, and it builds up from about 16 parts. 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 good, but the fit can be a little hard to get just right, so test fit and use slow setting super glue. Also note that there is a blanking plate on the inside of each wing so that shell ejection ports do not open up into the hollow inside of the wing for all to see.
The masking set will save a lot of time when masking the windscreen, canopy, and wheel hubs. 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 possess excellent optical quality, and the windscreen has an extended fairing around it, so gluing, masking, and painting is a very low-risk activity.
The markings options are very impressive. You might find yourself picking up a few Eduard’s Overtrees issues of their Mustang just so you can build other P-51Ks off this sheet. Eduard, as usual, really knows how to capture some colorful, classic, eye-catching schemes. “Little Joe” is particularly eye-catching with its nose art and stylized lightning bolt that on the fuselage and wings. The same certainly goes for “Sigh!,” with the diamond checkerboard tail. The colors on “Sunshine” and the black and white checkered-nose of “Etta Jeanne II” also pop. 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 valuable painting guide highlighting where natural metal versus aluminum lacquer-painted surfaces are found on silver P-51s. Also, the decals are of the “wet transfer” style of decals that Eduard has recently introduced in their kits. They are applied like any regular water slide decal, but after about 24 hours, the carrier film can be removed.
Eduard has produced another great Mustang kit here, and the P-51K is a welcome addition to this growing family of 1:48 scale kits. As with its other stablemates, it features an excellent combination of detail, allure, and gorgeous markings options. Of course, you can always add more detail, and Eduard has released a range of aftermarket super detail sets for their P-51D/K kits. Stay tuned here at Detail & Scale for reviews of more P-51s from Eduard that are on the horizon.
We thank everyone at Eduard for the review sample. You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany.
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale