Accurate Miniatures P-51 has been released and re-boxed many times. This time Academy is re-releasing the Allison engine version of the P-51, with a nice decal set focused on the North Africa theater of operations with both RAF and USAAF service. One of the marking options is for service over the European Theater of Operations.
The molds date back to the mid-90s. Despite the vintage of the molds, the plastic is molded perfectly, with very sharp recessed panel lines and no flash anywhere to be found.
Careful painting pays off, as the detail of the cockpit is among the best I?ve seen in injected plastic. A couple of things to mention are that the Instrument Panel is molded in clear. This is because the original Accurate Miniatures provided a decal for it. There is no decal for the instrument panel in this boxing. The one you see is from my spare parts. Same applies to the seatbelts, they are from my spares. The other thing to mention is that you can add the seat after the fuselage is assembled, which makes things a bit easier for handling of the model during painting and decaling.
Landing gear is simple to assemble and sturdy. The tires are molded independently from the hubs, making painting a breeze. The wheel well is nicely detailed and you can assemble the inner landing doors open ?as per instructions- but they should be assembled in the closed position. The P-51 had the main landing gear doors closed all the time ?except during retraction- as to maximize air flow into the radiator. If the P-51 was parked and the hydraulics were to lose pressure then both the flaps and the landing gear doors would drop. However, the kit is molded with the flaps up, making then only correct to assemble it with the main landing gear doors closed.
Painting was done with enamels from the True North line. The RAF P-51 from 225 Squadron were painted in theater and there are some arguments as to what colors were actually used. You can decide which colors to use.
The decals are quite thin and conform to the surface detail pretty well. They also tend to stick to the first place you put them on, so have plenty of water to ?float them? until they are on the right location. Also, the decals tend to fold on themselves.
This kit is a lot of fun; it has great fit and it looks great out of the box. The engineering of the kit is fantastic, as several parts are molded independently (wheel hubs, engine exhaust) which makes assembly and painting much easier. The part count is relatively low, making it be a refreshing build, while the level of detail is high enough as to making it be a rewarding project.