|In addition to using indigenous types, the post war Italian Air Force (Aeronautica Militare Italiana, AMI) used a number of foreign built fighters such as the P-39 and Spitfire. The AMI also received 173 P-51D's beginning in 1947, serial numbers MM4234 - MM4283, MM4286 - MM4305, MM4286 - MM4305, MM4306 - MM4405, in several batches and operated these aircraft as interceptors, target tows and training aircraft until 1958. A few AMI Mustangs, about eight served with the ‘Squadriglia Caccia Aviazione Somalia’ based at Mogadiscu (Somalia remained a colony of Italy until 1960) and were transferred to the newly formed Somalian Air Force after the P-51’s were struck off charge; although photos and other information about these planes are elusive.
This is the Hasegawa 1/48 P-51D kit no. 09550. This kit is now approaching 10 yrs age however as Dan Salamone mentioned, the kit is accurate and slightly more so than the Tamiya offering. Its been a while since I've built a Hasegawa kit and I had forgotten how nice these kits are; in terms of detail and overall fit, however the kit isn’t without its problems. The kit comes furnished with plenty of ordnance such as bombs, rockets and drop tanks, however such equipment were not used on AMI Mustangs. The kit construction is somewhat complicated particularly the cockpit, radiator and rear wheel assemblies. To avoid fit problems assemble the cockpit and radiator sub-assemblies one at a time while building-up one side of the fuselage and dry fitting the fuselage halves and making fit adjustments along the way. If you follow this procedure the fuselage comes together nicely. Once I assembled the fuselage halves I ran into an unexpected difficulty with the wing root join which was off by approximately 1/8" forming a 'step' between the fuselage and the wing. The 'step' was very visible and needed to be corrected. I spoke once again with Dan about this problem and he mentioned there were no known issues with respect to the Hasegawa P-51D wing root join, however Haseagwa were noted for this problem in other kits such as their 1/48 Zero. The two pics below clearly show the extent of this problem. However the step is easily corrected by masking off the area and sanding the join using 300 grit sand paper, then 400 and 600 while rescribing the panel lines during and after sanding. This eliminates the problem completely while still maintaining the correct dihedral.
I choose to model a plane in "factory fresh" condition with some slight weathering. To paint the model I used a very light coat of Humbrol Metalcoats 27002 Aluminum as a primer and then various 'subtle' shades of Testors Metallizers around the wings and trim tabs, both on the rudder and ailerons. Only a single coat of primer and metallizer was needed to obtain the finish. Although there's been allot of interest lately in the Alcad II metallizers, Testors metallizers provide outstanding results with no graininess, as can be seen from close-up photos of the model and are cost-effective. I sealed the paint and masked off the nose area and used Testors Olive Drab for the anti glare panel. Testors Yellow Chromate was used for the wheel wells and Gunze US interior green for the cockpit and fuselage interiors. The kit provided instrument panel is far better than the Tamiya kit which could use an after market replacement. I sprayed a coat of Polly Scale gloss and then applied Tauro Decals (48-543) which were rather thick but reacted well to setting solution. I used quite allot of setting solution to get the carrier film transparent, the thickness of the decals is quite apparent on the aluminum finish. I then applied a second coat of gloss and a flat.
The model depicts AMI CT-08 MM.4237 of the Centro Addestramento (Training Center) al Tiro at Brindisi, 1955.
No matter how you dress-up a P-51D, it always looks great. Highly recommended.
My next aluminum finished aircraft will be a post war MC.205V and I think I'll take the level of aluminum paint complexity a step higher so stay tuned ...
Aircraft: North American P-51D Mustang
Manufacturer: North American Aviation
Engine: Packard V-1650-7, 12-cyclinder V, liquid cooled, 1,510hp
Wingspan: 37 ft (11.28 m)
Length: 32 ft 3 in (9.83 m)
Height: 13 ft 8 in (4.20 m)
Weight: 11,600 lb (5,262 kg)
Maximum Speed: 437 mph (703 km/h) at 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
Ceiling: 41,900 ft (12,771 m)
Range: 950 miles (1,530 km)
Armament: 6 machine guns; 2,000 lb (907 kg) of bombs
|Hasegawa 1/48 P-51D Mustang
by Vince Tassone
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