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Set

AFTERMARKET REVIEW


Kevin Martin P-51D Filleted Tail Conversion Set (with Flap and Cowling Set) for the Revell P-51D-5
1:32 Scale

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Revell’s 1:32 scale P-51D-5 Mustang was very well received among scale modelers including us at Detail & Scale (see our review HERE).  It fills a pretty important gap in the 1:32 scale Mustang world as an early P-51D.  There are a few differences between early and late D-model Mustangs, including the cockpit layout, gun sight, canopy cross-section, and some other minor items.  Yet, the biggest contrast is the external vertical stabilizer (or tail) fillet.  Interested in converting my 1:32 Revell P-51D-5 into a Korean War-era F-51D-30 that would have had the -3 DFF, I ordered a cast resin conversion set from Kevin Martin who operates a small resin casting business in Indiana.  A few days later, the parts arrived and he also included his P-51D flaps set and engine cowling set.  Let’s take a look.

Beginning with the P-51D-10 and carrying on with the rest of the D-model production run (and even later retrofitted to D-5s), a leading edge extension was added to the base of the vertical stabilizer providing cleaner aerodynamics and less drag.  There were a few styles of the tail fillet.  They differed in the subtlest of details – but they were different.

The Commonwealth Air Aircraft Corporation first produced the -1 DFF version, and by the time the design was adapted by North American for production, the rivets on the Commonwealth design were all spot-welded.  This fillet was found on P-51D-15-NAs up to s/n 44-15745.  The -2 DFF was common to most P-51Ks and sported a different pattern of spot welding.  The -3 DFF tail fillet was fitted to all remaining P-51D-15s, and all -20s, -25s, and -30s.  The -3 DFF differed from the -1 and -2 DFF with another pattern of spot-welded rivets and a razor-straight leading edge. If you look at the factory drawings, the – 1/2 DFF had a slightly sloped leading edge.  

Kevin Martin’s conversion set arrived in a Ziploc bag with no instructions (but, of course, if you’re up to using resin conversion parts, you won’t need any).  His set features a fairly generic fillet – which is to say you can do any of the fillets you want.  Its straight leading edge suggests it was patterned after the -3 variant.  If you want to replicate the slightly sloped -1 or -2 DFF leading edge, just use a little sandpaper or a sanding stick to re-contour the part.  It will take only a moment of effort.  If you want to add the specific rivet/spot-weld detail for a -1, -2, or -3, follow online references for the tail fillet patterning, grab a pounce wheel, and add the details yourself.  It will take probably less than 60 seconds of work.  

The tail fillet set is a single-piece tail to replace the kit tail assembly.  It is cast in a relatively soft resin compared to Aires, for example, so it’s easy to trim, sand, and clean up.  It’s cast under fairly low pressure, but there are only a few issues to be concerned with.  Thankfully, there’s no warping or shrinkage of the parts.  Panel lines are recessed and just about the same width as the kit panel lines.  Some recessed panel lines are of uneven depth, and I’ll be taking a scribing tool to even out any depth differences.

The surface of the parts is a little grainy and there’s only a few small blemishes and air bubbles to worry about.  I would consider sanding the entire resin assembly with 1,000 grit sandpaper or MicroMesh.  Then, I prime the part with Mr. Surfacer 1000 (or whatever you like to use) and work out any remaining blemishes with 4000 or higher grit Micro Mesh.  You should then have a surface as smooth as the kit fuselage itself.  This will be important especially of you want to do a natural metal finish.

As far as fit goes, the casting block is designed to fit inside the fuselage halves.  Accordingly, DO NOT cut the block away!  It’s a great attachment point.  The panel lines line up nicely between the resin tail assembly and the kit fuselage, and only a minor gap exists between the two.  On the right (starboard) side, the gap was a bit larger, and gap filling superglue will do the trick to fill it.  With a few more minutes of work or parts cleanup and prep, I am pretty sure I could decrease both gaps for an even tighter fit.    

The horizontal stabilizers are also provided (no ribbing) along with separate elevators that you can position as desired.  The rudder is also a separate part and positionable.

My set was the “full meal deal” option and came with cast resin flaps and upper engine cowling cover.  The flaps and cowling sets, which can also be bought separately, are also low-pressure casting.  Both feature lots of recessed detail.  They will also require some additional cleanup just like the tail assembly before they are ready for use on the Revell kit.  The engine cowling features a lot more detail than the kit and includes the rather prominent fasteners and seam that go down the midline of the clamshell panels that form the upper cowling itself.  You’ll have to cut out the plastic cowling from the left and right fuselage halves in order to use this part.  My cowling had quite a few small burst air bubble defects particularly on the edges of the part, but those can all be filled in and sanded smooth.

Overall, Kevin Martin’s cast resin parts for the 1:32 scale Revell P-51D are recommended for scale modelers with experience working with limited-run cast resin parts.  There’s a lot of potential here, but you’ll have to do a little work to bring out that fuller potential in your build.  Of course, I enjoy building limited run Anigrand resin kits, so I don’t bat an eyelash at that prospect – but it’s not for everyone.  Then again, if you don’t want to wait for a later-model Revell P-51D kit with a filleted tail (it’s been announced but uncertain when Revell will release this kit), this set represents a solid and affordable starting point to convert your P-51D-5 to a -15, -20, -25, or -30 Mustang or any of the P-51Ks (Dallas-built D-model with the Aeroproducts propeller).  Of course, one thing to further consider is that the D-5 canopy has an appreciably different shape and cross section, so you’ll need to source that from elsewhere.

You can contact Kevin Martin directly at 109ace@sbcglobal.net or by searching for seller “109ace” on eBay where you can or order them and his other cast resin sets.  And if you get a set, let Kevin know you saw this review here at detailandscale.com!

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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