Strictly speaking, the book should perhaps have a tag-line added to the title - "...in 1/48 scale" because all 6 projects covered are quarterscale builds. Nevertheless, the techniques covered are applicable to any of the major scales and author Stan Spooner has gathered together a set of models that both show the development of the Mustang and offer a variety of different challenges.
Two of the builds are by Stan himself, the others are by Mark Glidden, Marcus Nicholls and Brian Criner - and all are excellent. The stated skill-levels range from Intermediate, through Advanced to Master level. However, even the "simplest" involves minor scratch-building and the use of resin and etched aftermarket accessories, so the level is set pretty high from the start.
The projects covered are:
1. Accurate Miniatures' P-51A. This Advanced project is a co-build by Marcus Nicholls and Brian Criner and encompasses a variety of resin extras, including Verlinden's exposed Allison engine. The model is finished off with a superbly executed heavily-weathered finish that really has the works thrown at it, with paint chipping and fading, extreme exhaust staining - all in keeping with reference shots I've seen of the real thing.
2. P-51B / RAF Mustang III. Tamiya's P-51B receives a new resin cockpit to overcome the problems with the kit's office, as well as a number of other extras - resin gun bays and propeller etc. This is an Advanced project and there's plenty of detail on how to accomplish the excellent weathered RAF colour scheme.
3. A Tamiya kit again - this time the P-51D in an Intermediate build. The model is treated to a few aftermarket extras, but is basically OOB and finished in a very effective weathered Olive Drab / Neutral Gray scheme with invasion stripes.
4. Another Intermediate build, with Tamiya's F-51D in its Korean War guise and an opportunity to tackle a n/m finish. Again, there are a number of aftermarket extras added - the most prominent of which is an Aires replacement wheel-well. This brings its own set of headaches and makes an ideal lesson for modellers starting to explore the dark art of adding resin upgrades.
5. The big one - literally! Modelcraft's notorious F-82 Twin Mustang is given a thorough work-over by the author himself in this Master-level build. By his own admission, Stan doesn't tackle the problems with the kit's wing chord, but the project is still a revelation of just what can be achieved with this kit. There's a lot of surgery, scratchbuilding and cross-kitting, plus a few aftermarket extras but, above all, some serious skill involved here to create a real show-stopper of a model.
The text throughout is clearly written and very "readable", in a light but informative style. The projects are all illustrated with numerous high quality close-up step-by-step colour photos. Rounding the main section off, there's a useful reference reading list and a small selection of websites - but no Aeroscale! Shame on them.. the authors obviously need to check out our P-51D Walkarounds HERE
Finally, there's a page of samples of frequently seen Mustang colours. I have to admit I found this the least useful section of the book - partly because the samples are taken from photos of the builds in the book - so they are model colours, not originals - and also because I'm vary wary of the inherent limitations in the colour printing process in trying to assess any colour accurately. But this is a minor criticism, and it in no way detracts from the overall value of the book.
All in all, this is a very useful modeller's guide to building the Mustang in 1/48 scale. The projects are well chosen to challenge and inspire modellers at all skill levels. This is the first book I've read by Stan Spooner and, on the basis of this volume, I certainly look forward to seeing more from him. Recommended.
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