by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Roy Sutherland's Barracuda Studios have released a comprehensive range of detail upgrades for the P-51D in 1:32 scale. While designed primarily for the recent Tamiya kit, they can be adapted for other largescale Mustangs available, but obviously additional work may be needed to use them successfully.
BR32012 – Sidewalls - $12.95Beginning with the Tamiya kit's interior, this set combines resin and etched parts to completely replace the sidewalls, but actually goes rather further than the set's name suggests. It comprises:
12 x beige resin parts
19 x etched brass parts
The detail and casting are simply superb. The "basic" sidewalls feature intricate control boxes and wiring, and onto this foundation fit more resin and etched details, such as tiny knobs, chains and levers. Above the sidewalls, the cockpit sills are topped by etched canopy rails, perforated just like the originals.
Moving beyond the sidewalls, the set includes new brass liners for the kit's rudder pedals. Whereas the styrene parts are left blank, the metal inserts include the NAA logo along with minute raised lettering. The etched fret also provides landing gear locks for the mainwheel wells and, as a final touch, perforated breather plates for the engine cowling.
BR32013 - Instrument Panel - $11.95This is another combined resin and etched set, and replaces the Tamiya instrument panel. The set comprises:
7 x resin parts (2 of which are spares)
25 x brass parts
1 x printed film
Barracuda provide a resin panel foundation and lower control box, into which fit the printed film, overlaid with a brass panel fascia and completed with individual etched bezels and tiny resin levers and T-handles. The result should be simply superb.
BR32014 - Cockpit Upgrade - $8.95The final interior upgrade set deals with the gunsight, control column, throttle, battery and radio, and comprises 8 x beige resin parts.
Once again, the casting is perfect and the detail quite exquisite. In keeping with Roy's reputation, these Barracuda upgrades are some of the finest cast resin parts I've ever seen. The throttle components are extremely delicate and attached to their casting block by tiny "sprues" - but do refer closely to the instructions (more of which later), to make sure you don't accidentally damage the parts as you remove them.
BR3206 – Paper Drop Tanks - $9.95Turning to the kit's exterior, the simplest of the sets offers a straightforward improvement for the "paper" drop tanks, and comprises just four beige resin parts, with new noses and tails for the kit tanks. The casting is flawless in the sample set, and using it involves some simple surgery to slice the styrene parts along existing panel lines. The new parts then just plug in, and feature a very convincing ribbed and textured surface.
InstructionsIt's all very well having beautifully detailed parts if you're left in the dark as to how to install them. There's certainly no danger of that here, because Barracuda provide full colour, detailed step by step instructions, clearly explaining every stage to avoid mishaps and ensure you get the best possible results. They recommend what type of adhesive to use at different points, and show where additional details can be added from lead wire and thin rod. Excellent quality close-up photos accompany the text.
ConclusionBarracuda Studios' P-51D upgrades are simply superb. To be honest, I hadn't really considered buying the Tamiya Mustang before seeing these aftermarket sets - but they are really that good, I can hardly resist getting the kit to go with them! I think that must be the ultimate accolade. Unreservedly recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.