Intro | PART 1 | Part 2
When I pulled Tamiya’s P-51B out of the stash, I did so because I wanted a known quantity, and a kit I could progress through more quickly than HK’s big B-25. But I also chose it as something of a check-in.
Two years ago, I made my return to modeling with this same kit. At the time, it was easily the best I’d ever built, but I’ve learned a lot in the last two years, and I’m interested to see how my additional skills and experience play out on the same plane that marked my return.
So let’s move on to the cockpit.
Of Interior Green
When I built that P-51B two years ago, I did a fairly solid job with the cockpit. But I didn’t have any practice at such things, and my knowledge of WWII aircraft was more limited than I could have guessed. For instance, I didn’t grasp that interior green and green zinc chromate were, in fact, two different things. And so that cockpit received the rather garish neon green of the zinc chromate…
I’ve since learned better, but of late, I haven’t been too happy with my US cockpits. The interior green is itself a strong color, and one prone to overpowering weathering efforts.
This time around, I determined to change that. Rather than spraying interior green over the typical gray primer, I first put down a black base coat. On top of this, I sprayed the interior green heavily thinned and in a random, haphazard fashion.
The result? A far more nuanced and less overpowering interior green.
After some detail painting of the seat harness, headrest, radio box and so on, I drybrushed the cockpit with Model Master Dunkelgrau. I’ve found the tan-gray shade excellent for picking out details. Some strategic areas also received a drybrushing of Floquil Old Silver where some wear-through to the metal makes sense.
The kit instrument panel is solid. It’s not the masterpiece of injection-molded plastic you’ll find on more recent Tamiya kits, such as their P-47 Thunderbolts, but it holds its own and is far superior to Eduard’s color photo-etch panel. Given Eduard’s amazing IP work of late, one suspects the P-51 was an early foray into color PE. Whatever the case, it’s unconvincing. Rather than replacing the thing with PE, I decided to keep it as is, and dress it up with Airscale’s 1/48 instrument decals. Various details were picked out with some light drybrushing and detail painting with Vallejo “Glossy Blacky”, Tamiya XF-7 Red, Floquil Old Silver, and Model Master Chrome Silver topped with Tamiya Clear Red to represent indicator lights.
A Little Bling
Even with the Airscale decals, the P-51B cockpit is a little bit on the spartan side. So I decided to dress it up a bit with a set of Eduard color PE placards. I’ve used Eduard’s placard sets before on P-47s with great success, so I had high hopes for the Mustang set. Overall, it’s not as good, but still a good option for adding some flash to the kit cockpit and instrument panel.
That’s a Wrap
Once the placards were placed, the entire cockpit (excluding the instrument panel) got a filter wash of raw umber artist oil paint thinned with Mona Lisa Odorless Thinner. And…that’s about all she wrote for the cockpit!
Up next – main assembly!
Intro | PART 1 | Part 2