Pony Bash – 1/48 P-51 Wrapup

It started with an idea. Build an Eduard P-51 Mustang. There was a bit of a pony fad going on over in SMCG at the time, and with all the discussion around the kit, I just had to see what it was like for myself.

Then it grew into something else. What if, in addition to just the Eduardstang, I also tackled Meng and Airfix ponies? And set an arbitrary done date of October 1st? A mere six weeks?

#ponybash was born.

So…way more than six weeks on, the #ponybash adventure is finally at an end. How did it go? Well. Lessons were learned. Let’s go through each contender.

How’d it go? Airfix

If Dante had experienced Airfix, he would have added another level to hell. No, not for building Airfix kits. For dismissing Airfix kits, and having to wade through paragraphs of mushy exposition heaped upon you by shambling Airfix homers.

The Airfix didn’t last long.

Why? The cockpit detail was what I could most charitably call disappointing. The seat looks like someone saw a P-51 seat once and tried to draw it decades later from memory. The molding of the seat supports together with really clunky lap belts is just head-scratching.

The soft plastic and Somme-like surface detail pushed my enthusiasm down further. And it was seeing this combination of fit and detail that finally pushed my fuckmeter to empty.

Please don’t slide into my DMs about the innovative way to address all the radiator guts. Or Airfix’s proud history. Or how you can pose the control surfaces. I DON’T CARE.

This kit may be great for an Airfix kit, but compared to the other Mustangs, it’s absolutely marginal.

Next.

How’d it go? Meng

Not gonna lie. I had higher hopes for the Meng. And right away, its cockpit is better than the Airfix. The seat actually looks like a P-51 seat, and that’s a nice bonus!

The real killers for me were two things. First – the sidewall detail is just completely inadequate, even in 1/48. The throttle quadrant is nothing more than a shallow raised portion on the port sidewall. That’s it. And the way the kit is designed and broken down, aftermarket fixes aren’t going to be incoming.

The second was the snap-fit engineering. I get that Meng was basically trying to pull a Bandai here. But one thing I dislike about Bandai kits is that you can’t test-fit easily. And in the case of the Mengstang, that’s doubly so, as I’m not entirely sure how to remove the big fit lugs without possibly stressing the fuselage surface. The necessities of snap-fit also limit aftermarket potential of things like wheels. Meeeeh.

Ultimately, the Meng carried on as a handy paint mule for the Eduard build. And in that role it did a great job.

How’d it go? Eduard

The Eduard P-51D-5 is DONE!

After building the Airfix, Meng, and Tamiya (more on that in a moment) Mustangs, I can say with complete, absolute confidence that Eduard’s pony is the current king of the hill.

Seriously, pick an aspect of the kit. Plastic quality. Detail. Engineering. Fit. Accuracy. The Eduard is aces on all of them. The only true weakness it has is some detail fade headed toward the fuselage centerline – particularly on the upper cowl.

Want to go through the Airfix, Meng, and Eduard kits? Check out the intro episode of the #ponybash:

Then follow it up with the rest, focused on the one Mustang you should be building:

How’d it go? Tamiya

After giving the Airfix and Meng kits the boot, I threw in a late wildcard – a Tamiya F-51.

Why?

First, because I wasn’t exactly impressed with the Airfix or Meng kits and figured the Tamiya kit deserved consideration. I have fond memories of building their P-51D nearly a decade ago.

Second, I was curious if bringing the cockpit “up to snuff” and finding a way around the idiotic windscreen “glass-to-plastic” join would kick the Tamiya up a notch.

Third, I wanted a testbed for painting and weathering an all-lacquered Mustang.

Call it an advanced mule. A testbed. In some areas it got a lot more attention than a regular build might. Like making way for and test-fitting the Meng windscreen.

Other areas it got way less – like my rather lazy underside cleanup and lazier-still underside insignia placement.

See. I realized early on that, while it’s still a good kit, the Tamiya Mustang is 25 years old, and it’s really showing its age against the excellent of the Eduard Mustang. Knowing a kit is so thoroughly outclassed makes it hard put a ton into it. I know that gets some people all excited, but knowing I’m cycling on an inferior kit when a far better one is right there…not my thing.

Treating the Tamiya kit more like a mule or a testbed for learning basically let me finish it. And is something I need to maybe learn for the future. When a build loses my interest, or when it gets away from me, or the kit and I just don’t have a connection, switching in to testbed mode may be a way to get those things done, and get more value out of them at the same time.

Want to follow along with the #fonybash? The whole video series awaits below:

What’s next?

Now that the #ponybash is a wrap, my next immediate project is getting the Trumpeter 1/32 P-40F painted, weathered, and over the line. Then trying to wrap up two armor projects (hopefully before the year’s out) – RFM’s T-34/85 and ICM’s Panhard 178.

After that, I believe it’s time for a P-38…

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jim Lasher says:

    “Somme-like surface detail” — hilarious and in my experience with Airfix, spot on. I avoid the brand at all costs now. A lot of people bust my balls on that opinion but, hey, you spend your money your and I’ll spend mine my way.

    It’s good to see that the Eduard has gone well. I have been looking at it for myself. Their newer WWI subjects are beauties, though a lot of small parts in 1/48.

  2. Jeremy Hart says:

    Airfix rant incoming!
    When I got back into the hobby in 2015, I made the terrible decision to buy the ancient 1/24 Airfix Spitfire kit, this decision was borne out of nostalgia as it was a kit my father and I built together when I was a wee nipper also it was only £25. Let’s say in this case nostalgia sucks! This thing is still sitting in the box and every so often I open it up and enter a state of apathetic torpor before closing the box again. I see they have now released these kits as ‘Airfix Classics’ which is just a scam in my opinion and the best place for the moulds is a museum. I have built the new tooling of the Hawker Hunter which went together ok but is nothing to write home about. I read somewhere that the reason the panel lines are so massive is when using Humbrol paints it will look ok. That is not a road I am prepared to travel.
    Rant over.
    Matt, thanks for putting together this awesome series and I’m looking forward to the P-38 build.

  3. Marcel says:

    Happy with the outcome, since I have 6 edustangs in my stack (and really like the VLR version) 🙂

    Your edustang is a real beauty!

    I’ve really enjoyed ponybash, and it wil be a great resource when I start myself, thanks Matt!

  4. Marcel says:

    Btw, your bucket of fucks keeps making me smile, it’s such a great analogy

  5. Clyde Lourensz says:

    Hey mate,

    Really appreciate your honesty with your kit build/reviews.

    I totally don’t get it…why does Airfix and Italeri produce kits with panel line trenches.

    An old Monogram kit with raised panel lines which can be lightly sanded down leave the above for dead….aircraft, not counting the Gen5’s aren’t smooth.

    Awesome work.

    Best Regards,

    Clyde Lourensz

    E: clyde@lourensz.com

  6. ericbergerud says:

    You mentioned the interesting history of the P-51 when you started the Bash. One factoid has been buried a little – but caused a lot of trouble at the time and a bucket of dispute since. In early 1941 North American was ramping up production on the A6, B25 and P51. (The company had a lot going for it in that era.) In Europe Stalin was still Hitler’s best pal, shipping the Reich buckets of invaluable raw materials as agreed to under the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact of August 1939. The US Communist Party was a Comintern party and took its marching orders (and subsidies) from Moscow. (The CP ceased getting funds from Moscow in 1989.) Now, there was a lot going on labor wise in the US after 1940 when rearmament went into high gear and conscription started: a lot of genuine disruption and a real hint of chaos. And Stalin was doing everything possible to please Hitler. Anyway, there were major strikes in the US in the spring of 1941 direct against defense plants. One of them was aimed at the North American plant in LA in early June and brought production to a halt. FDR responded by sending in the Army. The strike was broken quickly. After June 22 (Barbarossa Day) things became much quieter on the labor front in the US. FDR’s people looked at the painful incident (something that mocked the New Deal image and did no good for FDR’s steady drift toward “everything short of war”) as a direct threat to the war effort and quietly assumed it was due to CP agitation. The whole thing was a bad moment for the CIO. But American labor movement got tons of good press (and academic articles) after the war and FDR’s action was viewed as part of anti-communist hysteria. Personally I spent nearly a year looking at the Berlin Wall – so I’m a little biased when it comes to the USCP. Anyway, a reminder of how many nerves were getting hit simultaneously as America moved toward history’s greatest war. A tense and miserable time.

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