Academy P-51B (1:72)

P51-B Box

At a Glance:

  • Stock Kit:

    • Academy P-51B (1:72)

  • Aftermarket Parts:

    • Woodland Scenics Ground Cover

  • Paint Used:

    • Tamiya Acrylic

    • Gunze Mr. Color

  • Additional Research Material:

    • None

What You Need to Know:

Unlike nearly every other kit that I build, I went into this build with no intention of accurizing or modifying the stock kit.  I picked the Academy 1:72 P-51B up for less than $10 at a holiday sale and broke open the box a few weeks ago when I was sorely in need of a respite from the intensity of 1:700 photo etch work.  I stated from the start that I wanted to get back to basics and finish a kit straight out-of-the-box with very little thought beyond the use of basic skills to complete the build.  And so, I did.


Bud Anderson's P-51B "Old Crow" with invasion stripes

Bud Anderson’s P-51B “Old Crow” with invasion stripes

I have to applaud Academy for making this kit not only go together easily and quickly, but with a great amount of detail and accuracy.  My only other 1:72 build to date has been an Airfix A6M2b Zero, and while that kit was in a similar quality category, the work Academy put into the recessed and nuanced detail on this kit boosts it higher, in my opinion.

The model builds like nearly any other aircraft kit: cockpit, fuselage, horizontal surfaces, paint, decal, display.


I made sure to consult no references before building the cockpit. Colors choices were simply my own. 🙂


An unexpectedly nice bit of detail was the molding of wood grain for the cockpit floor.  It’s all but invisible on the finished kit, but I felt it would be criminal to not at least *try* to make it look like the authentic product!



The kit halves and major sub assemblies fit together with the traditional crispness of a Tamiya kit.  Indeed, in little more than a day the whole thing was pre-shaded and ready for painting.


Ultimately, I would pre-shade the entire surface, but for whatever reason I only photographed the process at this stage.

Once upper and lower surfaces were painted, the model was given a coat of Future in anticipation of laying the decals.  I wanted to try the kit’s stock D-Day invasion stripe decals, but things quickly went sour.  First, I learned immediately that for all their quality in the plastic components, Academy’s decals are way too thick and suffer from far too much carrier film around the intended decal image.  Then, once one of the wing decals was applied, it would not settle for anything, no matter how much Micro-Sol I applied.  It just looked bad.  I stripped off the failed decal, repainted the wing surface, and resigned myself to a new challenge – painting the stripes manually.

DSCN3121 DSCN3126 DSCN3149

Turns out I was worried over nothing.  Thanks to pinstripe masking tape and a careful painting sequence (black over white) this was done in no time at all!

Using a scalpel I was able to cut away most of the excess carrier film from the remainder of the large decals.  It quickly became apparent that the smaller decals were more film than image, and still too thick at that).  Considering that the depicted stenciling was illegible at this scale anyways, I carefully feigned it in the right places using a 005 Prismacolor marker.  Remember, this was to be a no-stress build, after all.

Figuring that I had nothing to lose, I spent another $10 on the supplies to try a display base.  Using Woodland Scenics “Burnt Grass” Fine Turf, Fine Ballast, and long grass effects, I cobbled this up in less than an hour.  I have to admit, I’m pretty pleased with the result:


While this is not intended to be an advertisement for James Hornfischer’s “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors,” its presence in the right corner means that I have to plug it anyway. Read it! You won’t regret it. 🙂

A bit of white glue later, and this build moved from the stash to the display case, having fulfilled its purpose by being both distracting and refreshing.  I’ve already got things underway again on my two longer-term builds thanks to the reprieve provided by this kit!

Would I recommend this model?  Decal issues aside, absolutely, and without hesitation.  I was so pleased by this build experience, I even picked up two additional Academy 1:72 kits over the holidays.  The challenge there is going to be holding them in reserve until I need another bit of breathing space when the other builds become too stressful.


DSCN6711 DSCN6708 DSCN6702 DSCN6701


A full gallery of the finished build can be found here.

Final Scores:

Quality of Stock Compoments: A+

Ease of Stock Assembly: A+

Quality of Decals (New Category!): C+

Quality of Aftermarket Parts: N/A

Ease of Aftermarket Parts Assembly: N/A

Overall Experience (Average Score): A-


2 thoughts on “Academy P-51B (1:72)

  1. Pingback: Sprue Cutters’ Union – Finding Your Happy Place | The Museum Modeler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s