This summer I really wanted to build something with natural metal finish, and something with D-day stripes. I thought I'd do both with this limited-edition Tamiya 1:48 P-51B “Blue Nose”.
This limited edition is really a fantastic kit. Many modelers will be familiar with the standard Tamiya P-51B, it's been out for years now. This “Blue Nose” edition comes with new seated and standing figures. I decided to save the seated pilot for another future build. He's posed with his arm hanging out the window in a very relaxed position.
The next new and really cool feature is a window masking set. This set provides masks for the standard green house and Malcolm hood canopies, and a large masking set for the curved blue nose section. You simply align the masks with the panel lines and curve them around the nose. This helps when you add the white and red decals that also follow the curve. The kit has two options for the same aircraft, “Snoots Sniper”. Option B is an early version which has the green house canopy. This version has less artistic flair on the scheme and boasts full D-day stripes that go around the fuselage and wings.
Option A is for a Malcolm hood version as featured on the box. I can only describe this option as more patriotic, it's got more red, white and blue on it. And one set of D-day stripes going up half the fuselage. As a result, the decal sheet is very extensive, as the D-day stripes are included with the set.
I decided on building option B with the greenhouse and full stripes. I began my work on the cockpit cleaning the parts.
The interior has a lot of great detail. There are 2 injector pin marks on either side. These aren't really visible on the finished model, but they were easily removed by scratching with my curved hobby knife. After the parts were cleaned, I primed the interior parts with Army Painter Brush on Primer. All this primer needs is, some Vallejo thinner and you have what I think is the best acrylic primer out there. Afterwards I painted the interior Vallejo Interior Green (71.010). This is a nice color, but it was pretty thin, so it took a few passes to build up the tone. Finally, I sealed in the parts with a gloss coat of Future in preparation for weathering.
I began weathering by using a fine tipped brush to paint on silver scratches. My choice of silver is Citadel Storm Host Silver, as it's nice and bright and easy to paint on. Now to dirty up the interior I used Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color Black, thinned a bit more with Tamiya Enamel thinner and washed all over. My only addition were the seatbelts that I made from aluminum tape and some spare etched buckles from HGW. These were painted with Tamiya XF-55 Buff, and a brown wash was added on top. I really like how these turned out, as the tape is a lot thinner than photo-etch and has a more realistic feel to it.
Now that the interior was completed it was time to set it to assemble the fuselage halves. The top of the cowling is left off as one piece, this is great as it leaves less filling and clean up for the modeler.
The wings section is set in 3 pieces. One lower large section and two upper sections on either side. After I cemented the starboard wing, I was left with a really unsightly gap in the wing root. I'm not sure if this is my fault or Tamiya but I'm inclined to believe my thumbs had something to do with it. With a gap like this I could fill it in, but then when handling or sanding the model where I might be aggressive, I could damage and reopen the gap again. So my solution, I took a tealight candle and some of the long sprue gates, and carefully melted and stretched the sprue. These stretched sections were then cut and placed into the gap. Taking Mr Hobby Cement SP and brushing the sprue into the gap fusing everything together. I rescribed the lost detail, and used a pin to punch in and replicate the missing rivet details.
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