Nearly every aircraft modeler has at least one iconic WWII P-51 Mustang in their collection. Based on the quick sell-out of Eduard’s recent 1/48 new tooling at the 2019 ‘Nooga Nats, its popularity is long from over. The subject of this review however is a diminutive 1/144 scale version of the Mustang produced by Japanese model-maker Platz.
According to their website, “Platz was founded in April, 2000, and is based in Shizuoka, Japan. PLATZ comes from the term "place" - or to be more precise, a "gathering place" for modelers from various categories to develop and produce something new, something really wanted by the public and moreover, something "we" would also want.
Based on the knowledge acquired with a 20-year experience in the modelling business, we would like to challenge the market with a combination of renovated ideas, technologies and materials.
Our goal is to create products previously not available in the market - always accompanied with the spirit of "Approaching business in a serious and yet, fun-filled manner".”
Platz not only designs and manufactures their own line of kits, but carries a wide array of other manufacturer’s kits of varying subjects, and modeling supplies. The website is worth a visit before starting your next project.
So let’s get on with my build and impressions of this tiny Mustang.
This kit issue (PDR-1) is a standard mold tooling for Platz, and has been released in several other boxings with various accessories. The typical boxing contains two kits of 32 parts each on two sprues – one grey styrene and on smaller clear styrene for the canopy for a total of four sprues. Box cover art for this issue is a painting of P-51D s/n 413926, E2-S piloted by Lt. Abe P. Rosenberger of the 375th FS, 361st FG, 8th Air Force, based at USAAF Bottisham, England, 1944, one of the five decal marking options included in the kit. Other markings available are: “Cookie”, CV-D, piloted by Lt. John D. Gordon, 368th FS, 359th FG, 8th AF, East Wrenthen, 1945; “Stinky 2nd”, PE-C, piloted by Capt. William J. Stangel, 328th FS, 352nd FG, 8th AF at Aschly 291, Belgium, 1945, “Scat VI”,L2-W ploted by Maj. Robin Olds, 434th FS, 479th FG, 8th AF, Wattisham, 1945; and “Horses Itch, B6-D, piloted by Maj. Edwin Hiro, 363rd FS, 3357th FG, 8th AF, Leiston Suffolk, 1944.
Upon opening the package, you get the two sprues of relatively hard, medium gray plastic, and two clear sprues for windscreens, canopies and other clear parts sealed in a plastic pouch, Also included is the nicely printed (by Cartograph) decal sheet, and a clear, easy to follow 5-step pictorial instruction sheet. The instructions indicate the previous step assemblies in red for better placement sequencing in the following step. Excellent COLOR painting and decaling illustrations are included on the reverse side of the instruction sheet.
Surface detail on the plastic is recessed engraving, albeit somewhat “soft”; not an unusual nitpick in this scale. A quick review of the individual sprues reveals crisp moldings and no flash. A nice complement of underwing fuel tanks are also provided.
I started work on the cockpit. I built the kit-supplied cockpit, and added some foil seat harnesses. Kit instructions are clear and detailed on assembly sequencing and color call outs.
Following cockpit assembly, I assembled the fuselage with the cockpit nestled in place, and then worked on the wing area. The instructions are clearly detailed as to the building sequence. I left the landing gear, gear doors and tiny actuators for later final assembly. The remainder of the kit was assembled per the instructions, and went together very quickly. I don’t think I used any filler or putty anywhere on the kit. Just a few seams to be sanded here and there, and it was ready for paint. The wing root joins provide for a recessed insertion of the full wing assembly – a well-engineered fit sequence that requires nothing more than capillary action of liquid cement for a perfect fit and dihedral set.
After masking the windscreen and canopy cover with Tamiya masking tape, I affixed the closed sliding canopy and primed the airframe with Tamiya White Primer. A coat of Testor’s Acrylic Zinc Chromate Primer went on the wheel wells and inside of the gear doors. The gear doors were tacked in place over the wheel wells with some masking medium. I shot a couple of mist coats of Vallejo Acrylic Metallic Aluminum over the entire airframe. After curing for a few days, I built up a couple of very light mist coats of Pledge Future Shine to prep a shiny surface for the decals.
After the sealer coats of Pledge Future had cured for a couple of days, I applied the kit’s decals and stencils, all of which performed perfectly after a touch of Micro Sol to settle them into the fine surface detailing. I proceeded with a final layer of Future to set the decals prior to weathering.
I used Tamiya Black Panel Line Paint solution to pin-wash the panel lines, recesses, etc. I’ve learned to really like this stuff. It flows well into panel lines with capillary action. A coat of Vallejo Satin Clear toned down the shine for a realistic finish, and got the kit ready for final assembly and detailing.
The gear and wheels, were attached, nav. lights and other small details were picked out, and the model was done. The last thing I did was apply some Molotow Liquid Chrome to the prop spinner with a brush. It could easily be a weekend kit and is an easy little build. I spent about 6-8 hours total on assembling and painting this fine little kit, not including set or dry time. When I build the second kit, I’ll provide some different shades of aluminum on the panels for interest. I was pleased with the final outcome.
Recommended, and a very reasonable price point at less than $20.00 for two kits. Order from the Platz website or your favorite hobby shop today. Thanks to the IPMS Reviewer Corps and Platz for the opportunity to review this kit.