US WWII 110 Gallon Fuel Tank
As the US Army Air Forces P-51 escorts ventured farther over Japan they required more fuel. Enter the 110 gallon drop tank. Similar in design to the 96-gallon tanks formed from stamped aluminum halves pinch joined at the seams, these larger tanks now held 660 lbs. of fuel. The sway braces used on the standard pylons were not up to the task. Fixing this problem took the form of plywood braces cross tied over the tank to each other. To keep the tanks hanging in the direction of gravity, the height of each was cut to account for dihedral of the aircraft’s wings. Brengun has duplicated this system in this kit. Resin cast tanks are detailed with photoetch parts and decals are provided for the stencils.
Assembly starts with separating the resin pour stubs from the tanks. This will leave no pinch join on the front of the tank. I superglued a piece of stretched sprue to fill the gap. The casting also had some pinholes, and the texture was a bit rough. A little CA glue and a few coats of Mr. Surfacer leveled that all out. Photoetch parts make up the rest of the assembly. The wood braces are folded PE parts that have small holes for the cross ties to tread through. Be careful folding the braces to ensure the holes align. I had to open them up with a drill bit. Getting the brace assembly together and aligned is tricky because the parts are small. Beware, the decals are printed on a solid sheet of backing so you must cut them out separately. Brengun decals are hit and miss. They worked well on the tanks but didn’t like the acrylic clear on the braces. Make sure you have a tall and a short brace on each tank and position them so the folded clip at the top is on outboard side of the braces.
This set is a great way to display your Southwest Pacific Mustang or Thunderbolt since both used these tanks. While there’s not a lot of parts, this kit will require some modeling skills and experience with tiny parts. I'm not aware of any kit of the above subjects that include this set up. It will get some double takes at your next club meeting. Thank you to Brengun for the review sample and IPMS for sending me another interesting little build.