In-Box Review
P-51D Mustang Hooded Tail Bay
1/32 Scale Mustang P-51D Hooded tail bay and wheel strut (Tamiya)
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by: Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]

The new Tamiya P-51D Mustang in 1/32nd scale has debuted to outstanding and enthusiastic reviews and reception by modelers. The kit is generally regarded as among the best OOB kits since, well, Tamiya’s last big plane, the Spitfire Mk. IX. As good as the kit is, Jerry Rutman has been obsessed with getting the Mustang in 32 scale right for years, and has come up with a series of after-market resin goodies that will make a great kit superior. I have already reviewed the resin front tires (click HERE to read), and now is the hooded tail wheel bay and strut.

According to Jerry, one of the big problems for modelers is all the restored aircraft out there. In many cases, they have not been restored to period-correct condition, with things left out, changed or “upgraded,” especially those planes still in flying condition. Working from an un-restored aircraft at a Swiss museum, he is helping Grey Matter offer a line of upgrades intended to recreate the birds of World War II.

what you get
This is a bare-bones approach to modeling:

A Zip-lock baggie with a recessed tail wheel bay covered with material and a resin strut for the wheel itself.

the review
The Tamiya 1/32nd scale Mustang, like its earlier two Zeros and two Spitfires, had modelers in a tizzy prior to its release. The results have been excellent, with details on the kit enough to satisfy most of us. But we wouldn’t be modelers if we didn’t want to perfect everything, and fellow modeler and Kitmaker Network member, Jerry Rutman, is sculpting a line of upgrades for Grey Matter Figures, a UK-based concern known previously more for its Sci-Fi and Fantasy figures. There is a series of six resin castings just for the Tamiya Mustang kit, including tires and now the rear wheel well.

In the kit, the well is open, whereas in actuality, it was “hooded” or swathed in canvas and leather to keep dust and dirt from entering the fuselage. The side walls were actually sealed with flannel panels. That kind of texture doesn’t translate even to this large scale, but the canvas and leather “boot” have very realistic creasing. The wheel strut is sharp & crisp, like the other Grey Matter products I’ve seen, with no flash or “beards.” The pour plug on the wheel bay is located out of sight on the inside, and the wheel strut has no residue at all.

The set requires no more than washing it in something to remove the mold release, followed by gluing it into the fuselage in lieu of parts J21-J22, V23-24 & 27 and ST4. You will need to remove the hub from V23 so that the wheel (V19) can be mounted to the resin strut. While there’s a big loss of inner detailing, this is the way the planes were issued, and given the dirty conditions many aircraft operated in, both in Europe and the Pacific, no flight crew boss would want his ‘Stang getting dirt up into the wheel mechanism.

After that, it’s paint it and you’re done.

There’s not much you can say about perfection. If you’re going to build the Tamiya Mustang and want the highest level of authenticity, this is the ticket. The kit configuration, while not incorrect, is not entirely correct, as the wheel bay had a cover inside it. I suppose you can make your own, but life is too short for that, and I thank Jerry and the folks at Grey Matter for providing this excellent little upgrade.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Superb casting, sharp details from someone who knows Mustangs.
Lows: None.
Verdict: Just the kind of item to improve an already excellent kit. For those who want the highest level of accuracy.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: GMAJR3206
  Suggested Retail: N/A
  PUBLISHED: Oct 31, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Grey Matter!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Bill Cross (bill_c)

Self-proclaimed rivet counter who gleefully builds tanks, planes and has three subs in the stash.

Copyright ©2021 text by Bill Cross [ BILL_C ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Thanks, Rowan. Can't imagine building the Tamiya 'Stang without this.
OCT 31, 2011 - 05:04 AM

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