Monogram 1/32 Phantom Mustang

By Michael Benolkin

Many years ago, Monogram released a 1/32 scale P-51 Mustang that featured a transparent exterior structure and had some interesting interior detailing. I remember building this kit with my dad, and how this model would be one of the significant kits that would help me with the direction of my life. Yep, the Phantom Mustang helped to kindle my love for flying, my desire for an Air Force career, and of course, my addiction to scale modeling.

Once again, Monogram has re-issued the Phantom Mustang in one of its original packages. And as with the previous releases of this kit, everything is still here.

The kit features a transparent fuselage, with a Merlin engine affixed to motor mounts on the firewall. Inside the Merlin is an electric motor that spins the four-bladed propeller in high RPM. With a little bit of wiring and detailing, the Merlin can be an eye-catcher.

The cockpit is also well represented with a pilot, seat, instrument panel, stick, rudders and throttle. The auxiliary fuel cell is located behind the pilot. Like the Merlin, this cockpit can also be dressed up with a little detailing as well.

The wings are also transparent, revealing the mainspar, main fuel cells, the gun bays, and the operating retractable landing gear. The two main gear struts are interconnected to the tailwheel mechanism in the rear of the fuselage, and these are powered by an electric motor located in the base that the aircraft will be mounted upon. Also in the wings are the bomb release mechanisms that are also controlled from the base.

The kit is not very complex, nor is it overly detailed. It was designed for the widest variety of modeling skills. If one were to build this kit without any painting, an impressive model will still be realized. The kit is molded in transparent, red, green, black, and silver plastic, and the resulting combinations will look like a museum display.

As I've mentioned, if one were to apply some aftermarket details, such as an Eduard instrument panel and other details intended for the Hasegawa 1/32 P-51D, the results would be more enticing. The same applies to some realistic painting of the interior parts and some weathering in the appropriate places.

The aircraft is mounted to a base that contains the batteries and controls for the engine, landing gear, and weapons release toggles. You'll probably want to add a little more ballast to the base to keep the aircraft stable around wandering hands, cats, etc.

There is some hesitation by modelers to undertake a project like this. The clear parts will show the slightest glue goober forever. There is some good news though. Many hobby shops, especially those with train departments, sell watch crystal cement. This is the stuff that jewelers use to glue a watch crystal back into place. The glue does not mar plastic and dries invisible. You can build a perfectly transparent Mustang with this stuff.

On the other hand, You can assemble the model with conventional cement with the intention of painting the exterior of this model. Before painting, you would mask key sections of the model, such as the cockpit, areas of the upper wing(s), and an area around the engine. Paint the Mustang as you would any other kit and when you're finished, you remove the masks and can see through the airplane into selected areas of the model.

The decals provided with the kit are for a generic post-war P-51D, and the maintenance stencils are nice. You'll be able to find some aftermarket Mustang decals in 1/32, or scale up your 1/48 decals using your scanner and the VitaCal decal making system that we reviewed last month. The bottom line is that you have a variety of options to choose from with a kit like this.


Thanks Monogram for releasing this kit again! This is one of those projects that can be fun and inspiring too (at least it was for me). I can recommend this kit to anyone with a little more than just basic modeling skills. For those of you with intermediate and advanced modeling capabilities, take another look at this old kit. You could really turn out a masterpiece with this.

My sincere thanks to Revell-Monogram for this review sample!

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