Hobby Boss 1/72 P-51D, P-47D, & P-40B/C

By Norm Filer

History

There have been so many histories of these three planes written that I think we can probably not worry about that this time.

The Kits

I can save all of us a bit of time right up front. If you are the modeler who loves to lavish countless hours on every little detail of a model, and usually only build one of each type, these kits are probably not your cup of tea. They are simple builds in every sense of the word. But if you’re a bit like me, and find yourself not being able to decide which of several dozen neat color schemes to do, and end up wanting to do them all, and are more interested in variety on the display shelves and not so much interested in every little detail but do want accurate appearing models, then these new kits are the perfect answer.

To say they are simple, with very few parts does not tell the whole story. That is a true statement, the Mustang for example only has 22 total plastic parts, and seven of those are alternate parts. But the rest of the story is that these are not kiddy toys that only resemble the real aircraft. All of the ones that I have seen and know enough about to be any casual judge of accuracy seem to be really good scale reproductions.

I think what Hobby Boss has done is truly innovative. For some reason many of us are caught up in a “parts count” thing. Or at least many of the current kit manufacturers seem to think we are. The more parts the better (and pricier) the kit. Hobby Boss clearly has gone the other way. Due to very innovative molding they have reduced the parts count down to the absolute bare minimum, and done it without compromising scale fidelity.

Fuselages generally are one piece affairs. Solid plastic for the most part, usually with the center part hollowed out and a very simple cockpit interior. The molds to make these kits must be very interesting, as there is indented detail on all four sides, top, bottom and left and right sides.

The cockpits on these three kits are simply done, just box shaped holes punched in from the top. But there are radio boxes, seats, simple side consoles on the Mustang and a control stick. The only thing missing is any instrument panel or hollowed out area under the panel. With the canopy closed, the simple interiors look good. Panel lines are fine and as good as most of the other plastic kits offer.

The kit assembly process is… well let’s just say it does not take long at all. The wings are one piece with some kits having the lower fuselage included with the wing. The method of assembly is very close fitting and sturdy. I don’t think you could call these snap-together kits, they do require glue, but the big solid pins and matching holes are strong enough to almost not need glue. I pushed the wing and fuselage parts together on the Thunderbolt and it took some serious work getting them back apart again. And the join line took only a small bit of filler prior to paint.

The Thunderbolt kit offers the 108 gal drop tanks, the oddly shaped flat center line fuel tank used early on, and two decent bombs. This kit only provides a closed canopy.

The Mustang, sadly, does not offer any under wing ordnance nor pylons. And the main wheel doors are molded in the up position. It does have alternate exhausts however. It also gives you either a separate windscreen and canopy, as well as a closed one piece one. But making it with a canopy open would be really difficult because they made the canopy frame integral with the fuselage.

The early Flying Tigers era P-40B/C also provides for both an open and closed canopy, and this time it looks like it would work just fine.

Decals

Each of the kits provides markings for two aircraft, and the decals appear to be of good quality as well as good choices of subject.

Conclusions

At nine bucks or so apiece, one would be inclined to dismiss these new kits as toys. That would be a mistake in my opinion. These things are innovative, simple and I think pretty accurate models that open up a whole range of ideas for the guy that is more interested in lots of one type of aircraft that show the different markings. I spent a lot of time a few years ago thinking about doing a representative Mustang for each squadron in the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces Doing that with 65-70 Tamiya or Hasegawa Mustangs just did not seem practical either from a cost or time to build viewpoint. With these kits, and two early Mustangs due for future release, it is a lot more achievable thing to consider.

Another important consideration is if you have a youngster who is interested in our hobby, but either is too young or loses interest in the complex kits we normally see, these are perfect. They are inexpensive, good simple builds, and they will end up with something that really looks like a scale model, not a toy.

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