Matchbox 1/72 Mustang '50:50'

This is the second work in progress for the site – a build of a very old Matchbox 1/72 P-51D Mustang. This is one of the kits given to me by my friend Mat Bailey, and there’s a short article about them here.

I want to try and preserve the look and feel of the multi-coloured moulding, and I think it will be fun to contrast how I would have built this back in the 70s and how it would be finished today, using modern techniques. To that end I’m going to build each side separately. The starboard will be unpainted, and assembled with tube glue. There’ll be no filling, or embellishments, just as if it’s being built on the kitchen table on a Saturday afternoon.

The port side will have the raised panel lines removed and scribed in, any gaps filled and a natural metal finish applied. I’ve also got aftermarket decals for the scheme supplied in the box, so I can compare those to the original 1970s items. The box and instructions deserve to be preserved, so I hope to come up with a way of incorporating those in the presentation of the model.

Here’s the plastic that comes in the box, and the instructions.

Over the weekend I’ve been working on the Mustang, with some great Six Nations rugby (great start for Wales!) and the Bathurst 12 Race. I’ve assembled the starboard side. With just a few parts and no filling or primer coat it was a quick 15 minutes work.

Here you can see it from the other side, with the seat and rear deck in ‘half and half’ of paint and original colour. I also cut out a small circle of plasti card and cut it in half to represent the pilot’s head cushion.

Amazingly the near fity year old decals still work. Quite often old decals will split apart, or refuse to leave the backing paper, but these are in perfect condition. No setting solutions allowed on this side, so there’s some wonderful bubbles and silvering under them.

Here’s the port side. I followed the raised panel lines with the scribing tool, before sanding them away. Looking at references there are many more lines that could be added but I’ve kept it simple and just ‘converted’ Matchbox’s detail.

It’s not compulsory to use a black primer under Alclad metal olours, but it does show the new panel lines off.

I’ve sprayed the model all over Alclad Polished Aluminium, and added the blue stripes to the nose and the olive drab anti-glare panel. There’s no photographs of this as Douglas is down in the shed this afternoon and his bed blocks access to the photo booth.

The Mustang is finished. It’s such a simple little kit that the finishing is very quick, escpecially as I’m only doing half of it ‘properly’. I managed to lose the port side wheel, so I bought an after-market set, which I thought was a nice addition to the 50:50 concept of this model. The port side also has aftermarket decals that match the scheme that comes in the box, and prop blur blades. This has been a great, fun project, and I have to say many thanks again to Mat for the gift of this, and the other kits.