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Building the Hasegawa P-51D in 1/32 Scale: Part 4

We ended Part 3 with with the fuselage finally joined, but some nasty gaps and misalignments to deal with. The one that had me most concerned was the mismatched exhaust openings on the port side, but after considering my options for a while, I decided to try the simplest solution, and carve away the excess material at each end:

It’s not perfect, but certainly much improved.

The gap to the rear of the upper engine cowling was easily fixed with some styrene strip and copious amounts of Tamiya Extra Thin liquid cement:

A little bit of Mr. Surfacer 500 and some more sanding, and this nasty gap is gone.

The gaps on either side of the cockpit sidewalls took a bit more effort, but finally yielded to some CA glue and clamping. They look much better now:

I decided that this was a good time to assemble the wings and tailplanes:

I was a little concerned that squeezing the cockpit sides in to fix those nasty sidewall gaps might have had an adverse effect on the wing root joins, but a quick test fit allayed my fears:

Before joining the two sub-assemblies together, however, I decided it would be easier to deal with their respective seams while they were still separate, so I spent some time filling and sanding until I thought they were ready.

I also took the opportunity to attend to the every-so-slightly oval gun ports. They weren’t so bad that they needed to be replaced, but were noticeably out of round, so I grabbed this handy reamer tool by Ustar:

This made short work of the problem, and made the gun ports at least acceptable:

I also managed to join the spinner cone to its base plate:

At this point, I could join the wings to the fuselage!

And true to the test-fitting I did, the resultant gaps were only minor, and while I was happy enough with how the wings and fuselage came together, the small gaps at the wing roots revealed during the test-fitting required just a little bit of extra attention, so I stretched some kit sprue, and forced it into the those gaps with copious amounts of liquid cement:

This is done not so much for gap-filling purposes, but to ensure that there’s sufficient plastic joining the wings to the fuselage in this important area, and this something that styrene does better than pretty much every other choice available to modellers.

And this brings us to the end of Part 4! Wing root seams await, but we’re getting close to final assembly now. Stay tuned for Part 5!

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