Tamiya aircraft kits: the perfect palate cleanser?

In this day and age of complex kits, building one in under an hour can be the perfect antidote…

“This type of kit really is a palate cleanser and helps to break the line between complex builds, with parts that take little time to assemble and paint, before the display case can be opened once more”


Yesterday, both on here and on my YouTube channel, I discussed the need every so often to tackle something that pushes my skills and offers a build that is a challenge,  both in terms of construction and detailing.

Most modellers who have been in the hobby for some time will look to extend their skill set with more complex undertakings, so I’m certainly no different in peeping through that particular window of opportunity. Equally though, it is fun to turn the clock back to more innocent times in our lives and build something just for the sheer hell of it, an easy kit that doesn’t push you one iota, one that can be assembled in minutes and then painted in only few hours. Tamiya’s aircraft kits are just such kits, packages that are as easy as it gets to complete, with a bare minimum of parts, perfect fit and little or no extraneous features to cloud the process.

I love them!

Having built the MENG P-51D, I decided at the last minute to have a go at Tamiya’s offering, a kit that I built twenty years ago in ‘Red Tail’ markings, but today I no longer have. I remembered that it was as simple as it gets and was keen to see if it was all that I remembered. You can therefore imagine my pleasure when a trip to my local model club turned up an F-51D kit that was being sold by one of the members; money handed over, I set about deciding on what to do with this older, simpler box of bits and pieces.

Tamiya’s Mustang is no MENG kit, but the basics are certainly there and the levels of detail, though simplified, are more than acceptable. Having decided that this would be an ‘out of the box’ build, I was happy to simply add seat straps and then paint it in a cool scheme, a modern ‘warbird’ being selected as something suitably different. Though the kit had fallen by the wayside in terms of finer details, it most certainly had not in terms of design and the way that the parts allowed much of the package to be joined without glue. The image that you see here shows how it is possible to have the model on its wheels, almost complete without having to apply glue, which certainly bears testament to the quality of its design.


But it’s the simplicity of the kit that really makes it enjoyable to build; with little over 50 parts, the contents of the box are never really going to tax anyone and that was certainly the case yesterday, all sub-assembly work and initial clean up being carried out in less than an hour – and that included dealing with seam lines and joints around the wings! It was nothing more than an exercise in the careful removal of the individual pieces from their runners and then the application of glue – it really could not have been easier! Beginners most definitely need apply…


This type of kit really is a palate cleanser and helps to break the line between complex builds, with parts that take little time to assemble and paint, before the glass case can be opened once more to display the results. Though I would suggest that no-one does it better than Tamiya, there is an argument that Eduard offer similar products, which though slightly more complex in approach are just as easy to build and paint in short order. Just look at their delightful 1:72 Spitfire and Fw190 and their 1:48 Spitfire and Me109G, to give you some idea of what to expect. Easy to build, look great once complete and far from expensive, they have much to recommend them – which is why they are so popular!

So, my P-51 is ready to paint and I will soon have another model to add to the collection. It was every bit as easy to build as I remember it to be and now I have a canvass onto which I can apply what I hope will be an interesting finish. I might not be successful in what I have planned for this project, but at least I am now halfway there and in only using one hour so far to build it, it’s not as though if it does all go belly-up, I’ve wasted much in the way of precious time along the way. What’s not to like?!

Now, where did I put that chrome paint..?


YouTube – Future Projects and Other Nonsense

A quick video round-up of what I have planned for the next few months away from day-to-day kit builds…

Whilst getting back into the swing of things, here’s another short video that ties in with today’s Blog entry, giving you some idea of what I will be working on and why some of those older kits should not be ignored…

I hope that you like it!

A Return To YouTube!

A little round up and thoughts on recent projects…


Well, it’s be a very long time since I’ve created a video and as some of you have been asking me to do some more, I thought I’d best try and get used to it again. This is a simple little chat – I just hope you like it!
If you do like the video, please subscribe to the channel and you will be told when it is Updated, in the same way as you are with this Blog!


Did MENG really copy Tamiya’s large scale P-51 Mustang to create their smaller and simpler kit..?

“I agree that MENG may have been inspired by Tamiya, but to say it’s a copy is no more true in this case, than if I were to say that my local park team were a copy of FC Barcelona, simply because they both played football…”

Brett Green’s stunning Tamiya 1:32 P-51D Mustang as featured in ADH Publishing’s book “How To Build… Tamiya’s P-51 Mustang”

Yesterday you may recall that I posted images of my MENG P-51 and this wrapped up a most enjoyable build with a model that I really like. It’s been a while since I’ve embraced a kit so wholeheartedly and then been so taken with the finished result, so my pleasure in revealing it to the world was something that I couldn’t wait to do. Continue reading

The best-laid plans of mice and men…

…often go awry – and never more so than during the construction of a model!

“What this episode seeks to prove is that you should plan ahead and if possible, not change direction midway through a project”

Having already used a rather famous quote I’m loathed to repeat the trick, but there is a proverb that says: measure twice and cut once. Coming from the carpentry world, this literally means that you should double-check one’s measurements for accuracy before cutting a piece of wood; otherwise it may be necessary to cut again, wasting time and material. It’s a sensible guide to most things in life and a saying that I have heard many, many times. So why then, when this note is so familiar, do I forget its core message so often? Continue reading

Solitary Confinement and the need to be different…

Why not just try and fit in rather than constantly hunting for the unusual?

“No one likes to be told what to do or how to think in any other walk of life, so why would I choose to do that during my working day, or as part of my hobby?”


When I first started building models several millennia ago, almost everyone I knew did the same, bought a kit at the weekend, stuck it together on the kitchen table and then waited until the following weekend to repeat the process. Occasionally, we would get together to show off our latest glue encrusted, gloss-painted masterpiece, but often we would simply work in isolation and that would continue until we either became bored, found something else to do, or ran out of money. Mainly though, my memories of those days was the solitude and a burning desire to fit in with my peers and those that I admired. Continue reading