Thanks all. Maker, I used an old PE fret I had in my stash.
Toshi, I'm going to get into that here. For the folks who have built this kit without glue I must applaud you. You are the Masterclass. I have been having no such luck and it's been a frustrating, profanity laced experience thus far.
First off, I assembled the fuselage/cockpit/radiator area and it was smooth sailing. I was fat, dumb and happy, all proud of myself until I attached the upper cowl pieces. I couldn't get these pressed flush and there were large gaps that I had to fill. I ended up gluing them down and filling them with Perfect Plastic Putty.
Next gripe. You have to follow the instructions, as the build order dictates how its held together without glue. This was first experienced with the landing gear legs and tail wheel which have to be installed as you proceed through basic assembly. Apparently they want you to paint everything separately and then assemble it. From the factory, the P-51 had an aluminum lacquer gear bay with the back wall (wing spar) in Zinc Chromate. This kit is the first to get this area right in 1/48. I did the light housing in ZC, painted the bulb silver then added a drop of 5 minute epoxy to simulate glass. The gear legs got brake lines.
I managed to get everything together but I just was not happy with the tolerances of the panel lines. There were gaps everyhere. I seemed to be gluing/squeezing then filling everything with putty. I ended up gluing the wing leading edges since the seam was visible.
Then the fun really began. For the life of me I could not get the machine gun inserts to fit. They just kept springing out and I ended up breaking off the starboard aileron (also a lousy design) under finger pressure trying to force them in place. I kept waiting for a "click" that never came.....all while trying not to break the landing gears that I had to install prematurely.... I ended up chopping out the insides and then supergluing them in place. I then filled the gaps with putty.
Perhaps I'm being too harsh but for a $50.00 kit, it should perform as advertised. That's alot of work for something that isn't supposed to even need glue. Maybe I had one piece that was out of whack or had some flash that I didn't see that threw everything off. Who knows, I'm not particularly impressed so far.
It will get some primer soon. I'm not sure I'm going to waste my Petie 2nd markings or use my precious Alclad on this kit. I may switch to a painted subject. We'll see how it looks under some primer. So far it's safe to say my Tamiya and Hasegawa kits are safe in the stash.
Maybe I'll switch gears and start that big Tamiya Corsair?....