P-51B Maly Modelarz

Discussion in 'Kit Reviews' started by Darwin, Jul 10, 2004.

  1. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    A few years ago, when getting started in the paper modeling revolution, I made the usual beginner's mistake of running across the infameous Maly Modelarz pirate website and making a "new download available" posting on the cardmodels group I then had membership. While trying to recover from the absolutely nasty flaming I received from the copyright Nazis (and no, I never will forgive you for the treatment you gave me, and every other neophyte who happened to blunder out they had discovered this great site), I received a bit of kindness from one member telling me not to take the abuse seriously, since just about everyone in the hobby at that time had downloaded and built (or tried building) some of the pirate Maly kits....and, what the hey, all the Maly kits were good for was practicing on anyway. Which is a long winded way of saying that the Maly Modelarz kits have had a well-deserved reputation of being some reasonably good designs absolutely destroyed by the horrible quality of the magazine that published them....old ragged-edge manila construction paper, terrible printing, just about non-existent construction diagrams, terrible artwork, and just about every other failing that could be attributed to a paper model.

    That said, I recently had a senior moment and included a Maly kit of the P-51B (January 2003 version) in an order from Lighthouse Modelart. Actually, I had been hearing from the grapevine that Maly's quality was improving, the kit was nice and cheap, and I was a bit curious to see how much better their kits are now.

    Guys and gals, this isn't your father's Maly kit. Good quality card stock, polished paper cover. Lots of construction diagrams, and enough detail to actually be useful. Terrific cockpit and wheelwell detail. Rudder separated from the vertical fin....elevators separated from the horizontal stabilizer.....even trim tabs separated from the main control surfaces. Great printing....some of the most nicely depicted instrument panels I have seen, good color registration, crisply drawn insignia. First impression is that this is one of the nicer P-51B kits available. The only nits I would pick with this kit is that the weathering attempts are a bit stark...a bit heavy handed on the opacity setting of the old air brush tool, but at least the attempt is there. And, Christine of the kind words to a beginner who made the mistake of downloading from the notorious pirate site and admitting it, this model is not for practicing on. This puppy is going to challenge the building skills of all but the most advanced cardbutchers among our merry little band.
  2. JRSeese

    JRSeese Member

    Hi Darwin, thanks for your post. For what it's worth, whenever I see "copyright" anywhere in a post I usually just duck and cover, head for the Jokes forum. It's a volatile subject to say the lease, sorry you had a bad experience getting caught in the crossfire.

    That said, I was wondering if anyone could give an approximation of the event horizon after which Maly started to improve their quality. As I'm shopping, it would be nice to know that models before a certain year are likely to be lower quality stock and printing.

  3. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Josh, based on the Maly kits I've been picking up off Ebay, it looks like Maly started improving their quality during the mid '90s (hmmmm....couldn't have had anything to do with the dissolution of the Soviet emipre, could it?). Regarding paper/printing quality, I would say anything publilshed after 1997 should be ok. The technical level of the kits started improving in the early 80's (introduction of cockpits and wheelwells, etc), but has tended to be in the "ho-hum" category through the end of 2002. The newest Maly kit that I have run across is the subject of this string, and is a marked improvement over previous issues....so my next observation is based on a random sampling of one (keep in mind that even a broken analog clock is right twice a day), but it looks as if Maly gained "big boy" status with the beginning of 2003. I'm looking forward to someone making current issues of the Maly magazine available to the North American market (you listening, Hobby Factory, Paper Models International?) Lighthouse Modelart seems to have smelled the coffee....they just added several recent issues to their line, and reasonably priced ---- about $5 US per issue, plus or minus a bit. I've bought a copy of all they have available, and all look worthy of building...but only the P-51B has impressed me. As I say, I hope this one indicates Maly has finally reached respectibility.
  4. billmcc

    billmcc Member


    Thank you for your review of the Maly P-51B. It sounds like you have become a Maly collector. I love the P-51 Mustang, so I will be buying this model in the near future.

    By the way, Gomix makes a clear canopy for the Maly P-51B.
  5. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Bill, regarding the Maly collector comment....what is the dividing line between collector and obsessive hoarder who should be committed for his own good? My excuse is that I am gathering a stash of toys for my retirement while I still have a big enough allowance to do so.

    If you wouldn't mind, please read my post on the P-47D and give some feedback on the format, and whether the time spent doing the reviews is of any value to the community.

    I know that Saul's Cardmodeler site has a P-51B canopy in stock, but I can't remember if it was intended for the Maly version. In theory, it should not (with much emphasis on the should) make any difference which house published a kit so long as the scale and model/mark/variant of the subject are the same....an aftermarket P-51B canopy should be usable on anyone's 1:33 P-51B kit (if you ignore the minor variable introduced by Malcom hood vs straight canopy).
  6. billmcc

    billmcc Member


    Collector or obsessive hoarder, makes no difference to me. It is nice to get the opinion of someone who is knowledgable.

    I will give some feedback on the format of your P-47D review tonight after work. Yes, I sometimes have to work on Sundays.

    According to the Gomix canopy list at Saul's Cardmodeler site, there is a canopy specifically for the Maly P-51B.
  7. murban

    murban Member


    allow me to post some information on Maly Modelarz kits.

    These kits are designed for youngsters. They are frequently used in schools in Poland to be constructed during "craftmanship" classes.

    That explains the sometimes more simple design. It's a totally different category than, let's say, the Halinski kits.

    If you keep that in mind, and regard the improving quality of the printing, they make nice little models for the ambitious card modeler who's skills are somewhere between beginner and pro. I like them and I have a subscription of the magazine. Whenever I feel the need for an in-between model to get away from all the fiddly bits and pieces of the larger kits - I chose one of Maly's.

  8. Swinger

    Swinger Member

    The first MM's issues were published in the beginning of the 50ties. The publisher (LOK) wasn't of course a private firm, but a national organisation, and THAT HASN'T CHANGED YET. This means that:

    - the publisher gets some subsidies from the government, and that's why MMs are cheaper than the other models

    - the government of the publisher seem to not encounter that the system has changed in 1989, and that's why MM is governed so badly (slow quality changes, frequent printing flaws etc.).

    Indeed, MMs were aimed to the youngsters ("Maly Modelarz" means "A little modeller"). The problem is that now they are a bit too complicated for the beginners...

    As for the quality, before 1981 (or so), the paper was "yellow", but not too bad (wasn't very stiff), and the quality of printing was also not bad (usually few colours used, but they were very often vivid and solid). In the eighties the paper was fatal, and so the colours were. After 1989 the colours changed into more vivid and solid. In 1991 the paper became a bit better (but still "yellow"). Since 1/1993 (Henschel Hs 123) the paper has been always white, and the colours much better - but before 1995 there were quite many exceptions. After this date the colours have usually been good. Since 1/2 1998 or 3/1998 the cover has been being printed on glossy paper. In 2000 first computer-designed models have been published, and since 12/2000 all models have been computer-drawn (as far as I know).

    As for the design, the most complex models are these computer-drawn, of course.

    The cockpits were always present in after-1992 models. Before 1993 it depended on a model.

    The wheel wells were a rarity before 2000.

    Now some examples:






  9. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Thanks for that, Swinger. Very illuminating! - Leif

Share This Page