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Squibby

P-51D Daddy's Girl (Or how to ruin a perfectly good Tamiya Mustang kit)

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So after kick starting my modelling again with a little 1/72 Fw-190 I've decided to tackle one of the 1/48 scale planes in my stash.

 

I'm using Tamiya's well regarded 1/48 scale P-51D kit. I'll be using some third party decals (From Lifelike Decals) to represent the particular aircraft in question (linked below to avoid any copyright issues)

 

http://www.warbirdregistry.org/p51registry/images/p51-4463807-2.jpg

 

 

So last year I built up a Spitfire Mk1 with a lot of effort put into scratch built detailing and I'm aiming to do the same here.

 

The Tamiya kit is quite simple out of the box surprisingly. I started with the cockpit as per generally accepted practice... There is good detail here but plenty of scope for improvement. Most of the detail is actually molded into the fuselage sides, as such suffers from being quite shallow. Using a pile of reference pictures I found on the net of some hyper detailed flight sim models (they obviously did their research) I set about improving the overall 3D look of the cockpit and adding various missing details and doodads. I felt a bit apprehensive at first carving away the nicely molded (if shallow) detail but soon got into the swing of it.

I made decision to stick with the relatively shallow looking sidewall structure though, as trying to fix it would require cutting away all the detail and starting from scratch. The goal anyway wasn't to get absolutely accurate, but at least represent the busy-ness of the real deal. The end product is probably going to be quite anachronistic with regards to the instruments anyway.

 

37870432141_7a00b4a067_b.jpg

 

Here is the right hand side sidewall. Almost all the Tamiya molded detail was cut away and replaced or modified in some way. The switches are all formed from lengths of copper wire glued into drilled holes and cut to length. The oxygen hose is a length of copper wire wrapped tightly with lead wire. There is also a little hand crank to be fitted still but I'll do that after the increasingly daunting task of painting all this up...

 

37821863326_33c9c1030f_b.jpg

 

Left sidewall. Similar story here. The jutting out thing is the flare pistol barrel, which I struggled with for a bit, it's a bit overscale overall but I'm happy with it. There is a flare case I molded from Milliput yet to be fitted. The round knobs on the throttle quadrant were also made from Milliput.

 

24017520938_183f4c8da3_b.jpg

 

Cockpit floor and IP. Oddly enough Tamiya don't provide a IP decal for the instruments. I've had to order in some Airscale 1/48 scale instruments for this, Given how long stuff takes to arrive on our shores I'll probably be held up a bit when I get to this point.

 

37613100750_afb74451f6_b.jpg

 

And finally the missing bits off the sidewalls, the crank made out of tiny slivers and punched discs of styrene and the Milliput molded flare case. It's my first try with the stuff and an overall average effort but good enough given it's size.

 

Next up will be the seat, rudder pedals and the area behind the cockpit with the radios and battery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Squibby

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Very Impressive sir!

Ive just started the same detailing Project on the 1/32 version which I will post shortly.

Will be following this one for sure!

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Can't see too much ruining going on here just yet, I'll look in occasionally to see if I can spot some. :D

Steve.

Edited by stevehnz

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Made some more progress and finished detailing up the seat.

 

Tamiya represented the seat cushion / life raft? as this homogeneous smooth block of plastic. I took to it with a Tamiya scriber and scraped and scalloped out chunks randomly with a curved blade to mess it up and make it more wrinkly and and cushion-ey. After inflicting my damage I slathered over some Tamiya extra thin to smooth all the hard edges off. I'm quite happy with the end result. It certainly looks more like cushion than the stone slab I started with.  At least it's more in line with some of the aftermarket resin representations so hopefully I'm on the right track with this.

 

The remainder of the oxygen hose I made was cut up and used to form the springs built in behind the seat. The seat sits a little further out than Tamiya intended due to this but test fits show no interference with my handiwork in the rest of the cockpit.

 

37944976631_b409aec50a_b.jpg

 

37235470644_cbe4209fc6_b.jpg

 

And the seat all test assembled.

37914352002_c90988c9ab_b.jpg

 

Cheers for watching!

 

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Looking fantastic so far, nothing ruined, quite the opposite! :)

 

Nice to see you tackle Wetmore´s Daddy´s Girl - I have the decals for her as well but from fundekals. You know what  green colour you will use for the nose yet?

 

Fundekals´ instrucions if you are interested.

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That looks like really good work with marvellous detailing.

 

Like others I will follow this with interest.

 

Michael

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Thanks all, 

 

I'm enjoying mucking around with the silly little details for now. 

 

@Paramedic I liked the green nose / blue tail combo for some reason and it's not a commonly modelled scheme either. I'm planning to use plain old Tamiya XF-5 (flat green) as a base but I may mix it with something (maybe a bit of interior green) to get that duller / olive shade that come out in photos. Apparently the green varied quite a bit (there is a great photo out there showing multiple green noses in a line up) so I'm not going to spit hairs over it. The blue tail will be XF-4 (flat blue) lightened with white or one of the numerous light blues in my paint collection.

 

 

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Yeah, what I thought, find a decent green that I like and use that. ;)

 

It is lovely see you play with those little details.

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A few little bits of progress today...

 

Tamiya have modelled a really crude representation of a K-14 gunsight in clear plastic. This part was really badly molded (which is odd for a Tamiya kit), the glass bits were huge thick blobs and the rest had a huge seam line running through it. The general shape was ok though.

 

I started by cutting off the glass bit and added details of the mounting frame and various other doodads from styrene. I've built a small frame for a thin acetate glass bit to fix to later. I'll also fill the lens cavities with some clear epoxy to finish.

 

37275455924_b48f4e26bc_b.jpg

 

Other than the sight I added a bead around the seat cushion with some thin lead wire to make it look a bit more like a stitched cushion rather than a crumply foam pad...

 

26208765919_1f86192c4b_b.jpg

 

Edited by Squibby

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Time for an update I think.

 

I've left the cockpit areas alone to tackle one of the elephants in the room with regard to this kit. The wheel wells....As some of you may know the Tamiya kit despite it's otherwise excellent attention to detail does not represent the wheel well that accurately.

For those not in the know the wheel well is not fully boxed in around the opening, but extends back into the wing a bit on the rear. There are many resin sets provided to correct this but what would be the fun in that?

 

I came up with a plan to remove the wall off the bottom wing section replace it further back with a new rear spar. I'd then extend the ribs molded into the top wing sections back to the new spar. Unfortunately this didn't work out too well (and it looked pretty rubbish) so I started down a slippery slope of removing more and more kit plastic until I had essentially stripped both the top and bottom wing sections back completely...I guess I'm in for some proper scratch building...

 

Here is the left upper wing showing how it initially stood, the line of white is where the new spar was glued in (and sub sequentially removed). The spar extensions didn't look great when fitted (differing thickness / gaps etc)

 

24303059648_33f40854f0_b.jpg

 

And here is the right upper wing with the bottom wing after, I ended up taking out the front spar as well as the real deal was more sloped and had multiple lightening holes.

The structure was painstakingly built up with numerous test fits, the curvature of the wings tended to make things quite tricky, especially given my limited experience and sloppy measuring. I used a resin AM set photo as reference for this.

 

26378535019_96990793ca_b.jpg

 

and loosely test fitted (the gaps disappear when the wing is closed properly.

 

26378535189_f00e6a6c75_b.jpg

 

And looking into the extended rear bay... which was the point of this whole silly exercise in the first place...

 

38123525842_495d8e0cc4_b.jpg

 

I've still got a bit of detailing to do, but I've cracked the main structure on one side at least. I've just got to repeat the process with the left side upper wing... I've created traced templates of all the pieces I built which should (fingers crossed) make the other side a tiny bit easier.

 

Until next time!

 

 

Edited by Squibby

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I'm liking the look of this, even though its a size up for me, there is some good work going in there. Go that man. :)

Steve.

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So I've managed to make some progress on the gear bays, to the point where they are all structurally complete after a rather tedious exercise.

The patterns I had didn't help over much, I still had to carefully shape the members to suit the slightly different dimensions of this bay. I'm finding my dimensional consistency is pretty sloppy, but given how small everything is it's not too apparent.

 

The detailed ribbing was replicated using scored and riveted strips of aluminum tape to match the Tamiya detail in the centre bay part.

 

Once that was done I decided to tackle the detailing in the new bay segments. For all intents and purposes the P51D had a chaotic mess of pipework and cabling scattered across the bay. I tried to make sense of it but almost every reference photo I had showed something different.

 

I picked one set of photos I found here http://www.yolo.net/~jeaton/Propplanes/p51/p51.htm and set to work trying to replicate what I could. I struggled on this for a while, ripping out the installed pipework a couple of times due it turning into an unpaintable, out of scale mess. I finally just gave up and went the 'general impression' route with the pipework with the aim of actually allowing me to paint it all up when I'm done.

 

38306900771_afc3ef7b39_b.jpg

 

I also added the retract cylinders from brass tube with aluminum tape around the ends. I've tacked one onto the wall with some bluetack. The white bar in the adjacent bay is meant to be the connecting arm.

 

38252617076_f100bd8d7f_b.jpg
 

And here it is test fitted together. Starting to come along now, I just need to figure out what to do with the centre section,  I suspect more pipes...

 

37591516324_9fdfc67459_b.jpg

 

Until next time!
 

Edited by Squibby

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Well, I haven't seen any screw ups yet,  looks pretty good to me.

 

 

Moar!  :whip: 

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Such awesome work! Love those wheel bays. No matter how many times it took, perseverance has paid off. Lovely.

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I can't see any ruination either. Fantastic amount of micro-engineering going on, some of those pieces must be tiny.

 

You've got me hooked.

 

John

Edited by Biggles87

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Haven't you all been watching me cut large unnecessary chunks out of a perfectly workable Tamiya kit :D

 

Cheers for the comments all,

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Time for a mini update.

 

I've slaved away detailing the second wheel bay and have finally finished the 2 sides. I now need to start modifying and detailing the centre bay section to match. Hopefully I can actually paint this all neatly...

I'm not looking forward to the centre bay too much as the piping here is chaotic, I'll have to simplify and pick out the main bits to represent lest I drive myself crazy.

 

Here are the completed scratch built side bays. Not a bad effort if I do say so myself... if a bit shonky and dimensionally questionable :D

 

26635774409_dbe187f26d_b.jpg

 

26635774949_95d7e0ed32_b.jpg

 

To take a small break from the landing gear bays I went back and finished off the rudder pedals I had been messing around with before my diversion. I tried to replicate a rough facsimile of the raised lettering and NAA logo on the pedals by embossing a bit of aluminum foil tape. Took me several tries and this is the best I could do on a tiny 2mm by 3mm sliver of tape. 

 

24540684288_8c2aaeaf12_b.jpg

 

Cheers for following!

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It's not unusual to see photos of parked Mustangs with the inner gear doors closed or only partially open so if the detailing gets too tedious you could always take this option. Great job on the rudder pedals by the way.

Have you decided what to do with the wings yet?

 

John

 

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@Biggles87 I assume you're talking about removing the panel lines on the top surface? I haven't decided yet. As apprehensive as I am about removing detail I'll do it for realism. I was also thinking of using a matt basecoat there so it looks like aluminium lacquer paint instead of bare metal.

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Hi, yes that's what I was talks about. After the Spitfire, the Mustang is my favourite prop aircraft and I have built up quite a lot of reference material over the years, in fact my ' Walkaround ' book is starting to fall apart through constant use. After studying many period photos of Mustangs on production lines I have come to the conclusion that the area which was filled and puttied varied considerably although the original specification was for the first 40% of the chord to be treated that way.

If it will be of any use to you I can send you some photos of the ereas in question.

 

Cheers

 

John

 

PS. Sorry if this is ' teaching my granny to suck eggs '

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Well, i was worried that your project was turning into "Daddy's Little Monster", but it seems you have matters well in hand.

 

As to the great philosophical debate about to fill or not fill the panel lines on the wings, I'm all for it. The laminar-flow wing and all the care that went into making it aerodynamically clean is to me a unique attribute of the P-51 plus the lacquer-painted wing makes a nice contrast with the bare metal fuselage panels.

 

But that's just the opinion of a Corsair guy.

 

-d-

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