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  1. As I am sure you are all aware, a number of the BM community members have for some time been contributing some fine model builds to the 453rd Bomb Group Museum at Old Buckenham. Some of the models are complete and live in the museum now, and a number are still under construction, as WIP's on here. The models came courtesy of the curator James Clarey. The BM team as I recall it consists of @CedB, @giemme, @general melchett, @Fritag, @The Spadgent, @Ex-FAAWAFU, @tomprobert, @woody37, @Tcoat, @Stew Dapple and @rob85 . Massive apologies if I have missed anyone! I got to join the team last year courtesy Ced and Giorgio, and of course, this all started way back in 2019 (I believe) when Ced hosted our three American (but Brits at heart) colleagues @Navy Bird, @Procopius and @Cookenbacher, for Telford SMW 2019. I had the chance to visit Jim last September during a short break we took in Suffolk/Norfolk. Jim's hospitality is legendary I'm sure, and on arrival we enjoyed a hearty full english breakfast. Apart from watching some light aircraft flying in the summer sun, we obvs got to see the fine museum there, but were also treated to an incredible behind the scenes view of the artefacts Jim had collected over the years representing the USAAF's time in East Anglia during WWII. My wife often refers to me as a "lucky chap" and indeed on that day I came away with a couple of models to build for the museum. Jim also lent me one of his many volumes to assist in the selection of a subject for the B-17, more of which will feature in a later museum build. Much time has passed since I brought these home, and much dialogue with Jim eventually got us settled on the subject for the P-51. Jim's original spec was "A green nosed mustang from East Wretham please". As I looked into this, over time I came to realise there were many decals available for representative aircraft from all three Squadrons of the 359th Fighter Group that were based in East Wretham during the later part of WWII. Aero Master alone have produced no less than 6 different sets, each with around 3 representative aircraft, all with the distinctive green nose. I managed to obtain these two sets, before we determined the actual aircraft for this build. Being a P-51 fan, with a few built in 1/72 and a few more in the stash, I'll likely build another Green nosed example for my own collection. I eventually managed to pin down an example flown from the 370th FS flown by Lt. John W. Lamont, with the help of the 359th FB page. It seems that Lamont enlisted in his hometown of Seattle, WA, on 25 September 1942, and joined the 370th Fighter Squadron on 17 August 1944. He flew 66 combat missions, completing his tour of duty with the 359th Fighter Group on 21 July 1945. A picture of the young Lamont: And the only picture I have found so far of "CisCo" So, onto the build........ There has been some (Cue wild laughter from the gathered masses) delay in starting this build for a number of reasons, one major modelling distraction being a commision build of a 1/35 AFV for the MOD, via the Tank Museum. This build is coming to a close over the coming week, and will indeed be handed over to the MOD at the end of May. .......... phew! There is also some peer pressure from Steve and Giorgio ......... something to do with standing "the first few rounds" in September when some more of the other builds will be presented to Jim, at the museum. We'll just have to see about that ........... !!! So the usual pictures to get us started............ The kit, you all know it I'm sure, and indeed will recall the fine museum build of this very aircraft by Giorgio last year. A very fine model for it's time. The usual sprue shots: Some aftermarket etch in the form of Eduard's set no. 49216. And the aftermarket decals from Aero Master, set 48-653 chosen in the end, aircraft number 3 at the bottom: To offer a flavour of these 359th Fighter Group "Green nosed" Mustangs during their time at East Wretham, here are some statistics taken courtesy of the 359th Facebook page. "During its 17 months of operation, members of the 359th Fighter Group, comprised of the 368th Fighter Squadron, the 369th Fighter Squadron, and the 370th Fighter Squadron, excelled at escort missions and at the very hazardous jobs of “killing” trains and destroying aircraft on the ground. There were 13,455 sorties flown by the pilots of the 359th. In addition to guarding the “heavies” they shot down 241 enemy aircraft, with an additional 33 probables and 69 damaged. Another 122 were destroyed on the ground plus 107 damaged. Almost 500 locomotives and 1,400 railway cars were destroyed or damaged. Other ground attacks supported troop movements and targeted infrastructure. To do all of this 1,000,000 rounds of .50 calibre ammunition was expended along with nearly 900 bombs of varying poundage. The Fighter Group lost 121 pilots." So this will be my tribute to those 121 lost airmen, and to all those who served during those challenging times. I hope to start construction in the next week or so and I may look into additional aftermarket detail sets in the meantime. If anyone has any recommendations for further detail sets, speak up chaps! Lastly, thanks for following. Terry
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