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  1. Cavalier Turbo Mustang III 1:32 Halberd Models Conversion for Tamiya P-51D After WWII, the P-51 Mustang continued to serve with the US Air Force for a while as their standard fighter, although with every day it became more out-dated due to the headlong rush of aviation technology after the advent of jet propulsion and the race to break the sound barrier. By 1957 the last Mustang left US service, and North American sold the intellectual rights to the design that they then considered worthless to Trans Florida Aviation Inc., who intended to create a high-speed executive transport by taking surplus airframes and rebuilding them as an improved two-seat civilian aircraft. The initial Cavalier Mustangs were stripped and rebuilt without their military equipment, but apart from their livery and the taller rudder fin, they were visually almost indistinguishable from the old warhorse. They were well-appointed, with new avionics and luxury interiors, were powered by an improved Merlin engine, and were available with various-sized fuel capacities that gave a range from 750 up to 2,500 miles. Around 20 were made of the initial mark, then the Mark II was designed, with tip-tanks for extra range and various structural and avionics improvements. It was also outfitted with hard-points for weapons, and another boost to the power of the Merlin engine. Some of these were sold to Asian and South American countries, where some El Salvadoran airframes took part in the Soccer War. During this period Cavalier were actively courting the US Air Force trying to sell them the improved airframe as a Counter Insurgency (COIN) or Close Air Support (CAS) platform, but they weren’t biting, so sales were low to other customers. Soon after, they retired the trusty Merlin and replaced it with a Dart 510 turboprop, again from Rolls-Royce, although they had really wanted a Lycoming engine. It reduced the maintenance burden and was more gutsy and fuel efficient, but they still couldn’t get the US government interested. The design with the preferred Lycoming turboprop engine replacing the Dart was sold to Piper, and became the PA-48 Enforcer, but only four were made and shared so few parts with the original Mustang that there was little in the way of cost-savings from use of existing Mustang parts. Only two of the four survived the years in between, and are to be found in US museums. This was probably the ultimate Mustang and a world away from the original design. Many of the original Cavalier Mustangs were converted back to their original specification when Warbirds and heritage flights became popular. The Set This is a new resin conversion kit for the Tamiya P-51 Mustang in 1:32, and will convert it to the Rolls-Royce Dart equipped Turbo Mustang Mk.III that was unsuccessfully marketed to the US Air Force, we’ve already reviewed the original Cavalier Mustang here. The conversion arrives in a large box with a sticker and a profile of the aircraft on the front, plus logos and a link to their eBay shop in red. Inside are 25 resin parts in Halberd’s signature green resin, surrounded by bubble-wrap and Ziploc bags, with the two large replacement fuselage parts taped together and encased in bubble-wrap to keep them safe and aligned during shipping and storage. In addition to the resin is a small set of decals on white backing paper, plus three pages of A4 instructions printed in colour on both sides. The parts are expertly cast, and the fuselage parts have all the detail of the kit parts, carried over flawlessly onto the new nose that extends from the front of the canopy. The new and old details are perfectly matched, which is very impressive, given the finesse of the originals. This finesse is carried through to the large square-tipped prop blades, the oval side-mounted exhaust and the antennae that are attached to the new taller tail fin. As usual, take care with sanding resin, as the fine dust can be hazardous to your health if you breathe it in. Wearing a mask and wet-sanding will help keep you safe. Construction begins with adapting the seat to remove the head armour, adding it and the new resin rear passenger seat to the cockpit along with the headrest as part of building the kit cockpit with whatever upgrades you may or may not wish to apply from other sources. The new fuselage needs little in the way of clean-up, but ensure it is done before you begin adding the kit parts, and remember to use CA to glue them, as resin cannot be bonded together or with styrene parts by our usual plastic glues. Epoxy resin can be used for large parts if structural strength is needed. It’s your choice of course. At the tail the fin has been adapted ready for the extended tip, and you should drill two holes in the sides for the antenna on each side. The fin fillet from the kit will fit in the gap at the leading edge of the tail, and the kit rudder will fit too once you have removed a short section from the top, using the new fin top as your guide. It should be noted that it will be difficult to adapt the Revell 1.32 kit for this conversion as the tail is different from the Tamiya kit. Next up the kit canopies are used, but with the stiffening hoop omitted to fit the new resin part at the rear. Going back to the fuselage, the front is finished with another fine resin part, with a top intake and a small gap between the cowling and the gearbox housing, with some fine stators visible at the back of the space. The prop boss has recesses for the four blades cut into its sides, and a peg that mates with the recess at the centre of the nose for easy installation. The prop blades however aren’t keyed, so you will need to set the angle yourself to ensure they are all correctly aligned and facing the right way. It may be an idea to create a small temporary jig to help with this. The large exhaust is fitted through an oval opening in the starboard side of the fuselage, and the inner end butts up against a recess inside the nose, so insert that before you get too far ahead of yourself and can no longer see the part’s destination. The tip tanks have their fairings and a shallow peg to mate to the open wingtips, and they are moulded with the nose separate to allow them to be cast as smooth as possible. Due to the size of these resin parts some extra reinforcement maybe needed? The pylons for the numerous weapons the Turbo Mustang could carry are attached to the underside of the wing on pins, and you should first measure and drill the holes, preferably before you have completed the wing, so take care there too. There are six pylons in total, two from the kit, and four resin parts from the conversion, all of which are set 20.25mm apart in a line. The rest of the kit is put together in the same manner as the kit instructions suggest, but it will be key to your success to familiarise yourself with both sets of instructions to ensure you know exactly where all the parts go, and at which stage in the build you should insert them into the model. Markings There were only a few of these aircraft made, so there aren’t many options unless you’re going to go with a “what-if” scheme. From the box you can build the following: Cavalier Turbo Mustang III, Sarasota, Florida, 1968 The colour call-outs use FS numbers and colour names, and the few decals are shown in an enlarged form where necessary to save straining your eyeballs. The decals are well-printed with a thin carrier film, and a small arrow is printed next to the step-marks on the wing roots so that you fit them correctly. Stencils for the large prop blades are included, as are a selection of RR logos and fire warning stencils. Conclusion The previous sets were excellent, but the sheer strangeness of the nose of this version makes it strangely irresistible. This is crying to be built and has worked its way towards the top of my stash. We can only ope sales encourage Halberd to keep working on the unusual. Extremely highly recommended. Halberd Models sell their products via eBay for their ease, and the link below will take you to their shop there. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Hi everyone, For show is this wee beasty which is part of the Mustang STGB. As usual I wanted to do something different for the GB and once I saw this I just knew I had to build it. This aircraft was build new by Cavalier Aircraft Corp in 1968 and was based off their Mustang II. Designed as a Close Air Support/Counter-Insurgency aircraft the original RR Merlin was replaced with a RR Dart 510 turboprop. Despite the radically improved performance and payload increase no sales were made. In 1970 the prototype was sold to Piper which spawned the Piper PA-48 Enforcer. The basis for this is Tamiya’s 1/48th F-51D, to which was added the Heritage Aviation Models Turbo Mustang III conversion kit. Unfortunately it’s not the best of resin mouldings but it is the only one I know of out there. The build was a wee bit difficult but that was mostly my fault....did things completely ar#e-about, but I’m still pretty happy to have this really unusual and brutal beast added to the collection. Please enjoy and I have attached the thread for the build. Cheers Build thread: build link
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