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Hi

Here is another pair of models to add to my USAAF Station 150 / RAF Boxted collection.

They are both from the delightful "P-51B Pioneer Mustang" set by "Sweet". I bought this and the "P-51 B/C Prisoner of War Mustang" by the same manufacturer from HLJ last year at a ridiculously low price.

The 354th Fighter Group was a new group formed at Hamilton Field, California on November 1942 and their initial equipment was the Bell P-39N Airacobra. Maj James H Howard, a former US Navy fighter pilot who had resigned his commission to join the AVG "Flying Tigers" in June 1941 assumed command of the 356th Fighter Squadron in May 1943. Howard had been credited with 2.333 aerial victories and four strafing kills whilst flying P-40C/Es over China and Burma.

The men of the 354th FG set sail for the UK in October 1943 not knowing what they would be flying on their arrival. They were ecstatic to learn that they would be equipped with the brand-new Packard-Merlin powered P-51B Mustang, becoming the first unit in England to fly the type, thereby earning the "Pioneer Mustang" monicker.

After a brief stop-over at RAF Greenham Common, the group arrived at Boxted in November 1943 and were joined by 24 combat-ready P-51Bs by the end of the month.

Boxted had been built as a bomber base and was fully-equipped with runways, taxyways, hardstands and a hangar, along with other buildings and living accommodation in the form of Nissen huts. The Pioneer Mustang Group flew 55 missions from Boxted, losing 47 Mustangs against claims of 169 enemy kills, before they were moved to their rather basic new home of Lashenden in Kent in April 1944. After the relative comfort of Boxted, some men likened their new home to a Boy Scout camp with tents and fox holes, cold showers and outdoor latrines!

The kits were a pleasure to build, with a little filler on the wing to fuselage joins required, but from that they fell together, although I'm not too happy with the fit of the canopies or spinners. These are built "ANA" (absolutely nothing added) and were painted with LifeColor Olive Drab over Neutral Gray after I had painted and masked the white recognition markings. I applied the decals over a Klear coat and sealed everything in with a brush-applied coat of W&N Galeria Matt Varnish, followed by a light, streaked wash of Raw Umber.

"DingHao!" was flown by the now CO of the Group, Lt Col Jim Howard (the individual letter code "A" denoting that the machine was the CO's mount.) This was one of the first machines in the Group to be fitted with a "Malcolm" hood. "Ding Hao" is a Chinese expression of luck that Howard brought with him from his time with the AVG.

"Killer" was flown by Capt Robert W Stephens, CO of the 355 Fighter squadron, who achieved 13 kills in the ETO.

The instruction sheet:

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And on the reverse, the comprehensive decal options available in the box:PioneerMustangDecalPlacement_zps2ee14d1f

The models and box with a penny for scale!

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And finally with a 1/72 HobbyBoss P-51B with home-made decals to represent "Ding Hao!":

SAM_9088_zps09b97435.jpg

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Wow. Those are superb and tiny! Thanks for adding the comprehensive history, instruction and decal sheets to accompany them as it places the models in context. I really like the addition of the 1/72nd variety for scale. Have you got a 1/48th to set against them? Once again, an excellent job.

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Wow. Those are superb and tiny! Thanks for adding the comprehensive history, instruction and decal sheets to accompany them as it places the models in context. I really like the addition of the 1/72nd variety for scale. Have you got a 1/48th to set against them? Once again, an excellent job.

Thanks for the kind words, Latinbear! Funnily enough, I do have the Tamiya 1/48 North American P-51B Mustang buried deep in the "to do" pile! Who knows, maybe another "Ding Hao!" might come off the production line!

Nicely finished dynamic duo!

Thanks Parabat. I'm pleased you like them. Now, where's that magnifying glass!

Superb pair of Micro Mustangs there, Really nice

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Russ. I'm glad you like the little blighters!

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Very nicely done Alpha Delta, they've turned out a lot better than my bodged attempts. Like you, I wasn't happy with the spinners and their fit. So I cut the pole thing off and just glued them together. Love the canopies too :)

Kind Regards,

Dazz

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Thank you for the kind words Alpha Delta. Think I will have to purchase some more of these. I've got the Wildcat/Hellcats to do yet...

How did you find the undercarriage doors? Mine seemed to fit at a very weird angle?...

Kind Regards,

Dazz

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Thank you for the kind words Alpha Delta. Think I will have to purchase some more of these. I've got the Wildcat/Hellcats to do yet...

How did you find the undercarriage doors? Mine seemed to fit at a very weird angle?...

Kind Regards,

Dazz

Hi Dazz

I have had a look on eBay and HLJ without success, so I might use one of the kits from the POW set to make the third 356th version from the "Pioneer" boxing. Yes, I wasn't happy with the main gear doors, so trimmed a little off each one, and now they're way too short!! I also failed to fix the landing light into the wing as it was too tiny to work with (even with a magnifying glass!) I tried unsuccessfully to fill the void with PVA. Having said all of that, I'm still happy with them!

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Sweet as, AD. Can you get the P-51D in this series? If so it would be good if you could model "Wee Speck" as it would be quite apt for this scale, it just wouldn't fit into your Boxted theme.

Tim.

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Thanks not only for the lovely models, but the great background info! Outstanding work on the little fellows.

I have great admiration for anyone who can build these superb tiny models, let alone make them look this good! I love Sweet's kits and have bought quite a few...but for my old eyes, I think of them more as "model jewelry" than as serious projects!

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Heck Ive just bought a head worn magnified lens with light...... and that's for 1/48 scale building...As models they are excellent but at 1/144 scale they are superb and then some... Nice work, very nice work

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  • 3 weeks later...

Superb models Alpha..I like the way the ID stripes appear to have been added later .Concerning the D Model Minicraft do a good representation.1 I made had quite an authentic NMF colour to the original plastic, but the second had silver flecks which even a OD saddle did not hide.I suggest the best P51D is by Platz (very similar to Sweet detailing and also 2 in a box).

Look forward to your P47s - hope one is Gabreskis and one the pretty coloured Rescue razorback .

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