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1/48 Tamiya P-51B as 43-12485 (354FG, 353FS) lost Feb 3rd 1944 (built for my dad)


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"So when are you going to build that Mustang?" my dad asked me last august. My dad was referring to P-51B 43-12485 of the 354th FG, 353rd FS flown by 2nd Lieutenant Richard H. Klein from New York, which was lost near where my dad lives (and I grew up). I told him that compared to the P-51D, P-51B models are somewhat problematic - all 1/72 models have some sort of issue, in 1/48 all of them have the wing spar issue, and in 1/32 the Revell kit is ancient and Trumpeter is also oddly shaped. A little bit later, I realized that my dad wouldn't be bothered by the wing-spar issue, and after finishing Italeri's 1/72 Stirling I was in the mood for a sanity build, so I opted to build Tamiya's P-51B kit for his birthday, which was in November. I didn't post any in-progress pics because I wanted it to be a surprise.

 

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I didn't address the curved cockpit floor, but I did add a resin seat from Ultracast, and a Yahu instruments panel.

 

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I replaced the kit's exhausts and flaps with resin items also from Ultracast

 

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The model was primed with black Mr Surfacer 1500. Next, I used Olive Drab and Neutral Grey from MRP. I used decals from Warbird for the national markings, the serial number, and the squadron codes.

 

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Klein's P-51B was lost due to engine failure; the first P-51Bs suffered from some teething problems of which Klein was the victim. Klein was able to bail out of the aircraft, was rescued by local fishermen as he landed in the water, and captured by the Germans and spent the rest of the war as a POW.

 

Because the aircraft was relatively new, I tried to keep the weathering subtle.

 

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Here's the model next to the Airfix P-51D that I finished earlier this year. The Tamiya Mustang is an easier build, but the Airfix model looks better. And to be honest, in addition to some (well documented) accuracy issues, the Tamiya kit is also beginning to show it's age - the parts were not as crisp as the one I built back in the late 1990s, and there was even a bit of flash.

 

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And finally, here's me having just handed over the model to my dad for his 65th birthday - he was very happy with it :)

 

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Thanks for looking! Comments & feedback is always welcome.

 

Elger

 

 

 

Edited by elger
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Very nice. I agree with you regarding the Tamiya 1/48 Mustangs - they are getting very long in the tooth now and have a number of issues which we would not find acceptable nowadays. But they are cheap and as you have shown - do build quite nicely.

 

I like the way that you have done the Olive drab which appeared very dark on most wartime pictures I have seen. Many people try to fade it far too much to be realistic.

 

Cheers

 

Malcolm

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  • 1 year later...
1 hour ago, H Grape Minkoff said:

I found your web page while searching for Richard H Klein.

I have a letter he wrote to my mother-in-law in 1944 from the German POW camp.

Are you interested in seeing the letter?

 Well yes indeed - off the chart cool factor!  Why not post it right here?  Thanks for the offer!

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1 hour ago, H Grape Minkoff said:

I found your web page while searching for Richard H Klein.

I have a letter he wrote to my mother-in-law in 1944 from the German POW camp.

Are you interested in seeing the letter?

absolutely! That would be really great!

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