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Toryu

Pursue & Destroy - My Mustangs of the Mighty Eighth

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Like many of us I'm a devoted fan of North American's fighter masterpiece. My very first kit in 1/72 was the infamous Revell proposition as was my first ever 1/32 model. I still remember how attracted I was by the striking box art of Don Gentile's Shangri La...

 

Inspiring books like Roger Freeman's 'The Mighty Eighth' and Kit Carson's 'Pursue & Destroy' motivated me in the late seventies to start an Eighth Air Force P-51 collection in quarterscale. I have built Mustangs of 13 Fighter Groups by now. Only the 20th FG is missing.

 

In the early years I had to get along with kits that are a little less sophisticated than the latest products from Airfix and Eduard. Most of my original builds are based on Monogram kits which, albeit with raised panel lines, are still an acceptable design. I hope you enjoy them despite their age.

 

The first series of models represents the 65th Fighter Wing. There were only four Mustang groups in the wing as the 56th FG never abandoned their Thunderbolts. The four groups are -

 

 

QP-B   BEE   43-6819  P-51B-5-NA

4th FG  334th FS,  Capt Duane W. Beeson - Squadron CO,  F-356 Debden,  April 1944

 

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On 5 March 1944 Duane Beeson's well-known P-51B was severely damaged by flak while strafing. He limped home to Debden where BEE's tailplane was patched up. Exactly one month later, on 5 April, German flak hit again during a strafing attack on Brandenburg. This time Beeson was forced to crash-land and was taken POW. Credited with 24 aerial victories he was the second-highest scoring ace in the Eighth Air Force at the time of his capture.

 

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Monogram 1973 edition (first released in 1967) with aftermarket canopy, exhausts, tail wheel and wing pylons. Upgraded cockpit, propeller and 75 gal drop tanks. Modified gun ports and radiator ramp. AeroMaster Decals 48-213. More pictures here.

 

 

OS-X   MISS STEVE   44-13677  P-51D-5-NA (late)

355th FG  357th FS,  1/Lt William J. Cullerton,  F-122 Steeple Morden,  December 1944

 

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After crash landing MISS STEVE was repaired and - re-coded OS-N - was assigned to Lt David P. Watkins who named her FICKLE FANNY. The 355th FG was the Eighth's leading ground strafing unit, 15 of Cullerton's 20 claims were destroyed on the ground. The model is armed with two 500 lbs bombs.

 

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Monogram 1977 with aftermarket cockpit, canopy, exhaust, wheels and bombs. Decals from scrap box and homemade.

 

 

E2-C   LOU IV - ATHELENE   44-13410  P-51D-5-NA (early)

361st FG  375th FS,  Lt Col Thomas J.J. Christian - Group CO,  F-374 Bottisham,  August 1944

 

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Colonel Christian's P-51 is the subject of so many models that no more needs to be said here. This is my interpretation of his mount, particularly of the ATHELENE inscription which I styled after a blurred picture and similar decorations on other 375th FS aircraft (red letters - black outline - clean silver background).

 

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Fujimi 1987 edition (first released in 1973) with replacement parts from the scrap box (prop, cockpit, gear), Verlinden 75 gal drop tanks and substantial re-work around cowling, fin and air duct. Modified decals from Microscale and AeroMaster.

 

 

L2-P   Burn'n Bernie   44-15380  P-51D-15-NA

479th FG  434th FS,  Lt Gail E. Jacobson,  Station 377 Wattisham,  May 1945

 

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This Mustang was damaged in a landing accident on 25 December 1944. Subsequently repaired it served on until war's end. Note 'buzz' letters under port wing (barely visible on the pictures) and antenna for AN/APS-13 tail warning radar.

 

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Monogram again, Aires V-1650-7 engine, a few aftermarket items and homemade decals.

 

65th FW REFERENCES

MARKINGS OF THE ACES, KOOKABURRA HISTORIC AIRCRAFT BOOKS SERIES 3 NO.1, THEODORE R. BENNETT, DANDENONG, 1970  (479th)

VIII FIGHTER COMMAND AT WAR, AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES 31, MICHAEL O'LEARY, BOTLEY, 2000  (4th)

YELLOWJACKETS!, PAUL B. CORA, ATGLEN, 2002  (361st)

'DOWN TO EARTH' –  STRAFING ACES OF THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE, AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES 51, WILLIAM N. HESS, BOTLEY, 2003  (355th)

4TH FIGHTER GROUP IN WORLD WAR II, LARRY DAVIS, CARROLLTON, 2007

479th FIGHTER GROUP – 'RIDDLE'S RAIDERS', AVIATION ELITE UNITS 32, JOHN STANAWAY, BOTLEY, 2009

 

 

I mentioned that only the 20th FG is missing in my collection. This is not quite true because I referred to my 1/48 scale models. In fact, a P-51D of the 20th FG was completed in 1/32 shortly before I left school. I hope this ancient build doesn't look too misplaced.

 

KI-K  Little Lady  44-15311  P-51D-15-NA

20th FG  55th FS,  Capt Charles H. Cole Jr,  F-367 King's Cliffe,  December 1944

 

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Capt 'Tink' Cole had three consecutive D-models: 44-13715, 44-15311 and 44-72160, all coded KI-K and named 'Little Lady'. None of them enjoyed a long service career. The first one was lost with Lt Edward A. Loetscher, KIA, on 9 November 1944, the last one when Cole was shot down by an FW 190 on 25 February 1945. In-between he used 44-15311 for a few weeks, represented by this model, before it was assigned to Lt Eugene W. Planchak and force-landed on 10 December 1944. Capt Cole himself claimed 5 aerial victories of which two were not confirmed due to his becoming POW.

 

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1/32 Hasegawa released in 1972, built OOB in 1975, all markings hand-painted except the stars & bars.

 

REFERENCES

20TH FIGHTER GROUP, RON MACKAY,, CARROLLTON, 1995

WWW.LITTLEFRIENDS.CO.UK/20TH-FIGHTER-GROUP

WWW.20THFIGHTERGROUP.COM/ACES.HTML

 

 

The next exhibit, also from the 67th Fighter Wing, joined my collection in 1995. It's another one of my old Monogram P-51Bs that passed through restoration recently.

 

CV-X   (no nickname)  42-106702  P-51B-10-NA

359th FG  368th FS,  Capt John B Hunter,  F-133 East Wretham,  August 1944

 

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CV-X being bombed up for her flight of doom

 

The aircraft was initially assigned to Lt Robert V. Beaupre and was later passed on to Capt John B. Hunter. The end came during a dive-bombing mission against railway targets near Strasbourg on 10 August 1944. Attacking the marshalling yard at Bischwiller Lt Lester W. Hovden overstressed the bomb-laden airframe in a sharp turn. Both wings folded up and separated from the fuselage killing Lt Hovden in the following crash and explosion.

 

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Monogram 1973 with improved cockpit, detailed canopy, new exhausts and other areas of re-work. Decals from scrap box.

 

REFERENCES

P-51 MUSTANG, ROBERT GRINSELL, JANE'S, LONDON, 1980

359th FIGHTER GROUP, AVIATION ELITE UNITS 10, JACK H SMITH, BOTLEY, 2002

 

More little friends will join up soon. Thanks for looking out. In the meantime please visit the many fine models of the P-51 group build here.

 

Michael

 

GENERAL 8thAF MUSTANG REFERENCES

THE MIGHTY EIGHTH, ROGER A. FREEMAN, NEW YORK, 1973

ACES OF THE EIGHTH, GENE B. STAFFORD & WILLIAM N. HESS, SQUADRON/SIGNAL PUBLICATIONS, WARREN, 1977

EIGHTH AIR FORCE STORY, KENN C. RUST, TEMPLE CITY, 1978

THE MIGHTY EIGHTH IN COLOR, ROGER A. FREEMAN, LONDON, 1991

MUSTANG ACES OF THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE, AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES 1, JERRY SCUTTS, LONDON, 1994

P-51 MUSTANG UNITS OF THE EIGHTH AIR FORCE, AMERICAN EAGLES 4, ROGER FREEMAN, HERSHAM, 2003

WWW.LITTLEFRIENDS.CO.UK

WWW.AMERICANAIRMUSEUM.COM

 

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Thanks for posting these Michael! 🍻 They do look great, and it's impressive to see what you've made of them.   I'm so glad you posted them for everyone to see just what a fine model is lurking in those Monogram Mustangs.   As you might guess, I have also built the Monogram P-51D, in the markings of Drew Urban's "Detroit Miss".  It was built in 1989, and is one of my Monogram kits that has never "stood before the camera". 🙂 It was about my 5th or 6th completion after restarting the hobby, iirc.   Maybe it should take that short ride out to the airport and see how it looks out there?  Crude by the standards you set with those beautiful Mustangs of yours, I admit that I'm now curious to see how she photographs.

 

Thanks for the pics and thanks for the inspiration as well!

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Excellent collection!

The addition of historic background and kit info makes it even more interesting.

 

 

.

 

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What a wonderful collection, great attention to detail too,...... great photography as well,.... what more could you ask?

Cheers

           Tony

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Amazing! Your models turn out perfectly and your photography is perfect. One can not say , is it historical photography or model?

thats really the way of presentation that I prefer too. 

Superb job!!! 

Cheers

Andy 

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On 21/09/2019 at 06:09, Andy Dyck said:

Amazing! Your models turn out perfectly and your photography is perfect. One can not say , is it historical photography or model?

thats really the way of presentation that I prefer too.

 

Thanks Andy and all other commentators for your kind remarks.

It may sound crazy but after spending weeks on research and months on the build my models gradually become the real thing. I love to capture this sentiment in photography and presentation. I've started to restore some more of my old P-51s in order to 'warm up' for the group build. I hope to add them here soon.

 

Cheers, Michael

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Beautiful! I really enjoy the historical background. Also, your NMF is very convincing. 

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Fantastic work Michael, lovely collection.

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New fighter groups keep joining my Eighth Air Force collection. Please find a couple of 67th FW Mustangs added to the topic.

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Stunning collection of Mustangs there Michael, all looking superbly built and finished

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On 9/22/2019 at 8:26 PM, opus999 said:

Beautiful! I really enjoy the historical background. Also, your NMF is very convincing. 

Agree!

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