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RAAF 3SQN Mustang IVa (P-51K)


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G'day people,


I was originally going to use the Tamiya 1/48 kit but with the release of the Airfix P-51K  boxing I have changed my mind. 






The Airfix kit has all the required parts that differentiate a P-51K from a P-51D, like the cuffless Aeroproducts propeller and the carby air inlet with the raised gills. My intended subject will be an RAAF Mustang IV (P-51K) C-VA S/No. KH676 supplied from RAF stock as part of the lend lease programme operating in Italy. 3 SQN transitioned to the Mustang IV from their P-40s that had served them so well during the desert campaign and they were employed primarily in the ground attack role during the Italian campaign.


As luck would have it, the Airfix kit includes markings for this very aircraft as well as a pair of 250lb bombs, so really I don't have to correct anything - winning!


If I have time I may still build the Tamiya P-51D kit but time will tell. All there is to do now is wait for the start date,






Edited by Pappy
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G'day people,


Well as we have an 11 hour head start on our UK based brethren, it seems I will be the first of the gate.


The instructions begin with the cockpit naturally enough so of course I began with the wings!


Mustangs were designed with a laminar flow wing. This was considered ground breaking at the time as this had not been introduced to a mass produced aircraft type before. The Mustang's wing differed from its contemporaries in that it was a symmetrical wing section, while most fighter aircraft wings had an upper wing surface with greater camber to help generate lift. The advantage of the laminar flow wing is that it has its centre of pressure further aft to delay the onset of boundary layer separation. In English this means that it is a thinner wing which has much lower drag characteristics and is highly efficient aerodynamically speaking. In order to achieve these low drag characteristics, the majority of the wing's (upper and lower) seams were filled and primed during manufacture. The majority of the Mustang kit manufacturers have rendered all these panel lines visible.


To correct this I have applied liquid filler along the upper and lower wing seams and gently sanding with plenty of water. The ammunition access hatches, fuel filler ports and a large panel on the underside were not filled so these seams were left alone




I between bouts of sanding, I began on preparing the cockpit assembly which cleverly includes the tail wheel well and the air intake/exhaust duct  assembly that is sandwiched between the two fuselage halves


The seat mounts to a bulkhead part which includes the head armor. The PE  interior set includes a thinner replacement however I decided that I would just thin down the kit part for a better scale appearance as this would already be set at the correct angle and also less susceptible to breakage while handling.






It also includes very nice head pad detail which would otherwise have to be replaced with PE and plastic card, so again more effort saved. I then assembled the seat and has a nice representation of the seat belts, I was in two minds about removing the included detail. Some PE details were then added to the back of the head armor which although sized to work with the PE head armor part work just as swell with the thinned down kit part








I ended up removing them anyway as the lap belts are molded integrally with the overly thick seat side braces which will be replaced with PE items.

The radio is a fair representation but the PE  replacement item also includes better detail, particularly the sides of the radio box.




The radio was carefully separated from the kit radio rack using a razor saw to allow the replacement PE item to be installed. I added some missing details such as the cockpit tank filler pipe and contents gauge, the battery box cover and some cabling.








Finally, some PE details were added to the tail wheel well bulkheads. I doubt much of it will be seen as the visibility is very limited one the tail wheel assembly has been installed but it was fun to do.






So, that is the state of play at stumps on day one...........











Edited by Pappy
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11 hours ago, Andwil said:

Off to a good start.



 Cheers AW, I hope to get some work done beforew the festive madness descends!

7 hours ago, Courageous said:

A flying start there Pappy.



 G'day Stuart, thanks very much

6 hours ago, Rich B said:

Nice start. Looks like great minds think alike, I'll be building the same kit and markings, sans the PE set.




G,day Rich,

Great minds do think alike. To be honest, I don' think the PE is worth the money in this instance. I will be following your build as well as I am curious to see how ell the kit comes up without PE, I suspect quite well as the included detail looks very adequate and only needs some careful painting

3 hours ago, TEMPESTMK5 said:

Good afternoon Pappy

Welcome aboard

Very good start

Have fun with your build

All the best


G'day Patrice, all good so far,





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6 hours ago, pacificmustang said:

Great start Pappy.  having built the kit myself, I rate it as highly enjoyable.  Always thought the lack of the filler pipe was an odd omission by Airfix though





G'day Bruce,


I would have to agree with you, so far the kit seems to be vice free. To be honest, the filler pipe is buried in a dark corner under the overhang of the fuselage side and unless you know what to look for it's not that visible unless you go looking for it and could easily omitted.


G'day people,


Well a big day of painting. I have painted up the cockpit/wheel well/air duct assembly. This has to be done before the whole assembly is sandwiched between the fuselage sides. Airfix provide sidewall details on separate side panels which does make for an easy painting exercise, however I attached these to the fuselage first. The details look neat and subtle but have enough relief to make painting them a joy. The left side pedestal with the rudder/aileron and rudder trim wheels looks a little shallow but I can live with as it will be buried deep inside the cockpit and there is enough depth to hold a wash. The PE instructions would have you remove the trim tab wheels as well as a good proportion of the molded detail but frankly, I thought the molded kit detail was superior and left these untouched.




There were some ejector pin marks that required filling however the large ones to the rear cannot be seen once installed into the fuselage so I did not spend any effort to eliminate these ones. The oxygen hose, elevator trim wheel and throttle quadrant were added separately. I also added some throttle linkages to the throttle quadrant using some short lengths of stretched sprue.








The floor sub-assembly was also painted at the same time though the pre-painted belts were added after all the other painting was complete.










Which brings me to my soap-box moment.  Having paid a small fortune for an interior details PE set, I discovered that seat belts are NOT included as part of that set and have to be purchased separately. Now, I can understand offering the seat belts as a separate set for those who are otherwise happy with the level of kit detail but not including these in an interior detail set is pure gouging IMO and although it makes excellent economic sense I feel it is an underhand strategy - rant over:rant:


The kit instrument panel also has lovely raised detail and would most likely come up very well with some careful painting and application of the kit instrument panel decal.




I opted to sand off the raised detail to prepare it for the addition of the pre-painted PE comprising of several laminated pre-painted PE parts to build up the relief.






Thanks for looking,








Edited by Pappy
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3 hours ago, Hewy said:

Very nice  additions ,super start


Thanks very much Hewy


2 hours ago, Biggles87 said:





37 minutes ago, SimonT said:

Great start, you’re whizzing through!


What was your method to do the rubbed off anti-slip effect?


G'day Simon,


The cockpit floor was painted a light brown shade, I think I used a tan shade as it was made of plywood on the real thing. This was given two coats of hairspray with about 15 mins drying time between coats. I have been using the same no name aerosol can for a few years now but any brand will do, or you could use a dedicated model brand chipping fluid, whatever is easier.. The floor was then oversprayed with an acrylic black and allowed to dry for no longer than 30mins. I then went back and scrubbed the floor area with a cut down brush and lots of clean water. It took about 30 secs before any chips appeared but when they did I eased off as it is very easy to overdo,





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G'day people,


Today's progress...


Once the PE radio equipment and instrument panel parts are used, the remainder of the interior PE set is made up of cockpit levers and data placards which are absolutely tiny and difficult to remove from the fret, apply and they are still overscale (it would have been far better if some of the space on the PE fret was dedicated to providing seat belts instead, but I digress...)  and Airfix provides some great stencils and data placards fort the cockpit which greatly add to the realism.  Also, as these are decals, they are far easier to use and position and look better to boot. I added some additional decal placards from my decal gash spares to add to the 'busyness'










The air intake/exhaust radiators were painted, as was the tail wheel bay,










The exterior PE set includes replacement mesh faces for the the two large radiators and oval shaped internal radiator, again I thought it pointless removing perfectly adequate detail just for the sake of adding PE, so I  painted the stock kit parts instead.






The more of this kit I build, the less convinced I am that the PE is worth the asking price,







Edited by Pappy
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That’s a great looking cockpit.

I also agree that PE does not necessarily add to the overall effect, some of it is overscale, and some too shiny. I prefer to use decals wherever possible for placards/data panels but I still use PE instrument panels, preferring Yahu where possible.


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On 12/16/2019 at 7:57 PM, gingerbob said:

Looks nice!

It does indeed

On 12/16/2019 at 10:01 PM, srkirad said:

You're going very well and also clean and precise with this one!

That is just my style

On 12/16/2019 at 11:07 PM, vppelt68 said:

I really like your attitude regarding PE! Some people seem to think everything is always better in etch compared to plastic details or decals; you clearly prove they are wrong with that 👍. V-P

Look, I am a big fan and heavy user of PE, and it can really enhance a kit if the details are well thought out, but sometimes the effort involved in eliminating the kit supplied detail just to replace it with something of equal detail seems pointless and to me at least is just an attempt to pad out the PE sheet. I know I have already said it before but I will say it again, the seat belts should have been included in the set as seat belts are one of the items that PE is great for. I ordered the PE set without first seeing the kit plastic. I am not sure I would have bought the sets if I had seen the kit details first. I think in this instance, if you have decent painting skills, the PE is not worth it.

On 12/16/2019 at 11:36 PM, Biggles87 said:

That’s a great looking cockpit.

I also agree that PE does not necessarily add to the overall effect, some of it is overscale, and some too shiny. I prefer to use decals wherever possible for placards/data panels but I still use PE instrument panels, preferring Yahu where possible.


G'day Biggles, I also think that PE can sometimes look very flat and two dimensional, especially in the larger scales. Case in point is the small pre-painted light brown part that I added to the left sidewall just aft and below the flare pistol. I thought that this was some form of data placard, but it turns out it is actually supposed to be a first aid kit. I have since added a piece of shaped scrap resin on top of this as this looks more realistic. Pre-painted PE is okay for instrument panels but sometimes you need to sand off some lovely raised details just to add some flat pre-painted panels. This is not much different to applying a decal really, except that applying decals would be easier and allow more time to position it where you want.

Edited by Pappy
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On 12/17/2019 at 10:05 AM, Andwil said:

Beautiful work on that cockpit Pappy.



Cheers AW, I had a ball painting it up.


G'day people,


Today was spent on the wing. After several session of applying filler and wet sanding, I was happy with the state of the panel lines. Some of these panel lines may just be visible which I am okay with as in reality, the panel lines were not all completely invisible, especially after some time in the field, but they are mostly eliminated.




The clear insert for the ID lights was installed and the various lights picked out in clear colours




Now for the main wheel bay :worms:


It seems that this is a very contentious area and as I do not have definitive proof of how my particular airframe was finished this is purely my interpretation based on established finishing practices and best guess - plus a little artistic license :P

This is even before the issue of field repairs /local repainting practices is considered. It seems that NAA Mustangs had variations in their wheel well colours (if they were painted at all) based on whether the airframe was produced at its main plant in Inglewood or the second production line in Dallas. The situation is further complicated because some of the sub-components e.g. the stringers could be pre-painted so appear as a different colour to other components as that was in the parts bin on a particular day.


I opted for a largely unpainted aluminium (natural metal finish -NMF) wheel bay with a Zinc Chromate Yellow (ZCY) main spar/ribs  and interior green stringers.


The main gear well correctly depicts the main spar as a straight item that is parallel with the lateral axis. Earlier kits, Tamiya for example incorrectly have the main spar  aligned with the aft edge of the wheel well which is incorrect. This was given a coat of NMF and masked off for the application of the  various other colours.




Finally the unmasking!






Even though the stringers were masked the result was just horrible. I stripped the part by letting it soak in some oven cleaner for a couple if hours. I decided not to paint the stringers a different colour on the second attempt, just the main spar and ribs in ZCY.








Now that the cockpit assembly and main wheel bay were painted up, it was time for the fuselage and wing halves to be joined




Some of the additional parts of the fuselage like the engine cowling, nose air intake  and belly intake items were also added now  despite the instruction sequence indicating their addition at a later stage as it would be easier to avoid steps when sanding the fuselage seams with these items fitted,











Edited by Pappy
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16 hours ago, Biggles87 said:


Agreed, that’s the colour scheme I’m going for.

Great work on the wings, I’ve just finished brushing some Mr Surfacer 500 on mine.

Pictures or it didn't happen!


G'day people,


Well, the major assemblies have been put together but I need to add a few touches of filler around the wing gun ports before the wing can be attached to the fuselage, but I couldn't resist a sneaky dry fit




The fuselage went together without too much of a fight, just a few little spots of filler used along the underside










The exterior PE set includes a replacement door but I decided to thin down the kit part and use it instead. There is also an inner face for the radiator exhaust flap and the sides are provided as PE parts requiring the kit sides to be removed which means more filling and sanding






I think it would have been far better to provide a completely new flap part personally. Whilst the putty was drying I occupied myself by assembling the external stores. The smaller external tanks feature a prominent seam around the middle, Airfix's attempt was very subtle and I ended up sanding it off during the clean up




Not a big deal as I was not intending on using these but all the same something to be aware of. I also assembled and painted the 'paper' long range tanks




These look very nice and only require the external plumbing to add an air of realism. Finally, I built and painted the bombs




These were very heavily weathered as period pics of the squadron during their time in Italy show the ordnance dirty, no doubt due to being stored outside in appalling conditions. The rudder and prop were also cleaned up and painted






The colour of the rudder is something of a guess as the reference pics show a variety of shades (albeit in black and white!) so there was variation. It should probably be a little darker as it is closer in shade to the dark blue of the fin flash but then again there is also the effect of shadow, film quality etc so I picked this colour and I am happy with it, unless someone has a colour pic of this particular aircraft during the war.


Airfix provide the windscreen molded as part of the upper fuselage which avoids an awkward seam. I added to gunsight and instrument panel coaming before attaching this to the fuselage, but not before adding some instrument panel lights to the underside first,








thanks for looking,









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