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U'VE HAD IT! - The end of my Mustang line


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The final example of this year-long modelling journey is again a recent refurbishment of an old Monogram model which I built in 1984. It's the most radical upgrade that I have undertaken on any of my P-51 classics so far.

 

U'VE HAD IT!

P-51B-10-NA   G4-H   42-106462

Capt John B. England

357th FG  362nd FS   F-373 Leiston   June 1944

 

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 "Hey dude, can't we move the cart any closer?" - A close-up of the fuel trailer here

 

This was Johnny England's second P-51B in which he scored at least three of his impressive 17.5 confirmed victories making him the second-ranking ace in the 357th FG. He served two tours with the group, became 362nd Squadron CO and survived the war.

 

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When England received a P-51D in July 1944, G4-H was re-assigned as G4-Y and participated in the shuttle mission to Russia flown by Flt Lt Eric Wooley, an RAF exchange pilot. On 4th October the fighter's life ended when its tail broke off during a training flight with Lt Richard I. Potter. The tale of his hair-raising escape from the plunging wreck is told in Merle Olmsted's excellent history of the 357th FG. This source, however, offers a different cause for the demise of 42-106462 according to which it was salvaged from battle damage (and thus not involved in the accident?). Whatever the fate, one more distinguished Mustang disappeared from the roster.

 

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In order to restore and upgrade my original model I replaced many parts with aftermarket items, such as exhausts (Ultracast), windshield (Squadron), tailwheel (Tamiya) and housing (Quickboost), landing gear (SAC), wheels (Brassin), bomb racks (Tamiya) and 108 gal tanks (Monogram P-51D). In addition several PE parts were used for internal and external improvement. The biggest modification was to disembowel the fuselage, cut off the molded section behind the headrest and open the radiator exit in order to insert a revised cockpit left over from my group build Tamiya P-51C (see here). To my relief it slid in perfectly.

 

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Comparing the fuselage shapes of Monogram and Tamiya (in this case the Loon Models replica) underlines the remarkable workmanship of the Monogram kit released in 1967!

 

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U'VE HAD IT!  during restoration compared with the finished fuselage of LUCKY LEAKY II (Tamiya / Loon Models)

 

The half-painted Mustangs of the 357th FG sported one of the most attractive finishes in the Eighth Air Force, more so in combination with full invasion stripes*. As principal colours I took Tamiya TS-17 Gloss Aluminium and Tamiya XF-81 RAF Green with some pre-shading and lightly oversprayed with TS-2 Dark Green under a clear coat. The decals are A48-003 from AMDG which needed only very small corrections but due to the extremely thin carrier film demanded full concentration to avoid crumpling.

 

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A 'zebra-stripe' perspective...

 

I hope you enjoyed this topic which now concludes my venture into P-51 modelling for a while. I will soon add these latest creations to my Eighth Air Force collection here.

 

Thanks for visiting, Michael

 

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* A couple of considerations for the 357th FG aficionado:

 

There have been different opinions about the origin of the half-paint scheme and the type of green used. Reference (2) claims that those Mustangs had been OD/NG before the colour was removed from the lower half. I don't think this is true. Serial numbers 42-106... were allocated to P-51B-10-NA's delivered in bare metal. The upper surfaces would have been painted upon arrival at the 357th FG (probably with RAF Dark Green). The picture w/o invasion stripes (as displayed above) supports my assumption: The demarcations running along the fuselage and wing roots are too sharp to be the result of stripping; the green colour is wrapped around the leading edge of the wing; and the tip of the code 'G4' that reaches into the camouflage has a silver background from masking, i.e. the black letters had been there before. It wouldn't make sense to first strip the B-models and then give D-models a full camouflage two months later. The half-paint job apparently was an interim solution for silver birds.

 

The nose chequers, besides being a challenge to apply, present the bean (-er- square) counter with a puzzle that I haven't found discussed before. All my decal sheets for the 357th provided 20 squares all-around. A close look at photos however reveals that there were only 18 squares (16 in a few cases), in symmetrical or asymmetrical order. The latter separated the rows along the centreline of the nose resulting in a reversed sequence of colours on the opposite side. After some research I concluded that G4-H was chequered asymmetrically. Firstly, this is what ensued when I applied the squares according to the picture using a 6x6" standard and secondly, it is reflected by photos of G4-P JOAN, a contemporary P-51B, for which pictures of both sides exist.

 

REFERENCES

(1)  TO WAR WITH THE YOXFORD BOYS, MERLE C. OLMSTED, HAMILTON, 2004

(2)  MUSTANG ACES OF THE 357th FIGHTER GROUP, AIRCRAFT OF THE ACES 96, CHRIS BUCHOLTZ, OXFORD, 2010

(3)  WWW.CEBUDANDERSON.COM/357FG.HTM

(4)  WWW.LITTLEFRIENDS.CO.UK

 

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18 hours ago, SAT69 said:

Got to love the P-51B!

Thanks - I certainly do!

The recent conglomeration of B-models on my workbench was prompted by LUCKY LEAKY II with which I participated in the group build last year. To make the best use of my research and the parts and aftermarket items, I  carried right on with the restoration of my three vintage models of the type. The majority of my Mustangs are still D-models, but despite their very pleasant shape I have a penchant for the earlier variant. It was superior in speed, climbed faster and had a more favourable wing loading. Once her weaknesses had been eliminated - restricted headroom / rearward visibility (Malcom hood introduced) and frequent gun stoppages (feeder motor added) - and with the late-war additions of fin fillet, K-14 gunsight and tail-warning radar as for LUCKY LEAKY II it was the best stallion in the stable.

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I much prefer the looks of the B and C Mustangs and from what I've read, they were nicer airplanes to fly, compared to the D and K, although not as nice as the Allison powered early Mustangs.

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Brilliant,..... lovely refurb job,...... you`ve done some really nice ones and the schemes are great too,

Cheers

            Tony

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7 minutes ago, IanC said:

My only criticism/suggestion? Perhaps a quick spray of matt varnish over the figures...

I know, I know - there are at least three coats of flat. The camera flash is unrelenting! It‘s acceptable in the first pic w/o flash, I think.

I may try again - thanks!

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Well done.  Say what you will, but I've always liked the old Monogram P-51 kits and the level of detail and accuracy they achieved back then.  A decent scribing tool to recess the raised panel lines and a few minimal "fixes" will result in a great looking kit at less than half the cost of a Tamiya example.  👍

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