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***Finished*** My Interpretation Of "Lou IV" (44-13410) as of 26th July, 1944


mark.au
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4 May, 2021, A note to anyone reading this after the event.  

Unfortunately, I somewhat carelessly wrecked almost all of the links to the images in this WIP by changing where they were stored on my website.  

A slightly condensed version of this WIP including all of the images that supported my hypotheses on LOU IV's colours can be found on my website by following this link:

https://making-history.ca/2020/12/30/the-bottisham-blues/

 

 

 

 

 

Hi All;

 

Well yes, a somewhat common subject for this one but I can't resist a controversy and this is one of the mothers of all modelling controversies...  My approach is to build it up using as much circumstantial evidence as I can gather in addition to, but not solely reliant on the photos, and then trying to piece together a plausible interpretation that's consistent with all that; and Occam's razor.

 

I'm using the Airfix 1/48 scale kit and will build mostly out of the box.  As you'll see though, I can't resist a few enhancements that satisfy some of my pet peeves about Mustang models, as well as trying to make it as accurate as my ability lets me.  I care far more about markings and representation than "rivets", so to speak, so I won't super detail the cockpit, but I will fill the panel lines on the wings.  That sort of thing.  Speaking of which, job number one done, using stretched sprue and liquid cement;

 

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Next, I began work on the cockpit, as usual intending to make just enough of a job of it to be passable (I don't relish cockpits for some reason...) and then getting totally absorbed and spending two evenings on the damn thing.

 

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North American P-51-D-5NA serial number 44-13410 wasn't delivered to the squadron until shortly before D-Day meaning this was a relatively new aircraft at the time the photo was taken.  Based on that, how much would the black paint on the wooden floor have rubbed off?  A bit, I reckon, so that's how I tried to represent the floor.  I guessed that some paint wear and tear would have accumulated in the cockpit in general, as well as the radios behind the pilot's seat, so I added a bit of representative wear there too.  This latter effect was a combination of replication and representation as in scale I think we need to exaggerate a little on some of the finer details to make them pop.

 

So that's it for now.  I'm very happy to have my assumptions, estimations and deductions challenged through this build; feedback and [civil] argument are the essence of gaining knowledge and experience.

 

Cheers.

Edited by mark.au
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For someone who doesn't relish cockpits you've certainly made fine work of it.  I'm not familiar with the 1/48 Airfix kit, do the cockpit placard decals come in the kit?  Does it have the unfilleted tail and early radio gear?  I haven't found much information on the radio sets used in early-block D-model Mustangs other than they visibly differed from the later production units.  

 

Can't wait to see your interpretation of Lou IV develop, and I look forward to seeing which colours you choose.  Mine turned out well enough I suppose, but I regret not using a better kit to start from.

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24 minutes ago, Jackson Duvalier said:

I'm not familiar with the 1/48 Airfix kit, do the cockpit placard decals come in the kit?  Does it have the unfilleted tail and early radio gear?  

pssst:

 

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8 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Hi Mark

 After your excellent Spitfire I am definitely in for this one. Great start on the cockpit, it looks very nice indeed.  Got the Airfix 24th mk IV scale kit in the stash to do myself.  Will watch with interest fella. 

Chris

 

Thanks Chris.  What are you going to do with your Mk.IV?

 

4 hours ago, Jackson Duvalier said:

For someone who doesn't relish cockpits you've certainly made fine work of it.  I'm not familiar with the 1/48 Airfix kit, do the cockpit placard decals come in the kit?  Does it have the unfilleted tail and early radio gear?  I haven't found much information on the radio sets used in early-block D-model Mustangs other than they visibly differed from the later production units.  

 

Can't wait to see your interpretation of Lou IV develop, and I look forward to seeing which colours you choose.  Mine turned out well enough I suppose, but I regret not using a better kit to start from.

 

Hi Jackson, thanks mate, I get sucked into cockpits all the time - always plan the basics, always go way further than planned.  Not sure if this was in the review posted above but yes, the placards do come as decals in the kit, as does the early radio gear.

 

4 hours ago, noelh said:

I'll be interested in your interpretation of Lou IV. I have my own view and I do believe that modellers have missed a couple of aspects that do show up in the photos. 

So far so good already. 

 

We might well be on the same page Noel.  Cheers.

 

26 minutes ago, FalkeEins said:

.. ah, so this is gonna be a blue one then. I’ll hang around for that. Nice work, the sprue panel line technique is a good one..

 

I'm definitely leaning that way; part of the fascination in this project for me is to test the theories and se how they stack up.  I mean this in the sense of the photo interpretation and whether I can reproduce some of it, and also all the other circumstantial bits of information around this airframe which provide clues as to its colour.

 

Cheers all.

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I love the Airfix Mustang and have built three. Your cockpit looks fantastic by the way! So will it be green, OD, RAF blue, PRU blue or RLM 70? (arf arf)

 

I'm planning on doing my own interpretation of Lou IV when time permits, and will use the Eduard D-5 and Barracuda decals.

 

cheers,

Chris

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35 minutes ago, TempestV said:

I love the Airfix Mustang and have built three. Your cockpit looks fantastic by the way! So will it be green, OD, RAF blue, PRU blue or RLM 70? (arf arf)


Me too.  This will be my second one and I have a couple more in the stash.  As for the colour(s), that’s gonna be a lot of fun!   RLM70 sounds great 😂

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So, still on the grunt work, so to speak.  I've fitted the -5 fin to the fuselage halves and glued the cockpit to the starboard fuselage half.  As you can see, I painted the interior of the radiator intake yellow chromate but I now know that's incorrect as the application of YC to the fuselage interior aft of the cockpit didn't commence until early in the -20 production.  As the YC can [just] be seen I'll fix that with a bit of brush painted aluminium before closing up the fuselage.  

 

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Most of my time however has been spent on finishing the wings, filling panel lines and rivets.  A tedious job for sure, but in my opinion quite necessary to achieve the proper look to a P-51's wings.  

 

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As you can see, that's done too, with only the gun inserts to attach and blend in leaving the wings ready to attach to the fuselage.  

 

As I did with my recent 15th FG Mustang, I will see if I can attach the wings after painting as it'll make the fuselage in particular much easier to paint.  I'm also erring towards using some bare metal foil instead of paint on the fuselage where appropriate, but will make a decision on that later when I've planned the painting process.  As my better half is away for the weekend I'm anticipating great progress and may even be able to start painting before the weekend is out.  In any case my favourite part of the build, that's when for this particular project the fun will really begin.

 

Cheers;

Mark.

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I like what i see so far. Given that its such a distinctive feature of the P-51, i'm puzzled as to why so many builders "whiff" at filling the panel lines on the wings and making it a smooth, laminar Flow surface....

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3 hours ago, David H said:

I like what i see so far. Given that its such a distinctive feature of the P-51, i'm puzzled as to why so many builders "whiff" at filling the panel lines on the wings and making it a smooth, laminar Flow surface....

 

Each to their own I guess; not everyone knows, or cares to know about stuff like that, they build them how they want to build them - too right to!  

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Things have progressed sufficiently such that I can begin painting.  I've test fitted the wing and found the fit to be quite good, and as such I'll be able to join the wings to the fuselage after painting.  I've part number C01 to the wings to give me something to hold them by, but more importantly to avoid any touch-ups later in areas that would be very difficult to mask around.  As it is now, when I make the join it will be on seam lines in areas I am almost certainly going to use Bare Metal Foil.

 

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Edited by mark.au
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As to what/how I'm going to paint my wings... undersides first.

 

As we know, Mustang wings were painted with a silver paint out of the factory; the exceptions to this being the large square-ish panels either side of the centreline, the flaps and the ailerons, all of which were all left natural metal.  Nothing unusual on Lou IV in that regard but there are some interesting things about its D-Day stripes...

 

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The fuselage stripes don't seem to wrap around the bottom of the fuselage, instead stopping at the bottom edge of the flanks.  In the three versions of the same image above, the rearmost black stripe definitely does not wrap around, and while more difficult to see, I don't think the forward one does either.  It seems likely that the white stripes were applied the same as the black.  Below is an enhanced version of the bottom left image above and I think it's very clear the stripes do not wrap around.  There's more to be interested in though;

 

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  • The middle white stripe on the wings is either missing or very differently weathered than the other two, on both sides.  I think it's there though, just darker/dirtier than the others for some reason.  
  • There's an unusual brightness to the leading edge of the radiator air intake almost as if it were chrome trimmed (I don't think it was that though).
  • There are white(?) splotches of colour at the forward outer edges of the stabilisers, as well as the trim tabs.
  • There's a slight mismatch to the inboard D-Day stripes on the starboard wing.
  • Whatever colour is painted on the port wingtip upper surface has over sprayed to the underside a little.
  • It's clear on the starboard wing (and while less clear, I think also on the port wing) that the colour painted on the leading edge around the gun barrels was not overpainted with the D-Day stripes.  We'll have to come back to that for the upper surfaces later.

 

The quality of the image overall is such that I'd hesitate to put much stock in other details that may or may not be present.  It appears that the black theatre ID bands on the stabilisers are quite roughly applied, and it appears as though there's something funky with the paint going on on the port wing outboard of the D-Day stripes.  As best we can tell, the overall condition and griminess seems consistent with a relatively active P-51 albeit on active duty for only a couple of months at the time this photo was taken (assuming it was taken on 26th July with the others).

 

I'm going to paint the wings thus; a weathered aluminium (using Vallejo Model Air) and then D-Day Stripes with the middle white stripe very dirty from cordite residue as well as fluid staining.  I don't think they would have simply not applied the middle stripe though the tone in the B/W images of that stripe seems to match the outboard portion of the wing very closely though I haven't completely discounted that yet.  

 

Finally, you may wonder why two posts - this and the one immediately above so closely together?  Well, because I'm a klutz and pressed the wrong button on the one above and posted it when I meant to add an image and I didn't want to do this as an edit. 

 

Cheers;

Mark.

 

.

 

Edited by mark.au
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Hello Mark,

I would say that the middle white stripe on the wing is dirtied up by gun powder smudging... (I don't know if smudging is correct)

Very great job on the internals !!

I'll follow up if I can !! Is there a place at the bar for an usual suspect ??

Sincerely.

CC

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1 hour ago, corsaircorp said:

Hello Mark,

I would say that the middle white stripe on the wing is dirtied up by gun powder smudging... (I don't know if smudging is correct)

Very great job on the internals !!

I'll follow up if I can !! Is there a place at the bar for an usual suspect ??

Sincerely.

CC


Thanks! your seat at the bar is always available ☺️
 

I think you’re right about the middle stripe, the more I look at it - particularly the starboard wing - it’s clear the white paint is present, just dirty (smudging is correct).

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Progress so far on the underside of the wings.  From top left and going clockwise; I was unhappy with the quality of my panel line filling.  I remade some panel filling goop with liquid glue and Mr. Surfacer 1000 and made another attempt at filling in the line.  Happy with that I painted the outer wings with Vallejo Model Air Duraluminium.  I used some Bare Metal Foil for the centre panels.  I applied the D-Day stripes with Tamiya Acrylics and then weathered the middle white stripe with some heavily thinned medium grey.  I also applied this thinned mixture to the outer wings to begin the process of dulling the finish down to a weathered finish.  There's more to do there but I think we're on track with that.  I've now applied an initial gloss coat in preparation for the decals but before then I'll turn the wings over and make a start on the topsides.

 

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Cheers;

Mark.

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So, now it's time to get to the upper colours...  The first two images below are the best quality scans I can find.  I have processed both images to improve their resolution and quality, but have NOT changed any of the colour mixes, hues or saturations.  The colour image is taken from what I believe to be a first or second generation Hi-Res TIFF.  This of course is impossible to know for sure, and I have no way to know how it was processed.  However, the overall image quality and its colour balance looks quite natural to me and therefore I accept it on face value.  The black and white image is from the highest resolution I could find in a general internet search and I enhanced only its resolution to improve its quality.

 

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Colour 2:

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To me it's clear the colour I've labeled No.2 is blue.  In his essay published at Hyperscale, Dana Bell says the colour is clearly blue in the original transparency - I don't know of anyone who has seen the original transparency who says it's green but cannot discount that of course.  There is clearly a difference in colour between E2*S and E2*C and in comparison I cannot. move my eye's perception of that being the difference between dark green and blue-grey.  I am not sure what blue it is exactly - I've guessed/assumed (I'm not the originator of this theory but it makes sense to me) that it's RAF Blue-Grey BS33 or perhaps even an unfaded PRU Blue (though a little dark for the latter perhaps).  The logic however seems sound; should one accept it is indeed a blue rather than a green, then where could the blue paint have come from?  RAF paint stocks seems most likely.

 

While this is the major point of contention on "Lou IV", I don't think it's the only interesting this about it at all...

 

 

Colour 3.

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The gun covers intrigued me.  On E2*S they are clearly painted yellow, on E2*C they are clearly not.  What colour though?  First I thought maybe it was left in natural metal but it's tone isn't close to the unpainted fuselage so I discounted that.  In looking first at the B/W image I noted that the tone was very close to the small triangle painted to the upper right of "Lou IV".  A closer comparison between the images above, and a third colour image from above, leads me to think it could well be some light blue colour.  The only reason for this I can think of is simply an artistic one - there's no operational reason for a light blue colour there, and to be honest it seems a bit far fetched, but I can't come up with another colour that satisfies the tonal qualities in the B/W image.  Other colours I considered were yellow but it doesn't match the yellow cowl; perhaps red, but it doesn't match the red in the letters of "Lou IV".

 

 

Colour 5.

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A comparison of the known black of the D-Day stripes and squadron codes with the area at the wing root and forward of the windshield convinces me they are all the same colour, black.  

 

 

Colour 4. 

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What of colour 4?  Well, I'm a bit stumped here still...  I'm wondering is this is simply an artefact of the light on the wing but there does seem to be a clear colour demarkation at the wing tip?  I can't find a match to its tone anywhere else in the image and if I can't come up with a theory that I can convince myself makes sense, I'll leave the wing tips the same colour as the rest of the wing.

 

The foregoing is not intended as an argument to convince anyone I'm right but instead simply to describe my decision making process.  Happy to discuss though, and especially if there's evidence I've missed.  I admit there's some unanswered questions on motives but I think finding a logical explanation comes second to interpreting the clear evidence in the images.

 

As to the model; I've applied the Dark Green and am still working on a mix for the grey-blue, I should be putting up some images tomorrow.

 

Cheers;

Mark.

 

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Nice, Lou IV always looks good, no matter what colours were used. :) And your build looks great, love the cockpit!

Not bought the Airfix offering yet but looks like I should.. Seems easy and nice for a good result.

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Mark, be wary of that dark triangle just aft of the "LOU IV" (3 in your picture) being a painted colour - on Mustangs the panel surrounding and to the rear of the exhausts is in a darker metal, that triangle is likely to be just the only corner of that panel that is unpainted

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  • mark.au changed the title to ***Finished*** My Interpretation Of "Lou IV" (44-13410) as of 26th July, 1944

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