When I got back into modeling a few years ago, one of my goals was to build models of airplanes I had never done before. Having built dozens of Mustangs in my past life, that airplane was not even on my list of subjects, but every once in a while, events occur to change things.
The event that started this build was my five year old grandson, who happens to share his name with John Meyer’s famous Mustang “Petie.” I thought it would be fun to give him the model when I was done. I was still in the waffling about the build stage when I had a conversation with my friend Louis, who just happened to have an extra set of decals for that airplane in his “I’m not going to use them pile”. A few days later, they were in the mail and after discovering a still in the cellophane Monogram P-51D in the stash, I was off. I had built quite a few of their “B” Mustangs in the past with no problems at all. How bad could it be? So I settled in for a quick and easy build.
The initial stages were hassle free. Wings and cockpit assembled first. I dressed up the cockpit with some Eduard photo etch seatbelts and Airscale instrument decals for the panel, which made a world of difference in that area. Then the wheels came off the bus…
Both fuselage halves were warped, so the seam line was awful all the way around. The cockpit glues to pins on the right fuselage half, and after what I thought was lining it all up and assembling the fuselage, I discovered that the floor wasn’t centered, so the entire assembly sits a bit to starboard. The lower forward nose has some nice engraved engine detail, but I wasn’t planning on showing that off, opting to use the provided cowl section to cover it up. That piece turned out to be a size too small, requiring some plastic card and a bunch of colorful four letter metaphors to get it to sort of fit. The first layer of bondo went on and I was off to the wings.
These have a gun bay on the left side, which again I wasn’t planning on displaying. The provided cover for that was just like the nose piece; about a size too small. More bondo and more colorful metaphors. By now, all hopes of a bare metal finish went out the window and the search was on for alternatives. My old modeling mentor once told me the best thing to cover lots of putty with was camouflage and decals, so my search went in that direction. Friend Frank suggested the green P-51’s of the 357th FG and a week later, an entire sheet of decals for those airplanes arrived in my mailbox. There are great people on this site, and I am honored to know some of them!
The majority of the work so far has been applying and removing putty. So far there are three types – Squadron Green, Vallejo acrylic and Mr Surfacer. There’s probably enough on the front end to have to
add weight to the tail to keep it from sitting on its nose. The gun bay door was pretty much the same – I’ll have to pump up the left main gear strut a little to compensate for the weight. You can see that project in one of the photos. After four or five sanding sessions, it was good enough for paint. All (well, most, anyway) the missing detail was rescribed – there was a LOT of that.
There are countless opinions on what color these airplanes actually were, but I went with the consensus and did the uppers in RAF Dark Green. I didn’t have any RAF grays, so the lowers are USAAF Neutral Gray, which looks about the same to me. As this goes to print, the decals are going on for “Passion Wagon” an early D model flown by Maj. Arval Robertson and Capt. Chuck Weaver, both of the 362nd FS. There’s still some assembly left, mainly the landing gear, underwing tanks and the canopy.
Sorry for the lack of photos. I hadn’t intended to do a build article, and the change of schemes was the catalyst for this group build. I’ll try to post a few more as I go along…
2 attached images. Click to enlarge.