Nose Art group build – North American P-51D Mustang – Monogram 1/48

  • 13 posts
  • Last reply 4 months, 2 weeks ago
  • 357th FG, Monogram, Nose art, P-51 Mustang
Viewing 1 - 13 of 13 posts
  • Jaime Carreon said 5 months ago:

    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.

  • Jaime Carreon said 5 months ago:

    One more drawing…

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  • Matt Minnichsoffer said 5 months ago:

    I’ve labored over which way I go with this build, knowing I was doing one for this project.
    I’m thinking Maj. Edward F. Rector’s P-40 “Flying Tigers” Warhawk is the bird perfect for this build. This will be the first time I’ve painted the art vs. decals. Wish me luck!

    This was a great idea Jaime!

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  • Louis Gardner said 5 months ago:

    Jaime my friend,

    Thanks for starting this Group Build !!! I have three builds scheduled for it, and possibly a few more if time allows it. A build log on the Dornier 17 has been started.

    I’m glad that I could help provide you the decals for your Mustang “Petie”. After hearing the story behind what you wanted to do for your grandson, I just had to help out. They say what goes around comes around. It’s sort of like Karma.

    Like you, I too have experienced good will from fellow Imodeler members. My friend Rick Wilkes provided a much needed spinner for my Accurate Miniatures 1/48 scale SBD build that was part of the Midway GB. Then another friend, Rob Pollock sent me the instructions AND line drawings for a Sopwith Camel, since he knew that I occasionally scratch build WW1 RC planes. Both were very kind good will gestures.

    Then I have received countless suggestions, photographs, and various bits of useful information from many other friends, about the tiny little details on the projects I was working on at the time. These little things like this make our builds stand out from the crowd.

    Without help like this many of my builds would not have turned out like they did.

    For all of this I am very grateful. I agree, we are very fortunate to have the great bunch of people here on Imodeler, all working towards the same goal.

    After seeing the troubles you had with the fit and finish on the Monogram Mustang, I think it was a wise choice to shy away from a natural metal finish and go the route you did. That was a good move.

    It looks like you have made some great progress with the Mustang, and the RAF style upper colors look fantastic on it. It’s entirely possible that the lower colors were US, so that’s also a plus. We may never know for sure, and who can prove it wrong ???

    Anyhow, why don’t you save the decals for Petie, and when he gets a little older, build a Mustang with him, and let him have a blast doing it. If he gets glue on the canopy who cares ??? If a panel line doesn’t come out just so or it has a gap, it’s no biggie. Just have some fun with it. If he messes them up I’ll send you another set……………

    Just saying…… 🙂

    The next time you’re in Florida stop by, and I’ll give you a Monogram Mustang for Petie to build, and another set of decals just in case. If he doesn’t need the second set, you will have a set for a future build.

    Who knows, Maybe you can build one while he builds one ??? Get a new Airfix or Tamiya kit and let Petie practice on the Monogram one.

    Take care my friend.

  • Jaime Carreon said 5 months ago:

    Decals have been applied, they went on just fine. They came from an old Microscale sheet and snuggled down perfectly with some Micro Sol over a glosscote pre-finish. I’ll let them dry overnight, then shoot the dullcote to seal them. The only “problem” was with the checkerboards on the nose. I used the ones from the Tamiya sheet, as they were notched at the bottom for the carb intake. I had to slit them in a few places to get them lay flat, but they actually fit pretty well. Until I broke a piece of one of them off trying to slit it. It disappeared to who knows where. I patched it with a piece from the Microscale sheet, which turned out to match better than I thought it would. The misalignments were touched up with red and yellow paint. I think it came out good and the airplane mechanic part of my psyche says that’s the way I would have done it on the real thing…

    Now a technical question – I have to paint a yellow stripe on a red spinner. Apart from driving myself nuts trying to mask it with tape, does anyone have any suggestions for doing that?

    Louis, thanks again for the decals! They’re in the stash now waiting for a suitable time to have another go at it. The suggestion to build it with my grandson is a great one, as we’ve done a few snap together car kits already.

    Looking forward to seeing what comes out of your shop!

  • Jaime Carreon said 5 months ago:

    Matt, you’re going to paint the squadron markings? Cool!! Please post how you do it and how it comes out.

  • Allan J Withers said 5 months ago:

    Jaime, I would paint it yellow, cut a curved piece of tape to suit, a bit of trial and error to get it right or a hole in the tape over a red spinner then yellow, a smaller hole and red again, I think I prefer the first method, I don’t seem to have any pic’s the process on the ones I’ve done myself !!

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Jaime Carreon said 5 months ago:

    Thanks, Allen! The spinner is in two pieces, so I only have to mask one stripe as I can paint the back half separately. I hadn’t thought of cutting a hole in a piece of tape, might try that.

  • Jaime Carreon said 4 months, 3 weeks ago:

    A little more work on the Mustang. Since this one turned into sort of an afterthought, I decided to try to add a few little details to spice it up. The formation lights under the right wingtip were drilled out with a pin vise. The holes were then filled with Testor’s clear parts cement. When they dried, I touched them up with Tamiya clear red, green and yellow. A few leftover pieces of clear sprue became the wingtip nav lights, also painted with clear red and green.

    The prop and spinner were painted and assembled. Fit was horrible, everything on this kit seemed to be about a size to small. The spinner backplate doesn’t quite fit the nose of the airplane and the spinner tip doesn’t quite match the backplate. The red paint matched the nose checkerboards pretty well, but the yellow didn’t. I’m hoping the flat coat will mask that a little. At least the spinner stripe came out sort of straight!

    I managed to launch the windscreen off into carpet netherland, but the dog found it and saved me having to go through the junkbox. Canopy was assembled to the frame and all of the landing gear parts have been painted, should have her on the gear soon. On the home stretch now…

    2 attached images. Click to enlarge.

  • Louis Gardner said 4 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Looks good buddy………. Hang in there, you’re almost done. Good dog too, by the way.

    My German Shepherd has found missing bits for me in the past too. Dogs are great…………. but to this day, my prop for the Tamiya F4F is still MIA………………. My Shepherd hasn’t helped me too much with finding that one.

  • Jaime Carreon said 4 months, 3 weeks ago:

    Finally got an uninterrupted modeling day, so the final touches went on. Canopy and windscreen painted and installed. Prop decalled, weathered and installed. Landing gear went on, so she’s standing on her own now. Did a little silver chipping in the traffic and high wear areas, then a dark wash over the entire model to dirty her up and pop out some of the detail. Not a contest winner, but not too bad for what was supposed to be a quick build!

    I’m calling this one done. I’ll post the pics on the 1st when the group build officially starts.

  • Bernard E. Hackett, Jr. said 4 months, 2 weeks ago:

    A little late, but for the spinner, a circle template. Use a larger circle for the rear spinner red. then progressively (we hope) smaller ones for the remaining yellow and red. I know there’s a debate about how some Mustang wings were puttied and sanded to give smoothness and speed. I think the gun bay doors were left in NM. You could say you were being prototypical, huh?

  • Craig Abrahamson said 4 months, 2 weeks ago:

    Can’t go wrong with those “old” Monogram kits for the money AND the fit. Great work!

Viewing 1 - 13 of 13 posts