Profile Photo

  • 5 articles
  • 577 karma
  • 3 friends

4th FG P-51D “Thunder Bird”

Hi folks,

Hailing from Colorado, USA. Much enjoying the website and am glad to have a place to memorialize my infrequent builds. This is my first submission here, and I would be happy to receive constructive criticism.

The markings are for Captain Ted Elvan Lines’ P-51D-10-NA 44-14570 WD-D, 335th FS, 4th FG, 8th AF.

I appreciate the aesthetics of aircraft in-flight. To better enable display, without drilling a hole in the model, for storage and to fly them around the house chasing my kids, I inserted a hidden magnet near the CG and then mounted the AC on an acrylic rod also sporting a magnet. In this case, I covered the rod’s magnet with a piece of felt to protect the model’s finish.

Building the Tamiya kit in-flight remedies some of the kit’s known issues, specifically hiding the inaccurate main wheel wells and the notches in the flaps.

Challenges for me included surface prep. The Vallejo metal colors worked well, I thought, although they didn’t like Mr Levelling Thinner at all–the paint and thinner in the mixing jar chemically convected vigorously and got gummy. Took to spraying them neat, with varying success depending on the color, but would like to learn what thinners work well with them (presumably Vallejo’s own).

Kit: Tamiya 1/48 P-51D 61040-2500
Aftermarket: Eduard PE cockpit set–unnecessary IMHO with the closed canopy
Finish: Tamiya AS-12 (decanted) and Vallejo Metal Color, both over Mr Surfacer 1500; Tamiya acrylics
Decals: EagleCals #48-139 P-51Ds Part One

Build Issues: The EagleCals decals reacted strongly to Microsol, producing wrinkles that could not be tamed, so used kit decals for national insignia; had trouble fitting gunsight over photoetch IP and therefore omitted the gunsight; missing single mirror (will have to source one); port side hatch on upper cowling, just ahead of the windscreen, should have been removed; should have non-perforated breather plates; uncertain about the width of the recognition markings–they appear to have been smaller than D-Day markings, and I scaled them from the profiles on the EagleCals sheet.

Photos: Informally shot with a Google Pixel 3 indoors and outdoors

Hope to do many more P-51s, including the incoming 1/48 H model. One day, I would like to tackle Tamiya’s big kit.

Thanks for having me and kind regards,


9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

21 responses to 4th FG P-51D “Thunder Bird”

  1. Great looking Mustang, nice idea with magnet! Welcome to the site.

  2. Welcome to iModeler Jim,
    That’s a pretty neat and efficient way to present a inflight model in my opinion, I like it and I also find that presenting some planes gear up only benefits the clean and aesthetic lines they have, the Mustang is one of them. Great work, and since I’m no expert about the Pony, I mean that about solid build and NMF

  3. The mounting method is a fantastic idea that I hadn’t thought of despite the fact that ever since I have been building 1/700 ships I have been super-gluing magnets inside the hull along the keel. It gives them a bit more heft and provides a way to keep them on the shelf more securely. Only thing you need to be careful with is keeping them clear of any areas that may be receiving steel photo-etch.

    Great tip, thanks, and great looking Mustang!

  4. Pedro and Andrew, thanks a bunch for the kind words and ideas! I’m building a Flyhawk 1/700 USS Ward and didn’t think about mounting magnets inside (too late now but for the Flyhawk PoW, I’ll do that)—fantastic notion for ship models.

    • DDs are a bit tough due to limited space in hull, but small rectangular magnets tend to work best, but in any case if you use more than one, make sure the polarity is in an orientation that works for how you want to mount it, and what you plan to mount it to. I use CA to hold them in place.

      My intent was to fit small rectangular magnets in a mock drydock. I have yet to get that sorted since I recently moved, but having the magnets in there gives me options.

  5. Welcome! Nice work.

  6. Welcome aboard, sir…I, too, like that magnet “trick” – nice build !

  7. Thanks a ton, John and Craig!

  8. 🙂 … Greetings … 🙂 :
    Welcome to this forum Jim.
    Nice clean and sharp model as well as the stand, very good and resourceful idea.

  9. Welcome to iModeler, James! That’s a fine looking flying Pony-bird, Sir. I always do my models earth-bound but yours looks great! The magnet idea is outstanding, too.


  10. Welcome James, you’ll find this a friendly as well as helpful site. Nice looking pony by the way, and the magnet trick is quite interesting..

  11. Welcome aboard! A great-looking Mustang, and nice to see someone else that likes to pose in-flight (after all, that’s what they were designed for!) All mine are that way.

  12. Very nice James. By a coincidence, I’m building the Hasegawa version of this aircraft at the moment. I’ll be painting the I.D. stripes today as well. Hasegawa’s decal stripes measure 8mm and the D-Day stripes are 9mm for the black and 10mm for the white….odd but there you have it. I am also using Vallejo Metallics on this and I’m spraying it neat without problems

Leave a Reply