Not another Mustang! Or: why it is always worthwhile to build a classic again.
With well known aircraft types, the model building enthusiast may be inclined to quickly think “not again…” and then quickly turn away interest. The thought, however, that every single aircraft was connected with individual fates could at least tempt to take a second look – and perhaps make it worthwhile.
I maintain that exactly this is the case here: a P-51 Mustang in British services is certainly no insider tip. A peculiarity of the anglicised Mustang III is to be found in the “Malcolm” canopy adapted by the RAF, which considerably improves the pilot’s view; the full equipment with “D-Day invasion stripes” associates the depicted aircraft with the period immediately around the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6th, 1944.
The squadron identification designates the 122nd Squadron of the RAF, which, equipped with the Mustang Mk.III since January 1944, was used mainly for escorting the heavy bombers of the 8th US Air Force. The unit was also intensively involved in the actions surrounding the invasion.
This is interesting, but it would not make this aircraft stand out from the mass of the P-51 Mustangs used at that time.
It becomes more interesting if you follow the history of the pilot. Flight Lieutenant C L F “Jimmy” Talalla was one of two brothers who flew for the Royal Air Force as born Singhalese. The brother, Warrant Officer H C B Talalla, was to lose his life as a pilot of a Hawker Typhoon over the Falaise cauldron on 25 July. Jimmy Talalla flew until the end of the war and survived, to his credit five kills. If you are interested, more information and pictures of the two brothers can be found online with little effort.
Fortunately, the operational history of Talalla’s plane has been so well documented photographically that the period during which MT+K wore the full markings on the top and bottom side can be dated from the 6th to the 12th June. After this date, the original paintwork on the upper side was restored in the course of maintenance. The model shown here therefore represents Talalla’s Mustang in a precisely defined time frame.
The used decals are from the sheet “RAF Mustang Aces” from Kitsworld Decals. I can only recommend this decal because of its high quality and perfect workability.
The necessity of a new decal sheet was clear after a look at the kit offer. Clearly color shifted and printed uncleanly, the decals went straight into the trash – without having to make a detour via a leftover box or something similar.
But this almost exhausts my lamentation about the otherwise well-equipped kit, only two points remain to be mentioned: firstly the wings are covered with recessed rows of rivets. In the end I decided against a filling with following sanding, because other interpretations of the forms of a Mustang also contain further “seam hits”.
For example, the position lights and landing lights are in the design of the later D version. However, this can be corrected quite well and inconveniently. The position light on the upper and lower surfaces, which is characteristic for this version, I have rebuilt with drops of fast hardening CA-adhesive.
On the other hand, I had to solve a somewhat more serious problem with the Malcolm hood. This proved to be too short to be shown open. As a solution I raised the cockpit walls with two strips of plastic until the lower edges of the clear part seem to protrude credibly into “guide rails”. Since this rebuild was only carried out after the paint job was finished, the consumption of nerves and time has increased somewhat.
All in all, with a little generosity and” fun in the joy” one is well advised with this kit. As a hint only one thing should be said: “there’s something wrong with the “Malcolm” hood…! By the way, this does not mean the general shape or the above mentioned shortcoming with the missing length. Whoever solves the puzzle may write the answer to me – or just be happy about his knowledge increase.
11 additional images. Click to enlarge.