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Rodney J. Williams
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March 29, 2020 · in Aviation · · 6 · 1.5K

My client sent me the side view photo of "Dallas Doll" and wanted to know if I could make the "Dallas-style" canopy? I wrote back and said yes I could, but in reality I had never done anything like this before.

Experimentation was next on the building list: I put the kit canopy on its' frame and poured "Plaster-of-Paris" into it, then removed the plaster mold just after it set up. I added more plaster to the top and let the plaster dry out real good for a couple of day's. I cut and sanded the top area, then put on a temporary jig showing the outline of the canopy.
With some refinement I came up with a new mold and pulled a new vac-u-form canopy, however I was not getting good canopies at first. Try, try again and I got one that I was satisfied with, so I took a photo of it and had a print made which was sent to the client...His reply was "Go for it."

The rest of the model was easy to build as I had some photos of my first P-51D's wheel wells and I had extra cast brass main gear struts. I hope I put the valve stems and caps on the tires.

The cockpit was refined including the seat and the use of Waldron instrument dials.

I used the new aluminum paint by Tamiya then applied a pre-cut mask I made, using "Artis Frisket Film" for the "Dallas Doll" logo. Other decals came from the kit and my spare decal box.

I built a large case for the model which had a mirror and a clear plastic cover attached.
I drove from California to the IPMS/USA National Convention which was held in Omaha, Nebraska in 1994. The model was displayed with the clear top on its' base, however I took it off so the judge's could take a good look at it. They carefully picked up the model to look and judge the bottom of it.

After the banquet my client & I took the model up to his hotel room and I said goodby to it with a few tears in my eyes.


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13 additional images. Click to enlarge.

6 responses

  1. Nice work (as usual).

    Interestingly, that is not the "Dallas" canopy, but rather the (unknown at the time you did this) "teardrop" canopy that only a relative few P-51Ds were equipped with. Had it not been that Eduard's new P-51D includes all three canopies, it wouldn't be particularly known now (though Falcon included it in their 1/48 "P-51 special" canopy set). The more "bulged" "Inglewood" canopy and "Dallas" canopy (so named for the factories producing the airplanes) gave better headroom than the teardrop, which was however more aerodynamic and streamlined.

    • Tom & All contributor's. I read somewhere that the "B" Mustangs were faster than the "D" models 'cause the air flowing by the canopy on the "D's" caused problems and slowed down the airplane...The only thing the bubble/teardrop canopy did was to let the pilot see more in the back of him and hell's bells with the strap in system I don''t think the pilot could move very good, all the way backwards.

      • That's true - the B was also lighter. Pilots I have known who flew both said the B flew like a sports car while the D flew like a pickup truck. And those who got to fly Allison ponies all say that below 10,000 feet it was the best Mustang of all for handling.

  2. Fantastic work, Rodney!

  3. Nice work Rodney great to see!

  4. Beautiful and inspiring work!

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