Salem Representative Tamiya 1/48 scale P-51B Mustang
Salem Representative...Ralph Hofer had a way too short but storied history with the 8th. If you have any interest in Ralph Hofer I highly recommend Troy White's book "Last of the Screwball Aces". On July 2nd 1944, 23 year old Hofer lost his life attacking an airbase at Mostar Yugoslavia. He left behind one of the most colorful careers in the annals of WWII history. His blue football jersey, his dog Duke, his penchant for rogue hunting,...he was controversial, but he was a fighter pilot. I flew Crazy Horse when I was 23 and it was an overwhelmingly powerful experience. I tried to imagine being over Germany full of gas and full of ammunition. So much power at your fingertips. Just incredible what these guys did...last of the gunfighters.
What an awesome little kit...as are all Tamiya offerings. As noted in the build log I bought this off of eBay cheap, and it came with a ton of resin accessories. I don't ask questions when I buy off of there and this seems like a frustration sale. When I got the kit I found that the resin cockpit had been installed rather crudely and crooked. The fuselage halves didn't fit together at all. I've since found out the cockpit is from Jaguar. The details are gorgeous and fortunately the fit issues were rectified by shaving the floor and gas tank area that are well out of view. The cockpit canopy rails are still sitting proud of the fuselage but it fits with the original Malcolm hood installation. Getting the fuselage rectified was the first hurdle...the next hurdle was the NMF. I've been down this road twice before and have 2 Mustangs that look like they were napalmed. This time, instead of Alclad Black base, I used Mr. Color with a coat of Mr. Color gloss clear. The Alclads went on beautifully and not one bit pulled up with the tape. Once that was done I decided on Salem Representative. The taping for this scheme is a challenge, but nothing a bit of patience and low air pressure can't accomplish. I used mostly Tamiya paints thinned 70% X-20 and 30% paint at around 15psi. I also used Mr. Color leveling thinner which is amazing stuff as well, same ratios.
The Decals are a mix of Kits-World and Superscale. Tamiya decals are meh, too thick. I have a feeling most everyone has built this kit at some point. The only two things I'm not happy with are the prop...which is an easy fix with aftermarket or another brand (Accurate Miniatures), and the leading edge landing light...on future B models I'll be installing this before paint as it requires trimming to get in the pocket. The other thing to mention but not really a big deal, is the thickness of the Hood. It doesn't seat on the fuselage where the rails would have been mounted. I used Tamiya polish and my dremel to thin the part as much as I felt comfortable. It fits a bit better. Hope you guys like it and thanks for having a look!