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Jim Harley
25 articles

Crazy Horse TF-51D Mustang Conversion

December 26, 2020 · in Aviation · · 8 · 2.5K

26 years ago I was a recent college debt, and things to do. A friend of mine bought a flight in Crazy Horse, at the time it was $1,600 for an hour. Three of us nuts piled in the car and headed to Latrobe, PA to watch Tony take his flight. Needless to say John and I were green with envy. At the time, spending $1,600 on an hour flight seemed a bit much, but after watching Tony, about 2 weeks later, John, Tony and I were heading back to Latrobe, both John and I had cash in hand. I was 23, barely a private pilot, but life long Mustang nut. While kids in school were reading Cat in the Hat, I was reading everything I could get my hands on regarding Mustangs. This was it...I thought this would be my one and only chance to experience the Mustang first hand. It was magical, an hour of bliss, rolling, looping, running through canyons, throwing up, lol,...I did 3 landings...he even ducked his down so I could see the runway. It was easy to fly, like on rails...I could only imagine being 23, over Europe full of ammo and gas...and, and. That day has stuck with me, more than any experience I've ever had. Over the years I've run in to the guys at Stallion. Lee remembers the mess I made 🙂 (I cleaned it up). While working at Warbird Adventures flying T-6s, day in and day out we'd cross paths on the taxiways and the practice area we shared southwest of the field. I was building T-6 to fulfill the insurance requirements for Betty Jane.

Fast forward to now. I've always wanted to model Crazy Horse...thanks to Greg Drawbaugh for producing some beautiful decals, and, probably too much free time, I made the TF . It's the 1/48th Scale Korean version, for the correct prop. I tried some Tamiya silver lacquer...this stuff if wonderful! forgiving and dries almost instantly, BUT, do not use Mr. Color clear, it attacked the silver. I didn't try Tamiya X-22, and fortunately it was only the bottom of the wing. When I say it's forgiving, I masked off the decals and the invasion stripes and resprayed the silver...can't tell. So, this is my little tribute. Thanks for having a look and my rambling.

Reader reactions:
5  Awesome

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8 responses

  1. Loved your story, Jim, and the model looks very neat, no trace of your slight mishap with the Tamiya/Mr Color. Definitely liked.

  2. Love the rambling. And your model! A bit different look with that canopy and the tint. Spotting the taller fin makes me think of digging up an old project of mine, though.

  3. That's a fine build and a good way to remember your experience, Jim.
    The NMF looks very nice with the characteristic blue nose.

  4. A wonderful model to accompany a wonderful story, Jim!
    Loved your build thread.
    Also your remedial action to the mishap was totally successful.
    Well done!

  5. Great story and a nice job on the Pony, Jim. And do I see a resin company in the works after these P-51 conversion builds? And we all see you can build a Mustang but can you handle a Panther?

  6. Jim, @jimh

    This is a great story ! It reminded me of my flight a long time ago in a PT-17 Stearman, but it didn't involve rolls, loops or a few other things. It was a nice weekend "outing" and we cruised along the beach and flew over my home. Having the opportunity to fly in a WW2 fighter like you have done is the ULTIMATE thing to do on my bucket list. Maybe someday it will happen.

    I also have been watching you build this one... as it progressed in the journal you started for it. Having a personal connection with a plane like this one, shows in the quality of work you did and all of the little extras that we typically don't see. You my friend, are the Mustang master... Well done.

    Needless to say, I pressed the "liked" button too. 🙂

    I hope that your new resin company does very well. These master molds and the quality of the parts you have been making look very good !

    Happy New Year . 🙂

  7. That turned out great! I’ve never seen a TF-51D modeled before.

  8. Very nice - of an unusual subject. Well done!

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