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Tom Cleaver
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Oops! I did it againyet another Eduard P-51D

December 24, 2020 · in Aviation · · 16 · 2K

Poking through model boxes can lead to, ummm... making a model. Surprising, I know, but yeah...

From the Royal Class P-51 release, an airplane flown by a lesser-known ace who had a good way with words when it came time to write his memoirs. And you know me and writers, sooo...

Major Richard E. Turner was one of the originals of the 356th Fighter Squadron of the 354th Fighter Group, the first guys to take the P-51 into combat. He eventually rose to squadron commander. He wrote a very good memoir, "Big Friend - Little Friend" which I read 40-odd years ago then found again last year before the plague at the the last local library book sale before the world came to an end, and re-read it during lockdown and it's still good.

During his first tour with the unit, he had a girlfriend back home who he called "Short-fuse Sallee," for reasons of her "anger management issues." He named both Mustangs he flew in that period that name. Then in the late summer of 1944, when he completed his first tour and volunteered for a second, he got 30 days back home, and went back planning to marry said lady with an anger-management problem. It didn't work out (when I eventually met him out at Chino back in the 80s before his early death, I asked about it, and he said "thank goodness"). So when he came back and got back to his P-51, a new one he'd just gotten before going home, he had the name the crew chief had painted changed to "short fuse".

Anyway, this is the second of his P-51s, an early -5, as seen in July 1944, after the invasion stripes came off the upper surfaces. The Eduard kit, done with Vallejo metallics - yes, you can indeed mask over them - take note of the different tones here, all done with masking, but be sure to use nice low-tack drafting tape, not Tamiya tape and certainly not real masking tape. Airfix P-51D decals for the wing and tail ID stripes.

And when I got it done, I was going through the stash in the closet again, and there's this other Eduard early , with a load of "upgrades" from them, that Bullseye "Yoxford Boys" sheet in there, and... well, fortunately, I can resist everything but temptation, so I'm good here. For now. An hour from now...?

Hope everyone's having a good holiday season. Me, I'm just glad I have this time machine here that is taking me back every day to Guadalcanal in the fall of 1942, where the worst thing they had to worry about was being shelled by battleships. An easier place, even with the bad Japanese food, the mud and the dust, the mosquitoes big as B-17s, the rats running across your sleeping bag...

Reader reactions:
11  Awesome

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

16 responses

  1. For an oops, this looks pretty awesome, Tom.

    • The model's not an oops - doing it is the oops. Especially with thinking of doing another, but one must do three P-51s a year, and there's not much time left. 🙂

  2. Very nice Mustang. Natural metal finish looks great.
    And...never enough mustangs... 🙂
    Best regards

  3. Very, very nice! This kit is a winner, I just wish I had enough ponies to build all those options in the Royal Edition decal sheet (and space to store them)

  4. How about three times is the charm. I like the variation's in metal shading. There not over done and you get a feel from the photos that its a Mustang on the flight line and not a plastic toy. The build has some gravitas.

    • It's actually a bit too "well washed" for a P-51 at a forward landing ground in Normandy in July 1944. Must have been after one of the frequent rain storms. 🙂

      • LOL. TC , your far from being washed up on this build. It reminds of 51 on the flight line at a airshow. But, since the norm is Normandy and where bringing in a new year . . . following in the Great Carnac's foot steps I, see three more Eduard Mustangs in your future.

  5. Merry X-mas Tom.

    We were at the USS San Francisco memorial at Lands End on december 6.

    This in San Francisco At lands end in the Golden Gate National Recreation area.

    Powerful spot,

    Of a battle cruiser made in my adopted town, A ship where The high Ranking ranking officers Died at the Helm, the first Naval installation and shipyard, after Statehood in California.. Balls to the wall , Vallejo and Mare Island Naval Shipyard.

    I make a point to take visitors and family members there to both places. The yard is busy again. Nice to see.

    We see P-51’s every Now and then at Sonoma regional airport and From the memorial flight.

    They book! Keep on Mustang’ ing.

    • I remember making a pilgrimage to the USS San Francisco waaaay back when as a young sailor. It was nearly abandoned at that point, no fence or anything, so I climbed up and stood in the bridge and thought about what had happened there. When ten years later I worked for a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, I got hm to put an attack on the rust and a coat of paint in the annual budget, which saved the bridge. I'm so glad to see it's been restored now and is cared for and recognized for what it is.

      I also had the privilege back in the 1990s of meeting the Marine Gunnery Sergeant whose position was the signal bridge - he was the first down to the bridge after it took the hits. Captain Cassin Young died in his arms. In the next 30 minutes, the actions that resulted in four Medals of Honor occured in saving her.

  6. Great result, Tom, especially the metal shade(s).
    It's amazing you did it at that short time.

  7. Well done, Tom.
    I'm also positively surprised of that speed at which this Pony is build and stil achieving this high level of quality.
    A very fine build to keep looking at.

  8. Beautiful and very inspiring work ?
    A pleasure to view!

  9. Very, very nice. Vallejo metallics are frail, I always prime when using them to lower the chance of peeling. They provide great panel variation, as your build shows.

    • Yes, I use Tamiya, either X-1 Gloss Black (as here) or X-18 Semi-gloss Black. Thinned 50-50 and misted on to give a really smooth finish. The Vallejo paint will take on the aspects of the paint below, so it will be shinier with gloss, less shiny with semi-gloss, and almost flat with flat under.

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