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Jim Harley
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“The Stars Look Down” 354th Fighter Group P-51B Tamiya 1/48th Conversion

December 6, 2020 · in Aviation · · 9 · 3.2K

The resin madness continues. I want thank everyone that followed along with the build, I really appreciate the kind words. This conversion was pretty straight forward. The 354th Fighter Group website was an invaluable resource as was the Aircorps Aviation site. The rear floor and the seat were pretty straight forward. The rear bulkhead and the canopy bow posed some challenges. The rebuild of Lope's Hope is well documented on the AIrcorps Avation site so the shape and position of the bulkhead was easily determined. I used Evergreen plastic to make the prototype bulkhead as close to the North American part as I could. The cockpit bow, which supports the side entry window was formed from a 1mm strip of aluminum with a plastic "spine" glued down the middle. FIDDLY, but it worked and the resin cast part was much easier to work with than I thought. I did learn to separate it from the molding filler piece before removing the part from the sprue. It's painted as the incarnation after Ike flew in her in July of 44. At some point it was repainted after the St. Lo mission and acquired the noseart and freshened up invasion stripes. I was originally going to do the Ike version but the "Stars" decals got the best of me. The Ike version will be in the not to distant future. I kept the upper canopy in the closed position...I think it's some form of PTSD from being around Betty Jane for so many years. If the upper lid is open and a good gust of wind catches it, the entire side panel is going to leave the airframe. So, when it was on display between flights it stayed closed. The other mod is the elevators and trim tabs. The elevator is in the locked position and the trim tabs are cut to normal landing settings. Other than that it's straight out of the box 🙂 Overall it's a fun and straight forward modification and produces a unique and historic . Stars survived the war and was reportedly scrapped in England in 1946 while wearing a natural metal finish.

Reader reactions:
11  Awesome

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.

9 responses

  1. Beautifully done tandom Mustang! B/C two seaters sure look better than the D's on the outside. Can't much say they were any better a'view from the inside though.. looks cramped! 😉 Thanks for sharing.

  2. That’s really cool! I’ve always wanted make this conversion in 1/72. I have an old decal sheet produced in New Zealand witty story these markings. Nice work Jim.

  3. A great converted pony, Jim.
    Thanks for sharing this building thread.
    Such a pitty that those planes were scrapped.

  4. jim @Jimh, what a great conversion and what a wonderful model!
    Not only the conversiion was succesfue, but the model itself was excellent in terms of building/painting and especially weathering.
    I loved the plane's name, too.

    Other than that it’s straight out of the box ?
    Good one!

  5. Has been a pleasure to follow, and a stunning result! - I'll make sure to hit the like-button on my way out.

  6. Jim @jimh
    I have really enjoyed watching you design and build this conversion set. Air Corps Aviation is a wonderful website site too. You have done a magnificent job on this, and what makes it special is how you have done it from from making your own design, to building the masters and making the molds and then casting your own parts. Your attention to detail, along with your familiarity with the real life full scale Mustang, shows up along every step of the way, but most importantly the end result is where she really shines.

    You my friend are the Mustang Master ! Well done buddy... I pressed the "liked" button too.

    PS have you sent any pictures of this to Gary ? Mike, Chris and Ashley would also like to see it I'm sure... They're giving your old ride Betty Jane some TLC, and it's going to be painted as "Stars Look Down" as far as I know when it's done.

    Thanks for sharing this with us... 🙂

  7. Excellent build! Love the look you achieved with the OD - very visually interesting.

  8. Thanks guys! This has been a fun journey. The resin casting really opens the door to some unique possibilities. I'm a Mustang nut so the list of conversions continues to grow. Once I finish up the Anson Johnson mod I'll probably do Dago Red next. I've always wanted a model of Tsunami, so I can see that in the pipeline as well. Decals are another hurdle, which I know nothing about. I can fake the resin bits, but decals are a whole other animal. We'll see! again, thanks for all the kind words. @lgardner I haven't sent any photos to the shop, Gary is a model nut so I'm sure he'll pick up on it since he stalks my Facebook page 🙂 Christmas season has really taken over my full time job and I won't have any real time off until after the holidays...not complaining though, all things considered!


  9. Nicely done Jim, and resin madness has no cure so you'll just have to live with it. Good looking pony.

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