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Not An Axis Airplane!

There are great many new and wonderful kits available to us these days, every one of which seems to be a significant improvement on anything that came before, but there are also a great many older kits still available that have stood the test of time rather well. I’d like to share one such kit with the group today; Tamiya’s 1990’s-vintage P-51D in 1/48th scale.

It’s a kit that’s classic in every respect, and one that’s also easy to build. Accuracy is more than adequate for most modelers with a couple of exceptions: The flaps have a goofy cutout in their inboard upper corners to allow them to fit the model in the retracted position, the semi-circular canopy brace is molded solid when it should have lightening holes in it, and their “Aeroproducts” propeller option is actually actually an uncuffed HamStandard, or at least that’s what it most closely represents. None of those issues were a problem in my world since I was building the model as a clothes horse rather than my personal interpretation of the Ultimate Mustang, while the prop was a non-player in any event since I was modeling an almost bone-stock 1945-vintage P-51 and therefore using the kit’s cuffed propeller.

The model was built to represent a Mustang shared by Lieutenants Ralph Gardner and Chester Jatczak of the 457th FS/506th FG while performing Very Long Range missions out of Iwo Jima during the Spring of 1945. I’ve always had an interest in the VLR P-51Ds because of their colorful markings and relative lack of representation in the modeling world, and Eduard’s recent release of a set of VLR tanks as part of their OverTree series dictated that a model be built.

The basic model is almost stock Tamiya straight from the kit, with only a couple of changes and modifications to convert it into a replica of a VLR aircraft. (If you go the Tamiya route yourself, look for their Korean War boxing of the kit; it’s to be preferred since it has the underwing rockets you’ll need for the project.) The interior was enhanced by an Eduard Zoom set, a set of VLR tanks were added thanks to the aforementioned Eduard OverTree set of VLR gas bags, while the pair of dorsal fuselage masts for the AN/ARA-8 “Uncle Dog” homing system were made from Evergreen rectangular shapes—the mast under the nose that’s also associated with that system is simply the kit’s dorsal antenna relocated. There should also be a set of antennae for the airplane’s AN/APS-13 radio antenna suite on either side of the vertical tail but I have yet to add them. The model needs rockets as well, but they’ve become a “someday” kind of thing, much like those antennae. I’ll get to them someday. Someday…

Anyway, the interior and most of the detailing on the model were painted with Mr Color. The fuselage was done with some of my remaining stock of Floquil Old Silver and the tail was painted with Testors Willow Green from their now-defunct ModelMaster range, while most of the markings came from Kagero’s Red Series “Pacific Mustangs Part 1” decal set, plus a few handling and stencil markings from the kit. I think the project ended up producing a fair representation of one of the more colorful VLR Mustangs, and it allowed me to use one of the Tamiya P-51Ds still in the stash. I hope you like it.

phil

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.


12 responses to Not An Axis Airplane!

  1. Looks great! I was given a set of similar decals for 1/72, and hadn’t really noticed those green-tailed birds before. Now I’m going to have to do one – I like the scheme!

  2. Great build, Phillip.
    Those green tail Mustangs are new to me as well.
    Looking awesome.

  3. Nice work. 506th P-51s are always interesting.

  4. Nice work on the old lady. I particularly like that you were able to use that kit canopy and get it to sit right (not easy to do, which is why so many Tamiya P-51Ds have the canopy sliding up into space).

    These VLR Mustangs are interesting and little-seen in modeling. I really like the result here.

    One thing of note for anybody who uses Kits World Decals: they have not figured out the easy-to-discover dimensions of the US star-and-bar insignia. Sometimes they get “close” but it’s obvious that they didn’t get it if you sit the model next to any other one with better decals. On the other hand, their individual airplane artwork is super – go figure. With Tamiya, it’s always good to go with their insignia – except in the case of the Korean War issue, since the red stripes are integral. Fortunately there is a literal plethora of accurate US insignia decals (I highly recommend the Fundekals set, which are the absolute toppers and they do red-surround, blue, and post-1948)

  5. Great work on the now classic Tam Mustang, Phillip!
    And yes, a scheme not that often seen.
    I also love tackling old kits.

  6. Very nice looking model! Planning on building this scheme using the Eduard kit.

  7. Good looking Phillip, I like it a lot.

  8. Thanks, guys!

    phil

  9. One beauty of a Mustang! Great looking color scheme, nice nose art too.

  10. Very nice pony.

  11. Great work, beautiful build.

  12. Phillip, A very nice / clean build. I’ve always liked this scheme and therefore enjoy seeing one done well. I too believe the old Tamiya kit is a classic and will still build up as nice any anything else on the market, I think you’ve show that here !

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