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James Kelley
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Arma Hobby North American P-51C "Evalina".

April 16, 2022 · in Aviation · · 15 · 1.5K

North American P-51C "Evalina" in scale. Built Out of the Box. Finished in Alclad II Polished Aluminum, weathered with oils. The kits' decals are Techmod, and perfformed flawlessly. This is likely the most detailed kit I've ever done in this scale.

A P-51C with the charming name “Evalina” was the first and, as it turned out, last fully airworthy North American to be captured by the Japanese. Intensive tests followed by demonstration flights at combat units convinced both veterans and commanders of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force that their most recent “acquisition” was a truly fantastic aircraft – the fulfilment of every fighter pilot's dreams.

The North American P-51C-11-NT Mustang with registration number 44-10816 (manufactured at the Dallas plant in Texas as 111-28949) was the personal aeroplane of First Lieutenant Oliver E. Strawbridge. At the turn of 1945, the fighter was stationed in China with the 26th Fighter Squadron, itself an element of the 51st Fighter Group. The unit's combat trail had started in India and proceeded through Burma and China, ending in French Indochina, a territory that comprised present-day Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

In truth, the circumstances of the incident have still not been fully clarified. We do know that on 16 January 1945 the pilot landed “Evalina” on the Chinese airfield of Suchin, which was still held by the Japanese. While the Americans concluded that this was the result of a navigational error, Japanese sources mention an emergency landing – and then muddle the story still further. Namely, some maintain that the aircraft belly-landed in a rice paddy near the base, but according to others the fighter made a normal landing necessitated by a technical fault.

Practically all historians reject the former version of events, logically assuming that Japanese ground crews would have been incapable of repairing damage sustained by an Allied fighter during a wheels up landing made in difficult terrain (especially as there are no extant documents suggesting that such repairs had actually been performed). This would appear to be supported by the fact that later, when “Evalina's” tail wheel leg suffered only slight damage, it was simply left locked in the down position. Whatever the case may have been, the chance acquisition of a virtually brand-new and fully functional Mustang was a godsend to the IJAAF. It was no surprise, therefore, that the aircraft was collected and flown to Japan, where it underwent detailed testing, by one of the leading aces of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force – Major Kuroe.

Reader reactions:
13  Awesome

14 additional images. Click to enlarge.

15 responses

  1. These Arma Hobby kits are indeed amazing, beautiful build James!

  2. Ya learn something new every day. Never heard this story before. The Stang must have "blown their hair back" for sure.
    Great job on that. Looks like a 1/48.

  3. Excellent model and nice story behind it, James!

  4. Good work on Arma kit! I hope I will build it in the future 🙂

  5. You're going to need to do more to convince me that that isn't Tamiya's 1/48 kit.. Regardless, as implied, I am impressed with your results! Great looking Mustang!

  6. A real beauty, James. Like the others have stated...looks more 1/48. Well done!

  7. I have the kit and have it assembled - I can confirm James' statement that it's one of the most detailed 1/72 kits, and everyone else's comment that it's a 1/72 kit with the detail of a 1/48. It so blows away Tamiya! Follow the instructions, take a lot of care with the cockpit, you won't be using any putty or filler anywhere.

    This really looks nice, James!

    • Thanks, Tom...!

      I found a couple of "in progress" cockpit shots I took, and added them. I'm happy that I bought 4 of these when they were released. I'll eventually get to them lol. Maybe tackle the Wildcats soon...

  8. Looks beautiful. I finished the Arma FM-2 and the Wildcats are a pleasant build except the landing gear being fiddly like the Tamiya one is. It looks better than the 1/48 scale HB FM-2.

  9. Great looking Mustang, James @jkelleycrna
    Thanks for sharing the historical part behind it.

  10. Look looking pony James and I'm also impressed with the level of detail at that scale. She's a winner.

  11. Now I will have to buy one of these to replace my Academy 1/72 scale P-51B. I hope I do as well as you have.

  12. Looks excellent - nice work!

  13. Great looking Mustang! Interesting story, What happened to the pilot after he landed ?

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