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Louis Gardner
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Christmas Day, 1944 ETO. Major George Preddy "Cripes-A-Mighty III" Revell 1/32 P-51D-5

December 25, 2022 · in Aviation · · 57 · 1.6K

Hello everyone. This build was done to pay respects to a man who gave his life on Christmas Day, 1944, in the name of freedom. His name was George Preddy, who was a Major in the US Army Air Corps. Tragically he was killed on this day in 1944.

Please follow along as I tell the story, about the man and his .

Several years ago, I picked up this book that came with a set of decals for several versions of "Cripes-A-Mighty". This book is very informative, as it shows how the Mustang he flew went through the various changes as time went on, and the requirements changed for the Air War over Europe. If you are interested, these decals are available in 3 scales, and I have since picked up another set in 1/48 for a future Mustang build. I also have plans to build another one of Preddy's Mustangs, 44-14906, which is trimmed in red as well as having a darker blue nose section than this one does. This later Mustang also happens to be the same plane he lost his life in.

George, the oldest of 6 children, was born on 05 February, 1919, and he was raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. According to the Eagle Editions book that I mentioned above, he was also thin / slight of build and highly intelligent. Because of his thin stature, he shied away from sports like football, instead he played tennis and basketball at the local YMCA.

George graduated from school early, at the age of 16. He took a short break from school, and he worked at a cotton mill, where he was able to save his earnings for flight lessons. He apparently wanted to fly after his interest for flying developed in his High School years. Like other future airmen from this era, he read stories about the exploits of the "Aces" and pilots from the "Great War" which had ended shortly before his birth.

George saved his money and took his first flight in an Aeronca aircraft 3 years after graduating from High School. Not too long afterwards, George began taking flight lessons in a Waco. As a side note, my very first flight was in a Waco UPF7. It is a biplane with an open "tandem" cockpit arrangement like the similar PT-17 Stearman has. I was about 8 years old at the time, and I remember it like it had happened just yesterday.

In 1939 George Preddy took lesson from a dirt strip runway at an airport just south of Greensboro. His instructor pilot was a man named Bill Teague, and together they purchased another Waco shortly after his solo flight. The two men set out on a barn storming tour shortly afterwards. This is where George learned how to perform aerobatics. Having this flying skill would undoubtedly help him to excel in the following years.

Not too long after the invasion of Poland in September, 1939, George applied as a Naval Aviator. He was however denied acceptance, due to his small stature. Undaunted, he went back home and began a body building regimen. He was determined to become a military aviator.

While the United States was still "Neutral", George applied a little while later to the US Army Air Corps. Since America was still not officially at War, the standards for acceptance for flight training were still very high. This time he was accepted, and his name was put on a long list with many others, for future flight cadet training.

Not hearing anything back from the Air Corps, and seeing what was happening in the world at this time he became frustrated and instead he joined the National Guard. He began training as part of the 252nd Coast Artillery located at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, which was not too far away from his home. The training was tough, as was the physical fitness and discipline.

By now George was beginning to worry because he still had not heard anything back from the Army Air Corps, for his flight training. So he began writing letters in hopes this would hasten the wait. During this time, he was transferred to another Army base located in Georgia, at Fort Screvins.

Just as his unit was deploying by ship to Puerto Rico for additional training, he finally had his Commanding Officer cut him a set of orders to report for flight training. He got the word that he was to report for Aviator Flight Training just a few hours before he got onboard the troop transport ship.

George reported to Darr Aero Tech in Albany, Georgia, to begin his flight training. Since he already had accumulated more than 300 hours in his Waco, The PT-17 Stearman and BT-13 Valiant gave him no troubles at all. He easily passed his basic flight training school and was ordered to Craig Field, Alabama for fighter pilot training.

George was realizing his dream of becoming a fighter pilot, as he passed with "flying colors" with pursuit pilot training in the AT-6 Texan. The "Texan" was designed and manufactured by North American Aviation, as was the that he would later fly... It was also here at Craig Field where he would first fly the Curtiss P-36. George was on the way to his destiny.

He graduated from his Advanced Flight Training in fighters on 12 December, 1941. This was only 5 days after the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor happened. He was now commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, and he was assigned to West Palm Beach, Florida. He reported for duty and became part of the 49th Pursuit Group. At this time his unit was flying the Bell P-39 Airacobra.

Not too long after reporting to his Fighter Group, on 11 January, 1942, they were alerted and given orders to board a troop train that was headed to the West Coast of the US. Their eventual destination was the troop ship named "Mariposa". The Mariposa docked in Melbourne Harbor, Australia on 01 February, 1942. It seemed like George would be fighting the Japanese in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

The 49th Fighter Group went through transition training in the newer Curtiss P-40E's. While flying the P-40, he claimed a Mitsubishi A6M destroyed, while damaging another Mitsubishi bomber. He never received credit for these two aircraft though...

While on a routine training flight he was involved in a mid air collision with another aircraft. He was seriously injured, and spent three months on convalescence leave before he returned back home to North Carolina. While George was home, he took this time to fly any aircraft he could, flying many of the latest models as they became available.

In January, 1943, he was reassigned to the 352nd Fighter Group. This unit was known as "Meyers Maulers" and they flew the huge Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. On the evening of 30 June, 1943, his unit loaded on board the Queen Mary and set sail for England.

The 352 FG, (Fighter Group) was composed of these three Fighter Squadrons:
328th, Fighter Squadron
427th, Fighter Squadron
428th Fighter Squadron
They became operational at Bodney during the first week of September in 1943. They were still flying the P-47 during this time.

On 09 September, 1943, the unit flew their first combat mission. It was a patrol into enemy territory over the North Sea, and it was considered a "Milk Run" as no enemy opposition was encountered. Preddy did have some success while flying his first P-47 that was by now named appropriately as "Cripes-A-Mighty". He picked this name because it was "rumored" that he said this expression regularly while playing a gambling game called "Dice".

Lieutenant Preddy received his Silver Star medal on 22 December, 1943, for shooting down his second kill, which was a German Me-210. Ironically a little more than a month later he would be shot down while flying in another P-47 by AAA (Anti Aircraft Artillery). He was shot down a plane that was normally assigned to a pilot named Lieutenant John Bennett. This P-47 was Serial Number 42-8421.

Preddy had to ditch the crippled P-47 into the freezing cold waters of the North Sea. These waters are cold enough during normal summer time weather, and during the colder months, death could happen in minutes due to exposure, especially at the end of January. He survived as was rescued because of the efforts of Lt. William Whisner.

George Preddy was promoted to the rank of Captain on 05 March, 1944.

He was promoted again shortly afterwards, to the rank of major on 22 March, 1944.

This would be the rank he held at the time of his death 9 months later. In April of 1944, the 352nd started receiving the new P-51B Mustangs. They transitioned into the new plane at this time. This was the final part needed for the newly minted Major to start raising his score.

On 11 April, 1944, Major Preddy made his first claim in the new Mustang s/n 42-106451. He claimed a Heinkel 111 destroyed on the ground. This P-51B was also named "Cripes-A-Mighty", as was his earlier P-47 Thunderbolt.

He claimed a further 10 (of his total of 13 by this time), while flying this "Razorback" version of the Mustang. Some of these 13 victories were on the ground, and some were aerial kills. Many pilots actually preferred the earlier Mustangs believe it or not... They said it was faster and more stable, also a bit easier to fly.

During the middle of June, 1944, the 352 FG began receiving the new D model "Bubble top" Mustang fighter. This is when Major Preddy was assigned a brand new -5 Mustang, serial number 44-13321. Like his earlier Mustang, it also carried the fuselage letter codes of "HOP". Also like his earlier Mustang, it too received a full set of D Day Invasion Stripes. If you look closely at these stripes, they are not even or perfect by any means. In fact, they are crooked and not evenly spaced. I spent a lot of time studying the photos that are shown in the book I mentioned. This is the final result, and as close I can get to looking like the real plane.

It was named "Cripes-A-Mighty III", and is the subject of the model I have posted here. Later on, towards the middle of July, 1944, (before 19 July) the upper D Day Invasion stripes were painted over on the wings, and stripped from the fuselage. The lower portion of the stripes remained on the aircraft.

Major Preddy had a dedicated ground crew. Like any pilot who flew in WW2, these men would not have been able to achieve what they did without the help from their ground crews. These ground crewmen are the unsung hero's and they don't get the recognition they deserve. They put in countless hours, often working non stop overnight, and in brutal weather outside.

He had an armorer named Sergeant M. G. Kuhaneck, without who's efforts he would not have had his impressive score of 25 plus victories. (There is some controversy about the total number achieved by Major

Preddy also has a ground Crew Chief named Staff Sergeant Lew Lunn, and Assistant Corporal J.J. "Red" McVay. It was due to their skill the Major never had to abort any missions due to mechanical troubles.

While flying "Cripes-A-Mighty III" Major Preddy became the leading American Ace in the ETO. He was credited with destroying 6 Bf-109's during a single mission on this day. At this time he had a total of 31 white outline German Crosses on the nose of "Cripes-A-Mighty III".

26 of these kills were air to air victories, while 5 were destroyed on the ground. Major Preddy was sent back to the States on a well deserved rest. During his time home, this Mustang, 44-13321 was still flown regularly by other men, including Colonel John Meyer the Unit Commander. Colonel Meyer claimed 4 more aircraft destroyed while flying this Mustang on 10 September, 1944.

This Mustang was then reassigned to another pilot during Major Preddy's leave. It was assigned to a pilot named Captain Henry Stuart, who changed the name to 'The Margarets" on the next day, 11 September, 1944. At this time all of the previous markings were removed, and the aircraft was re-coded to the fuselage / tail letters of HO

Following this, the Mustang 44-13321 was once again reassigned to another pilot and named "SEXSUNEIGHT". It was lost in action on 16 April, 1945 just a few days before the War was officially ended in Europe. At the time it was destroyed, it was being flown by a pilot named Lieutenant Walter Padden. Lt. Padden was killed in action, another tragedy.

At the time this aircraft was destroyed, it had been credited with destroying more enemy aircraft than any other P-51 fighter at any time during the War.

After his visit to the United States, Major Preddy returned to the 352nd FG at Bodney, the now famous "Blue Nosed Bastards of Bodney" as they have been called. Major Preddy returned to Bodney on 20 October, 1944. Little did he know he would be dead in a little more than two months from his arrival.

Upon his return, Major Preddy was assigned a new P-51D-15-NA, serial number 44-14906. This Mustang arrived at Bodney shortly before the Major did, on 15 October, 1944. This newer Mustang has the fin fillet added ahead of the vertical fin and rudder assembly. This feature was also added to some of the earlier P-51D-5 Mustangs that were delivered from the factory without them.

The major was placed in a Command position, now commanding the 328th Fighter Squadron, since it was having the least amount of success. Color Meyer thought Major Preddy could impart his combat knowledge and experience to better the Squadron.

This is also the Mustang in which he scored his last victories in, on the 2nd of November, he scored a Bf-109, and on 21 November, 1944 he shot down a FW-190. This Mustang would have 33 German Crosses displayed on the fuselage to reflect Major Preddy's score.

This last P-51D-15 had fabric covered elevators and rudder. It also had a solid style breather plate, or possibly even a different style of lower engine cover that didn't have a breather opening at all.

This last Mustang was very colorful. It had a Red painted rudder, and a small "Barber Pole" painted on the nose. It had a Red and White triangular shaped feature painted over the MG openings, and also on the engine cover. This set of decals is included in the decal set form Eagle Editions.

I have a desire to build his last Mustang, as a future build. I might use the old Hasegawa scale model to do this, or I could get the new tool of Germany version. I don't think I have enough money saved up to get the definitive Tamiya version. That would be the "hot ticket" to build for sure ! Maybe someday.

I also have this set of decals in 1/48, where I will use either the new tool Airfix kit for the D-5 and an Eduard for the D-15.

Major Preddy lead the 328th FS on it's second of two missions on Christmas Day 1944. He was flying his newest / last Mustang, 44-14906 on this mission. The 352nd FG had arrived at Asch, Belgium on 23 December, only two days before. It was a very cold day...

The mission of the 328th FS was to provide relief for the over worked and weary crews of the 9th AF. Major Preddy's wing man that day was Lt. Gordon Cartee.

Lt. Cartee later recalled the events as they happened that day. I am quoting this directly from the Eagle Editions book.

Lt. Cartee: " After stooling around for a while, due to no action, we were vectored to an area close to Koblenz, Germany, where enemy aircraft had been encountered. Preddy receiving the call said. 'They've started without us, let's go join them.'

Preddy Immediately turned in that direction. Just as Mitchell was about to peel off, he looked up and spotted two Bf-109's coming down on him and Lambright."

Cartee continued: "Preddy spotted two 109's and got into a Lufberry with the number one. Neither was gaining much advantage, when all of a sudden, another 109 cut in front of him".

"He eased up on the controls just enough, gave it a short burst, blazed it and then resumed his pursuit of the first one. The 109 lost his concentration seeing his buddy flamed, and Preddy nailed him.".

A few moments later, Preddy and Cartee were vectored to an area that was 3 or 4 miles Southeast of Liege. American troops in the area had reported that German aircraft were strafing their positions. Preddy's flight was joined by Lt. James Bouchier of the 479th FS.

Ground control approved and Preddy began accelerating from 1500 feet, as he had spotted a FW-190 Dora that was heading to the Northeast. Major Preddy was advised over the radio there was intense American AAA flak in the area, and how it was being halted because friendly American aircraft were operating in the area now...

Major Preddy was advised that he could now make his attack safely. However, the pilots flying these 3 Mustangs didn't know their flight path would take them directly over the position of the AA weapons operated by the 430th AA which was stationed to the west side of a large clump of trees. They were located two miles Southeast of Aachen, Germany.

There was a group of "quad" .050's mounted on what I think might have been an American half tack vehicle. They opened fire and Major Preddy was the first to be hit. His Mustang suffered numerous hits and it was losing coolant. Lt. Cartee saw Major Preddy do a chandelle to the left. He then jettisoned his canopy successfully.

Lt.s Bouchier and Cartee were also hit by the American AAA shortly thereafter. Bouchier's Mustang began to smoke, so he climbed to 1000 feet and jettisoned his canopy too, then bailed out.

As he was hanging in his parachute, he witnessed a large church and a wooded area. There were numerous men on the ground who witnessed the event too.
Sgt. Charles Brown, PFC John Starzynbski, and Lt. Murray Grobman were standing at the Northeast area of the wooded area and were positioned approximately 2.5 miles Southwest of the large church in Langerwehe.

Behind them and to their left, they heard a loud three to four second burst from a half track mounted "quad .050".

These men looked up, and saw Major Preddy's P-51 flying inverted at an altitude of approximately 200-300 feet. It was flying in a 20-30 degree nose down attitude.

In the large church in Langerwehe were two more men who witnessed the event. These were Sergeant Harold Kennedy, and Corporal Elmer L. Dye. Sgt. Kennedy reported the AAA was accurate and heavy.

The American "Quad .050" half track was located Northwest of the church and it was ordered to open fire by the senior NCO. At this time gun section number four opened up on Major Preddy and the two other Mustangs. They hit all three P-51's.

Sgt. Charles Brown, PFC John Starzynbski, and Lt. Murray Grobman all witnessed Major Preddy fall from his Mustang. He fell about 200 feet from his inverted plane and hit the ground. These men did not witness a parachute. "Cripes-A-Mighty" disappeared behind the tree line. When last seen, it was flying nose down, without a canopy, trailing coolant, and inverted.

Remember Lt Cartee ? He saw Preddy's Mustang cartwheel into the ground while still suspended from his parachute.

Lt. Grobman took his Jeep to the crash site and found Major Preddy's body.

Lt. Grobman reported that within a few minutes, a pair of German Bf-109's flew along the same path that Preddy had just taken. However they were not fired upon.

Sergeant Kennedy and Corporal Dye went to the crash site, and the largest portion of identifiable debris that was still intact was the engine. Sergeant Kennedy remembered seeing a portion of the fuselage that had a lot of German "Swastikas" painted on it.

Major Preddy was shot down and killed by American AAA on Christmas Day in 1944. Having survived all of his previous engagements, it's ironic that he was killed by men that were fighting on his side. Bad things happen occasionally, and this is one of them. These American AAA gunners did what the Luftwaffe and Japanese pilots couldn't do.

The Major was laid to rest at the Lorraine American Military Cemetery in St. Arvold, France. His brother Bill was in attendance at the funeral. Major Preddy was the top scoring P-51 Mustang "Ace" of the War.

Major Preddy was awarded the DSC, DFC with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters, Silver Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster, Air medal with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters, a Purple Heart and the Belgian Croix de Guerre.

I started building this model around 3 years ago. I had several outside "life" related events that caused me to put this one, (and others) on a temporary hold. I am currently building up another one of these Revell kits, and it will have the markings as supplied in the kit of "LOU IV".

I have a build journal underway here on Imodeler. If you are interested in how it went together, the good, and the little bit of bad, you can follow this link here.

This is the very first time I took the display base I built outside to photograph a model. I took these pictures using my cell phone, at two different times on two different days. I wanted to capture how the sunlight reflected off the bare metal finish. I used a Tamiya weathering deck to add the exhaust stains, using the patterns I have observed on the full sized version on several occasions.

The plane is covered using three different shades of Bare Metal Foil. I used "Chrome, Ultra Bright Chrome, and Matt Aluminum self adhesive foil on this Mustang. On the wings, they are painted, exactly how the original plane was done. I used Aluminum Plate color from the now discontinued Model Master line of enamels. I also used some Molotow Chrome refill paint that is actually designed for use in a marking pen. This stuff sprays great right from the bottle using an air brush.

I have to give a great big "Thank You" to Josh Patterson for this. He's the one who told me about how good this stuff worked.
Thanks @jpatt1000

As far as the build goes, I had a little trouble with the MG insert on the leading edge of the win, and a little more at the rear fuselage joint where the tail section gets glued on. These were not too bad, and could have been my fault. By far the worst part is the front windscreen. It's too small and not wide enough to fit without some plastic shim added. I almost round filed these two over this problem. In the end being stubborn and refusing to give up won.

Overall I would recommend this kit to anyone who wants a nice Mustang model and not have it cost a small fortune in the process. For the entry price they are getting for these, it's not too bad.

I used some aftermarket stuff. I used a set of Eduard seat harnesses with the included instrument panel on "LOU IV".

For Cripes-A-Mighty I went all out, and ordered a set of HGW seat harness straps and the Eduard "Look" IP for it.

I used an Eduard propeller and spinner resin set for the pair of Mustangs. I really don't think it was necessary though. I also used a set of Eduard resin exhausts on both Mustangs. This last item was a good idea, as were the seat harnesses.

I probably could have got away with using the kit supplied IP and decals. They actually look pretty good in my opinion.

I noticed the tire tread pattern was different on the Mustang in one of the pictures shown in the Eagle Editions book. Thank goodness they also make a set of replacement tires that have the "oval" tread section and not the diamond style tread that is included with the kit parts. With a little bit of surgery, these parts fit well. I used the resin tire along with the kit supplied inner wheel hub.

I took a TON of pictures, because I am happy with how it turned out. Now if I can make "LOU IV" look this nice I will be VERY happy.

On the Merlin powered version of the Mustang, the flaps and inner "clam shell" landing gear doors would start dropping after the engine was shut down. The hydraulic system would bleed off pressure, allowing these parts to droop.

If you look close at the area of the flaps on the top sides of the wings they were felt as a "Natural Metal" state. It shows up like this in one picture I saw in the Eagle Editions book. This indicated to me the Invasion stripes were painted on quickly before they started dropping. This would also explain why the stripes are not even or "squared up".

The decals were very pleasant to work with too. Other than the star portion being a little translucent, (but otherwise very good), these Eagle Cals are among the best I have ever used.

As always, comments are encouraged. Thanks for stopping by.

Merry Christmas to you and your families, or Happy Holidays if you prefer that.

Take care everyone.
Freedom is not free. This is the story of a man who paid the ultimate price, so that others could live free.

Reader reactions:
24  Awesome

57 responses

  1. Great work and results, Louis. Well done on the story, pics and especially the build!
    A Christmas gift for all of us to appreciate.

  2. What our friend @gwskat said, Louis! Superb all over!

    • Spiros Pendedekas (@fiveten)
      Thank you Spiros. I sincerely appreciate this, but even more I appreciate how you made regular visits during the build of this one and "LOU IV". I'm going to let the chrome paint dry for a few more days, and then I will start working again on "LOU IV". I have another tribute build I want to get done before January 3rd. It's a VMF-214 "Blacksheep" Corsair flown by Captain George Ashmun. I will start a build journal for it in the "Pacific" group. I hope to have it done in time, as some work has already been done in a "Kindergarten" fashion.

      Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family. Take care my friend.

  3. Great job on this Mustang !

  4. An amazing result, Louis @lgardner
    Great article supporting the beautiful pictures.

    • John vd Biggelaar (@johnb)
      Thank you very much John. I sincerely appreciate the compliments, and even more, I appreciate your regular visits and comments along the way in the build journal. Right now I'm letting the Molotow chrome dry for a few days on "LOU IV", and then I will get going on it again, so please stay tuned for updates on it. Merry belated Christmas and I hope that you and your family have a Happy new Year.

  5. @lgardner
    Louis, this is some gorgeous Xmas gift for all of us here. That first pic can fool the eye because it looks like life size Mustang. Great work my friend, you are a master when it comes to foil application. Merry Christmas

    • Pedro L. Rocha (@holzhamer)

      Thank you my friend ! I picked the first photo for the headlines because it does look like a real Mustang. This is the first time I have taken pictures of my models outside for an article in the headlines section. I can see myself doing this more often now. I made a new base to take pictures on, a few months ago. It actually blended into our front yard rather well. This one is a combination of techniques as far as the BMF goes. Thanks again for the compliments. This means a lot to me. Merry belated Christmas to you and your family, and I hope you all have a Happy new Year too. Take care.

  6. Standing in the nose bleed seats of iModeler stadium, clapping, whistling and cheering for team Louis and his Mustang.
    Judging by the number of photos . . . kind of like having a kid after leaving the hospital, I think dad is pretty proud of his build. A three year journey and history search (interrupted, by life gets in the way) crosses the finish line and shines brightly in the sun.

    Congratulations Lou.

    I'm really pumped to see your encore.

    • Stephen W Towle (@stephen-w-towle)
      You must know me well.. I am just like the proud father of his newborn. So I took way too many pictures, but I wanted to capture the light from two different angles and at different times of the day. This also happens to be the first time I have taken photos outside for a model to be placed in the headlines section. I'm very pleased with how it turned out. This is a new-(ish) base I made some months ago, and it works great for taking outside picture purposes. It seems to blend in with our front yard well.

      I had full intentions of posting several pictures of the real "Cripes-A-Might III", where I had posed the model in a very similar pose. I also wanted to take the same picture of the model and show it in B&W form, to see just how close it came to looking like the real thing. Naturally, I was in a hurry and didn't post these. I will add the pictures then modify / edit this article, and let you know when it's done.

      Thank you VERY much for stopping by and commenting regularly on these two Mustangs on the build journal. Your opinion has helped to make these two look more authentic. I'm letting the Molotow chrome dry for a few more days on "LOU IV", then I will get back to work on it.

      I also have another tribute build coming up. I hope I can get it done in time to post on January 3rd. This time it's a VMF-214 Corsair, flown by Captain George Ashmun. I'll start a journal for it in the Pacific group.

      I have already done some work on this one, I have some Corsairs under way in my "Iron Werke" style.

      I hope you will join in on this one too.

      I will hopefully not disappoint you with the encore "LOU IV". It's really starting to look the part, and now it's at the point where I will start spraying on the Dark Blue and Dark Green camouflage.

      Thanks again for the support, and have a Happy New Year. Take care.

  7. Great model, Louis (@lgardner). It was a real pleasure watching you go through the ups and downs with this kit in your work in progress. The model is spectacular, and thanks for the background story also. Well done. Looking forward to your second build.

    • George R Blair Jr (@gblair)
      Thank you George ! I am pleased that you have been a dedicated reader with the build journal. Right now I'm going to let the Molotow chrome dry for a few days before I start to work on "LOU IV" again. I think this is what caused the problem I had on the MG wing covers. So I have another build going for a VMF-214 USMC Captain named George Ashmun, who was shot down and killed when he was flying as Major Boyington's wingman. This also happens to be the same day that "Pappy" was shot down and became a POW for the rest of the War.

      I had previously started a "Kindergarten" of Corsairs, and I wanted to get this one done in time to post it as a tribute on January 3rd. Hopefully I can accomplish this mission.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the story, and I have realized now that I didn't include the pictures of the real "Cripes-A-Mighty III" like I originally intended to. I had posed the model in the same configuration as the real plane. I think you would have liked to see this. I'll get it done and let you know when it's completed.

      Thanks again, and Happy New Year to you and your family. Take care.

      • Hurry up and wait, Louis (@lgardner), sounds familiar. I have a couple of Mustangs I want to do, as well as a couple of Corsairs and Thunderbolts. So many models, so little time. My wife got me a 3D resin printer for Christmas, so I am about to jump down the rabbit hole. Looking forward to the finishing of your Mustangs and your jump into Corsairs. Happy New Year.

        • George R Blair Jr (@gblair)
          I have a few Thunderbolts I want to build in 2023 as well. I have everything set aside for them, all 1/48 Tamiya kits. I'm also looking forward to finishing up "LOU IV", and once I have these two Corsairs done, I want to get cracking on the Monogram B-24 again.

          I'll bet you are really happy with getting a 3D printer for Christmas. This will allow you to do a lot of cool stuff with your models. I'm sure there is a learning curve, but the possibilities are endless. I have even see where some people were printing out complete flying RC planes. I'm talking about scale Waco biplanes with wingspans around 60 inches. They are printed out in sub assemblies and then glued together, just as we build our plastic models here.

          Very cool ! I will be looking forward to your future projects. Take care my friend, and Happy New Year to you and your family.

  8. Fantastic build! I love Your Mustang!

    • Lis (@lis)
      Thank you ! I'm getting ready to start a build journal for a Corsair in your Pacific group. I hope you will stop by and see the progress. You have been building some wonderful models.

  9. @lgardner - a great result to this project. The paintwork looks like real metal with the natural light. Very high quality work all around!

    BTW - The pilots I talked with who flew both the P-51B/C and the P-51D were unanimous that the B was a better fighter, for being lighter by close to 1,000 pounds from the additional guns, ammo and armor of the D model. One of them said the B was like driving a sportscar while the D was a pickup truck.One said the B with a Malcolm hood and the electric rollers to feed the ammo into the guns so they didn't jam was "as good as it got."

    • It is very interesting that You wrote. I’m always curious that 4x50cal was enaught to succesfull destroy german plane in short time (for Japan Zero fighter it was succesfull armament).

      • Lis (@lis)

        A single .050 caliber MG is deadly. It has a capacity to put a heavy weight of fire on the target. Some German aircraft were in fact downed by waist gunners that were in B-17's or B-24's. I have personally fired this MG on many occasions when I was in the US Army. The .050 will shoot flat, and not drop it's trajectory a fraction of an inch for 1,000 yards. When it hits it's target it will shred it to pieces. This is why it is still in use to this very day. It's "perfect" as is.

    • Tom Cleaver (@tcinla)
      Thank you for the compliments on the Mustang. Right now I'm waiting for the Molotow to dry completely on "LOU IV". Once it does I will resume the work on it, as it's getting closer to completion.
      I wrote this about the earlier versions of the Mustang for the same reasons you mentioned. I had the opportunity to spend some time with a gentleman who flew in the ETO during the War, and remained in the USAF until he retired years later.

      Once he arrived in England, he started flying in P-47's at Martlesham Heath, then they transitioned into the Mustangs later. He told me that he preferred the early Mustangs for the same reasons you talked about. Ironically, he said the same thing about the razorback verses the bubbletop P-47. He liked the razorback because it was more stable. However he definitely appreciated the view afforded with the bubble top. He had the opportunity to fly the P-47 bubbletop after the War ended, and he didn't like it as much either.

      Thanks again and Happy New Year.

  10. Stunning result Louis, absolutely gorgeous aeroplane!

  11. Great work on this one, Louis!

    • John Healy (@j-healy)
      Thank you John. I hope to have the second Mustang in the headlines soon. I am waiting for the chrome to dry, and then I can resume work on it. Take care, and I hope you had a Merry Christmas.

  12. Well done, Louis, really excellent. I know how much these projects mean to you, and it really shows with this magnificent model , fantastic photographs, and great history. I’m you’re really pleased with the outcome. I hope you’re surviving the terrible winter weather that currently hitting the US.

    • George Williams (@chinesegeorge)

      Hello again George ! Its always good to hear from you. Thank you for the kind words and compliments. Yes sir I am very happy with how this one turned out. I think it might be my best BMF to date. It was a combination of techniques. As far as the winter weather, we lost our electricity for about 3 hours. Lucky for us, it was during the day. Others might not have been as fortunate as we were. It's supposed to be cold here for the next few days, and then gradually warm back up to normal temperatures for this time of year. Thanks again, and Happy New Year. Take care.

  13. What an amazing story about Major Preddy and his sacrifice; he is someone I had never heard of before. Your P-51 turned out awesome, I particularly liked the black & white photo, very classy. Thanks so much for sharing, Louis!

    • Joe Roamer (@jroamer)
      Thanks for the compliments. The story is covered in great detail about how Major Preddy was killed in the Eagle Editions book that comes with the decals for various "Cripes-A-Mighty" aircraft. I'm glad you enjoyed reading this. Take care.

  14. Awesome build and narrative Louis!

  15. Wonderful build, Louis @lgardner. That Bare Metal foil was a good call, very realistic. The story about Preddy was well researched and engrossing and glad you included that map. Nothing sadder than getting shot down by your own people. Terrific photos too.

    Stay warm!

    • Eric Berg (@eb801)
      Hey Eric. I sincerely appreciate the kind words. It's been a while since I have posted anything in the headlines section. I have completed some models, I just have not made the time to photo and post them. The Ta-154 is one of them. It is way past due I should add. Right now I'm waiting for the Molotow chrome to dry completely on "LOU IV", so I have a VMF-214 Corsair going now, and I hope to have it done and posted on January 3rd. It was flown by Captain George Ashmun, who was shot down and killed on the same day. He was also Boyington's wingman. It will be another tribute article, very similar to this one here.

      I have to add some photos to this article that I have of the real Mustang. I tried to pose it in a similar stance as the original, and just now realized they have not been included. I'll fix this soon. Yes sir, there's nothing friendly about "friendly fire". What a heck of a way to go...

      Thanks again, and Happy New Year.

      • Happy New Year to you too, Louis @lgardner. Glad to see you’ve discovered Molotow Chrome. Great stuff. I just buy the cheaper pens and remove the tip after shaking the heck out of it and pour it directly into the airbrush cup. No need to thin. I have learned that one needs to let it cure for several days and try to keep from touching it as skin oils will discolor the finish.

        Yeah, whatever happened to that Moskito build? Let’s see those photos.

        Good to hear there’s light at the end of the tunnel for you and your family. It’s going to get better in 2023. Trust me.

        Or as an much older buddy of mine remarked recently: “Who says these are the ‘Golden Years’?

        • Eric Berg (@eb801)
          Thanks Eric. I would not have known about the Molotow had not Josh Patterson told me about it. This stuff is great and it works excellent for covering areas that are hard to cover with foil. I recently sprayed some Japanese aircraft propellers, and a set of 1/48 scale Monogram B-29 cowlings using this stuff. It's incredible. I have been getting the 30 ML refill and poring a little of it at a time directly into my air brush.

          I have found out that I need to let it dry longer, and not use tape over it that has an a strong adhesive. This is why I'm letting "LOU IV" sit for a few more days before I get back to work on it again. This Molotow will be the finishing touches for the 1/48 Monogram B-24 "Tubarao" as well. This is another one I have to finish up soon.

          I hope you are right with 2023 being better than the last two years have been for us. It seems like we have had one bad thing after another happen to us. I'm tired of getting cut on too. Your comment about getting older reminded me of another one I have heard on occasion. "Getting old ain't for sissy's !"

          It's good to hear back from you, and I hope to get the Moskito posted soon. Right now I have another tribute build for a Corsair pilot that I want to complete and post on January 3rd.

          Take care.

  16. Awesome build and a great story. Nice photos.

    • Chas Bunch (@chasbunch)
      Thank you for the kind words. I took too many photos, and now I realized I have not included some of the real plane that I was trying to mimic in the pose. I'll come back and edit this one eventually. Thaks again.

  17. That's stunning! that's in the top 3 of NMF finishes I've seen! Beautiful job, you've done George proud


    • Jim Harley (@jimh)
      Thanks Jim ! Coming from a man who has had a lot of time flying in "Betty Jane" (a highly polished Mustang), I sincerely take this as an ultimate compliment. I'm glad you stopped by and left a nice comment. Thank you, I hope that George is looking down and thinking the same. Happy New Year.

  18. Guess I'm tail end charlie on the comments Louis. P-51, bear metal foil, and a history lesson too. What's not to like, you did well my friend. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  19. Louis,

    Such a great build and article. The WIP for this journey was also very educational from a builder standpoint. The outdoor photos really make it a showstopper. Looks like a fully functional restoration. Beautiful work Louis.

    • Matt Minnichsoffer (@coondog)
      Hello Matt. I sincerely appreciate your compliments. I try to include as much as I can in my build journals. There are some times where I have time restrictions so I can't keep it as detailed as I would like to. I hope that others will find them of some use during their builds.

      I am very pleased with how this one turned out. Taking pictures outside is the hot ticket, so I will be doing this more often in the future. There are a few pictures here where it could pass for a real Mustang, and that is what I was after. But the main reason why I did this build was to pay respects to the man who flew it.

      Thanks again my friend. Your trio of jets could easily bring home some trophies. I'll bet your son would enjoy that too. Take care buddy, and Happy New Year to you and your family. Stay safe.

  20. This build shows a lot of passion for not only the model but the history of the man who flew this Mustang. The care and attention to detail is bar none one of the best NMF models I have seen on this site. I know that you have the Lou IV in progress, but I also know you have an NMF B-24 that is in progress as well and that is one I am looking forward to completion. Your Mustang is quite inspirational Louis, beautiful and well presented. Merry Christmas to you and the family. Thanks for sharing.

    • Chuck A. Villanueva (@uscusn)
      Hello Chuck. Thanks for the kind words, I do sincerely appreciate them. You nailed it right on the head, as far as wanting to tell Major Preddy's story. Yes I have "LOU IV" under way as part of the build journal, and for now I have to let the Molotow chrome paint dry some more. I think that part of the reason why I had to repaint the MG covers on the LE of the wings was because the Molotow hadn't fully cured. That plus I used tape that was too strong as far as the adhesive backing goes.

      I will definitely get going on LOU IV again soon. I will get busy on the B-24 assembly ship again in the near future. I ran out of corrugated plastic card, and now I have got more of it, so work can resume on the wing inner structures.

      But right now I have another mission, one that I hope I can get done by January 3rd. I have a VMF-214 "Blacksheep" Corsair as flown by Captain George Ashmun on January 3rd. He was flying as Boyington's wingman this day, when he was shot down and killed. Boyington was also shot down and taken POW.

      I want to tell his story, just as I have told major Preddy's here. Then there's another Marine Corsair pilot who's story I want to tell. His name is 1st Lt. Walter Mayberry, and he flew with VMF-123. I want to tell his story on March 5th. I'll keep you posted for sure.

      I have plans to start a separate build journal for both of these Corsairs as part of the Pacific group, so please stop by and check it out.

      Thanks again my friend, I'm happy you enjoyed this article and build. Take care and I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year too ! 🙂

  21. I will be waiting for Your F4U!☺️

    • Lis (@lis)
      Thanks my friend. I'm getting ready to start the build journal for it right now. It will be part of your Pacific group. I will eventually start a build journal for the three 1/48 Monogram P-39's also.

  22. Louis, this is a Beauty for sure. Great read! Well done.

    • James B Robinson (@jamesb)
      Hello James ! It's great to hear from you. I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed reading the article. I also appreciate the compliments on the model. Thanks buddy ! Take care and Happy New Year.

  23. I’m lost for words, Louis. This is a landmark build for you. I’ve watched the pictures as the build developed. We’ve been friends a little while now and I can clearly see this goes beyond your normal style.

    This much I know: the model is a masterpiece; the research and written element are sensational; the photography draws out the way you’ve created the metallic finish perfectly; the techniques you incorporated are at a master modeller level.


    • Paul Barber (@yellow10)
      Thank you very much for the wonderful response. I do sincerely appreciate this. I feel as if this Mustang here is the very best NMF build that I have ever done. I still have to finish up "LOU IV", and after this one, I have a hard act to follow. It turned out much better than I ever thought it would. Right now I'm waiting for the Molotow chrome to dry on it enough before I continue on with it.

      Most of the story was included in the Eagle Editions book. I read what they had written, and then wrote it again in my own words. This happens to be my all time favorite paint scheme for any Mustang, closely followed by his last version of "Cripes-A-Mighty" with the Darker Blue nose and Red rudder. Following this is another one called "Jumping Jacques" which has a cartoon picture of Bugs Bunny on it holding a Blunderbuss style weapon. I think it flew in the Pacific Theater. Both of these Mustangs will hopefully be subjects for future builds.

      Speaking of the Pacific, now I am working on several Corsairs. The book you sent me on the restoration of KD-431 was very instrumental in this. Again I thank you for sending it to me. Both of them are going to be tribute builds like this P-51 was.

      Thanks again my friend. Happy New Year ! 🙂

  24. Excellent build, and nice piece of history in the article. Well done! Happy New Year to you and Sandy.

  25. This is absolutely stunning! I'm at a loss for nailed it and beyond!

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