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Matt Minnichsoffer
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1:48 Eduard P-51 Mustang & FW-190 Dogfight Diorama

March 11, 2023 · in Aviation · · 14 · 0.9K

Prior to the whole pandemic kerfuffle I had an idea to build a dogfight . I purchase the two Profi-PACK kits back in 2020 and promptly put them on the shelf until the time was right. After a little research I knew the pilot had to be George Preddy. His prolific flying career is nothing short of legendary. I won't go into detail on him as Louis Gardner @lgardner has already done so in his wonderful article, Major George Preddy "Cripes-A-Mighty III"

According to the box notes, the German pilot is Hans Weik of IV.Gruppe. Not sure what any of that means (and I don't care), but it was a cool looking paint scheme and the right time period, so I went with it. By all accounts, Weik was an accomplished Ace in his own right. I'm sure these two Ace's never met in aerial combat, but I chose to pit them together as the Blue-nosed Bastards of Bodney escort a B-17 bombing mission.

So, now I had the kits, but I still had to figure out the backdrop. I took photos of clouds, searched aerial combat archives and still didn't find the right setting for the diorama. Then I ran across some great digital aviation art on behance. Behold there was an artist who had rendered an image of the 352nd fighter group in action. I dropped the artist a note and he granted me permission to use his art for my diorama. I painted out a FW-190 that was on fire in the foreground so I could place my 3D fighters in it's place. So, now the concept was growing into reality.

The Builds

These Profi-Pack Eduard kits are super-detailed 1:48 fighters. Maybe too detailed, but the option provided for cockpit details, armament, drop tanks is awesome. I really applaud Eduard for also including the canopy masks in the kits. I think the only thing I hate more than masking canopies is building bombs:) I also purchased pilot figures as the birds are in flight, so that's kind of a necessity. The German pilot is a Eduard resin kit, the US pilot came from ICM kit that comes with pilot & ground crew. For the life of me I could not find a 1:48 US pilot figure…The FW went together without issue. As I built it I did develop an appreciation of the fighter. There's a reason these things were called “Butcher Birds.”

The Same can't be said for the Mustang kit. Can we get all model manufacturer's to NOT build P-51 kits with seams down the middle of the hood? The overall seam lines on the Mustang were a pain to smooth, fill and blend.
The biggest issue with both kits was they are built only for ground display—not dual-purpose for a flying representation. To this point, both kits landing gear doors and to be shaped to actually fit into the wheel bays. You would think for all the detail in these kits, that open-or-closed the landing gear doors would fit—nope not the case. The FW's rear wheel needed some modifications to give the correct retracted flight appearance and the Mustangs main flaps were molded in the “power-off” position. That would be down for those of you who are not in the know. I spent a whole night trying to figure out what needs to be removed, re-built and reshaped to get them to fit in the flight position. As I've said many time, the journey is the glory.

The Diorama

Once I had all the pieces I needed to get the image actually printed. Fortunately I have a good friend who's a printer and he did me a solid by printing it on canvas for me. From there all I needed to do was build a stretcher and wrap it like one would a painting. A couple of rods to hold the birds in place and Voilà! The skies of Europe came to life as the Blue-nosed Bastard Beats the Butcher. Hope you enjoy the final result—I sure do. Comment away and keep building.
Reader reactions:
19  Awesome

9 additional images. Click to enlarge.

14 responses

  1. Nice idea, carried out really well with a great result.

  2. very cool- really like what you did. Not often that you see in flight dioramas. Both builds are excellent. I just built a Eduard p-51 and like you I had some frustrations. Then I built a Airfix P-51. Not as fussy, almost as detailed, and comes with a really nice "gear up" option. Thanks for sharing your fantastic work!

  3. Very creative idea !

  4. That is great, and also a great way to display kits. Hang it on the wall, and it is 3D art! Simply awesome!

  5. Fantastic job, Matt!
    Looks s real!

  6. A wonderful diorama, Matt @coondog
    The idea of presenting your excellent builds this way is really nice.

  7. @coondog

    Matt, the whole diorama composition is outstanding and the visual illusion is remarkable. Bravo!

    As for the kits, although I’ve built at least 5 of Eduard’s “newer” Focke Wulfs but none had its landing gear up. On the other hand I do have one half built of their Mustang kit in the inflight position, and it was indeed a challenge to get those doors in a more or less closed mode.

    I did get a pilot design for this kit specifically, made by CMK (moulded in the seat even)

  8. Great idea, beautifully executed.

  9. Great job with the kits and well done with the display, Matt!

  10. Very cool project, and two great individual builds as well!

  11. That is 'off the chart/ brilliant, Matt. Congratulations on a brilliant idea beautifully executed!

  12. Matt Minnichsoffer (@coondog)
    I have to echo the comments posted above. You nailed it ! Looks SUPERB !

    The background artwork is phenomenal, and having it takes this one up a notch or two.

    Thanks for the shout out too. I sincerely appreciate your compliments.

    Take care buddy.

    I definitely pressed the "like" button.

  13. Hi Matt, great diorama, I really like it. Something to do in te furute, hope not to far.
    Have a great one.

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