A Very Long Range Mustang from Iwo Jima – Eduard 1/48 P-51D-20
The model originally came from Eduard's 'Chattanooga Choo Choo' kit, but unfortunately I received it with a partly cut-off decal sheet, the german symbols were missing from the victory marks. So rather I decided to build it using one of the many decals of another Eduard kit, 'Tales of Iwojima'. I chose Margaret IV, the personal mount of 79th FS CO, Major James B. Tapp.
Eduard's ProfiPack series kits give beautiful results when built out of the box, but I did some research on the subject this time as well, and made some minor improvements where necessary.
In the cockpit I cut off the thick reflector plate of the gun sight and replaced it with a thinner one. According to my sources, the ring and bead sight was no longer used on the D-20 version, so I didn't install it.
I experienced only two small inaccuracies during the build. A bit of sanding was required when attaching the wheel well to the wing, otherwise the upper wing elements won't fit exactly. The canopy caused another problem: it was too wide, way wider than the fuselage. I replaced it with one from another Eduard Mustang kit (luckily they provide every Mustang kit with three different canopies) and this was already the right size.
Under the characteristic Uncle Dog twin antennas on the left side, it was necessary to scratch in an additional panel. I replaced the AN-95 radio antenna mast in front of the left main gear and the static ground wire behind the tail wheel, too. On real Mustangs the bigger part of the wings was filled and polished, so rivets were invisible and panel lines only barely visible. The Eduard Mustang kits have only panel lines on the wings (and no rivets), but even so I filled most of it.
The only slightly weaker part of the very nice model are the HVAR rockets, and furthermore their attachment is different than the one shown in the pictures of Margaret IV. Therefore, I made new fins and suspension for the rockets.
The VLR Mustangs carried drop tanks way larger than standard, and to balance them, sway braces were installed on both sides of the tank. Based on the sources, these were originally made of plywood plates, so I painted them in this way (instead of the metal color specified in the assembly instructions).
I also prepared the wiring of the wheel well and the main gears, and the fuel pipes of the drop tanks.
I used AK Xtreme Metal for painting, mostly White Aluminium and Polished Aluminium for the large surfaces. The non-metallic colours are from AK Real Colors series. For the weathering, I used Abteilung 502 oil paints, but I didn't want to exaggerate it, because based on the known photos of the machine, its staff kept it in good order.