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Rafi Ben-Shahar
208 articles

P-51D "Miss Hellen": 1:1 and 1:48th scales

May 19, 2024 · in Aviation · · 16 · 204

The currently "Miss Hellen" adorned started its operational career in Bodney Norfolk and was assigned to the 487th Fighter Squadron of the 352nd Fighter Group of the Eight AF in April 1945. After being in storage, it was transferred to the Swedish AF and had its final operational service in the Israeli AF. Number 43 in the , the aircraft found its way to a nursery in a kibbutz settlement when Mustang aircraft were withdrawn form service.

At a playground under the baking desert sun the aircraft sustained its most significant "battle damage." During a hide and seek play, a kid was trapped in the rear fuselage. A circle of fuselage skin in the size of an insignia roundel was urgently welded off to extract the kid. The doomed aircraft was rescued by a British collector and arrived to its current home in where it was restored and granted an airworthy condition.

Flying in Warbirds takes me back to the magical time of childhood. While on a visit in Cambridge, I booked a Warbird flight in Duxford. Initially, I booked a with controls in the backseat so that I could feel the aircraft response. Yet the particular aircraft was not available. To compensate for the missing experience, the pilot preformed aerobatics for most of the flight time. I had a snow-white face by landing time because of the long endurance under a severe G force. At the end of one loop the aircraft bounced up indicating the pilot hit the propeller slip stream remained from the beginning of the exercise. (No wonder, he owns a Baby Pitts Special.) Later, he said that this particular aircraft is the best P-51D he had ever flown.

Having an uninterrupted access to the aircraft before and after the flight, I took the opportunity for a complimentary walk around. This culminated with the build of 's P-51D kit purchased in the form of an over tree set. Mustang No. 43 crystalized to a significant entity. Seat belts and decals were obtained from the spare box. I added pipes and cables in the barren wheel bay mold. And here is the workbench process of plumbing.

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

16 additional images. Click to enlarge.


16 responses

  1. Were you the kid who got rescued, Rafi?

    Very nice model (as usual).

  2. Wow! What a great story, Rafi!
    And, as always, a wonderful model!

  3. What an amazing experience, Rafi @blackmopane
    I have been in Duxford in 2019, during the Flying Legends airshow, and this place is so amazing, lots of airworthy aircraft and lots of interesting aircraft on display.

  4. Amazing looking Mustang as usual Rafi, the blue nose aircraft always look the best to me but your war weary creation looks great.
    Airfix are reissuing the original 1/24 scale P51 " This is it ! ", I have mine on back order.

  5. My,my, my, that is a nice looking build Rafi (@blackmopane). Very well done.

  6. Excellent! Great story.

  7. Nice Model, Rafi. What paints did you use for the blue/brown camo?

  8. Yeah, after seeing that beautiful build, I am going to have to put one of my Mustangs in IDF livery. She is a beauty!

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