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"FAG Mustang"

North American F-51D

 

North American F_51D Mustang

 

by David W. Aungst

 


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale P-51D Mustang is available online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

"Not another blinking Mustang model -- hey, wait -- what a strange camouflage. That does not look like W.W.II."

I am not sure when, but somewhere along the way I got interested in W.W.II aircraft that saw postwar service. I think a part of the interest lies in the fact that these aircraft were painted into some rather interesting paint schemes that do not fit the "accepted" general descriptions of the aircraft as seen in W.W.II. For example, in my mind, F4U Corsairs are supposed to be blue. Seeing a jungle camouflaged Salvadoran machine just looks wrong to me. Likewise, P-51 (F-51) Mustangs are supposed to be solid green or natural metal. Jungle camouflaged Dominican Republic and Guatemalan machines also look wrong to me.

 

 

The incentive to build this model came in the form of a decal sheet I purchased from Aztec Decals, "Latin Eagles IV", featuring Latin American "Heavy Iron". The sheet provides markings for Honduran Corsairs, Guatemalan Mustangs, and Mexican Thunderbolts. I bought the decal sheet for decals to build a Honduran Corsair. But, I found I liked these Mustang markings enough to want to commit time to building them, too.

This model represents a Mustang in the last year of its military service, prior to being imortalized on the War Birds show circuit. The aircraft is from the Escuadron de Caza, AB La Aurora, of the Guatamalan Air Force, circa 1972. This jungle camouflage was unique to the Mustangs flown in Central America.

 

 

Hasegawa's 1/48 Scale P-51D Mustang

 

This is Hasegawa's 1/48th scale P-51D Mustang. Ever since the release of the Tamiya kit, I had considered the Hasegawa kit to be not as good as the Tamiya offering. I came to this conclusion without doing a very exhaustive comparison of the kits. After building this Hasegawa kit and comparing it more closely to the Tamiya kit, I have changed my mind and decided that Hasegawa's Mustang is the better kit. Tamiya's deeper main wheel wells and separate wing flaps are no match to the level of finesse that Hasegawa has molded into their kit (IMHO).

Both kits have nicely molded cockpits.

 

 

Both kits have an accurate overall shape and outline. The places I found Hasegawa outclassing Tamiya were the little details. Tamiya provides more simplistic moldings of the landing gear. The bracket that mounts the main wheel well doors to the landing gear strut is a good example. Hasegawa provides a separate piece for this in their kit. Tamiya just molds a large squared knob on the strut in their kit.

Another example involves the main weapons pylons under the wings. Hasegawa provides separate, well molded sway braces in their kit (providing multiple different styles of braces based on which ordnance you choose to hang). Tamiya molds the sway braces as large bumps on top of the ordnance in their kit.

As a final example, the Hasegawa kit includes clear pieces for most all of the navigation and identification lights. Tamiya provides these as extended bumps on the wing tips and other locations that the modeler would have to grind off and replace if they wanted clear lights.

 

 

The bottom line is that I am happy I have not purchased many Tamiya Mustangs. I will continue to buy and build Hasegawa Mustangs when the desire befalls me.

The point of this particular model was the camouflage, so I built the kit mostly out-of-the-box. The only changes I made were to update the antenna fit of the airframe. The new antennas give the airframe a varied look that helps to clarify that it is a postwar topic. I also deleted the tail wheel well doors. The Guatemalans chose to correct a tail wheel retraction anomoly by locking the tail wheel down and removing the wheel well doors.

 

 

Camouflage and Markings

 

I used all Testors Model Master enamel paints on the model.

The decal instructions name the camouflage colors as Israeli Sand (F.S.33531), Dark Green (F.S.34079), and Medium Green (F.S.34102) with a Camouflage Gray (F.S.36622) bottom. Color pictures of these aircraft I have found in books show what seems to be different colors. I chose to change the colors to better match the pictures.

I custom mixed a shade of brown using Israeli Sand (F.S.33531) and Tan (F.S.30219), mixed 2:1 (Sand to Tan). I replace Medium Green (F.S.34102) with Interior Green (F.S.34151). I kept the Dark Green (F.S.34079) top color and the Camouflage Gray (F.S.36622) bottom color. I scale-effected both green colors with white, mixing both in 5:1 ratios (Green to White). With these colors, the completed model looks more like what I found in pictures.

It took a whole ten decals to add markings to the aircraft. I used Slov-a-Set as a setting solution with no problems. I masked and painted the wing walkway stripes.

 

 

After completing the camouflage and decals, I was pleased with the outcome and color choices. The problem was that it looked too "new", like it was fresh from the paint shop (which it in essence was). I decided to "distress" the camouflage a bit and apply some touch-up painting to break up the clean lines of the camouflage.

Gloss coating and flat coating the original camouflage had slightly tinted the original camouflage colors. Using the same colors as those I originally painted the camouflage in, I found that they came up just slightly lighter than the original paints. This provided me the means to give the camouflage paints a more weathered appearance. My normal weathering techniques then did the rest.

For weathering, I used my typical style of thinned down enamel paint washes and air brush shading. I finished the weathering with some dry brushing to pop out the surface details. For a more complete discussion of what I do to weather my models, see my posting on "Weathering Aircraft".

 

 

Conclusion

 

Newer decals by upstart companies like Aztec Decals are providing a wide variety of different markings schemes to apply to otherwise mundane, over-built aircraft like the Mustang, Corsair, and Thunderbolt. It makes me wish that more Luftwaffe aircraft had survived the war and gotten redistributed to some Third World air forces.

Aztec Decals recently announced the release of more Latin American Mustang decals for the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. So, expect to see some more "Postwar Warriors" from me in the future.

 

 

Additional Images and Project Summary

 

Click the thumbnails below to view images full-sized.
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Project Statistics

Completion Date:

8 March 2001

Total Building Time:

28.6

Research:

0.7

Construction:

8.9

Painting:

16.4

Decals / Markings:

1.5

Extra Detailing / Conversion:

1.1

Model, Description and Images Copyright 2001 by David Aungst
Page Created 25 September, 2001
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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