1/48 Tamiya P-51D "Kathleen"

Gallery Article by H. Davis Gandees on June 10 2021



The North American P-51 Mustang could fly deep into Germany, providing escort protection to the 8th Air Force bombers. It was the brainstorm of North American and Rolls Royce who combined an excellent airframe with an excellent engine. Many arguably believe the Mustang was the best Allied fighter of WWII. 

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Captain Raymond Withers
My subject Mustang is Captain Raymond Withers’ “Kathleen”, tail # 415195, named for his wife. Kathleen is my wife’s name as well, and to my knowledge, Withers’ was the only Mustang in the 8th Air Force named Kathleen. I am lucky to have a wife who supports my hobby and is herself a well-read 8th Air Force aficionado. So, this one was for her, on our 50th Anniversary!

The iconic P-51D Mustang has been offered by many kit manufacturers, but in my opinion, the Tamiya kit is the best in 1:48 scale, especially with its dropped flaps feature as all Mustangs were observed on the tarmac after the hydraulic system pressure dropped. Having built several, including the excellent 1:32 offering, I decided to build one more, fully detailed Mustang in a colorful scheme.

Captain Withers flew 106 missions out of Martlesham Heath, UK, with the 8th AF, 356th FG, 359th FS and was credited with 4 aerial victories and 1 on the ground. The 356th had the lowest kill record in the 8th AF as the commanding officer insisted their priority was to protect the bombers. 

The Model
My Mustang was to have the wing panel lines filled and painted silver lacquer just as they left the factory. This resulted in hours of panel line filling with brushed on Tamiya white primer and a final primer coat sprayed on the entire wing surface, then more hours of wet sanding. The final finish was with Floquil Old Silver (my last bottle). The Fuselage received a coat of Alclad gloss black primer and a final coat of Alclad Polished Aluminum. The nose was masked and painted with Model Master Guards Red for the blue diamond decal from Aeromaster sheet #48-773 and “Kathleen” from Microscale sheet # 90175. The rest were sourced from the scrap box. The prop spinner, canopy frame and rudder were painted with Testors Yellow.

Modification made to the kit are as follow:

  • Aries cockpit

  • Hasegawa one-piece canopy

  • Quickboost exhaust

  • Quickboost prop spinner and blades

  • Barracudacals wheels/tires 

H. Davis Gandees

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Photos and text © by H. Davis Gandees