This is one of the builds that I completed about a year ago, a P-51A of the 1st Air Commando Group in Hailakanda, India in 1944.
The famous photo of the P-51A "Mrs Virginia" with her distinctive exhaust stains pattern has always fascinated me and the amazing rendition of another P-51A by David Rapasi that I saw here on ARC (http://www.arcair.com/Gal11/10401-10500/gal10401-P-51-Rapasi/00.shtm), gave me the inspiration to try my luck with this subject.
The Academy kit is kind of vintage, but it still holds its ground when compared to today's offerings.
I built this kit out
of the box, adding only scratchbuilt details in the cockpit, radio compartment
and landing gear. I installed two 250 lbs bombs instead of the drop
tanks to remark the fighter-bomber and ground support role of these P-51s
in the C.B.I. theatre.
I used Gunze-Sangyo Olive Drab and Neutral Gray and Humbrol Metalcote "Polished Aluminum" for the spinner and wing / tail tips.
The white bands on the fuselage and the larger stripes plus number "17" on the tail were masked off and sprayed.
I weathered the model with lightened shades of the base colors and a panel wash with oils.
After a protective coat of Tamiya Clear Gloss, I applied the stars and bars decals that came from an old ICM P-51 box. Although printed not in perfect register, they had a sort of faded look which I deemed more suitable for my subject.
Then I sprayed a highly diluted mix of Humbrol enamels 129 "U.S. Gull Gray" and "Matt White" on the fuselage sides to create the large exhaust stains and immediately after, without letting the enamel dry completely, I created the rain streaks by carefully removing the gray paint with a thin brush moistened with turpentine.
A final coat of Gunze Matt Clear and some touches of "Mud" and "Sand" from the Tamiya Weathering Set, completed the job.
I had much fun building this model and I'm pretty happy with the result. Though, if you guys reckon that my model might play in the same ballpark of David Rapasi's one, I would be waaay happier!!!
Thanks for looking!
Photos and text © by Lorenzo Cassinadri