restoration of sorts, this thing came into our house by my older son bringing it
home in a bag after a grade school science project. My son is now 22 so this has
been an on-and-off WIP for quite a while! A classmate of his built it for a wind
tunnel experiment in typical kid fashion, bare gray plastic with a few decals
pasted on it, but construction-wise it wasn't done too badly. The main problem
was that he built it gear up and instead of just using the doors he actually
tried to fit the gear into the wells too which, well, doesn't. Luckily, the
canopy and prop were in good shape, usually the first two victims of a kid
first order of business was to dig the landing gear out of the wings with a
screwdriver. I was able to save all the doors, the wheels and the strut yokes
but the struts themselves came out in little splinters. I reconstructed what was
left and made new struts from wire-lined styrene tube. Usually I mount the outer
doors after the struts are on but in this case I started with the doors and
glued everything else to them, using the doors for strength to hold the airplane
up. The inner doors were too glued-up to display open so I closed them.
While I was still in a plastic-hacking mood I chopped the flaps loose from the
wings and reshaped their leading edges with Squadron putty in order to reattach
them in the dropped position later on.
Next I removed the canopy, decals and slightly crooked stabilizers,
reattached the stabilizers straight and readied the airframe for paint.
The plastic propeller shaft was broken so I used two telescoping pieces of
K&S tubing (I once bought a bag of K&S odds & ends for fifteen
bucks...highly recommended!) and mounted the smaller one to the spinner and the
larger one into the fuselage, running from the nose to the instrument panel, so
that the propeller could still rotate. I also replaced a few other missing
plastic parts with brass, including the radio mast, pitot tube and tailwheel
doors. The tailwheel was loose so I reattached it in a turned position, like I
always do when such an “opportunity” presents itself.
I’d already done a 1/48 Monogram P-51B in these markings I again chose Don
Gentile’s “Shangri-La”. I fell in love with this airplane while drooling
on Revell catalogs as a kid. Revell’s 1/32 “Shangri-La” boxtop painting is
still my all-time favorite work of art.
main colors were brush-painted with Model Master Enamels, using new stock for
the Olive Drab which took three coats to cover and old stock for the Neutral
Gray which took one coat to cover. I preshaded the control surface joints and
the overpainted tail stripe before the last coat of O/D went on. The white wing
identification stripes had been brushed on with Testors flat white before the
main colors were applied around them.
images below to see larger images
decals I used some scraps found in a junk box at a LHS which included the
squadron badge & name, victory scoreboard and serials. The squadron codes
and cowl checkers came from an ESCI sheet, and the insignia are from Aeromaster.
quick note of caution: I used some Solvaset on the ESCI nose checkers which
curled them up so some fast work with water flushed the Solvaset away and I
pressed them down again by finger pressure. Whew! Needless to say, I kept the
Solvaset away from the ESCI code letters.
usually build in 1/48 and my son usually builds in 1/72. Not wanting to cut into
my son’s limited supply of 1/72 Mustang data decals I hand-painted the
propeller markings on this airplane. The red & yellow Hamilton-Standard
ovals were brushed on and the white lettering is just some toothpick-applied ‘jibberish’.
I also hand-painted the red “no step” outlines on the flaps, again in the
interest of decal conservation.
that were “‘brush-painted into being” include the landing light, wing
navigation lights, camera port, slots at the leading edge (silver area) of the
flaps and the chin scoop (under the spinner) which comes molded closed over on
this kit. The covering over the guns is from red decal stock.
lacquer overcoats, all from spray cans, include Testors Glosscote before
decaling and Model Master semi-gloss afterward, followed by Testors Dullcote for
than what was used to make the seat belts, no masking tape was harmed in the
making of this model. The antenna wire is nylon fishing line (2 lb. test)
I didn't really build it, this Airfix P-51B seems like a pretty nice little kit.
It sure looks the part to me, proportion-wise. Ah, another one rescued from the
for his inspiration and assistance in submitting this article.
also to my son Tony, whose resourcefulness brought this project home to our
bench and whose encouragement (OK prodding) convinced me to take a few extra
steps than I had first planned to in the detail department.
images below to see larger images