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R Palimaka

Mustang IV, 303 "Kosciuszko" Squadron, 1946

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I've finally gathered up the courage to start the Tamiya kit, actually a couple of them. One will eventually be an RCAF machine, and I'll start building it in anticipation of the decals from Leading Edge.

 

First up though will be a Mustang IV from 303 Squadron of the Polish Air Force in 1946. Although it's a bit of a "plane Jane", it's a historically notable aircraft. It will be finished in the markings of Sqn Ldr. Witold Lokuciewski, the last commander of this famous unit. It carried his personal score under the windscreen, 8 kills and 3 probables, as well as the Polish chessboard on the nose and the 303 Squadron crest under the canopy. It was the only Mustang known to have carried kill markings in 303. It's important to me because my father was the engine fitter on this aircraft through most of that year.

 

As a complement to this model, I also commissioned a profile from Bertrand Brown at Bravo Bravo Aviation. He produced a stunning profile image of the aircraft I wanted from photos I provided. If you have ever wanted a profile print of your favourite aircraft, he is a very talented and knowledgable artist. He is very patient as well, quietly and accurately working to create exactly what you want. I have shared more information about him and his websites and services over in General Discussion. Just so it's clear too, I have no affiliation with him ... other than as a very happy client!

 

RichardPalimaka1b.jpg

 

Posted with permission of artist.

 

Gaetan Marie.com

Bravo Bravo Aviation

 

More to follow...

 

Richard

Edited by R Palimaka

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Thanks Kyrre! I bought the Aeroproducts prop and spinner from Grey Matter, and the louvred covers for the ram air intakes on the bottom of the nose from Red Roo. I also bought some other bits and pieces needed for a Mustang provided to the RAF. I'll take some pics and post everything in the next day or so.

 

One thing that I am hoping will come out sooner than later are replacement tires with the oval-block pattern. Also, for the post-war RCAF Mustang I need circumferential tread tires, as most of the pictures I have seem to show them with that pattern.

 

The decals are a minor challenge, but I should be able to collect most of what I need from spares...the Polish chessboard, the 303 Squadron crest, the kill markings and national markings, etc. The Hannants sheet also has the appropriate stencils. I might contact AdAstra to make me a set of codes and underwing serial numbers.

 

Richard

Edited by R Palimaka

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Hi Richard,

I'll be definitely rooting for you on this one! Great choice by my standards. Just out of the sheer curiosity, did your father take any pictures while serving with the 303 Squadron?

 

Łokuciewski's story after the war is rather sad one, but how typical for those who chose to return to Poland after the war. I'm sure you know about it, but maybe it will spark some interest of other LSPers. After the 303 Squadron was disbanded in December 1946, Łokuciewski convinced by his family returned to communist Poland. Back in the country he was branded as politically suspicious which obviously meant all kind of hardship for him. His situation changed after The Khrushchev Thaw in 1956, when he got proposition to join Polish Air Forces. He climbed career steps receiving in 1969 position of a military attache in Polish embassy in London. There he was ostracized again, this time by the Polish airmen who stayed in the West, some of them his former colleagues, who accused him of being a traitor.

 

This is a photo of him taking down Kosciuszko crest of one of the Mustangs of the 303 Squadron (unfortunately a different machine - no kill marks) taken, I guess, when they learned about unit disbandment.

 

303end.jpg

Photo comes from www.mysliwcy.pl

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Hello Tomek,

 

Thanks so much for your comments, I've been wanting to build this aircraft for a long time. Łokuciewski's story is particuarly sad, with all his hardships after returning to Poland, to be ostracized by his friends who stayed in the West. His reputation has long been restored, but it must have been painful for him at the time. Thanks for posting that short outline, hopefully others found it interesting.

 

My father does have a few photos from around the flightline taken by others of him and his mates, and he also has a set of photos that must have been given to all the members of the squadron at the time (including original 8x10s of the photo you posted, plus squadron group shots, etc.) I've scanned them all and could post a couple when I get home from work tonight. He was also with 316 Squadron from April 1944 to Jan.1945 so saw their fight against the V-1s, and all the escort missions to the Continent and Norway. Despite 316's fine record, he is proudest of having served with 303.

 

A 316 Mustang III is another project that is high up on my list, I have a Jerry Rutman/Trumpeter combination I'm going to try, but I'm kind of waiting a couple of months to see what Tamiya is up to...

 

Cheers,

Richard

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Looks like my decal problem is solved. I was just on the AJ Press site and they will soon be releasing their second book in the "Fighting Units in Colour" series which will cover Mustang Units of the Polish Air Force. The book will include a set of decals in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 and one of the options is this very aircraft. The decals are by Cartograf I think, so I have no worries about quality.

 

One interesting thing that they managed to capture is a mistake made on the underwing serials. On the port wing, the underwing serial was painted as a mirror image. I imagine the crews painting it followed the instructions to the letter instead of the intention. The serials are meant to be painted so that they could be read from opposite directions. Take a look here:

 

Fighting Units in Colour 2: Polish Mustang Units

 

Some very interesting Mustang IIIs there too!!!

 

My wallet is crying at the moment...

 

Richard

Edited by R Palimaka

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Interesting project I look forward to seeing how it progresses.

 

Just a point you should be careful of, you say that its a MkIV

 

The MkIV (P51D's) used the Hamilton prop while it was the MkIVa (P51K's)with the Aeroproducts prop, though many of the latter were retrofitted with Hamiltons in service. I would check your sources as to which. I have found that MkIV has been used loosely to also represent MkIVa's as well in some books and illustrations. Your illustrations suggest a MkIVa. It gets a bit confusing. I have been researching this as I want to build a MkIV RCAF aircraft(with Hamilton prop.

Edited by BarryWilliams

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Thanks Barry, you're right of course. I was using the term as loosely defined. As you said, "IVa" is not usually specified in most publications. KM112 was a K model, and did have the Aeroproduct prop. I'd have to look at my list of Mustangs that served with 303, but I don't recall any that were actually D models.

 

Richard

Edited by R Palimaka

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For Tomek, and anyone else who might find these interesting, here are a couple of photos of my Dad during his time with 303 Squadron in 1946. All of them are scans from tiny photos, 1.5" x 2", so that they do degrade a bit when you enlarge them. Still, not bad detail although the edges are a bit blurry. Not sure what kind of camera was used.

 

This is my favourite shot of him.

DadNov46.jpg

 

Third from the left, with cap off:

scan0009.jpg

 

 

Richard

Edited by R Palimaka

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