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1/18 P51C Mustang "Lopes Hope the 3rd"

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evening Mustang fans :)


On 3/25/2019 at 5:31 PM, JayW said:

Peter - stunning work as usual.  I have it on high authority (the P-51 SIG) that wartime Mustangs had a finish application on their wings which smoothed the surface, such that flush rivet heads were basically invisible, and perhaps skin butt joints as well.    The advanced wing airfoil shape, which was so crucial to bringing the Mustang's baddassery all the way to Berlin and back, also was more prone to flow separation and stall - something that could be forestalled with an ultra smooth surface, so the story goes.  Soooo - when skinning those wings I would not create rivet patterns my friend!


BTW - I recall searching the drawing database for this surface finish callout, to no avail.  I invite you to research it further to make sure.  Do you belong to the P-51 SIG?  What a resource!


Jay Wheaton


Thanks Jay - the wing filler on the surfaces is a little problem I am trying to get my head around right now, and I think I am going to need a little advice from the community!



On 3/29/2019 at 12:24 PM, Chek said:

Hi Peter, I found this period photo that I thought might be useful to you when the time comes to return to cockpit detailing and finishing.

It's a Tuskegee Airmen P-51C 42-103960 1 Skippers Darlin’ III, 100th FS 332nd FG 15th AF in the care of Capt Andrew D Turner in Aug 1944.




that is a stunning photo Chek - really useful, thank you - one interesting thing is the rivets - on a P51 it seems they are tiny and flush and as can be seen here are acually lots of different tones in themselves - I can't hope toreplicate the tones, but it is a good prompt to go down to tiny sized when it comes to the fuselage..


so, since the last update I have been trying to work out what is going on with a P51 wing skin surface - I know there have been useful threads on the forum but I can't seem to find them so am asking for any advice to be offered right here if you know about this stuff :)


here is what I know - I know filler is applied to certainly the front of the wings, I know on the Oshkosh Grand Champion resto of Lopes Hope (and they are as nuts about detail & accuracy as we are..) the wings were also painted silver all over apart from the gear doors, and the lower skins over the wing fuel tanks


this pic shows how they did it..




..and another..




..on a couple of upper surface ones I can definately see a few panel lines on the leading edge near the wing root, but curiously on the bottom it looks completely smooth..


I toyed with not skinning the wing and just doing it smooth, but then I saw this pic of Lopes Hope wing being done..




..all Aircorps Aviation WIP pics only show the leading edge being filled to about a thrid of the chord, so my current working theory is that I will skin the whole wing with aluminium, fill to the line I can see they are doing and then paint the whole wing apart from the panels they also leave NM..


..now then - this is where I need a spot of help - does that sound right?


hopefully someone knows a lot more about this than me and can give me some pointers while I get on with the skinning..


..speaking of which I had better post some actual work..


..I stitched together multiple factory drawings to try and get the layout of ribs, stiffners and access panels - printed these to scale and stuck them to the model with pritt-stick paper glue..




..then I cut along every line with a scalpel so I could draw it out on the wing - after doing so I brush water on the paper & strip it all off..




I started the skinning with the Nav Light panel - taking a template from the model & blending it with drawings to get the shapes and lines of rivets - the holes were dremmelled out with a wide based triangle burr..




..after rivetting it needs washing in thinners as the awl I use for rivets actually punches out a tiny disc of tape & these can come free and mark the metal as I burnish the part on a hard surface to flatten out all the detailing..


..the light lens bracket was one of the extra bits of PE I did when I did the 1/24 airscale Hellcat cockpit set..




..added that panel & moved onto the next - this one has a tricky oval access panel and sets the position of the panels above & below it as it sits below the wing spar - here I am using tamiya tape to hold it in position so I can just fold it back, add the contact cement and fold it into position - the masking tape stops me getting glue everywhere I don't want it..




..then the other panels were added and the area cleaned up..






..I always work synchronosly so that I don't get bored repeating an action later on, so the same panels are made at the same time for the other wing... this side has a big lens in the leading edge for a landing light so I haven't got to that yet..




..in other news, i made castings of my prop blade master, cleaned them up a bit and shot a coat of mr. surfacer..




..they still need more sorting out, but they do fit the prop hub...




..and I think starts to give that unmistakeable P51 character to the nose..




..so yes, I do intend to skin the wings and then cover it in filler....


I must be mad..









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Antonio - just absolutely amazing find!!!  And Peter - the wing surfacing is perfection in the making.  Makes an old P-51 fan proud.  I also love the cast prop blades.  I had to cast one for my P-47 - what an adventure that was!



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16 hours ago, Antonio Argudo said:

Hi Peter,  about the Wing finish All  Mustangs even Allison engine models had their wings treated, this diagram by John Terrell is very illustrative, also attached is the NAA prodeceture, hope it helps!









wow! If ever there was a perfect answer Antonio, that is it!


Thank you so much - now I know what I need to do :)


Just found a big hole under each wing that are spent cartidge ejection chutes (not the little slots on the D model above) so having to make that structure and embed it in the wing before the panel I have made can go on top of it...





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Hi Peter

I have some time after the end of my project. I marked only likes in your threads so far, but now I have to express my admiration for the wonderful work you do, and this does not apply to your highest level of quality of the model, because it is obvious, but the content you give us. I treat you thread like a very good lecture and each new update is like new chapter in very good book. Your story is so addictive that readers not only express their admiration for skills, but engage and send a lot of interesting information. This should be the most important role of the forum, information exchange. Thanks to people like you, this role is fulfilling.

Thank you for sharing your knowlegde, tips, technics. And we All have results as the example above.

Good luck


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I completely agree with Tomasz. I want to "like" every post.


Your threads are pure pleasure and astonishment, everything you bring to it: your approach, your research, your skill, sense of humour and humility. It is very refreshing and one of the first things I check when I sign in. What I also enjoy is that you are not afraid to ask for help if you don't know something, and inevitably someone out there has a detailed answer to keep your project going. 


I have begun to look at your threads like a university-level course in the aircraft you are building. I absolutely love the Mustang, it's my favourite aircraft, especially the Mustang III (B/C). I thought I knew it well, but this thread is a valuable reference resource that has taught me plenty! 


Thanks, and carry on! :)

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afternoon ladies :)


just a quick update on the panel skinning on the P51 - not much to show panel by panel, as the process is pretty much the same but the lower wing is almost complete so time for a few pics..


..the C model has quite a large outlet for spent cartridges and a chute assembly that can be seen through the hole, so first up is the panel and the chute..


..I don't really know what the little slots are for - venting maybe..




..the two were assembled and a hole routed into the wing to make room for it..






..the panels that define the shape of the gear door opening were done next, with some structure along the edges the doors sit on when closed..




..and this is where it's at...








..the panel behind the gear opening will be left until all the filling of the leading edge is done as it has domed screws and is left natural metal as seen below and if I add it now these will likely get damaged by the sanding / prepping process..




..lower wing done otherwise..




..will do the upper wing next and I am on leave all this week so hope to get lots of it done..








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'I don't really know what the little slots are for'

I believe they are for ammunition belt links.



Of all of the imagery I have studied, I don't recall seeing that return.  Not only that, but in the next 2 photos,


The dip in the ribbing makes an angle going backward,


that is matched up to the angle of the skin.


Good show, Peter.  Nice capture.




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