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Revell early Mustang CHECK MATE!


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'Morning ladies and gents, lads and lassies,


Let me give it to you, straight. The Mustang was never one of my favorites. Something to do with the snobbish side of me, never wanting to love a plane everybody loves to love. It's sooo uncool to like a pretty face, right?


That is until some months ago, when stranded in a foreign land and estranged from my trusty desk and rusty tools, all that was left for me to do was some virtual modelling on the internet. That is when I read about a new Revell release associated in some way with Radu Brinzan. I knew the name and respected the modeller. I was intrigued and read on, the previews, the reviews, the WIPs ... and soon before long I was hooked.


I wrote to my friend in Belgium to buy a kit for me and in anticipation, I myself ordered an Eduard interior set. Thus, months later upon my return to my trusty desk, I was ready to join the fray.


For my subject, I chose Art Fiedler's HELEN, a P-51D-5 of the 325 GR in Italy 1944.




Seen here in static simulation



And in simulated video


The main reason for this choice is an opportunity to airbrush the famous yellow-and-black checkers and the various markings using Frisket film. I know it shows my age but what the heck?


Secondly, this particular machine is retro-fitted with the dorsal fin fillet DFF found on later versions of the P-51D. So it will give me the chance to try my hand at the controversial 'swayback' fillet as these field-installed mods were known. Just what I needed to spice up an all-too conventional build... or so I thought at that time :BANGHEAD2:


'Nuff said. The ride is about to begin, ladies and gentlemen, all aboard.





Edited by quang
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Since there are already many WIPs going on with this kit, I won't bore you with a step-by-step reporting nor a building in real time.
Instead I'd try to share with you my insight and my modelling notes in the hope that you'll find them of some use in the building of your own Revell kit.

The first thing I do when I start a kit is wash the parts with lukewarm water and some soap. The parts are left overnight to dry out and given a coat of primer. The primer will help to enhance the details on the mouldings so that I'll have a clearer sight of what's good (details, panel lines,... ) and what's wrong (sink marks, warpage,...) with the plastic.


The fuselage of this particular kit is separated at the tail, in provision for a later version with the dorsal fin fillet. I'd start by completing each half fuselage (just like on a conventional kit). Make sure that the mating surfaces of the RH and LH half-fuselages are perfectly flat otherwise the resulting fuselage will be warped.
The fore and aft fuselage-halves are glued using Tamiya thin plastic cement. Then they are dry- fitted to make sure the assembly is perfectly straight and not looking sideways. The join is then secured by flooding it with 2-part epoxy glue.



Revell gives us the cockpit in the shape of a cage (2 sidewalls + a floor) on which are grafted all the details ( seat, instruments, ...). Nevertheless my experience with the 1/32 FLY Hurricane - which uses a similar setup - led me to believe that it would be convenient both for painting and assembling, to have the sidewalls integral with the fuselage.




What we have now are two complete fuselage halves with all the details in situ, ready to be painted.



Next step: adding the fin fillet.

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Thank you 🙠gents for your input. Especially Mike for the pics. They would be helpful when the time comes.

First a quick resume about the dorsal fin fillet (DFF).

Some time after the the introduction of the P-51D-5NA, it was decided to add an extension to the fin in order to improve flight characteristics. The new dorsal fin was added to the P-51D-10NA and later versions at the factory. Other P-51s received modification kits to be installed in the field.

It appeared that the first fins installed were slightly different from the later ones, with a slight curve along the leading edge. This curved fin is known as ‘swayback' among P-51 experts.


Upper: Curved fin  Lower: Straight fin



Comparison (curved in red


This is what I'm trying to reproduce on my model.

The first thing to do is transfer the new profile to the model.

As I don't have a 1/32 drawing of the fin, I chose on my computer a nice photo of the real airplane in perfect side view, enlarged it to the right scale using the kit half-fuselage as a guide.


Here's a photo using the Trumpy Skyraider as an exemple, but you get the idea.



The DFF contour is traced on an acetate sheet using a sharpie.



The contour is cut off using a sharp X-Acto blade.

The cut-out is then used as a template to trace the exact shape to a 0.15 thou plasticard.



The plastic card is glued on the left fuselage half. Note that a fine slot has been created on both fuselage halves, to accommodate the thickness of the plasticard



View from left side



The other fuselage half is then dry-fitted to make sure that the plasticard is square and true.



What remains to do is shaping and blending the new profile onto the plastic.

But we'll leave it until after the interior is complete and the fuselage is closed up.


Next time, we'll tackle the cockpit and the Eduard add-ons.


Until then, thank you all for looking. If you have a question, just shoot.







Edited by quang
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Smart progress Quang!


To further complicate things a bit: I seem to remember that the tail fin on Mustangs had a slight offset from centre line to the port side (about one degree or such when viewed from above) in order to compensate for the angular momentum (?) of the powerful Merlin engine. I'm sure, there are experts here to provide the actual data and even some pics, for I have none. :innocent:




Edited by BlackCanopy
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Hello Joerg,

I know about the 2° offset. It's a can of worms that I'm not sure I want to open.

Others planes like the Skyraider, have it. The offset applies to the entire vertical fin, not just the DFF.

The optical effect is quite subtil.

Airfix tried it on their recent 1/48 P-51D. A brave attempt but not conclusive IMHO

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The offset applies to the entire vertical fin, not just the DFF.

Now that you mention it, that seems quite obvious to be the case, otherwise, how would it have worked on planes without the dorsal fin.



It's also true that the offset is barely visible, as there is no indicator (such as a panel line or similar) to mark the centre line in the area where the fin meets the fuselage...


Thanks for your response, btw...

Edited by BlackCanopy
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Like I told you, I ordered the Eduard interior set even before I had the kit. When the latter arrived, I began to have some buyer's remorse as the Revell cockpit appeared to be very accurate and rather complete compared with the documentation I had.


But then, I told myself: "I paid for the brass, let's start building it". This is when I realised the Eduard was definitively a great update. There's no need for remorse.


Eduard add-ons compared with kit plastic parts.







Eduard also improved their Instrument panels. The printing and colors are more precise and realistic. Not as good as Yahu but close.





The seat was mainly stock with brass details.



I added a milliput cushion to give some color to the cockpit. Seat belts are from Fine Molds. I managed to break the shoulder belts as I tried to bend them. So I cut them off at the buckles and replaced the remaining parts with tin foil from a wine bottle. I did empty the bottle first  :innocent:



Inside left fuselage side painted with Model Master acrylic Interior Green with Eduard black boxes



For little that can be seen, the floor was just painted tan with darker streaks to simulate the plywood – remember this was cheap plywood not fancy exotic varieties. 



I followed Eduard's instructions and realized that the radio was mounted backwards  :doh:  Had to correct it afterwards.



A quick dry-fit to make sure everything is in place before painting on the details, shading and a final touch-up of the interior.



That's all folks.


Hope you like it. Questions and remarks are welcome as usual.


Until next time,



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