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John1

Forgotten War Mustang

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On 1/22/2020 at 1:37 AM, Biggles87 said:

From ‘photos I’ve seen it looks like they used both sizes of tank. Interesting point on the colour, I’d assumed that the ‘ yellow ‘ones had been painted in the squadron colour, but maybe not.

Have you decided on a metallic grey colour for the airframe yet?

 

John

Thanks for all the suggestions guys!   From the color pics I’ve seen, these tanks could be YZC, bright yellow, some dinghy shade of yellow, OD or natural metal.   I’m going with a light, sloppily applied coat of YZC over aluminum.   I’ll post some pics once I get a chance.   

 

With regard to the airframe, I’m going with AK Extreme Metals Matt Aluminum with some very light grey added.  It seems like I can mix the paint with Testors enamel with no negative side effects. I’m applying this over a flat dark grey primer coat.  Contrary to the review here on LSP, these paints seem to be very durable, with or without priming.   I can handle the surfaces, apply Tamiya tape, etc with no ill effects.  

 

I really like these paints!   I’ll post some pics in a bit.   

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I have also found that the Extreme Metal paints are durable, but I don’t have any AK Matt Aluminium (yet). I am going to try Tamiya Metallic Grey with a little Sky Grey on my paint mule, both on grey and black primers, but it won’t be for a while yet.

Looking forward to seeing your results.

 

John

Edited by Biggles87

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On 1/24/2020 at 2:34 AM, Biggles87 said:

I have also found that the Extreme Metal paints are durable, but I don’t have any AK Matt Aluminium (yet). I am going to try Tamiya Metallic Grey with a little Sky Grey on my paint mule, both on grey and black primers, but it won’t be for a while yet.

Looking forward to seeing your results.

 

John

So I've painted a few sections of the model.  As mentioned above, I'm pretty content with AK Extreme Matt Aluminum.  Can't add much except that the paints go on very thinly, I don't see a lot of grain in the applied paint (unlike Modelmaster flat aluminum, which had a pretty rough finish which is too bad because otherwise, I loved the color tone).  Only issue with AK's stuff is that they stink!  Definitively recommend a paint booth or at minimum, a respirator!   Here are a few pictures of the wing.   A couple of notes - I take pics using natural light.   It's been cloudy and overcast for the last few days so the tone shown in these pics is a bit off from the real thing.   That being said, to me it looks good.  It definitely doesn't have the shiny metallic look of bare aluminum which I was trying to avoid.  Even pics of the real thing (as provided by Antonio a few pages back), show changes in the tone based on light conditions, etc.  

IMG_0696

Note - the leading edge panel above is press-fitted in place so don't mid the gaps and I managed to get some overspray on the black panel around the MG's.  I'll get it cleaned up.

 

IMG_0695

 

Lastly, for those that are thinking of using other AK Extreme paints for this application, I test shot their Dark Aluminum and Aluminum paints and can say that they are very shiny.  I probably wouldn't use them on a weatherbeaten subject without toning them down a bit.   As a quick example, the leading edge of the Mustang's flaps was left in natural metal when they were painted overall aluminum lacquer.  I painted my kit flaps’ leading edge using AK's regular Aluminum, hopefully you can see the difference between this stuff and my custom mix of Matt Aluminum.  I think if I was going for a weather-beaten NMF finish, I'd stick to Matt Aluminum with a few drops of other colors added for some variety.   

IMG_0711

 

IMG_0710

 

Again, it's really hard to get good pics of the finish on a gloomy day.  Hope these suffice for now.

 

Thanks for looking!

Edited by John1

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Two updates in a single day!  Wife and young daughter are out for the day so I'm much more productive than usual (which really doesn't say much). 

 

I tend to put off unpleasant tasks for as long as possible.   In order to complete the fuselage and paint it, I need to sand the seam off the canopy, which is a PITA.   As such, I'm going to be working on the ordinance for a while.   First up are the napalm tanks.  This rather horrific weapon was pretty much a standard fit during the war, with 500 lb GP bombs a distant second.  Plenty of info on the thread I posted on in the Aviation forum for those interested.  Bottom line is - these tanks came in a wide range of colors and conditions, from clean natural metal, to immaculate bright yellow to really nasty, dirty shades of yellow or ZYC.  Here are a couple of pictures to demonstrate how gross these tanks could get:

 

Napalm_01.jpg

 

IMG_0712

 

I've got confirmation that the primary napalm tanks used by F-51's were the 110 gal version (although the smaller 75's were also used at times).  The kit ones are really nice.   I simply added the "can" that was tack-welded to the aft left side of the tanks.  This can held one of the two igniters used on these tanks.  The other was installed on the fuel tank filler cap.

Here is a nice picture (courtesy of "Tourist") that shows the "kit" used to convert these drop tanks into napalm bombs:

M7wVqqE.jpg

 

I started by adding some dents to these tanks.  Again, some tanks were pristine, others were heavily banged up (as you can see above, no care was taken to protect these during the filling process).   I then sprayed each tank matt aluminum, added a bit of hairspray and then shot them with a thin, variable coat of Yellow Zinc Chromate.  I then used the good ole hairspray method to replicate a bit of wear and tear.  After that, I applied some black and brown pastels:

IMG_0708

 

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After that had set up, I went about trying to replicate the nasty crap that got spilled over these tanks during the filling process.  As best I can tell, they filled the tanks with a mix of dyed, jellied gasoline and a white powder.    I had some real issues trying to replicate the white powder.  I used white pastels and even flour.  Neither would adhere very well, even when used in conjunction with various mediums.  I then used my 8-year old daughter's water color paint for the red spillage (thanks Brooke!).  

IMG_0705

 

IMG_0706

 

I also added the front and rear igniters.  These will eventually be safety wired to the pylons.    

 

So at that point, I wasn't completely happy with the look.  I didn't think it was as close to the pics above as I wanted, plus the red "goo" was a bit too glossy.   I went back to the workbench and made a mix of orange / red water paint (thanks again Brooke) and flour to replicate the clumpyness of this liquid. Got this tip from a kind gent on ARC!  I also went heavier on the orange tint this time.  I added this new mix to some of the stained area.   I then applied some acrylic flat white to the fronts of the tanks.  I'm much happier with the results. The reddish stains are still too shiny but I'll be spraying these tanks with flat later to seal everything in.   Only issue is that I don't have time right now to take any pics.  I'll get something posted in a bit.  

 

That's it for now, tanks for looking!  :) 

Edited by John1

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Napalm tanks are pretty much done, except for a flat coat, which should tie everything together a bit more.   Truly hideous looking but given the pics of the real things above, I'm pretty content.  Certainly not something you see on every model and that's the point!

 

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Next up in my quest to avoid having to fix the canopy are the HVAR's.   These were powerful weapons.  As the name implies, they were very high velocity rockets (which made aiming pretty straightforward), each furnished with a 5" HE warhead.   Bottom line is that 6 of these would have the same effect as a full salvo from a destroyer's main guns.    Introduced late in WW2, these were pretty much standard on every Mustang mission in Korea and hung around in US service until early in the Vietnam war.  

 

A quick note before I proceed.  These HVAR's are not included in any current Tamiya kit (although will certainly be in the upcoming F-51D).   Fellow LSP'er Dennisd7423 graciously donated the HVAR's that came with his Tamiya F4U-1D kit.    I can't thank you enough Dennis, this project would be dead in the water without these. 

 

These require a bit of work.   In a very un-Tamiya like move, each rocket body has two ejector marks as does each tail fin.   You are going to spend some time sanding here.  

IMG_0715

 

After cleaning them up and assembling, it was time for painting and decals.   These were only painted in one scheme, a metallic grey rocket motor and fins with a OD warheads and bare steel fuzes.  That being said, there seemed to be a bit of variation in the colors.  I added a bit more green to my OD mix for a couple of the warheads, not sure it really shows in the pics below but it's there.   After that, I shot the rockets with X-22 gloss and added the kit decals.  A last note on decals - Just about every model I've seen that has HVAR's shows the markings on each rocket's warhead and motor in perfect alignment.   This is not accurate.   The motors and warheads were screwed together in the field, prior to being loaded on the aircraft, the loading lugs were then also attached.  The bottom line is that each rocket's markings were positioned differently from the one next to it.

IMG_0717

 

IMG_0716

 

Still need to touch up some of the paintwork and flat coat the rockets.  I also need to add the PE rocket exhaust and the igniter lead that runs from the back of the motor to the rear pylon.  After that, a bit of weathering since they were assembled assembly line style in the dirt.   Once done, they will hopefully look like this:

eaa9542278a09c31_large

Note the igniter leads hanging off the back of the rocket motors.  As a safety measure, these were connected to the aircraft just prior to take off.   I really like this picture, it sums up the F-51D in Korea. Horrible weather conditions and working so hard there is no time to keep the aircraft clean.  Look at all that grunge (and the underside black stripe that seemed to be much more commonly applied than previously thought).  I honestly have no idea how I'm going to replicate this.

 

Thanks for all the great feedback and as always, thanks for looking!

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Got a bit more progress to report this week.  First off is the canopy.   There were 5 different types of canopies used on the P/F-51D/K.   All very subtle differences between them.   Contrary to what some thought (including myself), the purpose of these changes wasn't to give the pilot more headroom, it was to simply provide improved optical clarity.    For those whole really get into minutia like this (such as myself), the best guide I've seen out there is here: 

 

http://www.gaetanmarie.com/p-51dk-mustang-canopy-variations/

 

Here is a really cool .gif from this website that shows the progressions these canopies went through over time. 

Canopy-animation.gif

 

BTW, this site has some really cool, well researched profiles.  Worth grabbing a cup of coffee or your favorite evening beverage and checking them out. 

 

I'm opting for the "Dallas" type of canopy.   Although some pictures show my subject with a different type (a bit hard to be sure), canopies were changed out frequently due to battle damage and simple wear and tear.   These aircraft might look beaten to crap but one thing that the crew chiefs made sure of was the windscreen and canopies were crystal clear.   From the website linked above, here is my choice:

AAA-P-51D-5-NA-port-model-canopy-4.jpg

 

Due to the bulged nature of these canopies, Tamiya's parts (they offer the initial "Inglewood" type and the later bulged Inglewood plus the aforementioned Dallas type), all have a seam line down the centerline.   It's pretty prominent so it had to be removed.  I sanded with a few grades of progressively finer sanding film until the seam was removed (using some water for the finest grade).  At that point the seam was gone but the canopy still had an opaque cloud down the center.   I then used my favorite polishing set, Novus's two-step plastic polish.  This stuff rocks.   The first compound removes fine scratches, while the second imparts a fantastic shine to the plastic.   I also use #2 for all clear parts, it really does improve their clarity, does a much better job than Future.    I neglected to take any pictures to illustrate my work because I was in a rush to get to the painting stage (more on this in my next post).

 

That's it for now, thanks for looking. 

Edited by John1

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Next up is painting.    This is where my builds typically go off the rails.   I've been plugging away on this kit for months and am starting to see it all coming together, so I start rushing things.   Bad idea.  I've made multiple mistakes with masking, overspraying, etc.   End result is more masking, more touched-up paintwork, etc.   Very frustrating but I've got no one to blame but myself.  Model was primed with a light coat of model master aircraft grey.   No need for a shiny black primer, I'm not going for a high-gloss silvery finish.   Once dried, I sprayed the rest of the kit with my custom mix of AK extreme matt aluminium.  Very happy with this stuff, it sprays great and holds up well to tape, handling, etc. I then painted the remainder of the anti-glare black, aft of the canopy.   Unlike the forward section, this part wouldn't have seen any real weathering, so no hairspray method here. I'll probably add a few scratches once I start the general weathering process later on. 

 

I also added the landing gear, so she's finally standing on her own!   Sharp eyed readers may note a missing panel on the starboard leading edge.    I seem to have lost that during the painting process.   I've turned my basement upside down but I can't find it.   Thankfully Tamiya has amazing customer service and they graciously are shipping me a replacement (at no charge!).  Should have it by next week.   These panels are supposed to be removable to allow you to unscrew the landing gear so you can display it in the wheels up position. A very toy like feature if you ask me.  Once done, I added the yellow trim.

 

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Looks kind of boring but since this aircraft was painted overall aluminum lacquer, there really is no variation in tone between panels like you see in many NMF subjects.  I did add an overspray of slightly lighter aluminum here and there to replicate a bit of fading of the original finish.   Doesn't really show in these pics but it's there.  Trust me!

IMG_0725

 

IMG_0722

 

IMG_0726

 

Again, she looks a bit boring at this point (IMO) but once I add the markings, pick out all the small details and dirty her up, I'm hoping she'll come to life.   That's it for now, thanks for looking!

Edited by John1

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So after staring at the model for quite a long time, I decided the yellow trim was off. It seemed to be a bit too "lemon yellow".   So another fun evening spent masking and painting and unmasking.   The color I used had just a tad more orange-ish tone to it.    May not even show up in pics but it's noticeable to me so I supposed it's all worth while.   That's it for tonight! 

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Making some progress.  In preparation for the decaling process, I sprayed a nice coat of Tamiya X-11 gloss.  For those that haven't used this, it's highly recommend.  Much better than Future.

 

After allowing it to dry, I jumped into the decals.   I typically start with the stencils and then work my way up to national insignia and the larger stuff. For the stencils, I used Fundekals P-51D stencil set.   As with all of their products, it's very well researched and of high quality.  Decals are thin and settle nicely with a dab of Micro Sol & Set.  A few notes, most pics I've seen of painted F-51D's show that not all the servicing stencils were re-applied when they were painted. Another thing to note, which many modelers don't catch -  If an aircraft is painted in the field with squadron or personal markings, it's highly unlikely that the ground crews would replace any painted over maintenance markings.  

 

Anyway, I then moved to applying the national insignias and serial numbers.  These came from the Print Scale sheet.  I've never used these decals before.  First impressions - they have a lot of carrier film (unlike the Fundekals stuff) so you need to trim carefully.  Also, they are very thin and settle nicely BUT - they are extremely fragile.  For larger decals such as the USAF and serial numbers, I've had to cut the decals into smaller sections. To be honest, I'm pretty concerned about the large sharks-mouth decals.  Wish me luck!

 

A few pics of my progress:

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I also did a bit of weathering on the upper USAF and national insignia by lightly sanding.  Much more work to be done in this dept, obviously.

 

That's it for now folks, thanks for looking! 

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On 2/2/2020 at 2:06 PM, John1 said:

               I'm hoping she'll come to life.

 

                                It's ALIVE , It's ALIVE !!!

 

aeH3sYv.jpg?2

 

 

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Thanks guys, greatly appreciate the compliments.   I finished the decalling last night.  So she's now resplendent in her fierce sharkmouth (which was a standard marking for all 18th FBW Mustangs in Korea).  She also has two "command stripes" on the aft fuselage to show that she was the mount of a (I think) squadron commander.  

 

The large sharkmouths were a major pain.   I ended up cutting each in half to aid the application and also had to trim away part of the lower nose section that was supposed to cover the area directly in front of the air inlet.  There was no way it was going to fit. This area was subsequently painted.  Even after all this, I'm struggling with many spots that need to be carefully sliced with a very new X-acto blade and soaked with Micro-Sol to get them to settle over curves and fine details.  Still a work in progress but I'm getting there.  This isn't a reflection on Print Scale, I don't think it's possible to cover this area with a decal.  Will be interesting to see how Tamiya approaches this since they are also offering markings for an 18th FBW aircraft (the cutely named "Was that too fast?", which was at the top of the list for my subjects.

 

The yellow command stripes were much too long and didn't fit over the tail fillet and tail gear well.  I'm guessing that it was Print-Scale's intent that the modeler simply cut these up as needed to get full coverage. 

 

Anyway, here she is so far:

IMG_0736

 

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IMG_0734

 

Next up are a bunch of small tasks.   I need to add that missing cover on the right wing leading edge (which just came in, thanks to Tamiya's amazing customer service).   I also have to complete the spinner (just received Quick Boost's non-cuffed Hamilton Standard propeller blades) and I have to install new rocket launcher stub mounts on the wing undersurface.  Sharp eyed readers may have noted that the launchers that came attached to the HVAR's were specific to F4U Corsairs.   The ones on the Mustang are completely different.   Thankfully, I found some online.   Never heard of Brian Fawcett before but he's got some interesting stuff http://www.fawcettmodelsandpatterns.co.uk/1-32-scale-resin-detail-correction-parts

and also - his customer service is amazing.   I ordered my prop blades from Sprue Brothers and the launchers from Brian at the same time.  He's shipping from the UK, SB is in the US.  Both arrived at the same time!    The stub launchers look to be perfectly cast.  Very impressed....

 

Once done with all that, I'm going to shoot some Dullcoate to seal in the decals and tone down their shinyness and then start weathering.   Wish me luck on the weathering, I honestly have never done anything like this before and this last step is really going to make or break this project. 

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I love that looks sweet. Guess I might chisel money out of my wallet :huh: for the new tam kit 

Edited by rigor

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