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John1

F-51D Mustang Finishes

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I'm in the process of building a Korean War F-51D.   While posting my progress over on ARC, a gentleman who goes by "Tourist" chimed in.   For those that don't know of Tourist (aka Christian), he's considered to be one of the true experts on Mustangs.   In my blog, he mentioned that F-51's could be either NMF and painted a metallic grey.  He also provided the following examples:

 

NMF

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Painted

GqucJHc.jpgd

 

I was quite surprised to hear this, prior to this I never had heard that these late Mustangs were painted.  Does anyone have any further details? 

 

I certainly am not doubting Tourist, just looking for additional info.  To my uneducated eye, both the birds above look NMF, just that Wanda is heavily weathered.   It may be a moot point, since heavily weathered aluminium looks very much like a flat metallic grey.   For example, check out the faded finish on this unpainted aluminium canoe:

b187e78dfeb3f9bcecb7d5f4f8463357.jpg

You could call the sides of this canoe faded aluminum or a painted flat grey metallic.   Not sure there is a significant difference.

 

What do you guys think??

Edited by John1

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Hmmm...very interesting. This is the first time I've heard of USAF Mustang fuselages being painted, but because it comes from Christian I would at least consider it. I trust him, he has proven to be an expert on Mustangs and his information is usually spot on. RCAF Mustangs were often sprayed in aluminum lacquer after winterization and "Canadianization", but the Canadian finish has a metallic sheen to it. 

 

Looking at that photo, and enlarging portions of it, I might be convinced. The line of rivets under the canopy rail especially, they are dimpled and look like they have been painted over, to my eye anyway. There are a couple of other rows of rivets that look the same. And the way some of the rivets look chipped darker, and yes, the scratches too. Makes you look at the photos differently, and sometimes it's hard to dismiss preconceptions.

 

An overall painted finish would certainly make painting the model somewhat easier I suppose, apart from all that weathering!

 

I don't know, definitely something to think about.  Another great post John!

 

 

Richard

Edited by R Palimaka

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Were there F-51's "drafted" from stateside Air National Guard stocks flown by USAF units in Korea? If so, might they have been delivered as originally painted  by ANG units as a corrosion control measure? And, isn't that Chappie James in the first photo?

Edited by Rob Owens
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14 minutes ago, Rob Owens said:

Were there F-51's "drafted" from stateside Air National Guard stocks flown by USAF units in Korea? If so, might they have been delivered as originally painted  by ANG units as a corrosion control measure? And, isn't that Chappie James in the first photo?

Yes, many Korean F-51's were pulled from guard units as attrition replacements.   Just weird that I never saw any mention about USAF / NG Mustangs being painted, aside from the early OD/Grey and obviously, the wings as finished at the factory. 

 

And yes, that is Chappie James.  He's a true American hero.   I used to spend a lot of time at Otis ANGB on Cape Cod.  They have a T-33 on display with his name under the canopy.  He used to command an ADC interceptor squadron at this base back in the early 60's.

 

 

Edited by John1

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I'm really intrigued by this.   Looking at Wanda above, it almost does appear that she is painted.   I'm in the process of testing various paints for my F-51D build and right now, Model Master flat aluminum with a bit of light grey seems to be the closest.   I still have to test my newly arrived AK Extreme paints, so we'll see how things progress.    I still am amazed that prior to Tourist jumping in, the consensus was that all these birds were NMF.   

 

Looking at this pic, I guess you could go with the painted finish...

136289006-02bg5aqm-adsc_7314x.jpg?w=950

Edited by John1

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So it looks like Tourist was spot-on.   On my F-51D build thread, Antonio Argudo posted the following:

 

You can recognize the "metallic grey"  applied when there is no difference  or contrast in the exhausts panels  

In the pic below, you can see the upper section of the flap is left in natural metal, which is quite distinct from the remainder of the aircraft. 

Whats-App-Image-2019-12-27-at-17-54-47.j 

 

 

e1b826cdf200a79a10067d163f78ed7d.jpg

 

75627597-10217773121351410-2321139934670

 

Whats-App-Image-2019-12-27-at-17-56-27.j

 

This picture to me, is the best illustration of the actual color of this finish.

a017064548cff5e4-large-1.jpg

 

you can see in this one an aluminium cowling  panel which contrast the rest  "metallic grey"  color 

Whats-App-Image-2019-12-27-at-17-55-26.jd

 

Fantastic information to have.  For all these years, I always thought I was just looking at heavily faded NMF.    As I look through my books and online references, I see more and more Mustangs with this finish.

 

Thanks again to Antonio and Tourist for their great help! 

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Another clue to a painted finish is the panel surrounding the exhausts - that tends to be darker than the surrounding panels on bare metal aircraft, so I agree these must have been painted silver/aluminium.

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