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Revell P51D Mustang, Col Don Blakeslee , 335th


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Greetings.

 

This is my Revell 1/32 Mustang in colours of the Colonel Blakeslee c/o  335th Fighter Squadron , 4th Fighter Group , October 1944.

If you don’t know, Don Blakeslee was the American ace credited with having the highest number of missions (over 500 sorties / 1000 hours) in the ETO as well as leading the first unit of Mustangs over Berlin. Training with the RCAF in 1941, flying Spitfires, Thunderbolts and eventually Mustangs, one obituary described him as “the most decorated second world war US Army Air Force fighter pilot “ . A fascinating and inspiring character.

 

The P51D BuNo 4413779 was delivered to the unit on the 30th June 1944, and carrying the personal letter C, became Blakeslee’s mount till he was grounded for being “too valuable to loose” on 1st Nov 1944. The 27 year old Colonel Blakeslee didn’t go in for nose art or victory markings, but always flew C for Charlie as he reckoned it stood for “chief cook and bottlewasher”.

 

Service records show this aircraft belly landed on 1st Nov 1944 at RAF Harrowbeer near Plymouth in Devon  (quite some distance from “home” at RAF Debden in Essex) and this may be part of the reason Blakeslee’s flying days were considered done . Growing up a Plymouth boy, I spent a lot of my teenage years wandering around that old RAF base imagining the wartime exploits 40 years earlier, it was also popular as a place to learn to drive Dad's car. The aircraft was repaired and went on to serve with other pilots of the 335th until the end of the war, being scrapped in September 1945.  There is now a replica on the UK airshow circuit G-SHWN. I found a picture of 4413779 dated between 10th and 27th October, just a couple of weeks before the landing at Plymouth.  Shows the recently applied red canopy framing, white tail and an OD wing fillet taken from a 336th aircraft.

 

2020 has been a busy year for me in my usual armour arena: 4 Battle of the Bulge,  4 Normandy , 5 other dioramas, two 1/48 jets plus other odds and sods,  and so I decided I wanted to try something different and new . So… let’s have a go at Alclad NMF ….. Mustang seems a good subject (never made one in any scale before - i'membarrassed how is that possible ??) Bought the Revell kit as it was all going to be a bit experimental, and if it goes wrong then, er ,no great loss, and ………sheez.......... it’s only got Olive Drab as the kit offerings  …no …no …..NO more olive drab !!! So looked around for a more suitable NMF Mustang and decided to do this particular aircraft instead.  

 

Mostly out of box, made a dinghy (?) for the seat and some homemade belts, and also the specific aircraft markings as couldn’t find a set in 1/32. Also had a  go with using Flory wash instead of the usual oils, so as ever, a few firsts with every model. Hope you enjoy.

 

Guy  

 

PS Hope you don’t mind a sneaky last pic of the previous model I completed before starting this one, and perhaps the nemeses of the 8th Air Force…., a Dragon 88mm  Flak 36 .

 

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Edited by Panzerwomble
add cockpit pic
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I think the book I read about the 4th is called "1000 Destroyed". 

 

https://www.amazon.com/1000-Destroyed-Times-Fighter-Group/dp/0816850046

 

Blakeslee had a hard and fast rule, you "prang" a plane, you are finished flying.  He then landed gear up and by his own rule was finished.  If memory serves, he just forgot to put the gear down.  He had grounded other aces, one for bellying in while trying to fly into the camera lens of a photographer.  

 

Excellent build!  I highly recommend the book.  

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1 hour ago, Johnny Cloud said:

Nicely done, it really looks the part.

Just one thing if I may, the rear of the canopy should rest on the fuselage rather than stick in the air.

I do understand that it may be difficult to achieve with the kit's canopy.

Great work!

Cheers yes , I can see what you mean now I've looked at some other pics. :) 

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46 minutes ago, Citadelgrad said:

I think the book I read about the 4th is called "1000 Destroyed". 

 

https://www.amazon.com/1000-Destroyed-Times-Fighter-Group/dp/0816850046

 

Blakeslee had a hard and fast rule, you "prang" a plane, you are finished flying.  He then landed gear up and by his own rule was finished.  If memory serves, he just forgot to put the gear down.  He had grounded other aces, one for bellying in while trying to fly into the camera lens of a photographer.  

 

Excellent build!  I highly recommend the book.  

Awesome , thanks for that , it adds more than my brief research turned up .  One source I found quoted that  he was was very peeved to be grounded , if it was partly due to his own rules , no surprise ! Sad to admit before starting this build I'd not heard of him or the 4th FG, so suspect I'll be spending some cash on that book soon . :)

Edited by Panzerwomble
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8 hours ago, AlbertD said:

That's a very convincing NMF. You were able to dirty it up without losing the NMF effect. Did you put anything over the Alclad?

Thank you , did a couple of coats of gloss clear varnish over the Alcad as i noticed it seemed less robust than acylics , and polished up selected areas after going over with the wash . 

Edited by Panzerwomble
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the NMF looks very good

I think you were right to cover the alclad - it looks beautiful but for me is about as robust as a chocolate fireguard

 

the home made markings look spot on for the fuselage codes, although the serial numbers seem to be 'split' in the pic?

 

I also really like the historical research element - very interesting!

 

i am not sure you have pulled off the exhaust staining - I can see the picture and you are trying to follow that, but the result doesn't 'feel' right to me

it looks as though you have used pigments?

nothing wrong with that per se, but it looks like sooty pigment brushed / dabbed on the side, rather than real exhaust stains which are (usually) more subtle and complex than that

 

the flaps look to be dropped too sharply, but I think that is the kit's natural geometry maybe?

the pic below shows what i tend to see re angle of flaps

 

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the stripes are showing through the fuselage stars and bars ie decal not opaque enough??

it's possible that this could be the case, but I have not seen it

 

thanks again for sharing and look forward to seeing more of your work - you should definitely not build just armour if this P-51 is anything to go by!

Edited by nmayhew
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