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P-51D 47th FS / 15th FG, Iwo Jima 1945 [TAM 1:32]

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In other news, the fuselage of my P-51D closes nicely around both cockpit and radiator ducting.  Conveniently, it's possible to get the cockpit in, tape the top of the fuselage, and then slip the radiator assembly in from the front.  That's good, because the way the ducting assembly fits makes it very tricky to actually close the fuselage halves around it.  I didn't want to have to juggle both pieces and both halves of the fuselage at once if I could avoid it.



Now I have to get to grips with finishing the engine bay detailing and confirming that it all closes around the engine correctly.

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Good show.  Thank you for your research.  About the Trumpeter 1/24 Mustang.  It's both good and accurate, and bad and not accurate, well detailed and poorly detailed, has it's detractors, and it's advocates. but can be built up nicely.  It just comes down to whether you can live with, or correct, what's wrong with it.





I see from looking thu this article the battery is not in the engine bay, but some other device is.  My memory . . .








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Even more on the battery/radio question.  I recently got another P-51 reference...



One of the things that this book emphasizes (although parts of this info is in other pubs as well, obviously, is that the Block 20 and 25 Mustangs deployed in the Western Pacific were the most comprehensively equipped with electronics gear of any P-51s flown in WW2.  Maybe the spiritual forebears of today's F-35?




The Mustangs on Iwo Jima were equipped with a twin-antenna AN/ARA-8 homing transponder (note the two antennas on the dorsal spine, unique to the Iwo Jima planes) that allowed them to home to the B-29 flights originating from the Marianas that they were tasked with escorting.  The usual mustang SCR-522 radio mast was relocated to underneath the fuselage, as seen above.  In addition, these Mustangs were equipped with an SCR-695 IFF transponder to allow them to be recognized by friendly radar as they returned to Iwo Jima (and presumably by US Navy shipborne radars too, although I didn't see this explicitly stated).  Cramming all this radio gear (which was big - this is still the age of vacuum tubes) into the fuselage meant that something had to give, and that was the battery.  It was moved to the engine bay so that the SCR-695 transmitter could be placed on the rear deck where the battery sat in other Mustangs.  


Here's a diagram showing the Iwo Jima setup.



Which I found here: https://iwojimamodels.com/2019/08/29/getting-it-right/


That page contains a nice description of the specific mods made to the Mustangs that flew from Iwo Jima.


One additional photo from the Squadron book really evokes the brutal conditions endured by the Iwo Jima P-51 FGs.  The whole island was covered in crushed coral gravel (especially after the massive shelling it received prior to the Marine landing to capture the island).  So everything filled up with gritty coral dust that could never be fully cleaned away.  The USAAF personnel, from senior officers down to privates, lived in tents pitched on the windswept, dusty plain - there were effectively no permanent structures built.  In the early weeks, they were occasionally forced to deal with random Japanese holdouts assaulting these tent barracks at night.



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Another feature unique to Iwo Jima planes were the sway braces made on-site (out of plywood) to prevent excessive motion of the 110-gal. metal drop tanks that were required to provide the range the Mustang needed to reach the Japanese mainland and return.  Unlike the other details specific to the IJ planes, these custom braces are not represented in the Tamiya "Pacific Theater" kit version.  But they should be straightforward to make. Note also the apparent fabric boot on the top of the main gear leg.  I need to look into this more.




In addition to all this research, I have actually been working on the model too.  Hopefully some sort of update on that later today.

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And some good info about the use of aluminum paint (rather than bare metal) on the wings.  I'll need to do some experimenting to see which metalizer I want to use to provide a subtle but visible distinction between the wings and the truly bare aluminum surfaces.




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Alex, below is a photo of a Hasegawa 1/48 Mustang that I built as a testbed for this very purpose:




I used Alclad Airframe Aluminium on the fuselage, and Tamiya AS-12 on the wings and tailplanes. Both have been covered in at least one coat of clear gloss varnish, which lowered the contrast between them markedly, but still provides for a nice effect. Here's what it looked like before the gloss coat:







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That's a great effect, Kevin, and pretty much what I'm aiming for.  I may not use the Airframe Aluminum because I'm hoping not to put any top coat over the metalizer if possible.  It may be enough to prime the wings with gray Mr Surfacer 1200 and the fuselage with gloss black, then spray one metalizer (probably plain Alclad Aluminum) over it all.  We'll see.  I also need to subtly distinguish the fabric covered rudder with a third shade.

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All of the remaining bits needed to install the engine and button up the fuselage.  At various points in the prime/paint process.




Doing this is a royal PITA and I'm having to take breaks in between doing the individual hoses.  Cutting and wrapping 0.3 mm strips of masking tape is challenging my vision and dexterity to the max.




But the effect is much better than I could hope to achieve with freehand painting.




Still a bunch more fiddly masking and painting to go before I'm ready to start test-fitting and assembling.  We have a bitter cold weekend on tap in Boston (at least relative to local norms), so I'll probably hide inside and work on this the whole time.  If I don't run into trouble I may be able to close the fuselage by the end of Sunday.  That will feel like a significant milestone, I think.

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Mix of chromate primer and bare aluminum in the engine bay.  Totally ignoring the ejector pin marks because you will never see them pressed up against the side of the engine.



The actual color of the primer is more yellow - not as minty.  It's MRP paint.  The iPhone is distorting the color.  Still need to paint some details and add a few wires and boxes for wires to terminate in.


The outside:




Also working on a rusty finish for the exhaust headers (which are just stubs that socket into the guard that covers the side of the cylinder head - although this is "less realistic" than full headers that connect into the head, it makes life a lot easier and I'm glad Tamiya did it).




Once these are fully dried I'll wet them with brown enamel PLW to tone down the appearance a bit, and try to hit the bores with a tiny bit of black paint for shadow.



Edited by Alex
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Hi Alex, another suggested re wings, I used MRP Duraluminum over a White primer base

then used Alclad Dull Aluminum on the wingtops which finishes rather rough so I hit it

with a very fine sponge abrasive. No clear overcoat. I like the way it finished out.





Your project looking good, have fun :thumbsup:






Edited by MikeMaben
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  • Alex changed the title to P-51D 47th FS / 15th FG, Iwo Jima 1945 [TAM 1:32]

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