P-51 D Mustang - IAF -
The Mustang was a revolutionary plane, which changed some existing preconceptions about the abilities of a multi-task fighter, and gave heavy bombers the cover they needed for carrying out massive attacks on Nazi Germany's industrial concentrations. It was a relatively fast plane, with excellent maneuverability and long range. The plane accumulated thousands of kills against German fighter.
Large numbers of P-51D Mustang served in the Mediterranean theatre, but the Heyl Ha'Avir examples were purchased in 1948 from various sources. In 1951 when the Swedish Air Force put its P-51D on the market, the Heyl Ha'Avir Commander, Chaim Laskov, sanctioned the purchase of 25. Several were also purchased from Italy in 1955 and later all Mustang were transferred to an OTU squadron.
During the Sinai Campaign, which began on October 29th 1956, the Mustangs went on attack and bombing missions against ground targets, including enemy infantry. Accordingly, the planes were armed with six 0.5 inch machine guns, and two NAPALM or 250 kg. bombs. The Mustangs succeeded in carrying out raids at very long ranges, with no need for external fuel tanks. They attacked at Ras Nitzana, Sharm a-Sheikh, Bir Gafgafa and Bir Hama.
2. The Kit
Hasegawa's model is moulded in medium grey plastic with crisply recessed panel lines. Alternate parts include propeller blades and exhaust pipes, and there is a choice of two cockpit canpies. The cockpit detail is adequate for this scale, but I opted to add the P-51D Mustang super detail set ( No. 0478 ) from Verlinden Productions. The instructions are clear, and the decals include marking for three USAF fighter squadrons. My model however, was going to depict ‘ No. 54 ‘ of the Israeli Air Force.
3. Cockpit and Seat
I availed myself of some photos and drawings of the interior of the P-51D Mustang, so that I could update the kit in this area. The instrument panel is very good ,but I opted to use the photo-etched example from the Eduard set ( #48-015 ), as well as the previously mentioned update set from Verlinden. I Also added cables made from wire of different thickness, and sidewall detail and control levers from plasticard. I used the replacement floor from the Mustang update set, as well as the etched brass rudder pedals from the Eduard set. All of the interior was painted light green; I prefer using acrylics, and therefore used Gunze Sangyyo H319 for the Task. After painting the inside, I glued the reflector gunsight in position ,having first added the‘glass’ element from this acetate sheet. The Kit-supplied pilot’s seat was used, with the addition of etched seat belts from the Eduard set.
The fuselage is accurate, with recessed panel lines and the plastic is easy to work. After assembling and painting the inner parts, you have to insert the exhaust pipes and glue them in place. The fit of the two fuselage halves is good, but you will have to rescribe some panel lines that are removed during sanding etc. for this operation I Used a scribing template from Verlinden.
5. Wing and Tailplane
The wing look good, so I just secured them to the fuselage. This operation proved straightforward, as the join was extremely good. The gun barrels and housings were replaced with hypodermic tubing and plastic tubing , respectively. To do this, an appropriate size needle was inserted into the tubing and then the tubing was slid into the gun opening in the leading edge of the wing. Each gun is staggered differently from the next, so check your references. Once the guns were in place the leading edge was sanded smooth and polished using abrasive paste.
After assembling the model I installed the canopy. This was masked with paper, then painted. This painting included the frame of the internal armoured windscreen. When the canopy is finished it can be positioned and secured with cement.
Here I will detail a couple of the techniques I employed. The first task is to smooth the surface of the kit using wet abrasive paper of different grades until you get to 800. After having prepared the surface the model is primed. I painted my model using Tamiya acrylic Yellow-Green ( XF-4) thinned with alcohol. After I penciled the camouflage pattern onto the model, I started by spraying the underside with Light Aircraft grey , followed by the camouflage scheme used on IAF P-51D. This consisted of Brown ( FS 30219 ) and royal blue on the upper surface. At this point there is a decision to be made regarding the decals; you can use the decals from superscale, which are very good, or you can apply the markings by making up some semi-adhesive paper masks.
8. Landing Gears and Wheels
The undercarriage looks good, but still needs some detailing work like adding some wire to simulate the brake cables on each oleo. The wheels are too are good too, but they would look better if they were ‘weighted’. To achieve this I held each wheel near to a heat source, then pressed them gently on a flat surface. Just ensure that you set the ‘flats’ on these wheels in accordance with the incline of the oleo legs of the type.
9. Spinner and Propeller
The shape of the propeller is beautiful. The spinner needs to be reprofiled though, and I did this by filling the tip of the unit with cyanoacrylic, then, when dry, sanding the unit to the correct shape. The prop blades had their tips painted yellow, which, when dry, were masked prior to spraying the blades Tamyia Black. After this can paint the model and stick the propeller into the propeller-hub.
The only ones that I used were the stencils on the propeller blades. I would recommend that you use some form of plastic ( avoiding the silicon ones ) to actually polish the model after painting. This will obviate the need to apply gloss paint prior to decaling, but still remove the risks of silvering with the decals.
The weathering of the model is very important and this entire task was undertaken carefully. In order to give prominence to the panel lines I added diluted acrylics, in this case brown, white, grey and black, along each. I pushed the mixture into each line using a No. 07 brush, but also darken and highlighted the lines with similar applications of the colors with an airbrush. The darker colors were added to the lower areas of the panel lines with similar applications of these colors with an airbrush. The darker colors were added to the lower areas of the panel lines, with the lighter shades along the edges. This latter operation will give a certain depth to the model and will eliminate the flat appearance of a standard paint scheme. Paint chips were simulated very simply; all you need is a brush and a little aluminum paint. Finally the model was given an overall coat of Tamiya X-21, then X-22 to make the upper surfaces dull.
* Illustrated Guide to the Israeli Air Force [Bill Gunston]
* Squadron Signal – No. 45
* Model Art – No. 401