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1/72 Academy P-51B Mustang

'Old Crow', flown by Capt. Clarence E. 'Bud' Anderson, D-Day 6th June 1944

by Shekar K Rao

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  D-Day 60th Anniversary - June 6th 2004    

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The History of  'Old Crow'

'Old Crow' was the name of a P-51B Mustang flown by Capt. Anderson. He flew for the 357th Fighter Group, 8th AF, nicknamed 'Yoxford Boys', flying out of Leiston Field, UK during WW II. Bud was the leading ace of the 363rd FS, with 16 and a half kills, and is a WWII Triple Ace. Currently aged  82, Bud still flies a restored P-51 along with General Charles Yeager.  Bud also flew a P-51D later in the war, carrying the 'Old Crow' markings to that plane as well. 'Old Crow' still continues to fly to this day after restoration, and is owned by Mr. Jack Roush.  

Info Courtesy : Bud Anderson's website, http://www.cebudanderson.com

 

Kit Information

I made this kit as part of the D-Day Group Build at ARC, as well as the Op Overlord 2004 Campaign going on at Armorama too. It is my salute to those brave men who gave their lives on the beach heads of France on D-Day.

I have always loved modeling Academy kits in 1/72 scale, and this kit is no different. In fact, I think this has been my best kit in 1/72 scale so far, after a succession of Academy Hurricanes.  The kit contents are crisp, with zero flash, and there aren't that many fiddly bobs and bits to ruin your experience. The decal sheet is absolutely fantastic, with Academy being kind enough to provide markings for three planes, and is a great incentive to make more Mustangs! There is still a problem with the USAF Star decals being translucent, but this can be easily remedied with some white decals on those areas. The checkered nose area decals are an absolute treat, and go on without any fuss (meaning 'a minimum amount of swearing!')

Another gripe I have on this kit is the lack of a continuous fuselage. For some odd reason, the fuselage has been split up, with two frontal 3/4 pieces and a 1/4 piece tail section. This gives rise to a small ridge at the join of the main fuselage to the tail, ensuring the usage of sandpapering to eliminate it.

Otherwise, a superb kit, and great value for money. I'm still hanging on to those spare decals and a spare canopy as a bonus!

Paints used were my usual mix-n-match brand of locally available Fevicryl acrylic paints, thinned with water and shot through an airbrush. I'm especially pleased that the Olive Drab color turned out exactly right after just two attempts at mixing the paints! 

 

Starting off : Cockpit Area, Tires, Wheel Bays/Covers and Propeller

As with all my models, I started off on the cockpit area. The instrument panel went first, with a coat of flat black, then some dry brushing with silver, and finally painting in the dials with a toothpick. I admit I took a lot of license in using red, green, white and black, but since I did not have any references, I had to use a lot of imagination in this case. Anyway, the dials turned out just great, and made the panel come alive.

This was then followed by the seat assembly, and painting of the seat area, the radio boxes (behind the seat), and the side panels. I did want to do some scratch-building in the side panels, but it looked too small and unwieldy to me (with my big fingers), so I gave up. Anyway, Academy has done a decent job here, so nothing was lost. At the same time, I also painted the wheel bays and interiors of the wheel covers in the same color as the cockpit in Interior Green. The floor of the cockpit was painted using Light Tan. Washes were then applied using heavily diluted acrylic black paint mixed with water and some mild soap solution. 

Seatbelts were made out of strips of scotch tape. The seat belt clips were made by winding small diameter electrical wire around another, cutting the ring at the neck, and then passing the tape strip through the ring. The rings were then dry brushed with silver.

Next, it was the turn of the tires for treatment. The Academy box art shows the tires as being completely black from hubcap to tread, but this is not correct according to the modeling guide provided at Bud Anderson's site(P-51B Modeling Guide). The picture of the plane clearly shows a white ring around the hubcap, starting at the cap, and ending at the tread. This presented a small problem, which I got around after some thinking. 

I first sprayed the entire wheel black. Then, using masking tape, I masked off the wheel until the hubcap, removed the interior portion, and painted it silver as required. Then, after allowing the silver to dry completely, I again masked the whole wheel, masked off the silver area, and then cut out  and removed the outer areas, leaving me with a black wheel with a masked silver center. On top of this, again I put on a layer of masking tape, and using a circle template, drew a circle on the masking tape, corresponding to the diameter of the white area. Finally, using a sharp #11 blade, I cut along the pencil line very slowly and carefully, and removed the interior part, being careful not to remove the tape layer beneath (the one covering the silver area) along with the one on top. This way, I got a donut-shaped section on the wheel. This was then sprayed with white paint to get the background.

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Finally, I moved on to the propeller. This posed another challenge: a yellow ring from the middle of spinner to the edges of the blades over red. This was solved by first spraying the entire spinner cap in red. This was then masked off with scotch tape in a conical wraparound, and cutting out the required area of tape. This intermediate section of tape was removed, and sprayed with yellow to get the ring.

Fuselage Assembly, Painting and Decaling

From this point on, everything went like clockwork. The front fuselage parts were joined, and followed by the tail section. Tail planes were glued in, and the wing sections were assembled and mated to the fuselage. There is a bit of weird adjustment required, since the intake filter juts out over the wing assembly, and the wing assembly has to be slid down and backwards at an angle to slot into place. Another manufacturing boo-boo I guess!

The canopy sections were carefully masked using Magic Scotch tape, and attached before painting with Blu-Tak to the main model.

Paints were then sprayed on by airbrushing. As explained earlier, I mixed up my own batch of acrylic Fevicryl paints, thinned with water, and sprayed away. The undersides got a coat of Neutral Gray, and the top got a spraying of Olive Drab after necessary masking of the undersides.

After allowing to dry for two days, the decals were then applied. I used a coat of Future below the decals before applying them. This ensured that the surface was glossy, and also gave a good sticky surface for the decal to hold on to. I did encounter some problems with the invasion stripe decals, especially on the underside over the air intake filter. I had to cut up some decals to get the final effect properly. 

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Finishing up, and adding the final touches

The propeller was attached at the end, along with the canopy sections. The Malcolm canopy hood was attached to the front canopy using clear cement solution, and painted using a toothpick. Minor touch ups were required on the fuselage because of paint scratched while handling. Future was applied to exposed sections as a prelude for washes, and allowed to dry overnight. Subsequently, a sludge technique was used for the washes employing a solution of dishwashing liquid soap(10%), water(70%) and 20% black acrylic paint. Excess wash was wiped off with a slightly wet rag after allowing the wash to dry for 1 hour. I applied three coats of wash to get the final effect. I decided against weathering my model any more, since I like them more clean

The engine exhaust parts were then painted flat black, attached to the plane, and dry brushed with silver. The wheel covers and wheel assemblies were attached, and voila!! My 'Old Crow' is ready to fly!!

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Hope you enjoyed my account!! Happy Modeling from India!

Shekar

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Photos and text by Shekar K Rao

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