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geedubelyer

Whistlestop build thread.

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Hello folks,

Recently I've been squirreled away in my hobby room working on the latest large scale Tamiya offering, the North American P-51D Mustang and what a joy it's been :wub:

Since the model's release early last year I'd been gleening information on this uber-kit by reading every on-line build and review I could. I did n't find a bad word against the kit and in a moment of weakness I bought one in October from my local air museum shop.

I felt like a little kid at Christmas when I opened the heavy, tightly packed box and saw all of those crisp sprues of plastic dripping with beautifully molded parts.

I'm the first to admit that I know very little about WWII war birds so I took an early decision to keep this build as simple as possible. With the exception of a couple of additional wires in the rear of the cockpit/radio compartment I built this out of the stock kit parts.

For those that have n't built this particular kit, work commences with the engine and firewall. As I began to cut the parts from the sprue I realised that I could n't hide this jewel of an engine under closed panels. The only fly in the ointment was my preference for the smooth lines of a buttoned up bird. Tamiya have gone to great lengths to fascilitate the removal of the wafer thin cowl panels on the kit and provide powerful micro magnets to retain them in place for those modellers who like the best of both worlds. In truth, I could n't picture myself routinely removing any parts from the finished model so the only course of action was an engine out build. After much studying of instructions and asking questions of those who had already built the kit I took the plunge.

As you'd expect, the framework that cradles the engine fits perfectly and builds to form a neat cage to support the thin cowl panels.

Enginebay1.jpg

The engine won't be wasted. I've assembled and painted it ready for display on a custom engine stand alongside the finishes ariframe. It's a mini work of art and Tamiya need to be commended for taking the time to get the engine looking so good.

Edited by geedubelyer

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Every time I see this kit, I admire it. But I m scared of doing all metal kits. Never used Alclad before and acrylics do not inspire much confidence in getting the natural metal finish.

Good luck with your build. :)

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Every time I see this kit, I admire it. But I m scared of doing all metal kits. Never used Alclad before and acrylics do not inspire much confidence in getting the natural metal finish.

Good luck with your build. :)

Thank you stalal. I can whole heartedly recommend this kit and remember, although many of the schemes are bare metal, there are plenty with overall or partial olive drab cammo applied. Take this one for example. ;)

One of the schemes included in the kit is "Glengary guy" which has a neat olive drab cammo applied. Check out Jeff's build >>here<<

Tamiya require an early decision from the builder regarding which airframe they plan on building. With two styles of seats and gun sights and three canopy shapes plus two different drop tank styles as well as early and late rear fuselage versions and cloth or metal elevators the builder must choose which path to follow.

My decision on this build was complicated slightly by not wishing to model any of the kit decal schemes. I knew that I would like a blue nosed bird in my cabinet but preferred a subtler scheme to "Petie 2nd" that Tamiya include. More of that later. Rightly or wrongly I reasoned that aircraft from the same squadron might well be of a similar build block so I followed path "B" for Petie 2nd.

The next stage of assembly was the cockpit tub and seat. My avid following of various on-line builds highlighted the use of Barracuda decals P-51 cockpit stencils and placards to add extra interest over the one or two kit supplied decals.

The Barracuda product behaved faultlessly but a word of caution here. Some of the decals appeared to be sized for a different kit as they did n't fit the raised detail on the Tamiya kit exactly. Thankfully the disrepancies are not very noticable but it is worth mentioning for those keener on authenticity than I. Additionally, there is only one style of centre console decal (path "A" I believe) provided and one or two of the ancillary boxes differ too. I resorted to some white paint and a fine brush in those instances. :whistle:

tn_Cockpittub012.jpg

The sidewall detail is mounted to the fuselage and once again fits perfectly (you'll begin to see a common theme here). The seat and back rest slot into the cockpit floor which I painted black before adding some scuffing underneath the pedals followed by some pastel dust. The instrument panel uses a clear part and reverse printed decal. It looks nicely busy with the Barracuda placards in place.

tn_Cockpittub008.jpg

These sub-assemblies nestle into the fuselage snugly and give a very attractive appearance. It's worth remembering that at this point, the only additional scratch-built detail over what the kit provides is the two wires in the top of the battery.

tn_Cockpittub016a.jpg

tn_Cockpittub017a.jpg

The final elements needed to complete the cockpit were the seat backrest pack and the belts.

Tamiya offer an etched set which includes the seat belts but after studying them I was n't convinced that I'd be able to manipulate them suitably to produce convincing looking seat belts. Instead I searched for alternatives. I found two versions on the net. RB productions version and some by HGW.

I bought the HGW set and I'm happy with how they turned out. The belts are easy to style and the etched parts fit easily over even three layers of "cloth" to represent the full sized article nicely.

tn_Variousbits021.jpg

One item of note: the seat pack should be olive drab for a WWII era aircraft. Apparently the yellow colour was introduced post war. Something to bear in mind if you're building one of these.

Edited by geedubelyer

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With the closure of the fuselage looming large on the horizon there was just the matter of assembling the radiator intake trunking and tail wheel bay before I could proceed.

Tamiya are proud of their intake assembly and it does drop together like a dream. They provide more etched metal for the radiator grilles but I stumbled over Radu Brinzan's versions. RB Productions grilles are finer and have the added bonus of etched cockpit rail details too.

tn_Variousbits011.jpg

The fuselage fell together effortlesly with just a little attention required at the longitudinal seam under the intake. The tail assembly dropped into place like a dream and before I knew where I was I had a whole fuselage.

I think it worth mentioning at this stage that with a kit this complex it is important to keep tabs on the instructions. It would be easy to miss the placement of a poly-cap or miss drilling out a hole somewhere and regret it later on. Vigilance people.......! ;)

I set the fuselage aside and began construction of the main gear bay and gear legs.

There's not much to say except that they were just as accurate and brilliantly engineered as everything else had been to this point. Each of the ribs could be pressed into place and left without adhesive, they fit that well.

I had read numerous threads regarding the colour of Mustang wheel bays and in the end I chose bare metal throughout except for the main spar at the rear of the bay. This component I painted yellow primer which provides a nice splash of colour. :lol:

Maingearbays.jpg

Maingearbays1.jpg

The kit parts offer a sound basis for anyone wishing to add the remainder of the plumbing and wiring but do look good as is.

The main gear is sturdily mounted using a pair of small screws and gives solid support to the airframe. I used the kit rubber tyres for this build although a resin set mastered by Jerry Rutman is available through Greymatter figures (scroll down to the Sept 6th update for more info). I used a power drill to mount the rubber tyres and sanded off the mold seam as I gently ran the drill.

Maingear.jpg

The oleo piston is a band of metal foil and I also left out the plastic portion of the oleo scissors as photos on the net showed the real deal to appear quite light and flimsy.

Edited by geedubelyer

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COOL! My favorite prop aircraft by my favorite modeler! Go Guy Go! :D

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Hi Chuck, good to see you man. You're making me blush :blush: but thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

If I ever want to make one, it going to be 'Big Beautiful Doll'.

That's a gorgeous but somewhat challenging scheme stalal but one well worth doing. My cousin built BBD in 1/32nd a few years ago and it looks impressive. Good luck with your build. I hope you can find time to share your experience when the time arrives.

Incidentally, my cousin and I were priviledged to watch the UK's BBD Mustang perform for the last time at Duxford last year, sadly a memorable appearance. -_-

Forgive me for skipping large chunks of the assembly but in reality there is little to tell. This whole model all but builds itself. The wings went without a hitch but I left out the gun bays for the same reason that I mentioned earlier. As an aside and unsurprisingly, the closed gun bay covers fitted so well that the joins look like scribed panel lines.

So with the aircraft assembled it was time to concentrate on choosing a scheme.

Airliners dot net provided the solution in the form of #4472216 "MissHelen", the mount of Capt. Raymond Littge of the 352nd FS, 487th FG. This aircraft shared the squadron's blue nose and also had a blue rudder. The tail code was "M", the same as Petie 2nd but Miss Helen had a line beneath the code to distinuish it from Petie. Another bonus was the tally markings adorned the canopy frame rather than the fuselage giving a more subtle look that I immeadiately took to.

With no aftermarket decals to choose from I was looking at something custom and Ian from AdAstra masks came to my rescue. Ian offered to prepare artwork and provide custom masks and decals for the scheme I'd chosen. His service was second to none and the custom stuff arrived without delay.

Now I was good to go.....but which medium to choose for the infamous bare metal finish?

I believe that the weapon of choice would be AlcladII lacquer but I spray indoors and the pungent fumes would have caused me neck ache :whistle: . Instead I opted for low odour acrylics.

I've used Citadel Miniatures metallics before and found them to spray smoothly with very fine metallic particulates so I decided to go that route again. Initially I tried the middle metallic grey shade of Chainmail but it turned out more like steel than aluminium.

Paint.jpg

That meant using Mithril silver, the lightest of the Games Workshop metallics. Using Chainmail first had a surprising benefit as when I oversprayed with Mihtril silver in light passes the subtle streaked effect replicated the look of metal even better than I'd hoped for. If I need to do BMF again I'll try to remember this technique.

I turned to the Citadel range again for the blue and used the foundation colour "Necron Abyss". When I sprayed the blue I covered the rivets first and then filled in the panels. This technique resulted in a subtle pre-shade giving a slightly used appearance.

Paint2.jpg

Paint5.jpg

In an attempt to replicate the painted silver wings of the full sized aircraft and give a slight visual difference between paints I used Vallejo "silver". In truth this paint is probably a tad too "glittery" for comfort but I was planning some weathering so kept my fingers crossed that with the addition of the weathering the sparkle would be toned down. As another aside, the Vallejo silver would possibly make an ideal silver "candy" finish for auto modellers.

Edited by geedubelyer

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That's quite the kit! And done to very high standards! :woot.gif:

Looking forward to the next installment. :)

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Good luck with your build, Guy. Always a pleasure watching your threads develop. Such a master. Looking forward to see Big Beautiful Doll 'again' ....

DSC00978.jpg

Cheers

Ian

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That's quite the kit! And done to very high standards!

Looking forward to the next installment. :)

Hello Michel, thanks for that. Glad you like things so far.

Good luck with your build, Guy. ....... Looking forward to see Big Beautiful Doll 'again' ....

Cheers

Ian

Hi Ian, good to see you, thanks for the kind words. Do you think we'll ever see BBD in the sky again? That would be an amazing feat of restoration :unsure:

With the base colours layed down I could concentrate on applying the markings.

Ian hda supplied masks for the national insignia, codes and the white "MissHelen" script. For the tally markings, aircraft data stencil and the burgandy outline of MissHelen Ian provided water slide decals.

I sprayed the white of the stars and bars then mixed a very dark blue for the national insignia. The masks behaved beautfully. If you have n't tried paint masks give them a whirl. I can highly recommend both the masks and Ian's service.

So here are the last photos for this whistle stop in progress build thread. They show Miss Helen pre-weathering and pre-stencilling. I ditched the kit stencils after using one for the red "no step" warning on the left flap. It was thick and did n't settle down onto the subtle raised detail at all well. I also wished to avoid a gloss coat on the metallic as I was worried that I'd lose the metal look. The solution was a set of Hobbydecal dry transfers bought from Gordon at Sprue Bros.

tn_Verynearlyfinished6b.jpg

tn_Verynearlyfinished7a.jpg

tn_Verynearlyfinished5a.jpg

Next stop, the Display Case for photo's of the finished article.

Thanks for taking the time to have a look. If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.

Cheers,

:cheers:

Edited by geedubelyer

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nice work!

;)

the end soon??? :D

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Hi Guy,

You eventually did it! Glad you posted her up here.

As usually, I'm stunned with crisp and flawless look of all those parts displayed.

Your keen attention to all detailes is commendable.

Eager to see her with all the stencils applied and weathered.

Cheers and happy modeling!

Alexander

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Great build! Great kit by Tamiya........ hard to believe that North American went from contract approval to flying prototype in 90 days! what a winner :salute:

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Outstanding, Guy! I really must get that kit one day. Such a beautiful machine.

Jake

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Of all the threads, in all the world, you had to walk into mine...... :coolio:

Stunning build but I have to ask, what happened with the stars and bars on the fuselage? Surely Tamiya does not supply them this way, no?

Oooh....busted! :blush:

Dang Chad, good eyes :P

It's a fair cop guv'nor :wasntme:

You're the first to notice my little faux pas. :whistle:

The issue is totally down to my inexperience with the paint masks. I placed the outline mask on the fuselage first but neglected to insert the stars and bar before I sprayed the white. When it came time to mask the white area to spray the dark blue I discovered that I'd inadvertantly stretched the masking material as I smoothed it around the fuselage making the circle for the star too tall. Rather than redo the whole thing I re-aligned the star to even out the discrepancy. That's why the tips of the star are mis-aligned.

{~In my best Scooby Doo voice~} And I would have gotten away with it too if it were n't for those darn kids......... :lol:

Cheers,

:cheers:

Edited by geedubelyer

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Dub,

that is funnee! At least you didnt place your kit decals on and turn em upside down.....

DOH!

-Jim

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This look like a very nice union-cutter :woot.gif:

Its a nice Mustang and a truly Geedubelyer model.

Rogiér

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Great, quick modeling job :jaw-dropping: I wish I could do that kind of therapy model :monkeydance:

Edited by mareku

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Do you have a pic of the engine on the custom stand you built for it?

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:lol:

Hi Jim, not this time at least :rolleyes:

My favourite boo boo is carefully masking something then spraying......the bit that should have been masked! :doh:

Hey Charlie Cheetah, Rogier and mareku good to see you all. Thanks for taking the time to add your kind words, much appreciated guys :salute:

Do you have a pic of the engine on the custom stand you built for it?

Hey Irv, thanks for stopping by. This is kind of a "work in progress" so the stand is still at the prototype stage. Eventually it'll probably be made from thinner stock and painted to resemble wood.

tn_PackardMerlin4.jpg

tn_PackardMerlin3.jpg

tn_PackardMerlin6.jpg

tn_PackardMerlin5.jpg

HTH

Cheers,

:cheers:

Edited by geedubelyer

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