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Tamiya 1/32 P-51D Mustang - 'Red Tail Raider'

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Hi folks: 

A small tribute build to Captain Roscoe Brown via the excellent Tamiya kit. I've been in contact with Roscoe, who responded very kindly and it's a pleasure to finish 'Bunnie' / 'Miss Kentucky State', as it's been on my modelling bucket list for a long time.




The kit sidewalls finished off with BarracudaCals cockpit decals.




As a side note, the P-51D on display at Hendon RAF Museum is, it seems, broadly accepted as a fine quality restoration of the marque and in its natural metal finish guise, also has wings coated in aluminium lacquer, akin to that used in wartime. 

My enquiries into the factory process involved (after puttying the panel joints) one or two sprayed applications of DuPont Light Grey primer. This was then overcoated with an aluminium lacquer in the ratio of eight ounces of aluminium paste to a gallon of clear lacquer or varnish. It seems the aluminium in this mix reacted vigorously with oxygen and became aluminium oxide, a greyish material which accounts (in tandem with the grey primer beneath) for the Mustang wings at Hendon being overtly grey in tone, rather than the solid silver or aluminium normally used to portray this feature on models. Depending on whether the lacquer was new or aged, therefore gives modellers scope for a more silvery grey, evolving to the darker grey of the Hendon Mustang. The build seen here can be considered somewhere between the two.  

Given the grey bias of the Hendon Mustang, a concoction of Tamiya XF-19 Sky Grey (one part), Tamiya X-32 Titanium Silver (three parts), Tamiya XF-2 Flat White (one part) and Tamiya X-22 Clear (two parts) were mixed and sprayed over the appropriate parts of the wing. This gave a tone commensurate with the Hendon paint, while leaving a gentle satin finish, that was later glossed with more X-22 to more closely match the museum Mustang. 

I had some dialogue with Dana Bell over this before settling on the m/o above, who kindly advised the following - "Most of the Mustang's aluminum skin was Alclad - an aluminum alloy coated with a thin layer of pure aluminum. The aluminum coating would fix any corrosion to the surface, preventing the oxygen from migrating into the alloy core. The wings, however, were puttied to reduce friction drag, and looked like heck unless given a finish coat. On camouflaged Mustangs, there was no problem. But on uncamouflaged Mustangs, the wings needed to be painted silver for appearances' sake. I'm attaching a shot of one of the Tuskegee P-51Bs to show how well your model matches reality."




The main gear doors awaiting finishing.







The build is more particularly set out in the Airfix Model World 'USAAF Special' out tomorrow, Thursday 17 March, along with a range of other builds, history pieces by Dana and other great content. 


Happy days. happy.gif

Steve happy.gif

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  • 4 months later...

Hi folks:



As a postscript to this one, I wrote to Captain Brown on April 5, having located his whereabouts.






Roscoe kindly signed the AMW USAAF special issues I'd sent him and returned them with a personal endorsement. 








I expressed my gratitude by forwarding a few small gifts to Roscoe (which he wasn't expecting) and a while later there was a soft plunk on the door mat when this arrived.






The passage of time makes contact with veterans from WWII an increasingly rare opportunity now but I'm happy beyond measure to have had the chance to correspond with one of my heroes and receive his approval for my personal tribute.


I was reminded of the increasing rate our veterans are leaving us early this month when I received news that sadly, Roscoe died on July 2 and has joined his Tuskegee comrades who passed before him.


I wish Roscoe blue skies with the sun on his back. He was 94.




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