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The Great LSM Twins Group Build ends July 3, 2024 ×

1/18 P51C Mustang "Lopes Hope 3rd"

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Hi everyone,


I got a prompt from Cees to swing by and see whats going on and can see a lot of old friends here :) hello to all, nice to see you again…


I am making a Mustang and I will start to share it with you, but my one little problem is that I am part way through so I am going to share my first post and my last and a bunch of random pictures in between so we sort of catch up

So to the beginning.. I posted a build thread on both LSP and Britmodeller so I have borrowed from that..


On with it then I hear you say..



After reaching the pinnacle of my modelmaking goals and winning Senior National Champion at the 2017 IPMS Nationals with my Spitfire, I have been wondering what to do next..


What could possibly top that feeling, well maybe nothing, but just maybe it might be having another shot at it in a few years with another project.


After a bit of a slump and an attempt at a scratchbuilt Fairey Firefly, I have settled on something that has lit the fire again and in fact is very similar in approach to the Spit. I asked Mirek at HpH to run me off one of their bespoke 1/18 subjects a P51C as again I could do a natural metal skinned finish, references are abundant and there are restoration subjects that have been documented that fill my need to understand an airframe inside out.


One of those restoration subjects is Lopes Hope a P51C-5-NT that Aircorps Aviation in Minnesota have just put back in the air. I was so blown away by the photographic records they kept and the absolute commitment to accuracy they employ that I wrote to them asking for more info about the airframe. I was stunned when their VP wrote back offering to share info, permission to use their photo’s in my build log and even a small part of a real P51 to include in the model somewhere! They are the same guys that host the Aircorps Library which is an incredible online resource offering for a nominal membership fee access to all the factory drawings and manuals for a range of seminal aircraft.


Their notes on this P51 and why they chose it echo my own:


“Lope’s Hope 3rd was a  P-51C flown by Lt. Donald Lopez.  Donald and Lope’s Hope 3rd served in the China-Burma-India theater with the 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, 75th Squadron.  The 23rd Fighter Group was the descendent of the famous American Volunteer Group or Flying Tigers after the US entered the war.   Lt. Lopez had 5 victories in China and went on to become a test pilot in the early years of the jet age. Later he was the deputy director of the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum until his death in 2008. Donald Lopez was instrumental in the construction and opening of the National Air and Space Museum.

The original wartime Lope’s Hope 3rd was  a P51C-5-NT,  Army Air Force Serial Number:    42-103585.  The serial number information was just acquired through the generous contribution of pages from Lt. Lope’s war time log book by his granddaughter Laura Lopez.  Normally a WWII fighter’s serial number is easily determined by just looking at the tail number. Squadrons in almost every theater of operations number planes this way, but not in China. In China the 23rd Fighter Group’s squadrons were assigned a block of numbers for differentiating their aircraft.  The 75th squadron’s block was 150- 199 (or to 200 depending on source).  Lt. Lopez used 194 on both his P-40N s and on his P-51C , Lope’s Hope 3rd. Without his log book it might have been impossible to figure out his Mustang’s AAF serial number.

Our restoration airframe is a P-51C-10NT Army Air Force Serial Number:    43-24907 ,  that remained in the continental US during WWII and was used for training purposes during and immediately after the war. The decision to paint her in Lt. Lope’s color scheme is intended to honor him and his service to his country in WWII and to aviation all his life.”




I also think it is one of the most attractive early model P51 schemes out there..




..and to show the kind of reference available through Aircorps Aviations website, these are a few shots that show how a part restored airframe (and this one was done from the ground up) is such a valuable asset to modellers - there are details recorded in pixel perfect clarity that you just wouldn’t see unless you were in the factory when it was built..








When you marry this with the document archive, it means I can go to the P51C parts manual, find the part I want to create and in the manual is listed every part number so I can ID a fuselage frame is part 102-31156 for example..




From there, I can search the library for that part..




..and from there create the part in Coreldraw for photo-etched parts to be made - here this part has a thicker core (in red) and then laminates with etched relief detail on them so when all assembled they will reflect the real part perfectly..




..at this stage I am still doing lots of this translation work and creating what will be hundreds of PE parts to detail out the model..


..lots of cockpit construction parts..




..instrument panel bulkheads..




..fuselage bulkheads..




..the instrument panel is a layered structure..





..and what will become a bespoke set of decals for all the markings & placards..




..onto the model itself.. this literally arrived today so I am just starting to look over it and need to find a good set of plans (recommendations welcome) so I can compare what I have here - on first look it looks good, but I am sure as I learn about the airframe I will find things to change..


..as with the Spit, it starts out as a one piece GRP moulding..
















..also included are flaps, ailerons & tailplanes along with the rudder & airscoop in resin..




..so quite a project hopefully, and certainly one I am looking forward to - although as with the Spit I have some trepidation as it is such a well known aircraft I am going to need the help of those who know it best to make the best job out of it..


..the only downside is that my day job changed in November and I have to be in the city a lot more so my modelling time is currently halved so updates will not be as frequent as in the past (who knows, hopefully I win the lottery & can quit :))


So that is that, I hope you will join me on a long journey into the magical P51


..that was it, my first post, now a little catch-up and I hope there is no image limit per post here :)









































































..and now we catch up to date with todays fun and games…



Target for tonight is the MN26C Tropicalised Radio Compass - I think this is the reciever part..


...note all the cables & fittings, screws, the odd colour it is - it also has some lovely labels that had to be made as decals...




now I thought I would get all clever with this and the other radios and reproduced them lovingly in 3D. As I wanted to start on them now, rather than pull a favour from friends to print them I joined Shapeways where I had seen others just get stuff printed on demand. I uploaded them, paid 60 euros for ultra fine plastic (which seemed horrifically expensive for three bits no more than a cm or two square) and waited for the postman..


..on arrival I cleaned them up and primed them..




..not too impressed actually - they seem to have quite a coarse 'waffle' effect like a raised grid across all vertical surfaces and the bigger details don't seem very crisp..


One other major flaw was down to me - I don't know how, or why but the MN26 part seen in the pic of Lopes Hope above is not tall enough...


I toyed with living with it given that one part is the cost of a half decent kit, but I couldn't so started to make one..


..I started by making the endplates, and the box from folded litho, bulked out with plastic to keep rigidity..




..by scaling & printing the layout I can mark what goes where on the business end..




..I then started to make up a kit of parts for all the details.. some of our airscale bezels, guitar string, wire from a busted laptop and odds & sods from my box of watch bits...




..then assembled those prior to priming & basecoat..






..the rear just has a little clasp..




..also added some feet from ali tube..




..then spent a bit of time trying to mix a colour that looked right - I looked at originals that have been sold on ebay and the pics I have and arrived at a semi metallic shade of baby poop...




..and then added all the rest of the cables & decals..










..I like it better than the other one and I have to say it was more satisfying to make




..so thats it for now, a bit of an epic to kick off with, but at least in future it will be more regular & coherent - got to see what I can do with the radios next and have a good look around & see what people have been up to :)





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What kept you Peter;)

Good to see you here again. Your first post gave a glimpse of the masterpiece that is again evolving under you skilled hands.

The Telford champion 2019 is shaping up very well.:secret:



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evening folks & thank you :)


how nice to see some old faces, I wondered where you had all got to! I can see some fabulous builds going on here too so am really glad I stopped by :)


a little more done..


these are the radios in the back - SCR274 I think...


a lovely shot, rich in detail, all of which I have to try and make...




..I started by adding what I could to the 3D printed versions.. I could already see problems though - the main tuning wheels were not very well defined for example..




..so I cut them off (and the knobs & bumps) and made those myself too.. this is the smaller one..






..and the larger one..






there are some tiny black screws I still need to work out how to do - paint was too coarse, I tried rivet decals but they have carrier film, so I might try and get a Rotring drawing pen to do them,,


...next the racks they sit on - again another great reference shot from Aircorps..




..these were made from lots of little bits of litho and odds & sods.. I didn't make up the boxes at the back as these are so deep in the fuselage they won't be seen..




..and this is how they sit (dryfit) on their racks..






..lastly the subframes the racks sit on - one square bit of painted litho and a couple of folded constructions painted black..




..and the ensemble together..








..next I need to try and get all this kit and the fuel tank mounted :)





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Don’t know why, but I can’t see your pics, either on my iPad or the computer :( . Weird, because I could see the pics the first time you posted here ... Now, I can’t see them on either of your posts.

Am I the only one ?


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47 minutes ago, HubertB said:

Don’t know why, but I can’t see your pics, either on my iPad or the computer :( . Weird, because I could see the pics the first time you posted here ... Now, I can’t see them on either of your posts.

Am I the only one ?


very wierd - they worked yesterday and now none are visible - must be a hosting thing with photobucket


i better check my account or something



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Aaaaaarghhh ! You used the « PB » word ! :omg:

Now things get clearer, brave (inconscious ?) man - although « clearer » might not be the appropriate word in this case (or in any case relating to « PB »)


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hi folks :)


so, to what's been going on... actually quite a bit of rework..


..it started with adding the power panel - this is the canvas enclosed thing here on the back of the 'A' frame - it is a metal plate with some bits added, sheathed in a material bag cut from the original template with added fasteners and some wiring poking out...




..the reworking was adjusting the height & width of the fuel tank - I don't know if I misread the plans but it was too narrow at the top, so I slid it to the side and added anothe section below the brown radio... I also had to cut the end off this radio as I made it too long so the fuel gauge would not sit where it should..


after a lot of chopping & changing I got all the bits in as they can be seen in the reference pics I have...






..you can see the big wadge of tank added here, and how it was raised as well.. fortunately all the messing about will be hidden..




..I wanted to get the armour plate & seat fitted, so had to fabricate these air vents before they could be added..




..I found the drawing, scaled it and started to fashion it from plastic..






..and with paint & pipes...




..then the armour plate was painted & the seat - the pics I have show the seat a different green so did this too..




..then all the parts were added together to the sub-assembly...






..and a dry fit to make sure it all sits right with the walls...








..will be doing the elevator & rudder trim pedestal next...





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