Arma Hobby North American P-51B of Captain Ed Toppins in 1/72 Scale

Ed Toppins flew with the 99th Fighter Squadron based in Italy during 1944.  He scored four victories, the last being a Bf 109 on 26JUL44 while on a bomber escort mission to Makersdorf, Austria.  Toppins survived the war but was killed while piloting a B-25 Mitchel in December 1946.

P-51B “Topper III” Captain Ed Toppins 99 FS 332 FG, Aeromaster 72-175 decals

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of Capt. John Pugh in 1/72 Scale

John Pugh opened his account on 08APR44, a Bf 109 downed while escorting a bombing raid to Brunswick.  He was part of the 357th’s contribution to the shuttle missions to Russia.  He ended the war with six confirmed victories, four Bf 109s and two FW 190s.  He survived the war and retied as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1947.

Serial Number 42-106473 “Geronimo” P-51B-10-NA Capt. John Pugh 357 FG, Aeromaster 72-02 decals

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of Capt. John “Pappy” Medeiros in 1/72 Scale

John Medeiros’ Mustang wears a field applied camouflage of British colors, RAF Dark Green over Medium Sea Gray and carries an impressive tally bombing mission markers.  Medeiros was credited with one aerial victory, a Bf 109.  This aircraft was shot down on 19SEP44 by an FW 190A-8 piloted by Lt. Gerhard Vogt of 5./JG 26.

Serial Number 43-6813 “Pappy’s Answer” P-51B-7-NA Capt. John “Pappy” Medeiros 364 FS 357 FG, Aeromaster 72-03 decals

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of Leonard “Kit” Carson in 1/72 Scale

Leonard Carson was the leading scorer of the 357th Fighter Group with 18.5 aerial victories and another 3.5 on the ground.  His P-51B was named “Nooky Booky” by his crew chief. Carson kept the name for luck as his aircraft were replaced, finishing the war in a P-51K named “Nooky Booky IV”.  His best day was 27NOV44 when he claimed five Focke Wulf FW 190s during a single mission.

Serial Number 43-6634 “Nooky Booky” P-51B-7-NA Leonard K. Carson 362 FS 357 FG, Aeromaster 72-02 decals

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of Major John C. Herbst in 1/72 Scale

John “Pappy” Herbst was an American who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and was sent to England with the Eagle Squadron.  He claimed a Bf-109, but this was unconfirmed.  Herbst commanded the 74th Fighter Squadron in China, and flew both the P-40N Warhawk and P-51B Mustang in combat.  He was credited with 18 victories over Japanese aircraft, making him the second highest scoring pilot in the CBI behind Tex Hill.  He survived the war, but died in July 1946 while giving a flight demonstration in a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star.

Serial Number 43-7060 “Tommy’s Dad” P-51B-7-NA Major John C. Herbst 74 FS 23 FG, Aeromaster 72-176 decals

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of Capt. Forrest “Jeep” Parham in 1/72 Scale

Forrest Parham enlisted in the Army and rose to rank of Colonel.  He scored three victories over Japanese aircraft while flying the P-40N before transitioning to the P-51B and adding two more to make ace with five.  He was shot down over Shanghai in April 1945, but evaded capture and returning to his unit a month later.

“Little Jeep” of Capt. Forrest “Jeep” Parham 75 FS 23 FG, Aeromaster 72-177 decals

Construction posts Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/15/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Arma Hobby North American F-6C of Major Eduard O. McComas in 1/72 Scale

Eduard McComas was the commander of the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the 23rd Fighter Group based in China.  He was shot down behind Japanese lines in September 1944, but evaded capture and returned to his unit with the help of Chinese guerrillas.  After his return he scored his first aerial victory and added steadily to his score.  On 23DEC44 he was photographing a Japanese airfield when the aircraft based there began taking off to intercept him.  McComas downed five Japanese fighters, becoming the only pilot in the CBI to score five in a single mission. 

“Miss Revenge” F-6C MAJ Eduard O. McComas 118 TRS 23 FG, Aeromaster 72-177 decals

118th TFS color photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/05/18/north-american-p-51c-f-6c-mustangs-of-the-118th-tactical-reconnaissance-squadron-color-photographs/

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of LCOL David “Tex” Hill in 1/72 Scale

Tex Hill was recruited from the U.S. Navy to fly with the American Volunteer Group “Flying Tigers”, rising to command the 2nd Pursuit “Panda Bears”.  He was credited with 12.25 kills with the AVG.  When the Flying Tigers were officially disbanded on 04JUL42 Hill was one of five AVG veterans who stayed on to form the nucleus of the USAAF’s 23rd Fighter Group.  The group eventually traded in its P-40s for P-51 Mustangs, and Hill rose to the rank of Colonel and command of the 23rd.  Hill destroyed another 6 Japanese aircraft while flying the Mustang, bringing his final score to 18.25, but did not display his kill markings as he thought they would draw attention.  He retired from the Air Force Reserve as a Brigadier General in 1968.

Serial Number 43-12405 “Bull Frog” P-51B-1-NA 23FG LCOL David “Tex” Hill, Aeromaster 72-176 decals

Construction posts here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/15/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Arma Hobby North American P-51 B/C Mustang Batch Build in 1/72 Scale Part V

After painting, I applied a layer of Testor’s Glosscoat to protect the paint and provide a nice, smooth surface for decaling. The kit decals provide the markings for Major James Howard’s “Ding Hao!” which was high on my list for subjects. I left the broom markings and crew name decals off to depict an earlier version of his aircraft. The decals performed flawlessly. The kit’s stencils and national insignia were used for all twelve builds, the wing insignia needed a little extra Micro Set & Sol to pull down over the raised details but that was it.
Here is part of the P-51B/C decal stash. Remember the good ol’ days when Squadron would send out their monthly fliers and actually mark down prices on things? This is where the trouble began. The Eagle Strike and AeroMaster sheets were likely picked up for just a couple of Dollars and thrown in with the rest of the order, and I’ve been waiting ever since to use them.
Props-Are-Us was also having a sale! Props are a lot of work, I did the blades early in the build and painted the spinners along the way.
All the models got the dangly bits under the wings. There is no positive attachment point for any of the options, so they were all pinned in place using bronze rod. The drop tanks will also need the plumbing as this was external, here represented by beading wire and solder.
Late in the build I discovered the vinyl masks had bit me again. This time, one of the transparent vinyl masks had popped off one of the quarter panels unnoticed. The transparent part had received the brunt of all the airbrushed layers from primer to gloss. Gently stripping it fogged the plastic, so it was sanded back, buffed out, and re-painted. If there is any doubt remaining, I hate vinyl masks!
What’s better for the modeling mojo than finishing a model? Finishing twelve! It’s very efficient to build in batches, the major downside is it delays the gratification of seeing your project completed.

SUMMARY

For reasons which defy logic, 1/72 scale modelers have never had an accurate P-51B/C Mustang until now.  All previous releases have had one fatal shape error or another which was impossible to un-see and difficult to correct.  Arma has hit this one out of the park, and it should be a license for them to print money well into the future without any of the inflationary consequences when the U.S. Government does it.  The kit is accurate, well-detailed, and provides all the optional parts the average modeler could ever want.  Sticklers for detail will want to fill the panel lines on the wings, just like the original. The engineering is superb, the only fit issue I encountered was a step at the forward edge of the windscreen which needed sanding.

My boxings were the “Expert Set”, which include a fret of photoetch and a set of masks, and here is where I will pick a nit.  The PE fret adds little, I used the radiator parts but they are impossible to see without flipping the model over and using a flashlight.  I used the PE seatbelts too, but nothing else from the fret.

The vinyl masks were a disaster.  I understand there were supply chain issues when Arma released this kit and they were a victim of the global Kabuki tape shortage, but the vinyl masks tried their best to ruin an otherwise excellent modeling experience.  They (mostly) stuck fine to the flat panels, but pulled off of anything with a curve. In the end the PE and vinyl masks were a mixed bag and significantly raised the price of the kit.  Masks ARE a good idea however, I sincerely hope Arma includes a set in future boxings – this time using Kabuki tape, including inner and outer masks for the open panels, and (here’s a thought) making the seatbelts out of Kabuki tape instead of PE.

I understand Arma’s Ki-84 kit is currently selling even better than their P-51B/C Mustang.  I have a batch on pre-order, and am looking forward to building those as well!

Build posts Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/04/15/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51-b-c-mustang-batch-build-in-1-72-scale-part-i/

Finished model photographs here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2022/05/31/arma-hobby-north-american-p-51b-of-major-james-h-howard-in-1-72-scale/

Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 Comparison Build Part III

This is the Hasegawa Dora with the Ta 152 tail assembled and primed with Mr. Surfacer 1000. This kit assembles nicely and has no surprises. I have given it a squirt of Alclad along the wingroots and stippled this with liquid mask to replicate the chipping usually seen there.
The underside of the Dora with the Ta 152 tail was highly unusual, reflecting the chaos of disbursed production and assembly at the end of the war. This is seen in a plethora of masking types on my model. Foam protects the wheelwell, with a liberal sprinkling of masking tape all around. The inverted “U” shape is made from poster putty, used here to mask off the area around the gun panel while ensuring a soft edge.
Here is the Tamiya kit with the camo in place and markings from EagleCals. The basic RLM 82 Light Green / 83 Dark Green pattern is one of the more attractive Luftwaffe schemes in my opinion, and the yellow tail sets it off nicely. I have pulled off the paint along the wingroot to reveal the aluminum below, the first step in the chipping.
The Hasegawa kit with the Ta 152 tail. I have half a dozen books with color profiles of this scheme and no two agree on the colors used. The model is finished in a scheme which is closest to what is illustrated in the JaPo books. The fuselage color is a light green matched to the chip in the Monogram Guide by mixing white with a touch of RLM 82 Light Green.
The older Hasegawa kit is finished in another RLM 82 Light Green / 83 Dark Green camo, but this time with RLM 75 Gray Violet areas and natural metal panels on the undersides as shown in the JaPo books. The fuselage sides were oversprayed with a thin coat of RLM 02.
Late in the build I realized that the spinner for the old Hasegawa Dora was the smaller type seen on the radial engined Fw 190’s. The spares box was no help this time so I cast up a replacement spinner and baseplate.
Here is the underside of the Tamiya Dora showing the re-worked wheelwells and weathering. Wing cannon are made from Albion Alloy tubing, as is the pitot tube.
This is the wing root chipping, with added chips and grime stippled on with a sponge. The red wheel lock indicators on the wings were made from 0.01” wire.
All three together. The Tamiya kit with EagleCals markings is on the left, the 1992 Hasegawa kit with the AML tail is center, and the re-worked Hasegawa 1976 issue kit with Aeromaster decals is on the right. The Dora is one of my favorite subjects, and this was a fun build!

Part I here: https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/08/13/focke-wulf-fw-190d-9-comparison-build-part-i/