Airfix North American P-51D of Major George Preddy in 1/72 Scale

George “Ratsy” Preddy opened his account while flying P-40s in defense of Darwin with the 9th Pursuit Squadron, 49th Pursuit group.  He was credited with two shared against Japanese aircraft, but was hospitalized after a mid-air collision with another P-40.  Upon recovery, he was eventually assigned to the 487th FS, 352nd FG flying P-47 Thunderbolts from Bodney, England.  Preddy was credited with two victories in the Thunderbolt, and earned a Silver Star for breaking up a Luftwaffe attack against a formation of B-17s.

In April 1944 the 352nd converted to the P-51 Mustang and Preddy began to score steadily.  He scored four on a single mission on 18JUL44. His best day was on 07AUG44, downing six Bf-109s during a single mission.

Preddy was rose to command the Group’s 328th Fighter Squadron as a Major.  During the Battle of the Bulge the Squadron was operating from a forward airfield located at Asche, Belgium.  On Christmas day he led a flight of ten Mustangs on a patrol.  Preddy downed two Messerschmitts, then pursued a lone Fw 190D flying over the front at low altitude.  Two other P-51s joined Preddy as they pursued the Focke Wulf at treetop height.  The aircraft crossed over American lines and were engaged by an M3 halftrack of the 430th AA Battalion mounting quad .50 machine guns.  All three P-51s were hit.  Two Mustangs were downed, including Preddy’s.  He did not survive the crash.

George Preddy was credited with 26.83 aerial victories, making him the eighth top-scoring U.S. ace.

“Cripes A’ Mighty”, piloted by Major George Preddy,328 FS, Bodney, Norfolk, Dec. 1944.  Airfix kit, Eagle Strike decal sheet IP7208.

Hasegawa North American P-51D of Lt. Freddie Hutchins in 1/72 Scale

Freddie Hutchins scored his first aerial victory on 26JUL44 while escorting B-24 Liberators on a raid against Markendorf, Germany.  In August he was credited with four strafing victories in Romania.  On 06OCT44 the 302nd Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group was assigned another airfield to strafe at Megara, Greece.  This time Hutchens was not so lucky.  Pulling off his first run, his Mustang was hit by flak.  He managed to nurse his aircraft over a nearby mountain, but came down on the other side.  Although injured, Hutchins managed to evade capture and return to his unit with the help of local Greek civilians.  Freddie Hutchins survived the war, and went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam.

Arma Hobby North American P-51B of 1Lt Robert H. Powell Jr. in 1/72 Scale

Robert “Punchy” Powell hailed from Wilcoe, West Viginia.  He flew 83 combat missions with the 352nd Fighter Group and was credited with an Me 410 and Bf 109 destroyed with a further 3.5 aircraft destroyed on the ground.  His Mustang suffered an engine failure on take-off and was destroyed, but Powell extricated himself from the wreckage and survived.  He passed away on 22JUN16 at the age of 95.

Serial Number 42-106914 P-51B-15-NA “The West by Gawd Virginian” 1Lt Robert H. Powell Jr. 328th FS 352 FG, Eagle Strike 72-08 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:

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: