MODELLING RAAF MUSTANGS
1/48 P-51D by JD King
by David Edwards
The North American and CAC Mustangs flown by the RAAF are a perennial modelling favourite. There are nowhere near enough of these in my cabinet! There are however more planned, so I thought I would relate a few things that might be of interest.
North American built Mustangs (with the exception of A68-1001) were received with an unpainted fuselage, olive drab glare panel, and silver doped wings. Fabric control surfaces were also silver doped. The majority of the "non removable" wing panels also had their joins filled with putty to maintain that lovely laminar flow. Refer to the following photos:
Main landing gear bays are interesting. Most enthusiasts would swear that they were essentially unpainted, with maybe just a spray of clear lacquer and the spar at the rear in primer. However, I have several photos that show the inner surfaces of the main doors in primer, so maybe wheel wells were also primed on some aircraft. [I beleive some of the RAAF aircraft in Japan postwar were painted - DJH]
The first CAC assembled Mustangs wore a similar wing/fuselage scheme to the NA aircraft, with a black anti-glare panel. In the immediate post war period, they gained an overall coat of silver dope. As best as I can tell, undercarriage bays were silver also. Cockpits were of course finished in RAAF Cockpit Green rather than ANA Interior Green.
Like many late production Mustangs, the RAAF's aircraft had a single VHF transceiver rather than separate units. There should therefore be a single box behind the pilot's seat. Early deliveries of RAAF P51Ks seem to have been fitted with a canvas cover over the unit but I haven't seen this on many others.
The main landing gear has a bit of a forward rake. For us modellers, this means that when we pop the gear legs onto our works of art and then look down in plan view, we should just be able to see the axle stubs poking out in front of the wing leading edge.
For Mustangs at rest, the most common sight is to see main gear doors and flaps all dangling down. Depending on when the aircraft is shut down, it is possible to see flaps up and doors down (can't recall seeing the reverse).
When slid open, the rear lip of the canopy frame sits on the fuselage spine rather than hanging in the air.
Note also the gun muzzle streaks on this Mustang. Modellers like to add these, but I normally dismiss them as a modeller's affectation. Busy times in Korea!
It's worth checking the wheel hubs of your particular 'stang. Red Roo make some very nice replacements if required.
Here's another opportunity to check your references to determine the correct propeller – Aeroproducts (mostly P51Ks), Hamilton paddle bladed with cuffs, Hamilton paddle bladed without cuffs, Hamilton chisel bladed without cuffs or the similar DHA prop. I can thoroughly recommend Dick Hourigan's excellent Modelart article for a full rundown!
I hope the above is of interest and look forward to some feedback.
(Many thanks to Erik Whipple for the first three photos)