P-51D Mustang Pacific VLR version 1/48 Build log – Part Three

Almost a year later, which is quite obviously becoming a tradition, a next instalment. Thankfully, there was some actual progress during this time, and recently even more so. Somewhat embarrassingly, I was so carried away with the build at times, I didn’t care to make photos of some of the interesting bits. Whatcha gonna do, let’s see the bits I’ve got.

Continuing where the previous part left, I went on with replacing the stock K-14A sight with a custom-built N-9 B-1. This proved to be not too hard a task, most of the body being made from round plastic bars with small addition of angled ones and some putty to represent the padding.

N9 Sight Construction

Building the body of the sight and the rear bracket. The bracket itself is made of two pieces of angled plastic stock glued at ends to each other.

With that out of the way the rapture of the cockpit construction came at its fullest. You can tell by the sheer number of P-51D PE sets in my possession that my intentions with respect to this build are quite honorable. Indeed, I’m equipped to a point of dubiety I can handle this level of involvement. After all my painting skills are still lacking and without proper variegation all the microdetailing efforts could be in vain.

We’ll see about that. In the meantime I needed to cut away some of the molded cockpit details to replace them with PE parts. Eduard’s side walls are very nice, properly resembling the real cockpit look… or are they?

Side Wall and Body

Eduard 49268 side wall on top. Stock side wall insert fits nice and painted in only three shades of green.

The problem with the Eduard PE is it comes pre-painted and the paintjob is not quite stellar.

Eduard Side Wall Zoom

See what I mean? Although the details are decent, the dithering is way too apparent. On this image it was enhanced quite a bit by the enthusiastic sharpening in my camera but even without, the pattern is very visible. There is little doubt it would be just as apparent on the photos of the finished beauty.

P51D-Sidewall-Right

This is an actual cockpit of P-51D-20-NA, showing the canopy rail and the side panel below.

As you can see, the canopy rail should be in natural metal instead of green. And while on it, the dashboard has its detailing softened a lot by the pre-colored layer. Inexcusable. You should now see with the utmost clarity there was no way around that except by stripping the paint and doing it all over, and right.

I figured bathing the part in a drop of lacquer thinner would do the job and it did. As I said, I didn’t like the pre-painted dashboard either so they all took the bath together. This resulted, quite expectedly, in a state of touching pinkish bare-bottom nudity.

Stripped PE Parts

The PE details are top notch as can be seen above. Impressive no less is the horrible mess of an oilcloth which was torn off from those parts. Behold the 0.1mm thick pavement of a paint that came off the dashboard.

Dashboard PE Paint

The mere fact it’s still in one piece after being soaked for a day tells enough. This seems to be a kind of a vinyl-like compound with print on top which explains its thickness and rigidity. Although I’m sure Eduard has its reasons in choosing this approach, the result is certainly not universally acceptable.

A characteristic feature of a P-51D dashboard is the yellow line separating flight controls from the engine dials. It was missing on the Eduard PE and here it’s in the process of being added.

Dashboard in Progress

Smaller details like side wall panels and levers are alright as they are. The only change they needed is some spraying with translucent gray to dial down the depth of black.

And here is some progress on the cockpit walls. It might seem the canopy rails are still green, but that’s not the case. Their glorious natural metallness is hidden below a strip of a masking tape.

Cockpit Walls in Progress

You can see some marks of CA glue around. Those represent the leitmotif of an epic saga I had a pleasure to be the protagonist of. I don’t know about you, my dear reader, but me – I had to go to the moon and back trying to find a proper way to glue PE parts to plastic. I think I found it eventually but this is a topic for another post. In the meantime, let me know how you do it and whether you like what comes of it.

The pilot seat with the belts, also in progress.

Pilot Seat

Below is the continuation of the cockpit evolution. You can see some side wall decals replacing pre-printed ones. Although not an exact match they are quite close to the reference photos. Of some note is the floor, painted with dark grey which represents the anti-slip coating. There are some worn out areas showing the floor’s plywood. Excess of the orange in those places suggest the Mustangs had the floor made of padauk. Slightly less likely reason is of course my inexperience in modeling wood in paint.

Some bits and pieces are also there including the red lever jettisoning the canopy along with the more even-tempered regular opening handle and the radio.

Astute reader could notice the exhausts glued in which should mean they are also painted. Such reader wouldn’t be wrong, it’s just one of the bits I skipped making photos of.

Cockpit Assembly

This is not the whole progress I made with the build but it feels like leaving some of the story for the next instalment. Probably in a year or so.

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