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357th Fighter Group
Part III

Eagle Strike Decals

 

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Unknown
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: See text below
Price: Around USD$9.00
Review Type: First Look
Advantages: Interesting subjects of well known aces and varied colours/artwork;
Disadvantages: Profiles and decals share errors of  S/S book; wrong style of code used;
Recommendation: Recommended even with the errors (note the comments in the text below)


Reviewed by Scott Brown

 

F i r s t   L o o k

 

The third release in Eagle Strike's 357th FG series of decals was recently unveiled. This sheet covers P-51D's and includes markings for two well known aces - Leonard "Kit" Carson and Richard Peterson.

The other two subjects are interesting also, including "Ol Flak Joe" with great nose art.

Eagle Strike seems to be covering all the subjects in the color profile section of Jim Roeder's Squadron/Signal book on the 357th FG, and despite the assertion of Eagle Strike's owners, the artwork is taken directly from the profile section. This poses some problems, as it duplicates the many errors in Roeder's book.

The recurring error in all Eagle Strike's 357th sheets are the squadron codes. The group had very distinctive and uniform, squadron codes that did not vary regardless of color or time frame. The squadron codes were exactly the same at the end of the war as they were in the first days. The profile artist in Roeder's book has them in various sizes and styles, but this is not borne out by the photographic evidence. This sheet is no exception, but to be fair, there are very few 357th sheets produced over the years that capture the distinct style of 357th squadron codes, including Super Scale's recent efforts.

The only truly accurate set of 357th codes are made by Mike Grant if it bugs you like it does me. I just think a "Yoxford Boys" plane looks "off" with the wrong codes.

  • A/C #1 is a D-10 flown by Bill Fricker named 'Ol Flak Joe". There are no known photos of it from the left side, but Eagle Strike provides nose art for both sides, and it was not at all uncommon for 357th A/C to have the art that way. The painting instructions indicate Olive Drab/Neutral gray, but, while nobody is prepared to say that all overall painted D models were painted using RAF colors, the vast majority of evidence points that way, especially in the 363rd squadron. The photos of "Ol Flak Joe" show a paint that is heavily faded and might account for the interpretation of the color as OD.

  • #2 is a D-5 of Richard "Bud" Peterson, his 2nd "Hurry Home Honey". Again, the painting instructions call for OD over natural metal. The use of Olive Drab on an A/C after D-Day in the 357th is extremely rare, and color shots of other A/C from the same era show a shade that is distinctly more green than brown, indicating an RAF color. If you look at close-ups of planes receiving this scheme, the green extends towards the nose in a straight line, instead of curving upwards like the anti-glare paint does. This indicates that the anti-glare portion was overpainted. Also the tops of the wings were painted green, although the instructions say they are left metal. The greens were applied to 357th planes in preparation for operations from France after D-Day. It doesn't seem like there is much use in camouflaging the top of the fuselage while leaving the tops of the wings gleaming metal. Photos of this plane show chipping of paint on the leading edges of the wings, as well as full D-Day stripes on the bottoms of the wings and on the fuselage up to where the green starts. The stripes may very well have been removed at some point, but I know of no pictures that support this. Also be aware that D-5s had a different radio set than later models. Verlinden has the correct radio in their detail set.

  • #3 is a natural metal D. Photos support the markings as is. The lettering of the name is off just a tad in places, but otherwise nice looking. It is a monumental upgrade from the other sheet with this A/C, the old Repli-Scale sheet which had the lettering the wrong color and in a style that bore no resemblance to the original.

  • #4 is "Kit" Carson's third A/C "Nooky Booky III". This is a great looking bird, and is correctly portrayed in RAF colors. The name style looks good, and they have provided it twice for placement on the right side of the nose if you want.

I have been both very happy and profoundly disappointed in this series. The errors are directly related to faulty research in the Squadron book. I have talked to Gaston Bernal about this series, and was assured that Eagle Strike employed a crack team of researchers and each subject was meticulously gone over, including personal interviews with the pilots and ground crew.

I don't know about that, but at the bottom of the instructions it says under references "Information provided by Jim Roeder, author of the S/S book 357th Fighter Group. Highly recommended to all."

As with all decals sheets, it pays to do your own research sometimes. This one is useful even with the errors and I can recommend it with the above reservations.


Review Copyright 2002 by Scott Brown
This Page Created on 20 December, 2002
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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