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357th Fighter Group
in Profile

Set 4 of 5

 

 

Eagle Strike Decals

 

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: ESPI4805
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

 

Eagle Strike has released #4 in a planned series of 5 sheets from the 357th FG. The sheet covers 4 aircraft, all P-51Ds.

I had talked to Gaston Bernal at the IPMS National the year before and mentioned that the squadron codes for the first 3 sheets in this series had some problems. Gaston did not initially seem very receptive of my assessment, however, this year he approached me and said that I was right, and they might issue a supplement in the future to cover the codes.

As I have stated before, the mistake in the codes lies with the profile artist in Jim Roeder's 357th FG book from Squadron Signal. Eagle Strike's decal selection for this series is taken directly from the color profile section of that book.

I am pleased that Gaston took the time to verify my information, and I look forward to seeing the corrections.

The codes included for the aircraft in this release are much better than the earlier efforts.

Part 4 of the series includes the following subjects:

  1. P-51D ser. 41-4937 was flown by Capt. Jim Browning, named "Gentleman Jim". Capt. Browning was an original member of the 357th. He was killed 9 Feb. '45 in a mid-air with an Me-262 of KG(J)-54. He was flying Glen Zarnke's "Junior Miss" at the time. His A/C is natural metal.





    The squadron codes again mirror the ones in Jim Roeder's book, but are much closer than any other efforts for the 363rd squadron. They are actually very close, and honestly, only a full-on 357th nut like me would ever notice the niggles, namely, they are a tad thin; anemic looking. SuperScale covered this subject with sheet 48-692, which has the codes the right thickness, but have shape problems (did I mention that this is extremely hard for decal companies to get right apparently?) The artwork is very good, and this makes an attractive subject. One thing I like about Eagle Strike's 357th sheets are the individual red and yellow checkers. They provide you with 3 ways to do the nose, all one piece, yellow band with red individual checkers or all individual checkers. If you want, you can leave off the artwork, as the A/C was flown for sometime without it, having just the name applied.





     

  2. P-51D "Mary Mae", Lt. Richard Potter, overall natural metal, with a fairly hideous nude. Squadron codes are very well done. The aircraft is interesting in that it is one of only a handful of 357th FG subjects to sport a nude girl. The 2 best known fron this group are Roberson's "Passion Wagon" and Weaver's unnamed nude. Roberson's first "passion Wagon" a B model, had a cutout from a magazine varnished on the nose. Later, both he and Weaver had their artwork sourced from a local town. "Mary Mae" looks to be an effort from within the group, as the 357th was never blessed with talented figure artists like the 4th and 56th. This A/C carried the toned down national insignia, with the white portions "grayed out".



     

  3. P-51D-5 "Sebastian Jr" flown by Capt. Robert Becker. The D-5s had no tail fillet, and a different radio set up. The tail can be obtained from Ultracast and the radios from Verlinden.

    The decal instructions call for the A/C to be painted OD over natural metal. I believe this to be RAF dark green instead, as during this period the 357th was preparing to move to the continent and was over-painting it's plnes with RAF greens that were available at the time. The name has some problems (see photo) and is clearly surrounded by another color, probably red.

    You are provided with 2 names in case you want to put it on the R side as well, though I know of no photos that show this. This A/C carried the toned down national insignia, with the white portions "grayed out". The squadron codes vary from the profile art, and are very nice.



     

  4. P-51D "Rovin' Rhoda" flown by Lt. Irving Snedecker, 364th FS. Overall RAF dark green over gray, yellow rudder. Has another name, "4 Bolts" on the R side. In the 357th, it wasn't unusual to have the airplane name on both sides, or even another entire name, chosen by either the crew chief or another pilot assigned the same plane. Squadron codes are nice, as is the artwork.

 

 

There are enough insignia and stencils for 2 aircraft. Overall, this is the best of the series so far, at least in terms of squadron codes and accuracy. I always mention that accurate codes can be obtained from Mike Grant at http://mikegrantdesign.com/decals/ if it is a big deal to you.

Some notes on 8th AF P-51s. None carried the radio wire from the tail thru the canopy. I see this from time to time, and I noticed that the profile art in "357th Fighter Group" shows it. This is a pain in the butt to do right, and a pleasure to be able to leave off if you can.


 

Addendum

 

Since I talk so much about the squadron codes for the 357th, let me show you what I mean.

Of the 3 squadrons, the 363rd is the most difficult to get right it seems. The code is B6 and here are some examples of it:

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


#1 is an early B model
#2 is a green painted D model
#3 is a green painted D model with D-Day stripes, the 6 being black.
#4 is a late D in silver.
#5 is a D in all green

There is no difference in style or size

Here are some various decals:

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10


#1 Eagle Strike, from sheet # 4804, P-51D,an example of both 363rd and 362nd, B6 is right shape, looks very thin
#2 Eagle Strike, from sheet #4802, P-51B. Way off, not correct style
#3 SuperScale, looks the same as Eagle Strike's early B sheet
#4 SuperScale, wow, just awful
#5 SuperScale in black
#6 RepliScale, from their "Yoxford Boys" series, again, not even close.
#7 Mustang Intl. Publisher's, Yeager and Anderson, spot on, sheet rare though
#8 Tamiya, new release of the P-51D. Shape is OK, again, looks a bit anemic, kinda thin.
#9 Mike Grant, just perfect
#10 Mike Grant with the entire group, B6, G4 and C5. Perfect.

As you can see, there are lots of variations from different manufacturers. The ones that represent the 362nd and 364th vary as wildly as the 363rd. We shall see what Eagle Strike does on sheet #5, and if they issue a supplement for the first 4. Right now, the only solution is Mike Grant Decals. http://mikegrantdesign.com/decals/  He can do both Black and White.

If the codes bother you, you can fix them. If they don't, blow it off, but I think once you see the differences, you'll understand where I'm coming from.

 


Review Copyright 2003 by Scott Brown
This Page Created on 02 August, 2003
Last updated 14 August, 2003

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