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RAAF
P-51K Mustang

 

 

1/48 scale

Aero Imageworks

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number and Description:

A0154801 RAAF P-51K Mustang

Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: One decal sheet;black & white printed, reference booklet with three view paint guides, painting, weathering and detailing instructions, history and diagrams.
Price: AUD$19.95 (USD$14.50) - available online from Aero Imageworks
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Interesting markings; comprehensive reference and documentation; online access to additional material; accurate depiction of subjects
Disadvantages: Decal film covers entire sheet (markings must be carefully cut out)
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly
 


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FirstLook

 

New from Aero Imageworks, the Victor Harbour, South Australia based company, is sheet number A0154801.  The sheet provides markings for two late-war Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-51K Mustangs.   

The RAAF operated Mustangs in the Pacific theatre towards the end of WW2 and received 90 U.S. P-51K and P51D Mustangs between April and September of 1945.  The markings on this sheet are for two of these aircraft. 

 

 

Both are finished in the delivery scheme of natural metal fuselage with an olive drab anti-glare panel.  The wings were painted with aluminium lacquer (less the flaps, ailerons, tank bay access doors, and undercarriage doors) as was the rudder.  Careful study of photographs also reveals that aluminium paint was also used around various panels on the fuselage. 

The individual aircraft and their markings are: 

A68-520 "Nuts to Nippon" of 84 Squadron as it appeared at the Ross River Strip, Townsville, Queensland in July-August of 1945.  The supplied markings are: 

  • LB squadron codes (84 Squadron) and individual aircraft letter N in black.  The letters are in the stencil style used by 84 Squadron.

  • Nose art, comprising the slogan "Nuts to Nippon" with a cartoon pilot thumbing his nose, superimposed over a map of Australia.

  • Serial number A68-520 in black for the rear fuselage.

  • "Last three" of the serial in black for the nose.

  • Serial data block.

A68-555 of 86 Squadron, as it appeared at Bohle River Airstrip, Townsville, Queensland in August 1945.  The supplied markings comprise: 

  • MP squadron codes and individual aircraft letter S in black.  Again, these letters are in the unique broad stroke font used exclusively by 86 Squadron.

  • Serial number A68-555 in black for the rear fuselage.

  • Serial data block.

 

 

The data blocks for each of the aircraft are legible and can be read under magnification.  They bear the correct USAAF serial numbers (44-12547 for A68-520 and 44-12488 for A68-555).  Unfortunately, they lack the words "Australian Government" that was stencilled above the first line of the block.  I understand though that this has been addressed and will be corrected before the sheet is released. 

A single set of national insignia (six roundels and a pair of fin flashes) is supplied as are a set of yellow data blocks and aeroproducts logos for the propeller.  A pair of black "No Step" outlines for the inner upper surfaces of the flaps is also supplied.  These should be in red and again, will be corrected before the sheet is released.  

The decals themselves look to be printed using the thermal process (Alps Printer type decals).  They are beautifully thin and in perfect register bar the two 520s for the nose of the first option.  These two decals appear to be a little smudged but as my sample was one of the first printed I suspect that this will not be the case with the ones released for sale.   Be aware that decals produced by this process are as equally as good as ones you are used to (silk screen) but they do require each subject to be cut close to the design as the whole sheet is one big carrier film.  They are thin, so use plenty of water to float them to where they should be and you won't have a problem. 

The placement guide is in the Aero Imageworks excellent booklet style.  It contains: 

  • Concise, clear instructions on how to apply the decals.

  • A short history of the use of the Mustang by the RAAF (both those received from the U.S. and those produced in Australia by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-17s, 18s and 22s)

  • Comprehensive information on the assignments of each of the machines from their receipt by the RAAF in 1945 to their scrapping in 1949.

  • 1/72 scale three-view drawings of each aircraft.

  • Camouflage and markings.

  • A short discourse on the Aeroproducts propeller.

  • A lengthy explanation of the "Nuts to Nippon" nose art, how it came about and what it means.

  • The flying clothing and equipment worn by RAAF pilots in the Pacific theatre.

The placement guide also advises on the canvas cover worn over the radio rack.  U.S. built RAAF Mustangs had different radio gear from their USAAF cousins and it was arranged differently.  Fortunately, you can get away without modifying your kit as RAAF machines wore a canvas cover over the area to protect the radio gear from the sun.  To get an idea of what this cover looked like, visit the Monash University website http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/images/an005425_500.jpg  

There are also some excellent photographs of 84 Squadron aircraft available from the Australian War Memorial Photographic Collection that were taken at the Ross River Strip.  If you visit their site at http://www.awm.gov.au/database/collection.asp and type Mustang +84 Squadron into their search engine you will be rewarded with 13 excellent photographs to help you with your build. 

The guide book and the decal sheet come packed in a clear plastic zip-loc bag. 

All up, an excellent sheet from Aero Imageworks.  It supplies markings for two unique RAAF P-51Ks that have never been produced before as well as comprehensive information via the Guidebook.. 

Highly Recommended.


 

Postscript 

If you have the old Peter N. Anderson Book Mustangs of the RAAF and RNZAF, there are photographs of both these machines on pages 22 and 23, the only photographs I have ever seen of them.

If you are contemplating building a model any of the Mustangs operated by the RAAF you can not find a better reference than The Red Roo Models Publication "The Modeller's Guide to the RAAF Mustang" by Gary Byk.  The book is available direct from their website http://www.redroomodels.com/   

Don't build one without it!


Review Copyright 2004 by Rodger Kelly
This Page Created on 18 August, 2004
Last updated 17 August, 2004

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