Friday 19 July 2019

P51 Mustang

I built this Mister Craft P51C Mustang Mk III back in July 2018 for Norjam, our big international jamboree organised by Norfolk Scouts and Guides, over 6,500 of us from across the world camping for the week.

The camp is broken down into a number of subcamps and this time the theme was "Decades".  I was on the 1990's subcamp with my Scouts and Explorer Scouts but in my role as one of the County team I built this little 'plane for the 1940's subcamp for their aircraft recognition activity.

It was a very rushed build but I couldn't just construct it as the basic kit.

I chopped up the cockpit canopy and filed it down so that I could paint the interior.

This aircraft has a "malcolm hood", a special bulbous centre section to the cockpit canopy which gives superior visibility compared to the standard canopy.

I carefully painted in some dials on the instrument panel and added some extra details such as the fuel filer caps on the wings etc.  I'm not sure all the detail is completely correct but I was too pushed for time to have a chance to research it fully.

If I'd had more time I'd have made some metal foil straps for the harness but this time I just had to make do with painted-on ones.

The instructions in the kit were pretty poor.  I had to ignore them when attaching the undercarriage - they showed it attached to the wrong sides!

Alas the undercarriage isn't quite straight but I'm still happy with the end result.

The decals were something of a pain to apply, quite thick film so I needed lots of decal softener and adhesive to get them to conform to the curved surface.

I've painted this one as GA Q, flown by Flight Lieutenant Raymond Vincent Hearn DFC of the RAF Volunteer Reserve, based in Italy during 1944-5.  You can read more about him here and here.  He was shot down by FLAK in February 1945.  Being a Polish kit, there are are also a couple of sets of decals included for Mustangs flown by Polish pilots.

Although fun to build and modify, I don't think I'd recommend this "Mister Craft" kit.  The instructions were completely wrong in a number of places (I refer again to the fact they told you to fit the undercarriage the wrong way round) and rather ambiguous in others.  The fit of several parts was also pretty suspect and required clamping with clothes peg followed by copious amounts of model filler and extensive sanding to try and disguise the gaps.

After all this effort, it turned out that the 'plane was going to be suspended on thread from the inside of one of the marquees, way above head height so none of the detail I added was really visible!  Still, at least I knew it was there...

Tuesday 16 July 2019

UN helicopter - Matchbox "Mission Chopper" repaint

Z Force deploy from their helicopter.

Last year I picked up a nice Matchbox "Mission Chopper" helicopter in the local charity shop.  I decided that it would become a UN helicopter which can fulfil the dual roles of either being transport in/out of action or being a game objective.

New and old.

Unfortunately Number 1 Son spotted it and appropriated it for his own use.  It now has a fine collection of "landing lights" (stick-on craft jewels which can now be found dotted throughout our entire house) but is no longer available for wargaming.  Luckily a quick check on ebay provided me with another Mission Chopper plus an F4 Phantom and a couple of Spitfires for only £4.

"Landing lights"

I moved quickly with the new one and had it washed and undercoated before anyone else got hold of it!

Base colours are Vallejo cold grey and Russian uniform green.  After a Future and black ink wash, it ended up looking much more RAF than I originally planned but I decided to go with it and added a Union Flag to shown who has supplied it to the UN.  I could have gone for traditional UN white but decided the camo scheme will be more useful for game purposes.

Repainting provided the opportunity to add extra windows on the front which are clearly implied by the moulding on the model.

Side windows have also been painted larger than originally printed on the model, again to match the actual moulding.

Decals are all waterslide transfers and come from a variety of sources: Space Marines, Matchbox A34 Comet cruiser tank, JB models land rover, Matchbox Panzer II, Airfix Westland Sea King, Airfix Westland Scout, Italeri Hind-D.  Plenty of Vallejo decal medium was used to soften and stick the transfers to all the curves!  A top coat of Future floor polish has hopefully sealed everything in.

Z Force trooper helpfully pointing out nose warning sign.

Although perhaps a touch on the small side for GZG or Brigade figures, it still scales pretty well with my Peter Pig infantry and they'll be the main people interacting with it during 1980's through to modern skirmishes.