by Brett Green
North American P-51D Mustang
1/48 scale P-51D Mustang is available online from Squadron.com
You've got to love the Internet.
Last year, I received a set of decals from Eagle Strike for review
(IP4805, Part Four of 357th Fighter Group in Profile) that
included an interesting P-51D of the 357th Fighter Group named
"Sebastian Jr.". My son's name is Sebastian so, with his constant
encouragement, I did not waste much time actually building Tamiya's 1/48
scale Mustang. I finished in July 2004, and posted the article to
You can see the original article, which
detail construction and painting, by following this link.
The next day I received an email from John Soule who had access to
several photos of this aircraft and was actively involved with Merle
Olmstead - a Crew Chief from the 357th and now their historian - and the
357th FG historical society. John answered several questions that I had
about camouflage demarcation and overpainting of invasion stripes on
this aircraft, and also pointed out that the style of the
"Sebastian Jr." lettering and the kill markings were incorrect. The
model as it was originally built can be seen in the photo below
alongside Bill Freeman's warbird "Su Su", which I built in parallel.
John mentioned that he would be at the IPMS Nationals in Phoenix in a
couple of weeks, and I told him I would be there too. We met at the
Convention and chatted about the aircraft. I had the chance to meet
Merle Olmstead too, and also had the opportunity for a longer discussion
with Jim Anderson, son of 357th fighter ace Bud Anderson.
Before leaving Phoenix, John offered to send me some decals that were
a better representation of the "Sebastian Jr." lettering and the kill
True to his word, John sent the decals on the long journey to
Australia shortly after I returned home. John supplied two sets of the
name and the kill marks on a single decal sheet. The letters were black
and featured a yellow outline. Examination of a wartime photo showed
that this was the most likely combination. The kill marks were also
correct, being a white background with a black swastika - very
The decals sat on my desk for months until I recently had a chance to
revisit the model. The first task was to remove the existing decals.
I pressed a short length of Tamiya masking tape over the port side
lettering and quickly lifted it. To my relief, most of the decal came
off with the tape. The process was repeated until all the lettering and
the kill marks were gone, taking care not to rip off any other stencils
or markings. Mercifully, the paint was intact but there was an obvious
outline where the flat coat and weathering had been applied over the
Micromesh cloths were used to gently sand back this dirty top coat. I
started with 3600 grade cloth, slightly moistened, followed by 6,000
grade to polish the metal finish in preparation for the new decals.
The markings were cut out of the decal sheet with a small pair of
scissors and applied to the model with the assistance of Micro Set and
Micro Sol. The markings proved to be perfectly opaque, thin, and
conformed well to panel lines.
Indeed, the effect was so impressive when the decals had set that I
decided not to add any further top coat. Carrier films was almost
invisible, and the Alclad finish retained a healthy shine.
In the final analysis I think that I positioned "Sebastian Jr." one
or two millimetres too far back, but the result is still a very
noticeable improvement over the original Eagle Strike decals.
My model is still not perfectly accurate. The demarcation of the
fuselage invasion stripes and the green overpainting is wrong for a
start (the stripes should actually come up to the regular camouflage
demarcation line). The painting errors will have to wait for another
day, but for the moment I am delighted with the refurbished markings.
Thanks again to John Soule and Jim Anderson for coming forward and
sharing their knowledge about this interesting aircraft. Not only did
they point out the problem, they actively participated in the solution.
You can't ask for much more than that!
thumbnails below to view larger images:
From the RAF to the Mighty Eighth
Special Editions (Aviation) 1
Author: Michael O'Leary
US Price: $10.95
UK Price: £6.99
September 15, 1997
Details: 128 pages; ISBN: 1855327147
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Page Created 07 April, 2005
14 April, 2005
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