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Tamiya's 1/48 scale P-51D
Sebastian Jr. Revisited

by Brett Green

 

North American P-51D Mustang

 


Tamiya's 1/48 scale P-51D Mustang is available online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

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 HyperScale.

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 markings.

 

 

Re-Decalling

 

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 distinctive.

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 decals.

 

 

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.

 

 

Conclusion

 

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!

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

P-51 Mustang
From the RAF to the Mighty Eighth
Special Editions (Aviation) 1
Author: Michael O'Leary
US Price: $10.95
UK Price: 6.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date:
 September 15, 1997
Details: 128 pages; ISBN: 1855327147
Shop cart
Buy it from Osprey Publishing

Model, Text & Images Copyright 2005 by Brett Green
Page Created 07 April, 2005
Last Updated 14 April, 2005

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