Tex Hill's "Bullfrog I" -- 1/48 AM P-51B

blunce

Eyeballs deep in muddy waters...
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
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55
Hey guys, here's another build I'm doing for a group build over on ARC.

David "Tex" Hill earned his wings as a U.S. Naval Aviator in 1939 and joined the fleet as a Devastator torpedo bomber pilot before joining a Dauntless dive bomber squadron aboard the USS Ranger. In 1941, he was recruited to join the 1st American Volunteer Group (AVG) . He learned to fly the P-40 in the AVG training program in Burma. By the time the AVG was disbanded in the summer of 1942, Hill was a double ace, credited with 12 ¼ victories.

On Thanksgiving Day 1943, he led a force of 12 B-25's, 10 P-38's, and 8 new P-51's from Saichwan, China, on the first strike against Formosa. The Japanese had 100 bombers and 100 fighters located at Shimchiku Airfield, and the bombers were landing as Hill's force arrived. The enemy managed to get seven fighters airborne, but they were promptly shot down. Forty-two Japanese airplanes were destroyed, and 12 more were probably destroyed in the attack. The American force returned home with no casualties.

After the deactivation of the Flying Tigers in July 1942, Hill was one of only five Flying Tigers to join its USAAF successor, the USAAF 23rd Fighter Group with the rank of major. He activated the 75th Fighter Squadron and later commanded the 23rd Fighter Group as a Colonel. Before returning to the states in late 1944, Hill and his P-51 shot down another six Japanese aircraft. Hill was credited with destroying a total of 18.25 enemy aircraft.

In 1944, Hill returned to the U.S. and took command of the 412th Fighter Group, America's first operational jet fighter group flying the P-59 Airacomet and the P-80 Shooting Star. He separated from active service in 1945.


Col 'Tex' Hill, CO of the 23rd FG, took one of the first P-51Bs (43-124051) as his personal aircraft and named it "BULLFROG I" which was a pet name Tex had for his wife Mazie, as her voice was a bit "baritone." There are a few pictures floating around the net that show a different -B Mustang that had a different sharkmouth painted on it. I think they were a/c he flew a bit later in his career. It is also unclear if the name painted on the cowling is "Bullfrog I" or "Bullfrog !" and from this picture (the only one I've been able to find of 312405) it's hard to tell which it is, hence the mystery I suppose.

BullfrogI.jpg

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Most likely be building this one OOB

AMP-51B.jpg

Obligitory sprue shots:
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blunce

Eyeballs deep in muddy waters...
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
55
With the Scorpion outta the way, I've been able to make some progress on Bullfrog, and here it is. Originally this was to be the primary build, with the F-89 being secondary. But I got hung up on cockpit color, and though it seems there is no definitive answer, some say that all -A's and early -B's and -C's had Dark Dull Green cockpits, while others say it never happened and all Mustangs had Interior Green. Well, I finally decided to go with DDG if for nothing else, at least to be different.

The kit comes with a clear instrument panel and no decals, so I had to carefully pick out the details with white, then add "Future" glass to it. A decal is provided for the seat belts, but I can't stand the way they look, so in order to keep this in OOB status for IPMS contests, I went ahead and scratch built some belts for it instead of using PE like I would've much rather done. I HATE making seat belts, but not as much as using decal belts. One other thing I discovered about the AM kit, is that there is no pilots armor included in the kit. I thought this was perhaps because some a/c didn't have it, so I didn't build one for it. It's too late now, but I'll have to do some more checking to see if they all should have the armor or not.

Got the fuselage halves closed up and the wings on, will be working on the seams and getting stuff cleaned up in preparation for primer here real soon.

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schweinhund227

New Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2009
Messages
2,511
That is one SLICK looking Machine you have there... those straps and buckles are to die for !!!

Excellent work my friend !


later
 

Myke

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
1,201
Beautiful work there. Love the color of the cockpit, really makes the details blend right in.
 

blunce

Eyeballs deep in muddy waters...
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
55
schweinhund227 said:
That is one SLICK looking Machine you have there... those straps and buckles are to die for !!!

Excellent work my friend !


later

Thanks for the kind words everyone!

Thanks schwein, on the outset, I wasn't too worried about how they came out since the canopy only has the option for being closed (without buying aftermarket or cutting it), but in the end I was pretty happy with them. They came out better than the last time I scratched out some belts, so that's good!
 

13aceofspades13

lets kick some tires and lights some fires!
Joined
Oct 12, 2010
Messages
2,292
the 3 blade prop must be for a A-36 or P-51A Option?

nice job with the cockpit, good job coloring in just the switches on the instrument panel, did you use toothpicks to do that?
 

blunce

Eyeballs deep in muddy waters...
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
55
13aceofspades13 said:
the 3 blade prop must be for a A-36 or P-51A Option?

Exactly, the 3 blade was only used on the Allison engines, the Merlin took a 4 blade.

nice job with the cockpit, good job coloring in just the switches on the instrument panel, did you use toothpicks to do that?

Yeah, I started out trying to do it with drybrushing, but was unhappy with the results, so went ahead and attacked it with a toothpick.
 

13aceofspades13

lets kick some tires and lights some fires!
Joined
Oct 12, 2010
Messages
2,292
blunce said:
13aceofspades13 said:
the 3 blade prop must be for a A-36 or P-51A Option?

Exactly, the 3 blade was only used on the Allison engines, the Merlin took a 4 blade.

nice job with the cockpit, good job coloring in just the switches on the instrument panel, did you use toothpicks to do that?

Yeah, I started out trying to do it with drybrushing, but was unhappy with the results, so went ahead and attacked it with a toothpick.

yea i used toothpicks pretty heavy for the details in my 1/32 scale mustang, they sure do come in handy!
 

blunce

Eyeballs deep in muddy waters...
Joined
Apr 28, 2011
Messages
55
and the grand finale!


Just finished this Accurate Miniature P-51B. Built strictly within IPMS OOB rules. Decals are by Aeromaster.

All in all a pretty decent kit. A handful of things I would've changed had I not been building it OOB.

There's no armor plate for the pilots seat, which should be added.
The canopies are a nightmare IMO and could stand to be replaced by a vac form variety not only to open up the canopy, but the main canopy section seems to have just a bit too much bulge to it compared to the glass in front and behind it.
Panel lines of the glass are also pretty vague and in hindsight, I probably should have enhanced them a bit with some careful scribing.
I also would have liked to replace the antenna mast due to flimsiness
The tires seemed a bit wide too me, but I could be wrong, so some resin wheels/ tires would be nice, as it would save a bunch of time. In order to get rid of the center line mold seam, and still retain the diamond tread pattern, I rescribed all the lines by first going over them with a curved Xacto blade, then carefully scribing them again with a needle/ pin vise setup.

I also filled the wing seams top and bottom, and scratch built seat belts and buckles. Still need to scratch a DF loop, and possibly add aerial, though from what I understand, most Mustangs got rid of the wire fairly early in their service. This is a P-51B-1-NA, so not sure if it would've had one or not. Anyone with more info on this please chime in!

BullfrogI.jpg
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Bomber Boy

Static Grass Is The Sh!^
Joined
Sep 1, 2011
Messages
85
Hey Blunce, That is a Great looking caged Mustang. I love the fact that you weathered it nicely so many don't, so they end up with kills on the plane and it looks like it never left the ground, but they seem to be the ones that win at shows, guess that is what you get when car guys judge aircraft as all the aircraft guys have entries and can't judge planes. Love the shot to the engine and the trailer it makes.

James
 

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