Tamiya P-51D Build Report 3: Blue-Nosed Bastard

I’ve had something of a man-crush on John C. Meyer, the CO of the 352nd fighter group, ever since watching the Dogfights episode “The Legend of Y-29”.

If you’ve never seen it, or Dogfights, well…


You can also see the rest of the episode (YouTube divides it into 8 parts) HERE.

When I got back into modeling, the first aircraft on my must-build list was Meyer’s “Petie 3rd”, the P-51 he flew on the morning of January 1, 1945. I still plan to do a “Petie 3rd”, but I’ll be doing it in 1/32 scale, on Tamiya’s new Mustang. As a warm-up, I figured I’d tackle Meyer’s previous ride, “Petie 2nd”, which he flew in the summer and fall of 1944.

Thing is, the plane still sports the distinctive blue nose of the 352nd fighter group. And the thought of masking that nose scares the hell out of me. But…open-turret armor scared the hell out of me. Biplane rigging scared the hell out of me. And I’ve managed to do a decent job tackling my modeling fears to date.

Here’s how I tackled the blue-nosed bastard of Bodney.

First, I scanned in the Petie 2nd profile printed in the instructions for Tamiya’s 1/32 kit. In Photoshop, I lined this up over the 1/48 plans that come with Mushroom Media’s excellent P-51 reference book. Then printed the 1/48 cowl profile.

To make the masks, I grabbed a sheet of wax paper, laid some 40mm Tamiya tape down onto it, then taped the printouts on top of that. Next, I carefully cut along the line with a pair of scissors, basically making two big, straight cuts, then carefully dealing with that friggin’ curve.

Once cut out, I removed the Tamiya tape from the wax paper and masked off the curving nose on the Mustang itself.

I then masked off most of the airframe to minimize any overspray risks, and sprayed the nose with Vallejo Prussian Blue. “Petie 2nd” wore a lighter blue than the deep navy sported by “Petie 3rd”, and the Prussian Blue, while it dried darker than I’d anticipated, still seems to capture the look well.

Here’s the final result, after unmasking:

I know it seems a minor thing, but I’d built up this masking job into a massive, scary problem in my mind, so it feels overwhelmingly good to tackle it. And for anybody else trying to figure out how to mask this nose, maybe this post will help.

Up next, clear coat (Alclad Klear Gloss) and decals!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Rick says:

    nice work on the 1:48 Stang. for sure on the Meyer, shoots down an FW190 while cranking up his wheels.

    a big Dogfights fan too. at one point had all episodes DVR’d. albeit, the Dogfights brand is way overdue for updated “new” epsiodes.

    great news on your job hunt. enjoy the move and your benchwork!

    would like to discuss airbrush with you sometime, no hurry for me as my benchwork will not begin until late fall. that said, I have several questions. please email me your phone number to rgkranias@verizon.net

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