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Tamiya 1:48 P-51D Mustang

This is the ninth build and the second P-51D in my Mustang series. The plan for this build is to model the aircraft flown by First Lieutenant Robert J. Louwers. Louwers was a member of the 46th Fighter Squadron of the 21st Fighter Group and was stationed on Iwo Jima in June of 1945. I first saw a representation of this plane in an AeroMaster set for Iwo Jima Mustangs and it caught my fancy. Dedicated searching online has turned up only one actual photo of this plane (see, but that was enough. I don’t intend to cover this build step-by-step; if you’d like that kind of info, please see my other Mustang pages.

The Build

Model: P-51D-20-NA
Serial number: 44-63451
Nickname: Mary Alyce
Pilot: Robert J. Louwers

Kit: Tamiya 1:48 P-51D Mustang

In addition to the kit, I also plan to use the following aftermarket parts:

  • True Details 48453 P-51D Cockpit set
  • Instrument panel from an A.M.U.R. Reaver PE4805 P-51D Mustang Cockpit and Radio Set
  • UltraCast 48016 P-51 Mustang Seat
  • UltraCast 48009 P-51D Mustang Detailed Exhausts
  • UltraCast 48139 P-51 Mustang Corrected & Detailed Flaps
  • UltraCast 48136 P-51 Mustang Hamilton Standard Cuffed 4-Blade Propeller and Spinner
  • UltraCast 48133 Mustang Wheels, Block Tread
  • Scale Aircraft Conversions 48142 Mustang landing gear
  • Master Models AM-48-139 P-51D Mustang Armament and Gunsight Detail Set

(1) I’m just about ready to close up the fuselage. All of the interior bits are installed or ready to be installed. I intended to use the True Details seat, but mine arrived with the headrest broken off. I tried gluing it back on, but there was an ugly seam at the joint and I didn’t see an easy way to clean it up. I had a bunch of UltraCast seats in the parts box, so I opted to use one of those plus the Tamiya support.

(2) The fuselage halves have been joined. Here’s a slightly fuzzy view into the cockpit.

(3) After what felt like an eternity cleaning up seams and joints, I sprayed a coat of Alclad Gloss Black Primer on the model. The panel ines on the wings required another application of Mr. Surfacer and then I could move on to the finish coats. The control surfaces were painted with Alclad Semi-Matte Aluminum and the wings got a coat of Mr. Color Super Silver.

(4) The fuselage received an overall coat of Alclad Aluminum. I masked off some panels and painted them with Alclad Dark Aluminum followed by a light misting of Aluminum to tone down the contrast. I used Alclad Magnesium around the exhausts on my previous build and it seems too dark to me now. I think I’ll try a mix of Magnesium and Aluminum this time.

(5) Mary Alyce is ready for decals. I used Mr. Color No. 65 Bright Blue for the striping and Vallejo 71.007 Olive Green for the anti-glare panel in front of the cockpit. The decal set included black stripes for the edges of the blue, but not for the nose right behind the spinner, so I used Model Masters flat black for that.

(6) The decals are on and this build is entering its final stages.

(7) I cut the canopy parts from the sprue using a sprue cutter. No matter how careful I am, there’s always a white stress spot where the part was attached to the sprue. I sanded those with ever finer grades of sandpaper (ending with 1200 grit) and then polished the parts with Tamiya polish. The parts were then washed thoroughly and placed into my miniature “clean room” to dry. After they were dry, they were dipped in Future and put back in the clean room.

(8) Almost there. There are a couple of small thingss I want to touch up and I need to finish and install the Brassin 75 gallon drop tanks, but Mary Alyce is pretty much done.

(9) For all intents and purposes, Mary Alyce is done. The prototype aircraft - serial number 44-63451 - was assigned to the 46th Fighter Squadron, which was based on Iwo Jima.

(10) The 46th identified its planes with a blue spinner and stripes, edged in black. I may add some chipping to the spinner and stripes using a silver Prismacolor pencil, but I want to live with the model a bit before I decide.

(11) Pilot Robert J. Louwers nicknamed the aircraft Mary Alyce after his wife. No one knows whether the real Mary Alyce posed for the painting on the side of the plane. The Mustangs on Iwo Jima escorted bombers to Japan. It was a 3 hour flight from Iwo to Japan, then combat with Japanese aircraft, followed by a 3 hour flight back to Iwo. That was such a strain on pilots that two were assigned to each aircraft. Louwers shared Mary Alyce with John E. Montgomery III (The plane, people, not his wife. Get your minds out of the gutter).

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