Eduard has previously indicated that it intended to release a Pacific VLR boxing of its 1/48 P-51D Mustang kit in August of 2020. What was not known, until now, was whether the decal options for the boxing would be solely for Iwo Jima VLR Mustangs, or a mixture of decals for Iwo Jima VLR Mustangs and other Pacific Mustangs.
That question is answered in the July 2020 Edition of INFO Eduard. The boxing will be a Limited Edition release entitled “Very Long Range: Tales of Iwojima”, and will include twelve different decal options for Iwo Jima VLR Mustangs that covers all nine squadrons of the three Iwo Jima VLR Mustang groups. Below are the decal options.
It’s fantastic to see all nine squadrons represented in this release, and especially nice to see decals for the three squadrons (46th, 72nd and 531st) of the 21st Fighter Group. Other than Major Harry C. Crim’s 300 “My Achin” Ass, 21st FG Mustangs tend not to get a lot of love from kit makers and after market decal manufacturers. While modelers want to build models of fighter aces, and kit manufacturers cater to that demand, it is nice to see decals of lesser known pilots included.
A few notes about the decal options. First, there are two decal options for the 45th FS, 15th FG P-51D-20-NA Mustang serial number 44-63483. This plane was originally assigned to Major Gilmer L. “Buck” Snipes, the CO of the 45th FS, and was named “Tom Kat”. It was later assigned to top VLR ace Major Robert W. “Todd” Moore who scored a total of 12 victories, and was renamed “Stinger VII”.
Second, a modeler has decal options for the two planes flown by the second leading VLR fighter ace, Major James B. Tapp of the 78th FS, 15th FG. The first is “Margaret IV”, a P-51D-20-NA, which is the most recognized P-51D Mustang flown by Major Tapp. The second is “Margaret V”, a P-51D-25-NA, which Major Tapp flew in the last few weeks of the Pacific war. It is nice to have both options.
Third, decals are provided for Lt. Colonel John W. Mitchell’s 11, “Annie Lee”. Lt. Colonel Mitchell gained fame and notoriety for leading the long over water mission that resulted in the downing of the Mitsubishi G4M Betty carrying Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Lt. Colonel Mitchell added 3 VLR victories to the 8 aerial victories he had while serving with the 339 FS. He served as the CO of the 15th FG from July 19, 1945, to the end of the war. Very nice addition to the decal options.
Lastly, the decal options provide a nice mix of the early squadron markings and the later standardized squadron markings that were mandated in the last few months of the war. More about the change in squadron markings in a later post.
Kudos to Eduard on this release! If you are contemplating purchasing this boxing when it is released in August, I would not wait too long as Eduard Limited Edition releases tend to sell out fairly quickly.