In this month’s edition of INFO Eduard, Eduard announced that their next release of their P-51D Mustang kit will be a Weekend Edition focusing on the Block 20 Mustang. The decal options include two European theater Mustangs and two Pacific theater Mustangs. The first Pacific theater Mustang is the widely recognizable The Flying Undertaker, flown by Major William A. Shomo of the 82nd TRS, 71st TRG. The other Pacific Mustang is the 458th FS, 506th FG Iwo Jima VLR Mustang, The Boll Weevil/A Neat Package, flown by 2nd Lt. Bennett C. Commer and 2nd Lt. Henry C. Seegers, Jr.
All three VLR groups were initially equipped with Block 20 D models. As losses and attrition took its toll, Block 25 D models were used as replacement aircraft. The distinctive equipment used on VLR Mustangs, the SCR-695 IFF transmitter set, the AN/ARA-8 homing adapter and twin Uncle Dog antennae, were field modifications on Iwo Jima for both Block 20 and 25 models.
Due to the fact that the 506th Fighter Group assigned two pilots to each plane, the markings on certain planes provide for interesting decal options. The Boll Weevil/A Neat Package is a nice example of this.
Kudos to Eduard for providing a multitude of 1/48th scale P-51D Mustang kits which cover blocks 5 to 25 with so many decal options. Something for everyone.
One of Eduard’s releases for October 2021 is a new Weekend Edition boxing of their popular 1/72 Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat kit. Eduard’s 1/72 F6F-3 has been on the market since 2011, and this is the third Weekend Edition boxing that has been released by Eduard.
This boxing includes decals for Lt. Cdr. David McCampbell‘s F6F-3 Hellcat The Minsi. Lt. Cdr. McCampbell was the CO of CAG-15 abroad the USS Essex, and flew this aircraft during the U.S Navy’s raids against Iwo Jima which began on June 14, 1944, and continued until August 5, 1944.
Lt. Cdr McCampbell was the top U.S. Navy ace with 34 confirmed victories. While he did not score any confirmed victories in combat over Iwo Jima, Lt. Cdr. McCampbell would score 10.5 victories in The Minsi during combat over Saipan, the Philippine Sea and Guam. The Minsi was scrapped in September 1944 after suffering damage from anti-aircraft fire.
Kudos to Eduard for including decals for The Minsi in this boxing. While most modelers will prefer decals for Lt. Cdr. McCampbell’s F6F-5 Minsi III with its impressive scoreboard of kills, it is nice to have the option to build his first Hellcat.
The other decals included in this kit are: a VF-38 F6F-3, stationed on Munda Airfield, New Georgia, Solomon Islands; Lt. Alexander Vraciu’s F6F-3 “White 32”, VF-16, USS Lexington with 18 kill markings; and a VF-27 F6F-3 aboard the USS Princeton with the snarling cat mouth. Very nice decal options.
One plane that has been neglected by the mainstream injection molded model manufacturers is the Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer. Patrol bombers tend not to get a lot of love. While I often see the PB4Y-2 on a lot of modelers’ informal “wish lists” of kits they would like to see manufactured, that interest has not translated in a new injection molded kit being released.
This is not to say that a kit of PB4Y-2 has never been released. Matchbox released a PB4Y-2 in 1/72 scale way back in 1980. Revell reissued the kit in 2009, but the kit is seriously lacking by today’s standards.
After market manufacturers have stepped into to fill that void. Since Monogram’s release of its 1/48 scale Consolidated B-24J Liberator in 1976, several after market vacuform and resin manufacturers (Attic Aircraft, Concise Models & Graphics, Cutting Edge Modelworks, Koster Aero Enterprises, Wilde Sau Resin) have produced conversion parts to convert the Monogram B-24 kit into a PB4Y-2 Privateer. I have seen some really nice PB4Y-2 builds converted from the Monogram B-24 kit.
Mike West of Lone Star Models recently announced the upcoming release of a 1/48 scale full resin kit of the PB4Y-2 Privateer, with white metal parts, metal main landing gear struts, vacuformed clear pieces, and a large decal sheet. The price of the kit is listed at $290.00 which does not appear to be out of line since it is an all resin 1/48 scale four engine bomber.
Below are pictures from Lone Star Models’ website showing some of the resin, white metal and vacuformed kit pieces.
I have purchased several resin products from Lone Star Models over the years and have been impressed with the level of detail and the quality of casting.
If you are contemplating purchasing this kit, there are few things you need to know. First, Lone Star Models is a one man operation. Mike West does all of the product development, casting, order processing, and shipping. Because of a high demand for his products, he has to periodically shut off ordering on his website so that he can catch up with casting, processing, and shipping orders. If you are expecting a quick turnaround after ordering this kit, you might be disappointed.
Second, from time to time, this kit will not be available to order on Lone Star Model’s website (https://lonestarmodels.com/). As I am drafting this post, the kit is listed as “Out of Stock”, which means that Mike has sold the stock he has on hand. Once he has built back up his stock, it will become available to purchase. This is just one of the ways Mike has had to resort to so he does not fall too far behind. If you want to order this kit, you just have to be patient.
Since the kit has not actually been released yet, there have not been any on-line reviews as of yet.
A Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer kit has been on the top of my “wish list” for the last decade, and I have not seen any indication that any of the mainstream model manufacturers (Eduard, Hasegawa, Revell, Tamiya etc . . .) are even contemplating producing a PB4Y-2 in the foreseeable future. This may be a modeler’s only option for a complete kit for quite some time.
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.
Eduard has not disappointed with respect to the number of different boxings of its new 1/48 North American P-51D Mustang that have been released so far, nor has it been shy about announcing future boxings of the kit.
So far Eduard has released a Limited Edition “Chattanooga Choo Choo” P-51D-5 (with the swayback fillet) boxing; a P-51D-5 ProfiPACK boxing, an Eday 2019 Special Edition P-51D “Excalibur” boxing, and a Royal Class boxing with two decal options for an Iwo Jima VLR Mustang. In addition, Eduard has released numerous Brassin upgrade sets so a modeler can really take detailing their kit to the next level. Quite impressive.
Eduard has announced another ProfiPACK boxing to be released next month, and the August 2020 release of their Pacific Theater boxing with further decal options to build an Iwo Jima VLR Mustang.
In this month’s edition of INFO Eduard, they gave us a sneak peak of the March ProfiPACK boxing decal options, and again, there is no disappointment. In addition to decals for the planes flown by five very recognizable European Theater aces, it will also include decals for Major James B. Tapp’s 101 “Margaret IV” (78th FS/15th FG). Major Tapp was the commander of the 78th Fighter Squadron, and the second highest scoring VLR Mustang ace with eight aerial victories.
Kudos to Eduard for including decals for Major Tapp’s 101 “Margaret IV” in the upcoming ProfiPACK boxing. Nice to see Pacific Theater Mustangs getting some more love.