Mark Rossmann is back with two 1/48 North American P-51D Mustangs from Tamiya and ICM. In this dual build, Mark covers both marking options for Mustangs of the 457th Fighter Squadron, 506th Fighter Group; the early striped tail and the later solid tail.
Initially released in 1995, Tamiya’s 1/48 North American P-51D Mustang was a significant improvement over prior kits in the areas of accuracy, details, and engineering. Many of these kits have been built over the years and a lot show up on model forums. For beginners or novices with just basic skill sets, it can be built into a really nice kit worth sharing with the rest of the world. For those with advanced detailing or scratch building skills, the kit can be transformed into competition winning model. Even by today’s standards, it is still an excellent kit.
Mark has used the Tamiya kit to build 531 “Nip Nocker”, a P-51D-20-NA (Serial No. 44-63291) assigned to 1st Lieutenant Wesley A. Murphey, Jr. 1st Lt. Murphey shot down a Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Demon), and damaged a Mitsubishi A6M Zero on the July 16, 1945 VLR strike mission to the Nagoya/Bay of Ise area. It is not known if “Nip Nocker” was assigned to another pilot in addition to 1st Lt. Murphey. Unfortunately, official squadron and group records do not go into that level of detail.
1st Lt. Murphey would continue his service to his country in the Air National Guard during which time he would attain the rank of Captain. He also served as a civilian instructor pilot for the United States Air Force, and ended his career at the Federal Aviation Administration. 1st Lt. Murphey passed away at the age of 89 on March 30, 2007 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Mark used SuperScale Decals 1/48 “P-51D Mustangs 457th FS/506th FG, Iwo Jima” (48-1152) decal sheet for the markings. My review of this decal sheet can be found here: https://iwojimamodels.com/2020/08/22/decal-review-superscale-decals-1-48-p-51d-mustangs-457th-fs-506th-fg-iwo-jima-48-1152/ The tail stripes are on this decal sheet and were specifically designed for the Tamiya kit. If you are wanting to build an early striped tail 457th FS Mustang without having to do all of the tedious masking, this decal sheet is what you need.
For his solid tail 457th FS Mustang, Mark used the ICM kit to build 527 “Hel-Eter/Lil-Toddie” (44-72557), a P-51D-20 NA. ICM’s 1/48 North American P-51D Mustang is basically the same kit as the Tamiya kit, and therefore, can be built into a very nice model.
Mark used the decals from AeroMaster’s The Very Long Range Escorts “The Iwo Jima Mustangs” Fancy Art Part 2 (48-795) for this build. A nice decal sheet, and the only after market decals for 527 “Hel-Eter/Lil-Toddie”. No other kit, in any scale, contains decals for this Iwo Jima VLR Mustang.
While this decal sheet has been long out of production, you can still find it on eBay from time to time.
“Hel-Eter/Lil Toddie” was first assigned to 1st Lt. John W. Winnen and 1st Lt. Philip G. Alston. The plane name “Hel-Eter” was a combination of shortened names of the 1st Lt. Winnen’s wife Helen and son Peter.
Two other pilots are known to have flown 527 “Hel-Eter/Lil Toddie”; 1st Lt. Warren Clayton and 1st Lt. Denny O’Hearn. I have not been able to find any records regarding if, and when 1st Lts. Clayton and O’Hearn were assigned to fly 527 “Hel-Eter/Lil Toddie”, but there is good evidence to suggest that was the case.
Warren Clayton wrote on the back of the above photo: “Hel-Eter, crew chief Sgt. Simon, and me. Good combination, Warren”. This strongly suggests that 1st Lt. Clayton was assigned to fly this plane.
However, as was common in other theaters of operation, a pilot might fly a plane was he was not assigned due to the availability of planes for a mission. A good example of this was 1st Lt. Chauncey Newcomb. 1st Lt. Newcomb was assigned to 514 “Erma Lou” with 1st Lt. Francis Albrecht, but scored his two aerial victories in 522 “BuzzBuddy”.
Thanks again to Mark Rossmann for sharing his dual 457th FS builds with us!