Iwo Jima VLR Mustang Squadron Markings Part II ; 47th Fighter Squadron, 15th Fighter Group

Colonel James O. Beckwith in 15 “Squirt” (James O. Beckwith)

This is the second part of a nine part series on the markings of the VLR Mustang squadrons. Six of the nine squadrons changed their markings during their time on Iwo Jima after the 7th Fighter Command ordered the VLR Fighter Groups to adopt more simplified markings. The 47th Fighter Squadron was one of those squadrons.

The fuselage numbers for the 47th Fighter Squadron Mustangs were 150 through 199. During their time in the Central Pacific, the 47th FS adopted the nickname the “Dogpatchers”, and began naming their aircraft for the characters of the then popular comic strip “Li’l Abner” by Al Capps. When the 47th received its Mustangs, the squadron emblem was painted on the left side of the cowl, and the comic strip character on the right side.

S/Sgt. James N. Lindsay – Painter of the squadron emblem and the Li’l Abner cartoon character nose art for the 47th Fighter Squadron (W.H. Sparks)

Early Squadron Markings. Most references indicate that the early squadron markings for 47th FS Mustangs were yellow bordered black bands on the fuselage, wings and elevators; tails that were adorned with a yellow bordered black chevron; and yellow/black/yellow spinners. Black and white photos would seem to confirm this belief, but this might not be entirely accurate.

Eduard

Please note that Eduard suggests that the bands and chevron were not actually black, but most probably very dark blue. I do not have any squadron records in my possession to either confirm or deny this suggestion. Eduard’s recommended paint for this very dark blue is GSI Creos (GUNZE) Aqueous H328 or GSI Creos (GUNZE) Mr. Hobby C328, which are Gunze’s water based acrylic and lacquer based paints for U.S. Navy Blue Angels Blue.

I would like to suggest some alternative colors for this “very dark blue”. The 47th Fighter Squadron’s initial Mustangs were painted while the squadron was stationed on Hawaii before being deployed to Iwo Jima. The darkest blue paints they most likely had access to on Hawaii were the U.S. Navy’s stores of either Semi-Gloss Sea Blue (ANA 606), Non-Specular Sea Blue (ANA 607), or Glossy Sea Blue (ANA 623). Below is a plastic spoon painted with Vallejo Model Air Glossy Sea Blue 71.300 (ANA 623/FS 15042). Now that’s a very dark blue.

Vallejo Model Air Glossy Sea Blue 71.300 (ANA 623/FS 15042)

An advantage of using these late-war U.S. Navy blues is that they are readily available to the modeler through most model paint manufacturers. AK Interactive, Ammo of MiG, GUNZE, Hataka Hobby Paints, Humbrol, Mission Model Paints, Mr. Paint, Tamiya and Vallejo all carry at least one or two of these colors.

Now one more twist on the color of the bands: purple. What? Purple? Below is a still of color 16mm film taken on Iwo Jima after a 47th FS crash that Mark Stevens forwarded to me while I was doing research for this post. Mark stated that several members of the 47th FS indicated that the darker portion of the bands was either dark blue or purple. All very interesting; but not sure what to think about using purple.

7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens

While I am not personally searching for a purple model paint, I would not question a modeler’s choice of purple based on what I see in the above photo and comments from veterans. I am really intrigued about using Glossy Sea Blue for the 47th FS bands and chevron.

Spinners: Under the early squadron markings, the spinners were either yellow at the very tip, then black (very dark blue or purple), and natural metal at the back; or yellow at the very tip, black (very dark blue or purple), and yellow at the back. Below are photos of 150 Li’l Butch and 167 Pappy Yochum clearly showing the back portion of the spinner being unpainted.

150 “Li’l Butch” (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)
Lt. Robert Scamara in 167 “Pappy Yokum” (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)

The next two photos show the back portion of the spinner being painted. Always check reference photos for the markings of the particular plane you are modeling as there was a surprising lack of uniformity between planes in the same squadron.

USAAF/National Archives via Fold3

The front and back colors of the spinner on Hairless Joe appear to the be same color.

159 “Hairless Joe” (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)

If you are going to build a 47th FS Mustang with the early markings and the flaps dropped, please note the two photos below. It appears that the 47th FS painted the bands on the wings with the flaps lowered.

USAAF/National Archives via Fold3
USAAF/National Archives via Fold3

So, would it be wrong for you to use black for the bands, chevron and spinner? In my opinion, black is still an option. Other than the movie still above with what looks to be a purple fuselage band a tail chevron, the use of very dark blue or purple by the 47th FS appears mostly anecdotal. Therefore, I believe it is difficult to arrive at a definitive conclusion unless squadron records were to provide the answer. No criticism here if black were to be used.

Late Squadron Markings: The simplified squadron markings for the 47th FS were black tips on the wings, horizontal stabilizers, and tail, and an all black spinner. These squadron markings provide some credibility to the opinion that the bands and chevron of the early squadron markings might have been black.

Eduard

Below are two photos of 47th FS Mustangs with all black spinners. Note on the second photo that right landing gear leg and the inside of the landing gear door appear to have a dark band painted on them. Unfortunately, the ground crew are standing in front of the left landing gear.

7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens
7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens

The photo below shows three rows of 47th FS Mustangs with Mt. Surbachi in the background. This is an interesting photo due to the varied markings on the planes. The drop tanks between the second and third rows are the 165 gallon P-38 type tanks.

7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens

I have zoomed in on each row to show the period of transition between the early and late squadron markings. This first row has a Mustang with late squadron tail and wing tips, but with the early squadron black and yellow spinner; a Mustang with no markings except the squadron emblem; a Mustang with complete simplified late squadron markings; and a Mustang with the early squadron black and yellow spinner and chevron but with no fuselage or wing bands.

7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens

The second row has three Mustangs with the early squadron black and yellow spinner and chevron but with no fuselage or wing bands, and a Mustang with the simplified late squadron markings. I cannot make out the markings on the last Mustang.

7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens

The third row has three Mustangs with the early squadron black and yellow spinner and chevron but with no fuselage or wing bands, and a Mustang with no markings. Removing the early squadron markings had to be a tedious and unpleasant task.

7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens

The squadron emblem was a devilish looking hornet breathing fire, riding a lightning bolt on a blue background.

47th Fighter Squadron Emblem

Below is a nice photo of 150 Li’l Butch showing the size and location of the squadron emblem.

Captain Robert R. Downs and Ground Crew with 150 “Li’l Butch” (7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens)

You may have noticed that the photo of Col. James O. Beckwith’s Squirt and Eduard’s profile of Lt. Col. John W. Mitchell’s Annie Lee have non-standard two digit fuselage numbers even though adorned with 47th FS markings. After Col. Beckwith became the commanding officer of the 15th Fighter Group, all of his planes had 15 for a fuselage number to signify his leadership of the group. Lt. Col. Mitchell became the commanding officer for the 15th Fighter Group after Col. Beckwith’s successor, Lt. Col. Jack Thomas, was killed in action on the July 19, 1945 strike mission. I am not aware of the reason or significance of the fuselage number “11” on Annie Lee.

As always, a big thank you to Mark Stevens of the 7th Fighter Command Association for all of his assistance.

References:

1. The Long Campaign: The History of the 15th Fighter Group in World War II, John W. Lambert, Schaffer Publishing Ltd. (2006).

2. The Pineapple Air Force: Pearl Harbor to Tokyo; John W. Lambert; Schaffer Publishing Ltd (2006).

3. Very Long Range P-51 Mustang Units of the Pacific War; Carl Molesworth; Osprey Publishing Limited (2006).

Next up: A comparison of Eduard instrument panels.

As a condition of the use of materials from the 7th Fighter Command Association website, the following disclaimer is included: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this Worldwide Web server and related graphics is hereby granted, provided 1) That the use of the data will not be used for obtaining a profit of any kind, and 2) That the above disclaimer notice appear in all copies and that both that disclaimer notice and this permission notice appear. All other rights reserved. The name of “7th Fighter Command Association” may not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of this information without specific, written prior permission. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association makes no representations about the suitability of this information for any purpose. It is provided “as is” without express or implied warranty. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association disclaim all warranties with regard to this information, including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall Mark Stevens or the 7th Fighter Command Association be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this information.

Iwo Jima VLR Mustang Squadron Markings Part I ; 45th Fighter Squadron, 15th Fighter Group

45th Fighter Squadron Mustangs with 110 gallon drop tanks on their way from Saipan to Iwo Jima (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)

This is the first part of a nine part series on the markings of the VLR Mustang squadrons. Six of the nine squadrons changed their markings during their time on Iwo Jima after the 7th Fighter Command ordered the VLR Fighter Groups to adopt more simplified markings. The 45th Fighter Squadron was one of those squadrons.

I will be using the aircraft profiles from Eduard’s “Very Long Range: Tales of Iwo Jima” limited edition kit for two reasons. First, they cover all nine VLR squadrons, and second, the profiles are very accurate.

The fuselage numbers for the 45th Fighter Squadron Mustangs were 50 through 99.

Early Squadron Markings. The early squadron markings were black bordered green diagonal bands on the wings and tail, and a green/black/green/natural metal spinner. These markings were applied on Hawaii after the 45th FS transitioned from Republic P-47D Thunderbolts to the North American P-51D Mustangs.

Eduard

The photo below shows the 45th FS Mustangs below deck on the USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE 86) during their transport from Hawaii to Saipan in January 1945. Note wing bands wrapping around the leading edge of the wing just before the wheel wells, and that the squadron emblem was applied on both sides of the cowl. Also of interest is the installation of the 110 gallon drop tanks along with the sway braces, and the single mast antenna. The dual Uncle Dog antennae were not installed on the 15th FG Mustangs until after they arrived on Iwo Jima.

45th FS Mustangs below deck of the USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE 86) (7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens)

If you are going to build a 45th FS Mustang with the early markings and the flaps dropped, please note the photo below. The diagonal wings bands on the flaps are slightly offset when the flaps are dropped. Whether you are using decals for the diagonal wing bands or painting them, it is best to do so with the flaps in the up position. After that application is completed, then the flaps can be dropped.

USAAF/National Archives via Fold3

The photo below shows some additional insights into the early markings of the 45th FS. First, the photo confirms that the black bordered green diagonal bands were also on the underside of the wing. Second is the 15th Fighter Group’s practice of painting the fuselage number on the outer landing gear doors. As the photo shows, this practice was not universal, and was later abandoned after plane maintenance requirements quickly overtook other activities on Iwo Jima. The Mustang burning in the background of this photo is 86 “Foxy” (Serial No. 44-63474). “Foxy” was involved in a landing accident on March 10, 1945. SuperScale produces a decal sheet that includes the markings for “Foxy” and my review of that decal sheet can be found here: https://iwojimamodels.com/2020/10/11/decal-review-superscale-decals-p-51d-mustangs-48-1153/. DK Decals produces decals for 77 “San Antonio Rose” in both 1/72 and 1/48 scales, and my reviews of those decal sheets can be found here: https://iwojimamodels.com/2020/12/08/decal-review-dkdecals-p-51d-mustang-very-long-range-p-51-units-iwo-jima-1945-72087/, and here: https://iwojimamodels.com/2020/12/05/decal-review-dkdecals-p-51d-mustang-vlr-units-iwo-jima-1945-48029/

USAAF/National Archives via Fold3

Late Squadron Markings. In May of 1945, the 7th Fighter Command issued orders requiring the Iwo Jima VLR Mustang groups to adopt more simplified markings. The black bordered green diagonal bands were replaced by green tail and wing tips and a solid green propeller spinner as shown in Eduard’s profile of “Stinger VII” and the photos below. These orders must have been seen in a positive light on behalf of ground crews as the majority of time was consumed by attempting to keep their planes combat worthy leaving little time for painting time consuming squadron markings.

Eduard
67 “Stinger VII” (7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens)
The tail of 67 “Stinger VII” (7th Fighter Command Association via Mark Stevens)

Squadron Emblem. The early 45th FS emblem was an American Indian brave wielding a hatchet and riding a plane that was meant to look like a P-40 Warhawk on a yellow background. We start seeing these emblems applied to 45th FS P-40Ns during an earlier tour in the Central Pacific. The early squadron emblem looked something similar to the squadron patch below.

Early 45th Fighter Squadron Emblem

As the 45th FS transitioned to P-51D Mustangs in Hawaii before deploying to Iwo Jima, the squadron emblem changed slightly. The American Indian brave stayed the same in appearance, but now he is riding a plane that is meant to look like a P-51D Mustang. I could not find a good period photo of the new squadron emblem, but it is accurately represented by DK Decals as shown below.

DK Decals

Very few decal sheets, either kit or aftermarket, provide the diagonal wing and tail bands. So what color do you use for the green? Eduard recommends either Mr. Color Russian Green (135) or Mission Model Paints Resedagrun RAL 6011 (MMP-018). Below are color chips from the respective paint manufacturers. The Russian Green by Mr. Color looks very good to my eye.

Mr. Color 135 (Russian Green)
Mission Model Paints MMP-018 (Resedagrun RAL 6011)

Another option is Willow Green (FS14187/ANA 503). Willow Green was originally used by the U.S. Navy in some of their colorful pre-war paint schemes. Both Mr. Paint (MRP-385) and Hataka Hobby (HTK-C221) include Willow Green as part of their lines of hobby paints.

Mr. Paint Willow Green (MRP-385)

My comparison of these two paints can be found here: https://iwojimamodels.com/2020/03/15/paint-comparison-hataka-hobby-orange-line-and-mrp-mr-paint-lacquers/. Both are excellent paints.

Hataka Hobby Willow Green (HTK-221)

As always, a big thank you to Mark Stevens of the 7th Fighter Command Association for all of his assistance.

References:

1. The Long Campaign: The History of the 15th Fighter Group in World War II, John W. Lambert, Schaffer Publishing Ltd. (2006).

2. The Pineapple Air Force: Pearl Harbor to Tokyo; John W. Lambert; Schaffer Publishing Ltd (2006).

3. Very Long Range P-51 Mustang Units of the Pacific War; Carl Molesworth; Osprey Publishing Limited (2006).

As a condition of the use of materials from the 7th Fighter Command Association website, the following disclaimer is included: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this Worldwide Web server and related graphics is hereby granted, provided 1) That the use of the data will not be used for obtaining a profit of any kind, and 2) That the above disclaimer notice appear in all copies and that both that disclaimer notice and this permission notice appear. All other rights reserved. The name of “7th Fighter Command Association” may not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of this information without specific, written prior permission. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association makes no representations about the suitability of this information for any purpose. It is provided “as is” without express or implied warranty. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association disclaim all warranties with regard to this information, including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall Mark Stevens or the 7th Fighter Command Association be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this information.

Mark L. Rossmann’s 1/48 15th Fighter Group VLR Mustang Builds

Mark Rossmann is back with three 1/48 VLR Mustang builds. This is a blast from the past as Mark built these 15th Fighter Group Mustangs back in 2007.

Mark L. Rossmann

First up is the 45th Fighter Squadron’s P-51D-20NA (44-63483) 67 “Stinger VII”, flown by Major Robert W. “Todd” Moore. Major Moore was the highest scoring 7th Fighter Command ace with 12 aerial victories; 11 of those victories scored on VLR missions.

Mark L. Rossmann

Major Moore’s first victory came on an ambush mission over Arno Atoll on January 26, 1944, during which he shot down a Mitsubishi Zero. He did not score again until the 15th Fighter Group started flying VLR missions from Iwo Jima. His last victory came on a VLR escort mission to Tokyo on August 10, 1945, during which he shot down a Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki.

Major Robert W. Moore (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)

In addition to the 12 aerial victories, Major Moore was credited with 3 ground victories. He ended the war as the commander of the 45th Fighter Squadron.

Mark L. Rossmann

Mark used the Tamiya kit along with decals from Aeromaster’s The Very Long Range Escorts “The Iwo Jima Mustangs” Fancy Art Part 4 sheet (48-797).

Mark L. Rossmann

An excellent article written by Tom Ivie on Major Moore’s service with the 15th Fighter Group during World War II can be found here: https://www.7thfighter.com/78th/moore/todd.htm

Next up is the 47th Fighter Squadron’s P-51D-20NA (44-63972) 185 “Black Rufe” flown by 1st Lt. William Hayden Sparks.

Mark L. Rossmann

1st Lt. Sparks scored an aerial victory over Kakamigahara Airdrome on July 19, 1945, and was also credited with a ground victory on August 3, 1945.

1st Lt. W. Hayden Sparks (via Mark W. Stevens/7th Fighter Command Association)
1st Lt. W. Hayden Sparks (W. Hayden Sparks)

185 “Black Rufe” was actually lost on the infamous June 1, 1945, Black Friday mission, but 1st Lt. Sparks was not assigned to fly that mission.

Mark L. Rossmann

Again, Mark used the Tamiya kit along with decals from Aeromaster’s The Very Long Range Escorts “The Iwo Jima Mustangs” Fancy Art Part 4 sheet (48-797).

Mark L. Rossmann

Mark’s third build is the 78th Fighter Squadron’s P-51D-20NA (44-63973) 100 “Jeanne VIII” flown by Major James M. Vande Hey. Major Vande Hey was a veteran 78th FS pilot who participated in all of the 78th FS campaigns in the Central Pacific, and was squadron commander when the 78th FS arrived on Iwo Jima.

Mark L. Rossmann

Major Vande Hey scored 4 aerial victories during his time with the 78th Fighter Squadron. His first two victories came on the January 26, 1944 ambush mission over Arno Atoll, during which he shot down two Mitsubishi Zeros.

Major James M. Vande Hey standing next to his Republic P-47D Thunderbolt “Jeanne VII” in Hawaii (James M. Vande Hey)

His third victory came on the first VLR escort mission to Tokyo on April 7, 1945, during which he shot down a Mitsubishi Ki-46 Dinah. Major Vande Hey’s last victory came on second VLR escort mission on April 12, 1945, again to Tokyo. Upon landing on Iwo Jima, his engine stopped for lack of fuel and had to be towed back to its hardstand. Major Vande Hey had been in the air for over 8 hours. This would be his last VLR mission. After spending 40 months in the Central Pacific, and after logging over 1,500 flight hours, Major Vande Hey rotated home and was reassigned to a Stateside position.

Major James M. Vande Hey (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)

James Vande Hey would make a career out of serving his country in the United States Air Force obtaining the rank of Brigadier General. Brig. Gen. Vande Hey retired on July 1, 1971, and passed away on December 21, 2009.

Mark L. Rossmann

For this build, Mark used the Hasegawa kit along with decals from Aeromaster’s The Very Long Range Escorts “The Iwo Jima Mustangs” Fancy Art Part 2 sheet (48-795).

Mark L. Rossmann

Thanks again to Mark Rossmann for sharing his builds with us. More to come as Mark has done more VLR Mustang builds over the years. Very nice builds! Thanks also to Mark W. Stevens of the 7th Fighter Command Association for the photos of 1st Lt. W. Hayden Sparks.

References:

1. The Long Campaign: This History of the 15th Fighter Group in World War II; John W. Lambert; Schaffer Publishing Ltd. (2006)

2. 7th Fighter Command Association website/Mark W. Stevens. https://www.7thfighter.com/

As a condition of the use of materials from the 7th Fighter Command Association website, the following disclaimer is included: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this Worldwide Web server and related graphics is hereby granted, provided 1) That the use of the data will not be used for obtaining a profit of any kind, and 2) That the above disclaimer notice appear in all copies and that both that disclaimer notice and this permission notice appear. All other rights reserved. The name of “7th Fighter Command Association” may not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of this information without specific, written prior permission. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association makes no representations about the suitability of this information for any purpose. It is provided “as is” without express or implied warranty. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association disclaim all warranties with regard to this information, including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall Mark Stevens or the 7th Fighter Command Association be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this information.

Decal Review: Eagle Strike Productions’ 1/32 Pacific Mustangs Pt. II (32003)

This is an older decal sheet released in 1998 which provides markings for the planes of the three top VLR aces: Major Robert W. Moore’s 67 “Stinger VII” (12 aerial victories); Major James B. Tapp’s 101 “Margaret – IV” (8 aerial victories); and Major Harry C. Crim, Jr.’s 300 “My Achin! [Ass]” (6 aerial victories).

Eagle Strike Productions

This decal sheet is no longer in production, and is difficult to acquire. It shows up every once in while on eBay, but not very often. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of 1/32nd scale decal sheets in production that feature Iwo Jima VLR Mustangs. Either you have to use what is available as far as after market decals, or learn how to create your own paint masks.

Eagle Strike Productions

The decal sheet is really good as far as accuracy of the markings, but it is not without its errors and omissions.

Eagle Strike Productions

Major Harry C. Crim, Jr. (531st FS/21st FG) – Major Crim was the 3rd highest scoring VLR ace with six confirmed victories, and the only fighter ace of the 21st FG. He joined the 21st FG in August, 1944, after serving with the 14th Fighter Group in Tunisia flying the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Unable to score any aerials victories with 14th FG, he scored his first two victories, a Kawasaki Ki-61 “Tony” and a Kawasaki Ki-45 “Nick” on April 7, 1945, the first VLR mission flown by the 7th Fighter Command Mustangs. His last victory, a Mitsubishi A6M Zero, came on July 6, 1945 during a strike mission against Atsugi airfield. Major Crim was also credited with six ground victories.

Assistant Crew Chief Sergeant Stanley McCarro in the cockpit of Major Crim’s 300 “My Achin! [Ass]” (Harry Crim via Tom Ivie/Carl Molesworth)

44-73623 was a P-51D-25NA, and Major Crim’s second VLR Mustang. The kill markings, mission markings, and ground crews’ names appear to be very good on the decal sheet except for Asst. Crew Chief Stanley McCarro’s name being misspelled. The only other deficiency in these decals is the artwork for the donkey/ass.

Major Harry C. Crim, Jr.’s 300 “My Achin! [Ass]”

The photo above shows a portion of the canvas wheel well covers which were a standard production feature that were discarded by European Theater Mustang groups, but were maintained in place by the Iwo Jima Mustang groups as a means of keeping sand and volcanic grit out of the wheel wells.

After Major Crim rotated home, “My Achin! [Ass]” was assigned to Flight Officer Theo Gruici, who had Major Crim’s kill and mission markings and the names of the ground crew removed, and had a reclining nude painted on the fuselage. Most decal manufacturers have a nude on the left landing gear cover for Major Crim’s markings, but I have yet to see a photo confirming this. The nude on the left landing gear cover is mostly obscured by the 110 gallon drop tank in the photo below, and it raises the question whether there was a nude also on the right landing gear cover. After inquiring of others who have more extensive photo collections than I do, there does not appear to be any photos of the right side of the plane. Some questions will never be answered.

Flight Officer Theo Gruici’s 300 “My Achin! [Ass]” (7th Fighter Command Association/Mark W. Stevens)

Major Robert W. “Todd” Moore (45th FS/15th FG) – Major Moore was the highest scoring VLR ace with 11 VLR aerial victories. He had one aerial victory with the 15th FG prior to arriving on Iwo Jima. 44-63483, a P-51D-20NA, was first assigned to Major Gilmore L. “Buck” Snipes and was named “Tom Kat”.

Below are the aircraft profiles from Eduard’s 1/48 Very Long Range: Tales of Iwo Jima limited edition kit showing 67’s markings while flown by Major Snipes and by Major Moore. The profiles show the 45th Fighter Squadron’s original markings and the more simplified markings mandated by the 7th Fighter Command.

Eduard
Eduard

The three photos below provide some different marking variations for 67 “Stinger VII” during the time it was assigned to Major Moore. From these photos it appears that Major Moore was assigned to 67 during the time the squadron was transitioning from their original markings to the more simplified markings.

This is a Loomis Dean photograph which show 67 “Stinger VII” with an unpainted spinner and the diagonal wing bands still in place as evidenced by the bands wrapping over the leading edge of the wing. It also appears that rails for HVAR rockets have been installed under the wings which can be seen just above the drop tanks on the left wing. These were field modifications as rocket rails were not installed at the factory during Block 20 production.

Major Robert W. Moore with 67 “Stinger VII” (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)

The photograph below, while not the best in quality, appears to show that the diagonal bands have been removed from the wings, but still are present on the tail surfaces. It does not appear that the spinner has been painted solid green yet. Please also note that the number 67 also appears on the main landing gear covers. This was common practice for 45th FS Mustangs. Unfortunately, the Eagle Strike decal sheet does not provide the decals for the landing gear covers.

Major Robert W. Moore’s 67 “Stinger VII”

The last photo shows 67 “Stinger VII” with the simplified markings of a solid green spinner, green wing tips, green horizontal stablizer/elevator tips, and (assuming) green tail tip.

Major Robert W. Moore’s 67 “Stinger VII” (Robert W. Moore via Tom Ivie/Carl Molesworth)

Major James B. Tapp (78th FS/15th FG) – Major Tapp was the second highest scoring VLR Mustang ace with 8 aerial victories. All eight victories were scored in 101 “Margaret – IV” (44-63984), a P-51D-20NA. Major Tapp scored 4 aerial victories on the first VLR mission on April 7, 1945. He scored another victory on April 12, 1945, which represents the 5 victories on the decal sheet.

Major James B. Tapp’s 101 “Margaret -IV” (7th Fighter Command Association/Mark W. Stevens)

As can be seen from the photo above and the photo below, the name “Margaret – IV” and the Bushmaster squadron emblem are on both sides of the nose. The photo below shows that there are additional markings on the right side of the fuselage below the canopy.

Major James B. Tapp’s 101 “Margaret – IV” (7th Fighter Command Association/Mark W. Stevens)

This last photo shows the markings on the right side of the fuselage which includes kill and mission markings. In addition to the name of the Crew Chief Sergeant Blanco, there is the name of another ground crew member which is undiscernable from the photo. This photo also shows that the 0 in the fuselage number is broken rather than solid.

Crew Chief Sergeant Blanco standing on the wing of Major Tapp’s 101 “Margaret – IV” with unknown crew member in cockpit (via Brian Walter)

This is a very nice decal sheet despite some errors or omissions, especially in light of the fact that it was released in 1998. A lot of new information has come to light regarding the markings on these planes since this decal sheet was released.

References:

1. Very Long Range P-51 Mustang Units of the Pacific War; Carl Molesworth; Osprey Publishing Limited 2006.

2. The Long Campaign: The History of the 15th Fighter Group in World War II; John W. Lambert; Schiffer Publishing Limited 2006

3. Very Long Range: Tales of Iwo Jima Instruction Sheet; Eduard (2020).

As a condition of the use of materials from the 7th Fighter Command Association website, the following disclaimer is included: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this Worldwide Web server and related graphics is hereby granted, provided 1) That the use of the data will not be used for obtaining a profit of any kind, and 2) That the above disclaimer notice appear in all copies and that both that disclaimer notice and this permission notice appear. All other rights reserved. The name of “7th Fighter Command Association” may not be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of this information without specific, written prior permission. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association makes no representations about the suitability of this information for any purpose. It is provided “as is” without express or implied warranty. Mark Stevens and the 7th Fighter Command Association disclaim all warranties with regard to this information, including all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness. In no event shall Mark Stevens or the 7th Fighter Command Association be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of this information.