Mark L. Rossmann’s 1/48 Tamiya and ICM P-51D Mustangs; 457th Fighter Squadron, 506th Fighter Group

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.

Mark L. Rossmann

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 L. Rossmann

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. Wesley A. Murphy, Jr. and 531 “Nip Nocker” (via 506th Fighter Group Association)

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 L. Rossmann
This photo shows that the name “Nip Nocker” was on both sides of the nose (506th Fighter Group Association via John Benbow)

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.

Mark L. Rossmann

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 L. Rossmann

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.

AeroMaster Decals

While this decal sheet has been long out of production, you can still find it on eBay from time to time.

Mark L. Rossmann

“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.

1st Lt. John W. Winnen in the cockpit of 527 “Hel-Eter/Lil Toddie” with Crew Chief Staff Sgt. Jaynes Gandy on the wing (506th Fighter Group Association via John Benbow)

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.

1st Lt. Warren Clayton and Crew Chief Sgt. Simon sitting on the wing of 527 “Hel-Eter/Lil Toddie” (506th Fighter Group Association via John Benbow)

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.

Mark L. Rossmann

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”.

A 505th BG Boeing B-29 Superfortress escorted by 527 “Hel-Etr/Lil Toodie”, a 457th FS/506th FG North American P-51D-20NA Mustang, piloted by 1st Lt. Denny O’Hearn (USAAF/National Archives via Fold3)
Mark L. Rossmann

Thanks again to Mark Rossmann for sharing his dual 457th FS builds with us!

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/

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