North American P-51D Mustang and F-51D 
various air forces
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North American P-51 Mustangs model kit in 1/72 scale 
Building report

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F-51D of Fuerzas del Aire , Costa Rica

For my model, I used the propeller kit part #2A and the standard canopy #5D. 

This aircraft has a metal scheme and ALCLAD is a nice choice. But not all surfaces have a big shining appearance. So first some areas of the wing were airbrushed dull silver using Revell Aqua #90 silver. After masking off these, the gloss black ALCLAD required undercoat was airbrushed using gloss black Revell Aqua #07 . The black anti glare areas of the nose were masked now with low tack tape before airbrushing the ALCLAD. 

After drying, a few thin layers of ALCLAD II ALC-119 "airframe aluminium" was airbrushed. Quickly clean the airbrush when done, the ALCLAD cloggs the nozzle and airbrush interior. 


The wing walkway is a black decal from the spares box, cut in shape. 

The rudder stripes were hand painted. The code "2" came from the spares box. The Costa Rican national markings of 1955 period look like a US one but without the star. The markings were made cutting US stars-and-bars decals and applying these. 

The prop spinner was painted red and the prop black with yellow tips. The anti-collision lights on the wing tips got some dots of red and blue. The model got a few wing drop tanks. And the antenna wire from fishing line, "drooped" due to the aft slided cockpit hood. 

After finishing, the model got an overall gloss coat using airbrush and Johnson Future / Klear / Pledge. The anti-glare panel was not given this coat, use a hand held piece of paper to shield off during airbrushing. This coat gives a nice shine and protects the decals for years. 

That completed a F-51D of Fuerzas del Aire , Costa Rica in the year 1955

 

[ 51,000 sq.km | capital: San Jose |  4,8 million inhabitants | GDP $12,000 per capita ]

Costa Rica was independent as early as in 1821. 

In 1948 formally "armed forces" were abolished by the Costa Rica Government. Four F-51Ds were acquired by Costa Rica from the Texas ANG in 1955. They were used very little, and spent most of their time in storage. The survivors were sold off in March of 1964. There is a small armed civil guard with some Cessna's, Pipers, a Caribou transport and a few MD.500 helicopters. It appears also a few Chinese Harbin Y-12 have been acquired from 2016. But still tensions are a fact in the region. 


 


F-51D Fuerza Aerea de Nicaragua 
Another kit was made, now for a Nicaraguan scheme. I used the propeller part #2A and the standard canopy #5D. The flaps were set raised with the Airfix parts #6B and #7B. 

The metallic scheme is now made a bit more dull because of tropical conditions and less maintenance. The overall F-51 model got with the airbrush an overall coat of dull silver using Revell Aqua #90 silver. The matt black anti-glare nose areas were masked and airbrushed matt black. 

This period showed very peculiar markings for the Nicaragua national insignia! The wing roundels are different than the ones on the fuselage. The basic roundels were found in the spares box (Belgian ?) but required adding a dark blue dot. The blue dot was punched out of a spare decal with a Waldron Punch set. 

The wing roundels were found on an old ESCI decal set. This ESCI sheet is very inspiring with loads of special decals!. These decals however are over the years have become very fragile! They fall apart when dropped in water! So at least 4 coats of MICROSCALE liquid decal film was hand brushed with wide brush first. This prevents the decals falling apart, but now every single decal needs to be cut out with scissors. 

The shark mouth decal as found in the Airfix decals for the USAF scheme was used but a bit adapted as well and with a black edge. A black anti-glare area was also airbrushed after masking. 


The wing walkway has a slightly different shape and was made of a dull black decal. The rudder was painted with and got dark blue strips made from decals strips. Also a red border is seen, made from a decal. The prop spinner was painted dark blue.

The final assembly was as per kit. After finishing, the model got an overall gloss coat using airbrush and Johnson Future / Klear / Pledge

A nice model of the P-51D Fuerza Aerea de Nicaragua.

   

[ 130,000 sq.km | capital:  Managua | 6,1 million inhabitants | GDP $ 2,200 per capita ]

To protect the region, in Nicaragua from 1922 a small force was set up with US supplied DH.4 aircraft and Curtis Jennies. From 1938 with US support the "Fuerza Aérea de la Guardia Nacional" was improved and some WACO D and Grumman G-23 aircraft obtained. After the Second World War the air force took delivery of a few P-47 Thunderbolts and some F-51Ds came in 1947, and some of them remained in service well into the 1960s. In 1948 Nicaragua joined the OAS and in the mid fifties  some 26 ex-Swedish F-51D were acquired. They later received 30 P-51D Mustangs from the United States and a few TF-51's. Most Nicaraguan Mustangs were sold off in 1961. It appears a few were loaned to Cuban exile groups during the Bay of Pigs invasion but probably they were not used. Other aircraft were the O-2, T-28 and T-33 jets and smaller transports like Cessna's and Otters. 

After the Sandanista coup in 1979 and regime change a totally different political course was taken. Some Nicaraguan Mustangs were seen still flying with the "Fuerza Aérea Sandinista/Defensa Anti-Aérea—FAS/DAA" as late as 1980. Some L-39 Albatrosses and SF.260 from Libya's Ghadaffi were to be obtained (it is unclear if they were delivered.) Several Mil-17 helicopters were also operated. Transports were Antonovs like the AN-2 and AN-26.

In 1990 there were elections and a new more Western government in place. Due to crisis the number of operational aircraft nowadays seem to be just a few like some Cessna 337, L-39 and helicopters.  

The main base is at Managua airport but also bases at Punta Huete and Puerto Cabezas.


   .... model set in a airfield scenery

  Note the peculiar roundel on the wing

   

A bunch of neat little Airfix P-51's are now in the World Air Forces  model collection.  
 

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Created this page April 30, 2015