How to Build a 1/32 Scale Old Crow P-51D

by John Greiner

I’ve been wanting to build the 1/32 Hasegawa kit for quite some time but for some reason, lacked the “inspiration” to do so!  Well, that was more than slightly taken care of after I had the extreme pleasure of attending the 357th FG Reunion 2000 in San Antonio, TX! Simply put, it was an honor to meet, hang out with and somewhat get to know men that I’ve read about and held in extremely high esteem since childhood.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Bud a few times now, and it’s to him I dedicate this model.   I’m sure we all have seen plenty of “bio’s” on the P-51, so I’ll save you from that! So lets get started!


  The Hasegawa 32nd scale P-51D kit has (from what I understand) been on the market for quite some time now.  Upon opening the box, you’ll see a kit with engraved panel lines and rivet detail.  For my taste, some of the panel lines are quite deep and rivets are more “dramatic” than needed, but overall, a model that’s for the most part up to “today’s standards”. Akin to Hasegawa’s 1/48 scale P-51D kit, there is no option to have the flaps dropped, so I opted for a set of the Paragon resin flaps.  Along with a Verlinden cockpit detail set (part # 787) and True Details resin wheels, I was ready to tackle the beast!

  Normally, I open with working on the cockpit, but seeing I had some cutting to do for the flaps, I started with the wings.  Using a razor saw attached to my exacto knife handle, an easy removal of upper and lower flaps from the kit wings was quickly accomplished. Upon dry fitting the Paragon flaps, the first of MANY headaches appeared!!

The Paragon flaps are very nice, cream colored resin with ample detail. However, they are a tad too short.  The inboard (fuselage end) of the flaps “tuck under” the upper wing when in the up position.  This is what exposes the length problem.  Minor cutting and sculpting of the fuselage area where the flaps tuck inside is also required.  I used some 5 thou. Evergreen sheet styrene to form the extension of the flap and filled with Squadron Green Putty.  Once dry, the green putty was given an “overcoat” of CA to prevent any cracking.


Back to the kit instructions and they begin with assembly of the engine.  This is pretty straight forward and goes together without any problem.  Once finished with the engine, I opened the Verlinden cockpit and this is where most of my headaches began!!

  The Verlinden cockpit set is some of the most finely molded resin you’ll find.  The detail of the parts is first rate and is easy to remove from the castings. Construction commenced with cutting the kit instrument panel “dashboard”.  Also, sanding the inside of the cockpit area smooth of kit items is required.  With that done, I began the “futile” assembly of the left and right sidewalls.  Using both resin and photo-etched brass parts, assembly was pretty easy, with one BIG exception.  Verlinden has a habit of being VERY vague with the exact placement of their parts.  Lots of  “arrows” pointing in a general direction is not my idea of proper instructions for a DETAIL set.  I’d like to point out that the majority of my problems were with the cockpit sidewalls.  One glaring example is that the flare chute in NO way can possibly fit the way the instructions call for.  Placement of the sidewalls is also very vague and I think I ended up placing them a tad too far back, which led to some problems making the seat fit once I had to put it in! I opted to use the kit instrument panel.  I felt it was very adequate in detail.  I did however cut the lower middle part of the kit instrument panel and used the photo etch replacement.




Next up were the radios.  According to the Squadron “P-51D Walk Around” book (page 51), the radios included in the Verlinden update set are the BC-457 transmitter and BC-453 receiver.  I believe Bud’s “Dog” was a D-10, so I’m not sure if these are the correct radios or not!  The Squadron book describes these radios being used in “early D’s”.  Nonetheless, after painting flat black and some dry brushing of flat aluminum, they look quite acceptable to me!

  Back to the kit instructions and from here on out, everything is fairly straightforward. Special attention needs to be paid to the engine assembly.  There are no mounting “areas” for the engine.  It just sorta sits there!!!!  I suggest applying glue around the bottom of the exhaust stacks and giving the engine a firm place to sit in that fashion!   I drilled out the exhaust stacks for a more realistic look along with the oil cooler vents as well.   Fuselage sides glued together, it was back to the Verlinden “experience”.....

  I opted to use the kit oxygen hose rather than making one out of copper wire.  Also, I used my pin-vise and drilled out the holes in the canopy brace, rather than using the thin, out of scale photo-etched part.

  Next was the seatbelt/shoulder harness assembly.  These are comprised of no less than 24 separate photo-etched pieces!!!!!!!!  Quite time consuming, but when finished, for my money it certainly looks pretty good!


  As mentioned earlier, when the time came to put the seat into the fuselage, it was too “fat”!!  Hence, some sanding of the trim wheel was in order.  I placed the sidewalls just a tad too far back, making the sanding necessary....:-( Once together, it was time to mask the cockpit shut and commence with the outside painting!

  Painting and Decaling:

  In preparation for a “natural metal” finish, I painted the anti-glare panel (olive drab) and the rudder (insignia red), prior to my NMF.  I decided to have a try with SNJ enamel metallizer.  This is the one “sore spot” for modeling a natural metal finish.  Whatever “silver” is used, be it enamel or acrylic, silver/natural metal finishes tend to show EVERY blemish and scratch on your kit.  With that prominently in mind, I used a product I’ve come to love for the “primer” to the SNJ. Yes, ladies and germs, it’s “Future” acrylic floor wax.  Once everything was masked, I applied 2 thin to moderate coats of Future over the entire model.  When dry, the Future gives your model a very smooth “canvas” for the application of your silver/metallizer paint.  The SNJ was then applied in two thin to moderate coats and allowed to dry for approximately 36 hours.  

It was at this time that I also dipped the canopy clear parts in future and set them on a piece of wax paper to dry.  The Future makes clear plastic parts appear as glass!!  *Note....when using SNJ, be careful to NOT over spray the anti-glare panel or rudder paints onto the surfaces where the SNJ is to be applied.  This happened to me, and the SNJ appeared a slightly different texture in the areas where over spray was, as opposed to the smooth surface of the Future.  I was able to buff the “indifferent” areas out, but it was a scare at first!!

  Decals....... Where do I begin??  As many of you are aware, there are NO 1/32 decals of  “Old Crow” on the market today.  WHY, I ask!!!  After some serious “brainstorming” I came up with the idea of taking the decal sheet from the 1/48 scale Hasegawa “Glamorous Glennis” kit, which also has Old Crow on it, and enlarging the sheet 150% via a color copier.  Using a clear decal sheet, I then copied the enlarged decals onto the decal sheet.  Once that was accomplished, I shot a few coats of Microscale Decal Film over them to “seal”.  I thought I was all set!!!  Boy, I was wrong.

I’m not sure what happened.  Possibly, I didn’t seal them with enough of the Microscale Decal Film.  Whatever the reason, they didn’t work.  Fortunately, the only things “unique” to Old Crow are the words “Old Crow” (obviously!!), the fuselage codes, ID/crew plate and tail serial number. After some serious head scratching, I came up with the idea of tracing the decals and making templates.  (I copied off a few extra sheets, thankfully!).

After some pretty time consuming template construction using plain ‘ol masking tape as the medium and a brand new exacto knife blade, I was ready to paint the fuselage codes and lettering on the cowl.

  As you can see, I think they turned out pretty good.  Is it perfect? Heck no!!!!  But in lieu of NO 32nd scale Old Crow markings, I’m very happy with how it turned out!  Kit decals were used for the nose checkerboard (one of the kit options is “Butch Baby” of the 357th!), insignia and parts of the serial number on the tail.  Other number were either hand painted or spares from my decal dungeon were used!


  I’d like to state that because I had problems with the Verlinden cockpit set doesn’t mean I don’t recommend it!  Just be VERY careful with the placement of the resin sidewalls and the various components!  As I previously mentioned, the detail is top notch, I only wish they’d clear up the instructions!  Also recommended are the True Details wheels. Beautiful tread pattern and they don’t give that terrible flat tire look!  Weighted, yes. Flat, no!  Decals?  Well, we can only wish, for now.  Hasegawa now offers this same kit boxed with Chuck Yeager’s “Glamorous Glen III”, so between the two kits, it’s possible to build “Butch Baby” and “Glamorous Glen III” using kit decals.  To build Old Crow, you’re somewhat on your own!

I’m happy with the finished product and also hope this article will be of some assistance to future builders of this kit.  With over 30 other P-51’s to model in 357th FG markings, let’s keep the memory of the 357th alive!

  One final “postscript”.....  Merle Olmsted informed me that NONE of the P-51D’s assigned to the 357th ever used the wire antennae mounted from the front of the horizontal stabilizer, through the canopy and attached to the back of the armored head rest.  The radios used by the 357th did not require this.  As you can see in the pictures, I had this conversation with Merle AFTER I used “invisible” thread to simulate the wire! As the saying goes, “live and learn”!

  Paints used:

PollyScale Acrylics, Tamiya acrylics, SNJ Spray Enamel.


Walk Around, P-51D #7, Squadron/Signal Publications

P-51 Mustang “In Action”, #45, Squadron/Signal Publications

“The Yoxford Boys” by Merle C. Olmsted, Aero Publishers, Inc.

“The 357th Over Europe” by Merle C. Olmsted, Specialty Press

“P-51 Mustang”, by Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications

“P-51 Mustang Restored”, by Paul Coggan, Motorbooks International

“Mustang Aces of the Eighth Air Force”, by Jerry Scutts, Osprey Publishing

Personal conversations with Merle C. Olmsted.  

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