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The racer Thunderbird was officially listed as a P-51C, but she was really made up of salvaged parts from several different airframe types and versions from wartime surplus. She began racing in 1948, for Joe De Bona Racing Co. (a company partnership between Mr. De Bona and actor Jimmy Stewart). Sold in 1949 to Jacqueline Cochran, a WWII WASP aviator and instructor, Ms. Cochran set several records in Thunderbird. She sold the plane back to Stewart in 1953, when the plane was repainted and renamed. The plane crashed in 1955 during a routine takeoff due to apparent equipment failure. The pilot bailed out successfully.
This is one of the Pegasus Hobbies 1/48th scale WWII fighter EZ-Snap series of kits. I received this as a partial test shot, so it wasn't up to the quality of a production release kit; the molding was a bit soft in places, and I used an aftermarket resin spinner and prop, as the kit came to me without those parts. Aftermarket decals for the Thunderbird scheme came from Draw Decal.
Straight-forward construction on this one, and as it was a snap together and an early test shot with some blemishes, I didn't go crazy on finish. I did glue everything together, even though the snap-fit was pretty tight. I didn't keep track of the colors used, but I do know I used Vallejo Model Color thinned for airbrushing, using their equivalents for the interior green and insignia yellow for the interior parts and spinner. The main fuselage color is -- I believe -- Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue, but Tamiya X-4 Blue is also a close match.
There were a few issues with the canopy fitting, but not so bad that thin beads of Mr. Surfacer wiped away with Mr. Color thinner on a Q-Tip couldn't take care of it. The Draw Decals are amazing, but they are EXTREMELY thin and take getting used to. Start with the small pieces and work your way up to get the feel for them. One wouldn't be overly cautious to give them a coat of Future or Microscale Liquid Decal Film to thicken up the carrier a bit. I experimented with a white wash for the panel lines, but I'm not thrilled with how it came out; should've went with some shade of gray.
Overall a quick and fun build. I'd started this one years ago, and am glad to have it done. I didn't spend a lot of prep or finish time on it, so it won't be entering any contests, but she looks good sitting in the display cabinet.


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