F-6D Photo Mustang Conversion

Published: February 16th, 2012     
Parts Packaging
Parts Packaging
Reviewed by: 
Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Scale: 1/72
Company: Quickboost
Price: $6.95
Product / Stock #: 72-234

History

The F-6D was a standard P-51D Mustang that was converted to photo-reconnaissance after completion.  126 P-51Ds built at Inglewood, California were converted to F-6Ds.  The conversion consisted of 3 major items:

  1. An oblique camera mounted in the side of the fuselage.
  2. A vertical camera mounted in the bottom of the fuselage.
  3. A radio direction finder with an added loop antenna on the rear fuselage.

After I received the QuickBoost F-6 conversion, I decided I would like to build a famous aircraft, if possible.  In my search through the internet, I found a very interesting, if little known, Photo Mustang.

Most WW2 aircraft buffs are familiar with William Shomo, who won the Medal of Honor by shooting down 7 Japanese aircraft, six Tonys and a Betty, in less than 5 minutes.  Most everyone is also familiar with Shomo’s “Flying Undertaker” aircraft, with its names, yellow and black stripes, and other colorful markings.  What I learned while doing markings research is that this is not the aircraft he was flying when he made his kills.  That aircraft was an F-6D, serial 44-14841, not the P-51D with all the neat names and color on it.

Another interesting facet of Shomo’s kills is that his squadron was equipped with F-6Ds in December of 1944.  On December 24th, Captain Shomo was put in command of the squadron, and ordered to move them to Mindoro, just southwest of Luzon in the Philippines.  On January 9th 1945, Capt Shomo led his squadron in their first combat mission with the new aircraft.  He downed a Val.  Two days later, he got 7 more, flying the same F-6.  This aircraft was lost on March 5, 1945.

So now I knew which F-6D I HAD to build.

The Kit

The QuickBoost F-6D is pretty simple.  You get the 2 large cameras, another smaller “window” (no idea what it’s for, but it shows up in the photos), the mount for the DF loop antenna, and a PE guide to scribe the camera access door.

The conversion is for the Tamiya P-51D, but since I had a Hasegawa P-51D which I had assembled and then used as a test shot for using a spray can to paint a silver airplane, I used it.  It had been sitting in a box on the shelf above my workbench for about 6 or 7 years, so it was time to finish it.  I painted the sides of the cameras with a metallic paint.

I found drills which pretty closely matched each of the three main parts of the F-6D conversion, and drilled 2 holes in the left side and one in the bottom.  The QB instructions are pretty clear on where these need to go, and there’s a photo of the left side of Shomo’s F-6D in Squadron’s Aces of the Southwest Pacific by Gene B. Stafford, which was also of help.

The largest hole required a ¼ inch drill, the bottom needed a 5/32 bit and, for the small one, I used a 3/32 bit.  I drilled a .025 pilot hole with a pin vise for each of the holes, as I can’t be exact enough with that big a tool.  Each hole had to be enlarged by 1 or 2 thousandths of an inch.  I didn’t want to start with an oversize hole, so I was conservative on the drill size.  I used a #11 blade to scrape the holes until the cameras fit tightly into the holes.

At this point I applied the “Stars and Bars” decals, as the one on the left overlaps one of the cameras.

I then installed the cameras, using Gator Glue.  After installing the prop, canopy, and landing gear, I put the antenna on.  The vertical antenna had been broken off long ago, so I also installed it, using stretched sprue.  After installing the mount for the DF loop, I replaced the vertical antenna with a section of straight pin, as the sprue part had broken off again.  The DF loop is a piece of thin wire which I wound around a tapered tool left over from my typewriter repair days.  After I wound it, I removed the loops from the tool and cut them.  I had a couple of DF antennas to choose from.  I also scribed the panel for the camera access in the right side of the fuselage.  This was a little tricky, but doable.

Overall Evaluation

Highly recommended.  The drilling part is easy enough to do, and the parts fit well.  QuickBoost is to be commended for producing a conversion which takes the vanilla Mustang and makes it something different, and I’m a fan of recce aircraft.

Thanks to QuickBoost for the conversion parts, and to IPMS for the motivation to finish a long-time back burner project.

  • Parts
    Parts
  • Drilling the holes
    Drilling the holes
  • Painted 1
    Painted 1
  • Painted 2
    Painted 2
  • Finished kit 1
    Finished kit 1
  • Finished kit 2
    Finished kit 2
  • Finished kit 3
    Finished kit 3

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