This is a special project-very special. Four years ago I was celebrating my 40th birthday with one of my closest friends and he presented me with Tamiya's 1/32 P-51D Mustang! I was blown away with his generosity and kindness as he had also arranged with the help of my family the trip of a lifetime in the USA. I was not expecting this wonderful gift and I was so grateful to him for all he done already. I was literally floored!
Thanks to my friend Frank I have built many wonderful kits including my beloved Spitfire MH434 which was also a 1/32 Tamiya kit. I knew that this Mustang would have to be built in his honour and so I could not think of a more fitting scheme than Ferocious Frankie.
This P-51D was flown by Major Wallace E. Hopkins, and Ferocious Frankie was named in honour of his wife Frankie. Coded B7 H of the 374th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group. Wallace Hopkins was born in Washington, Georgia and flew a total of 76 combat missions with the 361st where he flew as Operations Officer. He was an ACE credited with 8 victories and 1.5 damaged. His decorations include the Air Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross both with Oak Leaf Clusters and the French Croix de Guerre, one of four awarded to members of the 361st. During WWII the 374th Fighter Squadron was based in southern England and distinguished itself in the finest traditions of the USAAF.
Here is how Ferocious Frankie looked with her full yellow nose towards the later end of the war, the D-day invasion stripes clearly visible.
It so happens that today that The Old Flying Machine Company owns and operates a
P-51D Mustang finished in the colours of Ferocious Frankie based a IWM Duxford alongside, my favourite Spitfire MH434. It seems quite fitting then that as in real life, I shall have MH434 and Ferocious Frankie displayed together.
Below, the modern day Ferocious Frankie at IWM Duxford. A place I truly love.
So why has it taken me so long to get around to building this model? Well, firstly I was a little nervous! This is a high end, expensive kit that my friend has given to me-I don't want to mess this up! Secondly, life gets in the way, things happen. As I wrote back in 2015, I became very ill due to my disability and after a very complex operation I am lucky to still have the use of my hands! I wanted to wait until I felt confident enough to built it and make a decent job of it. So now the time has come and this kit is on my bench.
Frank, this one is for you.
Tamiya 1/32 P-51D MUSTANG:
This is an incredible kit and it's engineering and tooling is more than impressive! Upon opening the box and examining the highly detailed parts and the quality of the instructions, decals and so on I knew that this was something special. It is a complex kit to be sure but its quality is unsurpassed.
To show you how good it is, here is a review by Brett Green of Hyperscale:
Tamiya 1/32 P-51D Mustang
Now, lets crack on with the build!