A useful shot of the P-51D exhaust stubs and shroud. Notice how a lot more of the shroud is visible towards the nose. This is because the cowling curves inwards at this point, whereas the exhaust stubs run parallel to the engine block (i.e. the engine block is straight while the cowling curves inward).
The kit exhaust stubs and shrouds do not look too bad imo; what does need some adjusting is the position they sit in relation to the cowling. Plasticard placed behind the exhaust help me get the right angle and depth in relation to the cowling and engine block.
Other small adjustments
A before and after shot of the canopy interior brace. The kit part just looked too thick and poorly defined for my taste. Some thinning with a file and enlarging/sharpening of the lightening holes results in a much better result.
After much deliberation and searching through decal options, I finally decided on a blue nose Mustang, flown by the WWII Ace John Myers. This is Col Myers 3rd Mustang (hence the name ‘Petie 3rd’). I was drawn to the color on the nose and tail as well as the invasion stripes on the fuselage.
These scans are taken from the Kagero Topcolor #13 book, “Operation Bodenplatte” which covers the very late war era in Europe. I really like this series of books and have obtained most of them. They each cover a theme (e.g. Battle of Britain etc) and include decals and masks allowing the modeller to depict most of the aircraft in the book.
With the cockpit masked and the primer sanded smooth with Micro Mesh, it was time for painting to commence. Alclad have recently released a new range of clear coats (one acrylic and five solvent based). The “Aqua Gloss” clear is the acrylic one and is said to be a suitable alternative to Future floor polish (which I have used successfully in the past). One recommended use of the Aqua Gloss is as a base coat for Alclad. I already had my primer applied, but I figured an extra layer of protection would not hurt. The clear is pre-thinned in the bottle ready for spraying. As you can see it is milky (unlike Future) and I found that it tended to pool up too easily, even when sprayed at the suggested pressure of 15psi. I left it overnight to dry.