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The Duchess Arlene (My first build in 30 plus years...)

7 replies
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  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • From: Greenville, TX.
The Duchess Arlene (My first build in 30 plus years...)
Posted by Raymond G on Thursday, December 05, 2013 10:17 PM

Hello everyone, I'm sure it'll not take long to figure our I'm a total newb, both to the site and to the hobby.  I built model planes as a kid, well into my teens, and decided after a long hiatus that I'd love to get back into it.  My wife is a local history teacher and she shows "The Tuskegee Airman" every year to her class.  Many of her students are African American and many of her students, regardless of demographics, live below poverty level.  One of the reasons she shows the film is to show that adversity can be over come. 

As I decided to start my first build, I picked out a Standard P-51D at 1:48 scale....

.... and rapidly decided on a doing a "Red Tail."  I began researching some of the planes and finally landed on the creator of the story behind "The Tuskegee Airman," Lt. Robert Williams of the 100th Fighter Squadron and later the 332 Fighter Group.  The Plane: "Duchess Arlene."  Here's a look at the build... By the way, everything, with the exception of a few generic decals, was hand painted.

Here's the instrument panel.  It, by itself took hours to complete:

Starboard Cockpit followed by the port view...

How about some hot wings???

Port side artwork...  Again, all hand painted.  The pin-up girl took about 3 hours to do by hand.  My hands aren't as steady as they used to be, hindered by a bad shoulder.  She's roughly 1/2" x 3/8" and an exact duplicate, as near as I can tell...

Add some wings and a power plant...

And she's complete...  Top and Bottom plan view:

Cockpit view:

Lt. Robert Williams if you please...

And the port side view...

I fully realize this isn't near as good as what you guys do, but I'm already learning.  That I can print decals is one of them...  Decal set coming to a desk near me soon!  I can't wait to get to know you guys and learn from you.  Please feel free to give constructive criticism, but I hope you enjoyed my seeing my build as much as I did building it.  Thanks, Raymond............. 

On the Bench:

Eduard Albatross D-V Red Barron in flight diorama.

WWII CAP Stenson Reliant on Coastal Patrol.





  • Member since
    September, 2011
Posted by Tim Kidwell on Friday, December 06, 2013 8:26 AM

Great first attempt, Raymond! Can't wait to see your next project.


Timothy Kidwell


  • Member since
    August, 2012
Posted by JimNTENN on Friday, December 06, 2013 8:37 AM

Raymond, that's not bad work after 30+  years away from the hobby. Don't worry about whether or not it's as good as what the rest of us are building. We are all at our own level of modeling ability. If you had fun doing it, that's all that matters. Because once you stop enjoying the hobby it's time to give it up. If I were just starting out in the hobby or was coming back after so many years like you, I would be darned proud of a build like that. GOOD JOB!!

Current project(s): Hobby Boss: 1/72 F9F-2 Panther

                                  Midwest Products: Skiff(wood model)


  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Cameron, Texas
Posted by Texgunner on Friday, December 06, 2013 9:02 AM

That's a good start Raymond, and one that will inspire you to keep on modeling.  You will get better and better, and will often refer back and "judge" your progress, and future completions, on this, your first build.  I know that because I traveled a very similar road.  I look back at the Monogram A-10 that brought me back to scale-modeling after a loooong absence and it always makes me smile.  Progress is easy to see and that will always keep you trying for more!  Congrats on getting "back in the game"!


"All you mugs need to get busy building, and post pics!"

  • Member since
    September, 2005
  • From: Central Nebraska
Posted by freem on Friday, December 06, 2013 9:09 AM

I echo JimTENN!!  That's fine work for hand painting. I've been building models since the mid-60's and still have to remind myself to focus on the basics--joint cleanup, fit and alignment, etc. I have kits that I am reluctant to start cause I don't think I can handle them.  Kits like your Revell/Monogram Mustang are great ways to get immersed in the hobby. They are reasonably priced, usually go together fairly well, offer a challenge once in a while and look great out of the box without breaking the bank with a bunch of aftermarket stuff. Once you get rolling you can go nuts on the AM and start overflowing the stash like most of the rest of us.  Keep it up!!!

Chris Christenson


  • Member since
    November, 2010
  • From: Florida-West Central
Posted by Eagle90 on Friday, December 06, 2013 9:20 AM

Raymond!  Awesome Mustang!  What a way to return to the hobby!  Looks awesome!


  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Friday, December 06, 2013 9:25 AM

Great start getting back into the hobby!  I see one easy suggestion to help your painting (I hear you abou the hand not being as steady as it use to be).  Use hobby masking tape (I like Tamiya) to mask the line between the OD antiglare panel and the silver paint. Then paint the OD. The masking will get you that nice straight line, just becare about how how thick/thin the piant is to minimize any paint bleeding through.  Hope to see your next build soon

  • Member since
    December, 2013
  • From: Greenville, TX.
Posted by Raymond G on Friday, December 06, 2013 1:44 PM

Thanks for all the kind comments guys!  I know I've got a ways to go, but I had a blast putting the plane together. And to be truthful, I'm right proud of it!  I put a lot of time and sweet into it, and it turned out pretty nice.

I have an incredible amount of respect for the men who fought World War II on two fronts, and one of my next projects will be the two more Red Tails, but the "Gruesome Twosome's" P-51Bs.  I have a feeling that I'll end up putting the tree planes together in a nice display case and giving them to my wife.  I can always rebuild them for me.  

Waikong, I actually used masking tape, but I don't think I got a good seal.  I'm working on Greg Boyington's F4U number 883 right now, and I'm making darn sure that I'm sealing it down good.  The first layer appeared to have much cleaner lines this time, so I'm hopeful.  I'm trying to decide if I want to wait until I get my decals before I add the numbers and art.  It may be a few weeks before I can get it though, so we'll see.

Keep any suggestions coming, and I'm having a blast!  Thanks, Raymond

On the Bench:

Eduard Albatross D-V Red Barron in flight diorama.

WWII CAP Stenson Reliant on Coastal Patrol.






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