3 Squadron P-51 Mustang Mk.III colour Correction

Figure 1 - Mustang Mk.III KH616 CV-J

by Nathan Bradford


I recently sent an article into Hyperscale on my Tamiya Mustang Mk.III. I Received an E-mail from one Mr James Oglethorpe, who is a historian for the 3 Squadron RAAF Association. I found his comments on the Mustang I had built to be very interesting and informing. Using his information, I re-painted my Mustang in the “correct” colours for 3 SQN in the Middle East during WW2.

The model

Figure 2 - As per the instruction sheet

The Colours that I originally used, as shown in Figure 2, were taken from the Aussie Decals instruction sheet. These markings have also been produced by Model Alliance (P/N: MA-48602), and show the same incorrect markings for KH616.

KH616 was originally delivered to 3 SQN at Fano Italy, as CV-<> (diamond) as shown in figure 3. This airframe was later changed to CV-J, but the markings remained the same through out it’s life. You can see in Figure 1, that there is a pointed “cut out” in the sky ID band around the tail section where the <> was painted over. There were NO white ID bands around the wings, or tail plane on either version of KH616.

Figure 3 - The original aircraft, CV - <> (second in from the left)

From James’ E-mail:-

 “Certainly (figure 1) gives no indication of white stripes on the leading edge of the tailplane, and the appearance of a white "stripe" on the near wing is probably an unfortunate combination of the red-doped gun ports on the wing leading edge (just outboard of the u/c leg) and some sort of (exhaust? spilt fuel?) staining. The lighter area visible is definitely not in the standard location for the white stripe seen on British-based Mustangs.”

Also of note on the wings, on the decal instructions, they are shown to have Yellow leading edges. This, as can be seen from Figure 1, indicates that these markings did not exist.

The decal instructions show the Spinner to be BLUE, when infact the spinners of the Desert Air Force were all RED. This has been confirmed by a number of members of the desert air force who were present at the time. I have since corrected My Mustang III to reflect the colours spoken of here. The images below show these corrected colours (figures - 4, 5 and 6).

Figure - 4
Figure - 5
Figure - 6

I hope that you find this article helpful with your next 3 Squadron mustang build. If you have any questions on anything 3 Squadron please have a look at the 3 Squadron RAAF Association website.

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