F-82 Twin Mustang by Monogram

1/72 scale
Kit No. 7501
Cost: $15.00
Decals: Two versions – both U.S. Air Force: Escort fighter (day) and All-weather night fighter
Comments: Raised panel lines, underwing stores include five air-to-ground rockets, two drop tanks; night fighter version includes large radome beneath centerline; outboard hard points for 500 lb. bombs; pilot figures included; option to display gun bay

History

North American’s F-82 Twin Mustang is officially credited with downing the first enemy aircraft during the Korean War. On June 27, 1950, two days after North Korean troops and armor crossed the 38th Parallel, Lt. William “Skeeter” Hudson and his radar operator Lt. Carl Fraser of the 68th All-Weather Fighter Squadron shot down a two-seater Yak-11.  A radical departure from the conventional single fuselage airplane, design work on the F-82 began during World War II to provide the U.S. Army Air Force with a long range fighter that could cover long distances in the Pacific Theatre. This was partly motivated by the desire for a fighter capable of escorting B-29 bombers from bases in the Marianas Islands to Japan and back — a fighter with the high altitude performance of the P-51, but the range of Lockheed’s P-38 Lightning. The XP-82 took its first flight on July 6, 1945 – one month to the day before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The F-82 was not, as is commonly believed, simply two P-51 Mustangs coupled together. It was developed by “marrying” two P-51H fuselages to a single modifed wing with a horizontal stabilizer linking the two tails. It entailed many aerodynamic changes made to achieve greater range at higher speeds, consistent with its maximum speed of 482 mph. Another difference the F-82 had from the P-51 was its powerplant: it initially had two Packard V-1650 inline engines of 1,360 hp each, but later converted to two Allison 12-cylinder V-1710-G6 engines of 2,200 hp each, with two full-feathering four-bladed Aeroproducts propellers, helping it achieve a service ceiling of 41,600 feet.

The redesigned interior included a modified cockpit arrangement that was devised to include a tilting, adjustable seat to improve pilot comfort and reduce fatigue during long flights. Both engine throttles and both propellers were controllable from either cockpit. The pilot’s cockpit on the left contained the normal flight and engine instruments, with the pilot on the left operated the radar and had sufficient instruments for relief and emergency operation.

The F-82 entered service too late for WWII, but proved versatile and was deployed as a fighter, long range escort (F-82E), long range reconnaissance, all-weather night fighter (F-82G), attack bomber, rocket fighter, or as an interceptor. The F-82G could also function as a pure gunship when carrying eight additional .50 caliber machine guns in a specially designed center section nacelle. It could also carry up to 7,200 lbs. of bombs, a photographic nacelle, rocket gun nacelle, or a 2,000 lb. torpedo. The Twin Mustang had a range without drop tanks of 1,280 miles, which could be extended with external tanks.

The Kit

First released in 1973, Monogram’s F-82 Twin Mustang is injection molded in metallic grey and consists of 79 parts, including four plastic parts for the dual canopies and windshields for the two fuselages. Construction begins with the elongated wing, which has a single part for the main armament of six .50 caliber machine guns, to be cemented to the lower half of the wing. The upper halves comprise three separate parts, of which the center piece has an opening and a panel that can be cemented closed, or open to reveal the gun bay for the machine guns below.

Each cockpit is a simple affair with a seat molded to the floorboard, with a separate headrest, control yoke, and instrument panel. The latter part has no detail, but decals are provided for both instrument panels. Another small part representing the radio is cemented to the rear of the headrest. Construction from there is straightforward and should be trouble-free based on the well-illustrated instructions, which (a sign of the vintage of the kit) include written explanations at each step.  While this kit has a reputation for a fit that is less than perfect, the appearance of the sprues combined with the clear nature of the instruction sheet provide no hint of hidden frustrations for the modeler.  The biggest challenge may be getting the under wing stores to sit at the correct angle on their respective pylons. There are hard points for drop tanks and two 500 lb. bombs outboard of the two fuselages. For the day fighter version, the center line can be used for a contraption holding five air-to-ground rockets, and on the night fighter, this space is reserved for the large radome.

Decals

Markings are by Monogram and can be used to depict either a day fighter/escort fighter in natural metal finish with black anti-glare panels, or a matte black all-weather night fighter that features a large, centrally mounted radome beneath its wing. No information is provided on the specific units in question. Aftermarket replacements may be in order, since the color on the national insignia for the day fighter in particular do not look quite accurate — the blue is a little too light, and with time and exposure to light may fade to an even lighter shade of blue.

Conclusion

An interesting and often overlooked kit of a WWII design that saw its most intense period of action during the Korean War. Highly recommended.

References

  • “Book Review: Twin Mustang – The North American F-82 at War” by Robert F. Dorr ~ www.historynet.com
  • United States Air Force Museum Guidebook, published by Air Force Museum Foundation, Inc.
  • www.military.wikia.com

 

 

 

 

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