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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:31 pm 
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A friend and I were just talking about the Warbirds Digest article on "Lope's Hope 3rd" a couple days ago, and the attention to detail in the restoration and the lengths that AirCorps went to not leave any stone unturned, making absolutely no compromises at all to achieve the greatest level of authenticity/accuracy to the way that aircraft would have been when it rolled out of the factory in '44, down to every last nut and bolt and material. One thing that was mentioned in our discussion, however, was that if someone wanted to really achieve the look of a Mustang that has actually arrived in Theatre and combat-operational, you would have to spray it and scrub it down with gasoline, just like they did back then to wash the aircraft (obviously not going to happen). :D


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:37 pm 
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John, Your great Knowledge of the subject really adds to our understanding of the Mustang as it is restored today.

Perhaps the discussion on restorations and how they are “judged” in shows should take place. The thread brings up the utter pointlessness of having a “shootout” between accurate authentic Mustangs, or even a Mustang against an equally perfect SBD for a winner take all trophy. It’s damaging to the industry to have five perfect warbirds enter a judged event, with one winner and four losers.

Shouldn’t the “judged” events of the future be based on a different goal?

Each aircraft could be certified as to it’s correctness and authenticity against what is understood to be correct for that type. The variances of each individual aircraft can be preserved or duplicated as it was to maintain and enhance what we currently understand about each type. Further, the verification of the correctness doesn’t mean an aircraft can compete once, or be a winner once. It could be judged as 94.6 percent correct and then again after more is corrected, even higher. Additionally an aircraft does not beat another, a restoration is judged against its perfect self, so an owner does not have to worry about being beaten in a “competition”.

Hopefully aircraft show “judging” will be changed in the future to welcome aircraft on a level field of “authentication” rather than exclusionary competitive comparative judging.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:49 pm 
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This has been informative. When there is this level of perfectionism involved it seems to be cruel to pick one over another. What’s next, adding points for how many flight hours are on each component of the aircraft, which production dash number is more rare, which P-51 has the most impressive pedigree relating to the pilots that logged time in her. How about which month of which year did they crank out the highest manufacturing quality at each North American plant?
So let’s just have fun, admire these planes when we get to see them as well as the lucky owners and pilots that get to fly them. Also appreciate the magnificent restoration artists that keep raising the bar.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:03 pm 
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JohnTerrell wrote:
A friend and I were just talking about the Warbirds Digest article on "Lope's Hope 3rd" a couple days ago, and the attention to detail in the restoration and the lengths that AirCorps went to not leave any stone unturned, making absolutely no compromises at all to achieve the greatest level of authenticity/accuracy to the way that aircraft would have been when it rolled out of the factory in '44, down to every last nut and bolt and material. One thing that was mentioned in our discussion, however, was that if someone wanted to really achieve the look of a Mustang that has actually arrived in Theatre and combat-operational, you would have to spray it and scrub it down with gasoline, just like they did back then to wash the aircraft (obviously not going to happen). :D


First and foremost, thank you again John for sharing your wealth of knowledge and insight with us. I look forward to each of your posts.

In regards to the above comment. I've often wondered if the next step in authenticity would be a simulated weathered appearance. Weathering has been raised to something of an art form in both plastic and flying model circles and I've often wondered if the trend would eventually reach full size restoration circles. What do you guys think? As beautiful and authentic as "Lope's Hope" and others are do they really represent what the airplane actually would have looked like at any time in service? Not unless they came out of the factory complete with unit markings and kill signs! So is that the next step or is that a step too far for most folks?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 4:09 pm 
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It is interesting to think about - I know a number of the things being done now in these restorations were considered unfathomable only 10, 15 years ago - the thought that someone would actually spend millions to have a warbird restored intentionally in such a manner. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:16 pm 
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I want to thank everyone for your post on this subject so far. And a genuine shout out to John T. Your knowledge on P-51's to me is astounding. As well as your insight in general as to who has what and what is taking place. I'm hearing that there is a pretty good chance that Lope's Hope 3rd will be at Oshkosh 2018. I might have to pay a return visit to Oshkosh especially if this Mustang and the Twin Mustang of Tom Reilly's shows up.
John T or anybody else have any clue as to whether the Twin Mustang of Pat Harker could make a surprise showing at Oshkosh? Thanks again for the insight as to what goes into these P-51 restorations. I see that Dave Teeters had Steve Hinton test flying the newest Mustang out of their shop a Dual Control Mustang congrats.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:56 pm 
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Thanks JT! Most informative!

Joe Scheil wrote:
John, Your great Knowledge of the subject really adds to our understanding of the Mustang as it is restored today.

Perhaps the discussion on restorations and how they are “judged” in shows should take place. The thread brings up the utter pointlessness of having a “shootout” between accurate authentic Mustangs, or even a Mustang against an equally perfect SBD for a winner take all trophy. It’s damaging to the industry to have five perfect warbirds enter a judged event, with one winner and four losers.

Shouldn’t the “judged” events of the future be based on a different goal?

Each aircraft could be certified as to it’s correctness and authenticity against what is understood to be correct for that type. The variances of each individual aircraft can be preserved or duplicated as it was to maintain and enhance what we currently understand about each type. Further, the verification of the correctness doesn’t mean an aircraft can compete once, or be a winner once. It could be judged as 94.6 percent correct and then again after more is corrected, even higher. Additionally an aircraft does not beat another, a restoration is judged against its perfect self, so an owner does not have to worry about being beaten in a “competition”.

Hopefully aircraft show “judging” will be changed in the future to welcome aircraft on a level field of “authentication” rather than exclusionary competitive comparative judging.


I was just thinking the same thing, looking at the 2018 restoration thread. Seems like all of the top notch restos deserve equal recognition. Not like giving anyone a "participation trophy," rather recognition that it is clear that each of these resto crews are going above and beyond to be accurate and authentic.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:56 am 
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I have a question on the airframe used in the restoration of Hopes Lope. In the article in the latest Warbird Digest, it identifies the airframe as P-51C-10-NT and built at the Inglewood, Ca facility. Everything I have read before was that the B model was built in Inglewood facility and the C model was from the Dallas facility. If the airframe was from Inglewood, wouldn’t that make it a B model and not a C?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:28 am 
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quemerford wrote:
.....So I'd nominate Flak Bait as the pinnacle, and unlikely to be surpassed......


I would put Flak Bait as preserved, not truly restored.

Thanks for the insight JT, good stuff. I do appreciate that most of us realize this stuff is super nit-picky- but fascinating for those that want to go to that degree. I too am amazed that some owners want to go to that level, but hey their call. Personally I don't "get" that level of desire and am fine with "close enough" I would rather see extinct types or super rare projects get the attention. I get more excited about the Mosquito, Twin Mustang, Stuka, etc. than a Mustang.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 4:33 pm 
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C VEICH wrote:
JohnTerrell wrote:
A friend and I were just talking about the Warbirds Digest article on "Lope's Hope 3rd" a couple days ago, and the attention to detail in the restoration and the lengths that AirCorps went to not leave any stone unturned, making absolutely no compromises at all to achieve the greatest level of authenticity/accuracy to the way that aircraft would have been when it rolled out of the factory in '44, down to every last nut and bolt and material. One thing that was mentioned in our discussion, however, was that if someone wanted to really achieve the look of a Mustang that has actually arrived in Theatre and combat-operational, you would have to spray it and scrub it down with gasoline, just like they did back then to wash the aircraft (obviously not going to happen). :D


First and foremost, thank you again John for sharing your wealth of knowledge and insight with us. I look forward to each of your posts.

In regards to the above comment. I've often wondered if the next step in authenticity would be a simulated weathered appearance. Weathering has been raised to something of an art form in both plastic and flying model circles and I've often wondered if the trend would eventually reach full size restoration circles. What do you guys think? As beautiful and authentic as "Lope's Hope" and others are do they really represent what the airplane actually would have looked like at any time in service? Not unless they came out of the factory complete with unit markings and kill signs! So is that the next step or is that a step too far for most folks?


They did that with that Buchon at Duxford. I thought it looked silly. It's not a model. Lopes Hope, Upoppa Epops, Dottie Mae, and the Jug that Paul Allen has all fit the bill as far as I can see. Let them weather naturally, not by faking it :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:22 pm 
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PV270 has deliberately been allowed to weather.

Image"AL" Deere Spitfire by Errol Cavit, on Flickr


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:41 pm 
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Dan Johnson II wrote:
They did that with that Buchon at Duxford. I thought it looked silly. It's not a model. Lopes Hope, Upoppa Epops, Dottie Mae, and the Jug that Paul Allen has all fit the bill as far as I can see. Let them weather naturally, not by faking it :)


What was done to the Buchon was hardly what I would classify as a legitimate attempt to realistically weather the aircraft. Much more of an artistic impression, and not a particularly good one IMHO. It would be interesting to see if your opinion might be different were somebody to attempt it in a far more realistic and methodical manner. Of course much boils down to personal tastes as well. As a builder and competitor in the flying scale model arena I am a proponent of weathering. However, I tend towards the "less is more" approach. That would be how I would approach it on a full size aircraft as well. "If your weathering is obvious then you've probably done too much of it" is how one well known scale modeler puts it. As far as weathering naturally, I agree to some extent. However, very few (read none) restored warbirds are going to experience anywhere near the level of use and abuse that these machines were regularly subjected to in service. Some weathering commonly seen in service would simply not ever happen naturally. At any rate I was just wondering if John or anyone else thought that we might be headed down that road in the future.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 5:43 pm 
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Is there any more information about Lope's Hope 3rd's history prior to the restoration? Where was it for the years after it was a school airplane? Did it ever fly since it was surplussed?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:56 pm 
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warbird51 wrote:
I have a question on the airframe used in the restoration of Hopes Lope. In the article in the latest Warbird Digest, it identifies the airframe as P-51C-10-NT and built at the Inglewood, Ca facility. Everything I have read before was that the B model was built in Inglewood facility and the C model was from the Dallas facility. If the airframe was from Inglewood, wouldn’t that make it a B model and not a C?


It was a C-model so it was built at Dallas. We just missed it when editing the author's article. It is always something!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:30 pm 
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Dan Johnson II wrote:
They did that with that Buchon at Duxford. I thought it looked silly. It's not a model. Lopes Hope, Upoppa Epops, Dottie Mae, and the Jug that Paul Allen has all fit the bill as far as I can see. Let them weather naturally, not by faking it :)


+ Sierra Sue II, which I think still takes the cake of all of them. As I was re-reading just the other day about the restoration of "Sierra Sue II" in particular - even every one of the bolts, which total nearly 2,500 in the P-51D, are precisely accurate to what was found installed on the aircraft per original to the 40's. As many of these original bolts were kept as possible and re-clad plated, but for all of the bolts that had to be replaced, newly manufactured examples were purposely made to match each of the original period bolts found so that the original 1940's manufacturer embossed logos/symbols on the bolt heads would be matched accordingly/the same as per found. Whether original or reproduced to original spec, they all have the period-correct markings of original suppliers, such as Air Supply, Air Associates, Cooper, American Screw, Rockford, and a few others - each individually correct to what was found/noted in each location when the aircraft was disassembled. Three different dyes were found to have been originally used on the bolts as well (done to indicate that they had been magnetically inspected), and each bolt was re-coated in whichever color that particular bolt was found to have had in that specific location on the aircraft (either red, orange or blue).

No polish, and flown regularly, building a natural patina over time and with the actual original type primers/paints aging, chipping, scuffing and staining over time just as the same stuff did originally in the 40's. The cockpit has also gained some great (authentic) patina over time since the completion of the restoration a few years ago - with all original type primers/paints and materials gaining all much the same patterns of wear & tear as seen in period photos of Mustang cockpits and preserved/un-restored examples. Accuracy throughout, down to the materials, finishes, paints and primers (the actual stuff, not modern paints colored to look like), the various processes of applications of markings (stenciling, stamping, water transfers, free hand, etc.), the correct fittings, wiring, bolts, rivets, screws, dzus fasteners and other hardware, all exact to the period and represented as close as possible as found and documented throughout the restoration process - in each case, either using only original period-correct hardware or having new production runs of period-correct hardware made to look precisely the same as the original hardware (rather than just using a modern equivalent). A full assortment of original accessories, such as first aid kit, drop message bag, factory-supplied checklists, diagrams and charts, flare pistol and cartridges, spare bulbs, working gun sight (when installed), working SCR-522 radio set, working bomb/drop tank release system, fuselage tank, full armor plating, a working gun camera loaded with film, gauges that were all restored using fluorescent paint to glow under UV light as per original, and on and on...and all precisely accurate to the actual production variant/specific airframe, nothing else. An airframe which also flew combat missions in WWII, no less, still containing much of its original 1944 metal today.

Photos by Blake Wenthe, "liberated" from Facebook.

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