Monday, November 25

Just in case you needed a new version - Bronco models new 48th scale P-51D/K in Chinese Service (1949 Parade)

...And now for something a little different... A new P-51D/K Mustang in 48th scale... - hang on - what makes these a little different? The Mustangs that appeared in the 1949 military parade over Beijing in a show of strength are actually different to most Mustang kits you see as the first release from a model company. See the boxart, CAD drawings & colour profiles of Bronco's new kit in our preview...

A new Mustang in red stars & stripes from Bronco Models in November...

PLA P-51D/K Mustang (1949 Parade) 
From Bronco Models
Kit No #FB4010 
1/48th scale 
The latest kit from Bronco Models is a bit of a surprise, a P-51 D/K model in 1/48th scale! Lucky, we were just running out of new ones to show you in the last few days!

A Little about this Mustang in use with the Communist Chinese Service before we look at the CAD's showing feature set and colours...

North American P-51 Mustang in Communist Chinese Service
The North American P-51 Mustang is considered one of the world’s most iconic warplanes from the Second World War, seeing action in nearly all theatres, as well as the Korean War and many other conflicts thereafter. However, one of the lesser-known stories of the Mustang is its service with the Communist Chinese forces who would go on to form the People’s Republic of China shortly after. A total of 39 Mustangs were obtained from the Chinese Nationalist forces either by capture or defection. These Mustangs were used in various roles with the Communists, and nine of them even had the honour of flying over Beijing on October 1st 1949 for a parade to commemorate the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Although never seeing combat, the Mustangs still had served with the Communist Chinese forces as one of their most advanced fighters until the arrival of Soviet aid.

A photo displaying the rather impressive cache of captured Nationalist planes now in Communist service. In this photo, there are around nineteen P-51 Mustangs visible. 
The Republic of China (i.e, Chinese Nationalists under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek) was a notable operator of the North American P-51 Mustang during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). Since the United States entered the Second World War, plans were made to provide the Republic of China China with modern American warplanes to replace the worn and outdated planes that the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) was using. The Mustangs were initially flown by pilots of the Chinese-American Composite Wing (CACW) starting from November 1944. The models they operated were P-51B and P-51C, but later in February 1945, P-51D and P-51K variants were delivered and put to use against the Japanese along with the P-51B and P-51C. At the end of the Second World War, the ROCAF received 278 Mustangs from the USAAF, most of which were P-51D and P-51K models, but also with some F-6D and F-6K photo-reconnaissance models. Soon after, the uneasy relationship between the Communist Party of China under the leadership of Mao Zedong and the Nationalist government under the leadership of Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek) disintegrated. As such, the civil war between the two parties resumed after nearly nine years of truce. This time, however, the Communist forces were more prepared to fight the Nationalist forces. As time went on, the Nationalist forces began losing their hold on mainland China and were forced to retreat to Formosa (Taiwan), but not before many of their soldiers, officers and generals defected, leaving a substantial amount of equipment behind.
The People’s Liberation Army obtained their first Mustang on September 23rd 1948 when Captain Yang Peiguang (杨培光) from the Nationalist 4th Fighter Wing based in Beiping (Beijing) defected with his P-51D to the Communist forces at Siping, Jilin Province. The bulk of the Mustangs which would be captured by the Communist forces were, however, from the Liaoshen Campaign which lasted from September 12th – November 2nd, 1948. With the Communist victory at the Battle of Jinzhou on October 15th, a considerable amount of Nationalist equipment was captured; among these were thirty-one Mustangs in various states of repair at the Jinzhou Airfield. Though now with thirty-four Mustangs in total, the People’s Liberation Army was not able to press any into service due to many factors; the most important two being the lack of able pilots and the varying states of disrepair that the Mustangs were in.

These were repaired, and the first Mustang was ready for service on December 30th. Since then, thirty-six Mustangs were repaired within a span of eighteen to twenty months lasting until 1950.
On December 10th 1948, the People’s Liberation Army was able to capture the Nationalist-held Beiping (Beijing) Nanyuan Airport as part of the Pingjin Campaign. Three Mustangs were found in relatively good condition, and a total of 128 Packard-built V-1650 Merlin engines were captured as well. This boosted the total amount of Mustangs in the People’s Liberation Army to thirty-seven and provided plenty of replacement engines for maintenance. After this, two more Mustangs would fall in the hands of the Communist forces.
On December 29th, Lieutenant Tan Hanzhou (谭汉洲) of the Nationalist 4th Fighter Group defected with his Mustang from Qingdao to Communist held Shenyang. The last Mustang to fall into the People’s Liberation Army’s hands occurred on January 14th of 1949 when Lieutenant Yan Chengyin(阎承荫) from the Nationalist 3rd Fighter Group’s 28th Squadron defected from his home base of Nanjing to Communist held Jinan.
 Now with thirty-nine Mustangs in total, the People’s Liberation Army began to put them to use. Starting from late January 1949, a large number of Mustangs were presented to the Northeast Old Aviation School’s (东北老航校) 2nd Squadron of the 1st Air Group with the purpose of training pilots. On August 15th 1949, the People’s Liberation Army formed their first flying squadron named at the Beiping Nanyuan airfield. The squadron consisted of two Fairchild PT-19 trainers, two de Havilland Mosquito fighter-bombers and six Mustangs. Shortly after the formation on September 5th, this squadron was assigned the task of defending Beiping’s airspace from Nationalist forces. At some point before October, eleven more Mustangs were assigned to this squadron. The squadron saw no combat.

a Chinese P-51 in Military Museum of Revolution in Beijing.
The 1949 Parade Mustangs:
Perhaps the most notable use of the Mustangs in Communist Chinese service was on October 1st 1949. By then, the bulk of the Nationalist forces were in discord and in the process of retreating to Formosa (Taiwan). With the Communist victory inevitable, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. A Soviet-style military parade was held in newly-renamed Beijing’s (Beiping) Tiananmen Square which included sixteen thousand and four hundred soldiers, one hundred and fifty-two tanks, two hundred and twenty-two cars and seventeen planes were displayed to the public. Of these seventeen planes, nine were Mustangs. The Mustangs flew in groups of threes in a V formation and led the aerial convoy. Once over Tiananmen square, these Mustangs increased their speed and flew past the square and out of sight, they made a turn and reentered Tiananmen square for the back just in time to link up with the two Fairchild PT-19A trainers flying last. Because they re-entered the square so quickly, the spectators were led to believe these were nine different Mustangs, with a total of twenty-six planes appearing over Tiananmen square instead of the actual seventeen. This was mentioned in a government made propaganda newsreel. Of these nine Mustangs, at least one was a P-51K model.

This new kit from Bronco Models
This new kit has a few figures pointed out in CAD drawings we received today, they are:

Cuffed and uncuffed propellers for this bird
 Hollowed out exhausts
 Correct aerials for the late D/K P-51
 500lb bombs, metal & paper droptanks included
 A CAD drawing set of the model from many angles to get your ruler out against :-)
The markings of this boxing are all from this parade's aircraft - something a little different...
 The decal sheet includes an instrument panel, national markings and stencils - it looks like you could do a few of these mustangs from the parade, but a careful check of references will help a modeller with that.
This kit is said to be out in November, we are thinking more December/ January 2020. You can see more about Bronco's kits on their website.