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Having grown up about 20 miles from Wright Patterson AFB, I spent a lot of time at the Air Force Museum. When the F-82B "Betty Jo" was brought to the museum in 1957, I immediately fell in love with this 2-in-1 Mustang. There have been several models created by as many manufacturers, but they are smaller scales than the 1/32 that I wanted. Information for the F-82's is scarce, but after a year's worth of research and some help from friends at the Air Force Museum and Boeing, I started to recreate "Betty Jo" in 1/32 scale as she appeared after being turned over to NACA for high altitude research.

 

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The method I used was somewhat unorthodox, partially because I was simply to lazy to create EVERYTHING from scratch. My research had shown that only a small part of the P-51 was actually used for the F-82. Through some 3D CAD modeling of both planes, I found that the nose section of the P-51D was almost identical to the nose of the F-82B, which is what I was building. A good friend of mine donated a Dragon F-6D so I could get started. This provided the fiddly bits of "seed" detail I would need for the landing gear, cockpits, and engine bays. The engines are modified Rolls Merlins from the Tamiya Spitfire kit.

 

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There is still a lot of work to be done, and progress has been slowed by an unexpected, but extremely welcome resource. After about 7 months into the build I learned there were 2 F-82's being restored to flying condition; one in Minneapolis, and one in Douglas, Georgia. Douglas just happens to be about 100 miles from my home, so I make the trip as often as I can. Tom Reilly is doing the restoration in Douglas, and that plane is one of the two original prototypes. Tom has all 13,750 NAA production drawings that he lets me access, so I have no excuses for being inaccurate. Unfortunately, my model has no guns, and I was too far along to convert it to the XP-82 that Tom is restoring. I will be making some new molds after this build so the XP-82, and the "B" models can be recreated.

 

The F-82 series of aircraft were major milestones in aviation history, and it sure would be nice if one of the larger model companies would take advantage of the two restorations currently in process to get a really nice 1/32 scale model of the plane.......hint, hint.......:rolleyes:

 

 

 

Ken Friend

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Beautiful example of building what you can't buy. Looks really good so far. A real inspiration for OTB folks like me.

 

Thanks for sharing, Chris

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