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TOPIC: Beguine P-51 - 1:48 ICM, XS-Models/Red Pegasus

Beguine P-51 - 1:48 ICM, XS-Models/Red Pegasus 4 years 3 months ago #124

  • Caerbannog
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I likle to post the Beguinne which I finished last week. It was done as part of a group build on Britmodeller - just in case anybody like to search the full topic. Here is the summary plus a few extra pictures (very exclusive ;) ).

First some history about Beguine and the disaster at Cleveland in 1949. Here is the essence of what I found:

The P-51C - which became the Beguine was found in Wichita Falls in rather poor state and bought by J. D. Reed who already had two other air racers (a P-38 and another P-51). The P-51C was race tuned by North American Aviations personal during their free time and free of charge. The coolant pods are leftovers of the P-80 ram jet program. In about late summer of 1948 the conversion was done but problems with the roll stability resulted from the conversion – maybe from the shortened wings / ailerons.

On a ferry flight the P-51C ran out of fuel and belly landed. The damage was not that heavy and after repair it was repainted in a dark green and christened “Beguine”.

J. D. Reed then sold the plane to Jacqueline Cochran, who wanted to fly the Bendix race with Beguine. It is not known what and if anything was done about the roll instability problems.

Jacqueline Cochran entered the Beguine in the Cleveland Air Races in 1949 and chose Bill P. Odom as pilot. Bill Odom was a world famous pilot and record holder at that time. He broke the around-the-world record twice in 1947 and set up a new record for a non-stop flight from Hawaii to Teterboro New Jersey in a Beech Bonanza in 1949. In 1948 he entered a P-47M in the Bendix race but a fuel leak prevented that he could start. However all these records are no sprint race records and Bill Odom himself is reported to have said that close course air-racing is not quite his game: "I'd rather fly around the world twice than do one of those."

The National Air Races in 1949 were held from Saturday 3rd till Monday 5th (Labour Day) in Cleveland (they were held in Cleveland for the first time 20 years earlier). On Saturday

Bill Odom raced the SOHIO race in the Beguine and won it, even though he flew higher and in wider turns around the pylons than any other competitor. Still the speed of the most radical Mustang racer of that time was so high that it finished first. This reminds me on how Jimmy Doolittle won the Thomson trophy in the Gee Bee R-1 in 1932– not an easy to fly plane either…

The following Monday Odom started in the Thomson Race at 4:45 p.m. In 1948 the Thomson race was a four pylon race and I read the Beguine was planned for this. But in 1949 there were seven pylons to be passed in anti clockwise direction. Odom completed the first round in third position at around 400 miles per hour, passed pylon #2 too far out and tried to correct which made the plane flip.

The P-51 crashed into the garage of a family house killing Odom instantly. As the plane completed just one lap the tanks were still full and exploded, setting the house on fire.

The house belonged the Laird family which moved here just last Thursday. Bradley Laird, 36 was cleaning the windows from the outside (another report says he was watering the garden), his five year old son David with him. His wife Jeanne, 24 was inside and her father Ben Hoffman in front of the house close to the younger son Craig, 13 months old who was in front of the garage in his playpen.

The explosion caused fatal burns to Craig who died hours later in Hospital. Jeanne died in the house and found in the bathroom - she was not burned.

Ben Hoffman suffered from burns but recovered from the injuries, Bradley and David Laird were unharmed.

Bradley Laird had his company transfer him to Indianapolis, Indiana after the funeral for his wife and younger son.

This horrible accident completely stopped the National Air Races for 15 years (in 1964 resumption as National Championships in Reno).

The house still exists. I wonder if the owners know the sad history, but I should think so:

The following map was created with google maps. The red dots are the pylons, the blue hatched line is what I suppose (strickly speaken I have no clue) the racing line would be and the hatched black line the way the Beguine must have flow to hit the garage. Of course this looks quite odd (especially the one in the lower pic) as it is viewd from strickly above:

"Nichols Field" in the search box is where the 3rd pylon stood (AFAIK).

More info on the Beguinne can be found here:


and in the book "The Top 20 Moments in Cleveland Sports" by Bob Dyer - search Google books. The chapter "Race of Doom".

Just found this link with even more info on Bill Odom and the Cleveland crash as well:


Base kit is the ICM P-51 which is a cheaper alternative to the Tamiya one: Very similar parts layout and IMHO the same level of details but no location pins and bad decals. The following build showed it has fit issues. Basically it is a matter of price. The Tamiya kit is the better one as it is more easy to build.

The conversion set is from XS Models and contains a new prop, a fin fillet, a piece of resin which fills the belly of the fuselage after the cooler has been cut off and of course the new coolers for the wingtips (the original ones were converted from ram jets which were tested on P-80 wingtips - would be a nice conversion too). A nice set of decals and canopy masks are also included.


As you can see in the picture above I glued the wing parts together and chopped the wingtips as per XS models instruction. Then I inserted the rear windows in the fuselage and roughly primed the cockpit parts.
I also cut the nose to install an electic motor. My initial plan was to mount th eBeguine on a pole with spinning prop. But decided otherwise later as I did not get a suitable motor in time. Too late to correct the main u/c wells which are just as Tamiyas the wrong inner shape (Aires does corrected ones but they are a pain to get fit).

The wing tip pods are made of a front and a rear piece. One part was not as good as the others. I think there was some moisture inside the resin as it had lots of airbubbles inside and was also bigger in size. So some more filling and sanding was needed:

Next I did some work on the cockpit. ICM did the same mistake as Tamiya by replicating the metal flooring of early Mustangs. Later Mustangs had a wood flooring which was painted black. As I used the closed canopy I did not bother much and simply painted the floor black. If I had decided for an open canopy I would have bought True Details cockpit which has the correct floor.

As mentioned above: The cut out was done to place a motor inside. I wanted to use a slot car motor but the standard ones are a tad too big, so one has to use the slimmer ones (Scalextric slotbikes and classic F-1 cars use such). Of course I had none such as a spare so finally glued the engine bay shut. Next day (not kidding) I happend to enter a slot car store to find two such motors for just a Euro each (used). Although I will not use them on this build (I tried but cannot break the engine cover loose) I bought them nonetheless at that price...

The hole for the gun sight was covered by a sheet of plastic and Superglue. When you look at the picture you see the Superglue needs some addressing... But guess what: The canopy was already in place when I noticed it in the picture...

After closing up the fuselage and attaching the wings etc the priming and sanding started:

After takeing the pictures I masked around the canopy and gave it a coat of gloss black for the Alclad to follow.

Next I recastedmy Ultracast spinner from another P-51 in my stash, but the resin is a bit old I fear and the results so far are not too good (still better than the kit parts).

Concerning the green colour I have found the pictures below of Beguinne on my harddrive and an automotive paint which I used for a Jaguar XK120 LeMans slot racer which seems to be a good match: A very dark blueish green.

I have no clue where I found the pics and who owns the copyright - if anybody. I just show them here for the colour of Beguinne. Hope this is OK.

Usually I would paint the NMF areas last but this time I made a change. The prop blades are XS Models parts and the spinner is a recasted Ultracast part. The original Ultracast part is fantastic and it would have been more clever to use it on the Beguinne than on my other Mustang as the surface is perfect - not so my recasted part. So blades and spinner received dozens of filler and black coats - with as much sanding and polishing. There are still some very small defects which show through the top coat of Alclad but I called it done:

So next step was masking the Alclad and apply dark green. I should have painted and masked the wooden intake rings of the wing pods at this stage - but forgot until I placed the cecals much later.

I painted the Mustang in the dark green mentioned above but found it too green. I mixed some blue in to match the pics and sprayed the Begunie again - now it looks a bit too blue... The colour of Beguinne is much harder to mix than I thought.
I then gave the colour a polish and it looked better then - I suppose the dark green base coat is shining a bit through the blue-green top coat which has become thinner from the polishing. Anyway I was fine with the colour and went ahead with decaling.

The Red Pegasus decals have a pale yellow colour which matches the yellow on the Beguine colour pics nicely. But when you put your nose close to them they show some stripes from the printing - they are not uniform as screen printed decals. Before using them I did a scan - just in case anything goes wrong and gave them a coat with Micro Decal Coat for protection of the print. Other than expected the decals went on nicely (with some help from Gunze decal solvent). After the decals fully dried I simply used automotive clear coat from a spray can - frankly this was done in desperation because I was running out of time. As the green colour was automotive paint as well I did not expect anything bad to happen - and was right :woohoo:

Now the decals are on it is quite obvious that the "7" on the fuselage and the numbers on the wing are much larger than they actually were. The notes (is that correct???) on the fuselage and wing tip radiators are not exactly as on the original as well. Still the decals looks nice and I am happy I was under time pressure - otherwise I might have attempt to correct this and ended up with just another unfinished kit...

Final assembly was almost straightforward. The only thing tricky were the exhausts which I drilled out: The first ones were the ICM parts but I did a lousy job on them. So I took some spares from a Tamiya box. But these did not fit in the ICM openings so I had to cut and sand a little ... on the already painted parts. I also decided to go with the tail wheel as per kit content - this is too large for The Beguinne but I just coud not find a better one in time. Once I do I will replace it.

And done:

Thanks for looking.

Last Edit: 4 years 3 months ago by Caerbannog.
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Beguine P-51 - 1:48 ICM, XS-Models/Red Pegasus 4 years 3 months ago #125

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Hi Rene,

Love the Bequine, everyone should have one. Did you consider an unequal wing span? I didn't on mine but it's a nice rumour ;)
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Beguine P-51 - 1:48 ICM, XS-Models/Red Pegasus 4 years 2 months ago #128

  • stuntflyr
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I used to have quite a stash of notes on Beguine.

It never had unequal span wings, the rumour was started by JD Reed himself. This being part of his claim that it was done by Walter Beech in Wichita and when the course was changed they were seeking a way out of the airplane and sold it to Convair VP Floyd Odlum, Jackie Cochran's husband for $100,000.

He also started the rumour about the author of the song "Begin the Beguine" having sued for copyright infringement by virtue of the music down the side of the airplane. Also not true but JD was a Texas businessman with the idea that publicity was a good thing.

The "roll instability" may have been the aileron buzz experienced by Paul Penrose, the original pilot for the Beguine during the initial flights after it's completion in 1948. The airplane had the ailerons rebalanced and the buzz went away. It would always have a tendancy to take more input to start the roll and then to stop the roll once initiated because of the concentrated weight of the pods on the wingtips, but any pilot would get used to it after a few practice flights. Odom seemed not to appreciate the task at hand and only flew the airplane a few times. His practice race the day before was a good idea, but his remarks before the Thompson race and the eventual outcome lead one to believe he was not qualified. I spoke to Jackie Cochran about it, daring I know but was in 8th grade and when I met her I just had to know, and she said she recommended Bob Hoover to fly the airplane because she couldn't fly it herself owing to the rules at the time restricted women. She wouldn't comment directly about Odom.

Nice model Rene, and thanks for posting such an informative and visually pleasing build thread. Love the history, photos and maps. Bravo!
(BTW, my friend has the gear door from Beguine in his garage in Cleveland since he witnessed the crash as a child in his neighborhood, the color is Black British Racing Green, like a LeMans racing C or D-Type. JD himself described it as being like an old MG, no metallic. It's a beautiful color.)
Last Edit: 4 years 2 months ago by stuntflyr.
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