512th Fighter Squadron Modelers' Page
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This page is intended as a resource for modelers who are attempting to accurately represent the aircraft or scenes from 512th Fighter Squadron WWII history. Click on the image of the cover of any book to link to a web page containing all the pages of that book.
I have been building models of 512th Fighter Squadron aircraft since I was 10 years old, but the release in recent years of high-quality color photos of this unit during World War II, especially while they were at Airfield Y-29, Asch, Belgium, has been a revelation to me. I had always imagined 512th P-47s as pristine, polished-metal prima-donnas, not the battered, patched-together kick-boxers that slugged it out with the Luftwaffe fighter defenses and the Wermacht flak batteries every day. I now appreciate the tremendous courage and fortitude it took for those men to strap on a Thunderbolt each day and go after another Tiger tank or 88 mm AAA gun or railroad boxcar full of ammunition.
I have started a project to build a diorama to capture the mood and feel of that time and place. I invite other modelers to join me. The 512th Fighter Squadron was by no means the only unit participating in this epic battle, but it was my father's unit and the color photos available are by far the best I have found at conveying the details of the situation. Those photos make it possible to very accurately depict not only the aircraft but the setting; the muddy, temporary landing field at Y-29.
This page also has links to documentation I have assembled on the details of 512th P-47 markings and the decals and kits available to modelers. The purpose of these reports is to enable modelers to more accurately depict what really happened. I do this to honor the men of the 512th by giving more people an appreciation for what they accomplished.
A picture submitted by Dan Cunningham, son of William Cunningham, has inspired me to plan another diorama. The photo shows 2Lt William Cunningham sitting in 42-26860 L3-O at A-80 Mourmelon-le-Grand around Thanksgiving time in 1944. But the point in time I want to model is just a little later, during the Battle of the Bulge, when the entire 406th Fighter Group had only 12 P-47s serviceable and ground crews were scrambling to repair battle damage on dozens of airplanes. Additional inspiration for the diorama comes from the photos on view at the 406th Fighter Group display at the Pima Air and Space Museum showing 44-32749 L3-N getting an olive-drab replacement horizontal tail. The challenge for the diorama involves taking the frozen mud of Cunningham's photo and covering it with a blanket of snow.
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