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What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Old 05-15-2003, 02:42 PM
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k_sonn
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

What was the full scale P-51 rudder covered with? The Squadron/Signal book "P-51 Walk Around" states that the rudder for the P-51D was covered with a different grade of aluminum than the rest of the plane. Is this true for all P-51's? The reason I ask is the rudder on the Top Flite kits (1/7 and giant scale) is fabric covered. I am building both sized kits for friends and I would like to finish the rudder correctly. Thanks for any replies.
Old 05-15-2003, 02:44 PM
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FalconWings10
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Every "D and H" series aircraft that I've ever seen is metal.
Old 05-15-2003, 02:51 PM
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t_burley
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

building them for "friends" huh Kirk?

Todd
Old 05-15-2003, 03:17 PM
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deputydog
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

If I remember correctly the early versions of the P-51 had cloth covered rudder and then the D version and higher was metal. Almost all birds of the day had cloth flight controls.
Old 05-15-2003, 03:29 PM
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FalconWings10
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Make it like the kit recommends. Looks OK and will keep the tail weight down. Plane has a short forward moment.
Old 05-15-2003, 03:57 PM
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BobH
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Default Mustang

I would go with the squadron book. Most of the mustangs I have seen have fabric rudders, including the D variants. BobH
Old 05-15-2003, 04:00 PM
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Default mustang.

Sorry, didnt mean to mislead you.. I ment that you can "fake" the rudder with cloth..If you look at most mustangs you can see the outlines of the rivets all along the horizontal axis on the rudder and it almost looks like cloth. I covered my 1/5 TF with film so I didn't have to worry about making it look different. BobH.
Old 05-15-2003, 07:14 PM
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warbirdz1
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Default P-51....

Kirk.....What books I have show the rudder as being fabric covered.....the only "sure" P-51 with metal skinned rudder is the "H" model...although its still possible that others had an aluminum skinned rudder......as you know many changes were made as different materials were available.......I did my 1/5 T/F..... P-51 with a fabric rudder.......Bill...
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Old 05-15-2003, 07:53 PM
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Yak18
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

What may appear as rivets may also be stitching where the fabric is stitched to the frame. Most (not all) WW2 flight surfaces where fabric covered.

Yak
Old 05-15-2003, 08:20 PM
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pittsdriver
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Well, I have two D models based at my airport and I have personaly worked on at least 10 Mustangs over the years and the rudder is fabric covered. I know first hand as I did the fabric work on one of them. The rest of the controls are metal. A models and early B models had fabric elevators. Don
Old 05-15-2003, 08:43 PM
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LA7flier
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Default Re: What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Originally posted by k_sonn
What was the full scale P-51 rudder covered with? The Squadron/Signal book "P-51 Walk Around" states that the rudder for the P-51D was covered with a different grade of aluminum than the rest of the plane. Is this true for all P-51's? The reason I ask is the rudder on the Top Flite kits (1/7 and giant scale) is fabric covered. I am building both sized kits for friends and I would like to finish the rudder correctly. Thanks for any replies.
About 20 years ago, there was a parked P-51 at the local airport that looked to be abandoned. I went over to it one day (it was sitting in the "boneyard) and decided to climb into the cockpit. The plane had torn fabric covering the elevators and the rudder but was definitely a P-51D. The tires were flat but everything else was intact. As I sat in the cockpit, all the control links worked and scratched on the right zinc chromated side of the cockpit was "P-51D 1944". The teardrop canopy was badly crazed and yellowed from the sun and the guns had been removed but aside from the canopy, torn fabric and flat tires, the plane looked good to go. As I climbed out, I went over to the massive 4 bladed prop and pulled it through a half turn. To my extreme surprise, about 5 of the little red balls stuffed into the exhaust stacks popped out signifying plenty of compression...point is....in that plane, which I have no reason to doubt was an authentic 1944 P-51D, there was a fabric covered rudder and elevators....ailerons were aluminum clad....
Old 05-16-2003, 03:12 PM
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k_sonn
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Hey Everyone:
Thanks for the replies.

Todd:
building them for "friends" huh Kirk?
Definately. You know how I feel about Mustangs LOL. Did you get the clear coat issues solved on your Spit? Did you get back to your P-47 yet?
Old 05-16-2003, 06:54 PM
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Steve Collins
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

I would have sworn that they were aluminum covered but after looking through my extensive archive of hi-res photos, on every one of the P-51s where you could see the rudder clear enough to tell what material it is covered with, every last one was fabric.
Old 05-18-2003, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Originally posted by k_sonn
What was the full scale P-51 rudder covered with? The Squadron/Signal book "P-51 Walk Around" states that the rudder for the P-51D was covered with a different grade of aluminum than the rest of the plane. Is this true for all P-51's? The reason I ask is the rudder on the Top Flite kits (1/7 and giant scale) is fabric covered. I am building both sized kits for friends and I would like to finish the rudder correctly. Thanks for any replies.
Hey great ? Kirk As I am currently building a T/F 1/7 P-51d and was wondering the same thing. I was planning a trip to the museum of flight in my area and going to an air show at the oly airport to find out the answer myself. Everybodys feedback is great.
Old 05-18-2003, 09:55 PM
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

P-51's Indeed had Fabric covered control surfaces on the rudder and Elevator.
Old 05-18-2003, 10:57 PM
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Damiani, Most B models and a very, very few early D models had fabric elevators. A lot of them were changed to metal in the field as the fabric would expand at high speeds and make the elevator very heavy. All had fabric rudders.
Old 05-19-2003, 01:59 PM
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

I too believe that they came with fabric covered rudders. And somewhere along the line a directive came to update them to aluminum, maybe after the Hs showed up with aluminum? How many were actually updated to aluminum is the missing data. ( I guess the mechanics were too busy waxing, polishing and repainting to do the mechanical work (see weathered or not weathered thread))
Old 05-20-2003, 03:02 AM
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Planes manufactured after & including the P-51D-20 & the K-10, left the factory with metal elevators. Some earlier D's were retrofitted in the field. All had fabric rudders up to the H models then they were metal after that . MAX H.
Old 05-20-2003, 10:11 PM
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

P-51B/C/D/H and all versions with Merlin/Packard/Merlin had metal surfaces throughout. As I recall the sheet thickness was 1/32 which would tend to show the ribs - which is why Top Flite went 'fabric' for covering.

I'm pretty sure that both the A-36 and P-51A also were all metal skin but i'll get back to you
Old 05-21-2003, 08:42 PM
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big max 1935
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

My #1 son is a freak on WWII aircraft & has a very extensive library on air craft from that period. Showed me photo after photo of P-51's (& A-36's) some factory fresh , some shot up & factory cutaway. ALL had fabric covered rudders. They make reference to the reason why , lightness & ease of repair. Safe to say that all Mustangs in WWII had fabric covered rudders . MAX H.
Old 05-22-2003, 02:30 AM
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Max - the great mystery is unfolding. I wrote abook called Angels, Bulldogs and Dragons - History of the 355th FG and I have about 6 or seven shots of 51B and D rudder damage from cannon fire with clearly peeled aluminum skin on rudder and horizontal stab.

My father owned two - one a -30 D and one a -5 B. Both were bona fide ETO ships that got back home somehow. both had metal surfaces. I have read, but cannot recall where that metal surfaces were 'std' in ETO P-51's.. which was the basis of my comment, when coupled by personal experience in the two that I could touch. If true, a field mod??

I will dig some more Max and see what I can find - this has really got my attention.

Regards,

Bill
Old 05-22-2003, 01:30 PM
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big max 1935
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

I would say if any thing a field mod as any repairs to fabric surfaces were not a over night repair & probably not within the scope of most maintenance people. All I know is what #1 son showed me , picture after picture of battle damaged planes & even some captured 51's with German markings with shot up rudders. Has one photo of a highly polished one with the rudder dull looking where they couldn't shine fabric . Interesting? MAX H.
Old 05-22-2003, 02:07 PM
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drgondog
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

Max - it's driving me a little nuts.. when I get home I've got a lot of material I will go through, but concensus would indicate fabric as production norm with field mod as exception.

The group engineering shops at most bases were sophisticated enough to do just about anything re: repair. My father brought one home with 200+ holes (including 2 -37/40mm) that flew combat missions again a couple of weeks later (WR-B_ Jane IV, 355th FG)
Old 05-23-2003, 02:28 AM
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BobH
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Default P-51 Rudder!

Gosh and the plot thickens huh?. Just when you think you heard everything there was to know about a P-51.... something new shows up!...Very interesting to say the least!.. BobH.
Old 06-13-2003, 02:48 PM
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drgondog
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Default What Material Covered the P-51 Rudder?

after a lot of research to aid my 'senior moments'. Rudder - fabric, elevators - metal.

The most discernable evidence is a shot where my father's tail took heavy flak damage - essentially all of the rudder above the a/c number.. the rivet detail forward and the shreds of fabric aft, attached to aluminum frame.

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