I'm sure the purist will be cringing when I say that this French Jeep was to be re-sprayed into US Army Air Force colours. This is due to my long interest in the US 8th Air Force and my previous hobby flying large radio controlled aircraft, many of which were 8th Air Force aircraft.

From 1993 to 2005, I ran a model team who flew the largest collection of American radio controlled model warbirds in the UK, with bombers, fighters, transports and trainers, some of which can be seen here and in the link below.

The bombers span over 18 feet while the fighters are around 7 feet wingspan. The aircraft are powered by either converted chainsaw engines or specially designed model engines of between 40 and 60cc capacity.

My US Army Air Force Aircraft

Within days of getting the Jeep home, it was marked up in 8th Air Force, 100th Bomb Group, 351st Bomb Squadron colours. Here's a couple of pictures of an original Willy's MB's taken in 1998, at the 100th Bomb Group Museum. The owner let Lynne and myself have a drive around the perimeter track, and that possibly planted the seed of owning a Jeep in our minds, 'though it would be a further seven years before it happened.

I found three pictures of one of the 100th BG Jeeps, at the time, the only 100th Jeep I could find more than one picture of. This is the vehicle I first based my Jeep on. It seems a bit unusual in the fact that it has a complete and very large circle around the hood star. Many Jeeps had a circle broken into five segments, making the stencil easier to make.

The hood number is 2078036 S, the S signifying the vehicle is suppressed and so is suitable for the fitting of radios. I am interested in the mottled appearance to the roof canvas, as I have never seen this on any other jeeps.

Notice also, in the picture to the right, that the jeep has had a wind deflector fitted to the side of the screen.

Not wasting any time, two days after getting the jeep, I started the markings. First job was to cut the stencils for the various markings from thin card.

Saturday the 16th April '05, was the day I drove the jeep back from Scotland, Sunday 17th, Lynne and I went out for a drive. Both days had reasonable weather. Monday was heavy rain all day, so any painting would have to be in the confined space of the garage. That only really left the front bumper is a position where it could be painted.

I tried using a brush and a sponge pad with the stencils, but the results weren't that wonderful, so a settled for spraying through the stencils. I have since found wartime pictures of markings being applied by spraying. After the bumper numbers were added, Jessie was finally named.

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