The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang Part 1 - Allison Powered
Modellers Datafile #21 might arguably be considered the most complete reference book available for anyone intending to build a model of an early version of one of the best-known fighters of World War II, the North American P-51 Mustang. Later versions of the P-51, equipped with the Packard built Merlin 60 series engine, possessed excellent range and maneuverability that contributed to Mustangs being known primarily as a long-range escort fighters and ground attack fighter-bombers in nearly every combat zone during WWII (and later serving in that role in the Korean War). However, the early version of the Mustang, as originally designed, was built around the Allison V-170 engine, which had limited high-altitude performance that resulted in a different primary role for this iconic fighter. Originally known as the RAF’s Mustang Mk.1, it was initially flown operationally as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber. The USAAF found the A-36 version to be both effective in its intended roll and more than adequate as a fighter at lower altitudes.
In this, the first of two volumes published by SAM on the P-51, acknowledged author Malcolm V. Lowe looks at the genesis of the P-51 and the Allison powered versions, detailing the NA.73X Prototype, the A-36 Apache/A-36 Invader, and the early P-51s in US and RAF Service. This volume begins at the beginning and covers completely the story of the Allison version of the Mustang, providing a wealth of photos of operational aircraft and those preserved today. It goes on to provide model builders with everything needed to construct and finish accurate replicas of this famous aircraft, including a number of how-to construction articles in 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scales. Everything is well-written, and the author’s extensive text is backed up with color profiles by illustrator Andy Evans, fold-out scale plans, technical diagrams and specifications, period illustrations, aircraft walk arounds, descriptions of available kits in popular scales and a comprehensive listing of all available kits, decals and accessories. Nothing is left out.
Following an interesting 6-page introduction, the contents include the following chapters:
- Mustang Genesis
- Britain’s Finest
- Service Excellence
- America Takes an Interest
- Early US Operations
- Successful US Service
- Future Projects
- Other Operators
- Mustang in Colour
- Colour Side-Views
- Modelling the Mustang in Popular Scales
- Walk Around
- Technical Diagrams
- Appendix (I – VII)
Within the book’s 178 pages are 125 black & white photos, 41 color photos of actual aircraft, 87 color photos of models (during assembly and in completed form), 25 full color profiles, multiple technical drawings of the airframe, major assemblies, subassemblies, landing gear, instruments and cockpit details. In addition, there are complete fold-out plans in 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scales and a Kitography that lists all kits, aftermarket accessories and decal sets for the P-51A, Mustang Mk.I, Mk.Ia and A-36 marketed in all three scales.
This volume is a near necessity for anyone planning to build an early Mustang in any scale. It provides more detailed information about all versions of the Allison powered Mustang than this reviewer has found in any other single publication. The follow up volume should provide the same level of information on the later Merlin powered versions. There is little doubt that the first printing of both of these books will sell out and hopefully be reprinted.
This book is highly recommended.
My thanks to SAM Publications for providing the review sample and to IPMS/USA for permitting me to review this excellent book.