Thank you very much to the generous folks at SAM Publications for providing these titles for review. Thanks are also due to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me the opportunity to research and learn more about the iconic P-51 Mustang, a pivotal aircraft from World War II forward. These books are outstanding in quality and value. I highly recommend them, not just for the model builder, but anyone with an interest in aviation history.
In typical SAM style, you will find an excellent balance of detail, data, and superb photographs in a large package that allows for a true appreciation of the subject material. Part 1 covers the Allison engine Mustangs, and Part 2 details the Merlin power plant versions. Both are rich in development and operational histories of both versions, including a very nice treatment of the Twin Mustang in Part 2. Specific chapters in each part have color photos and color side-view renderings. Other perspectives on Part 1 may be found in two excellent reviews by Pablo Bauleo and Roger Rasor on the IPMS Review site:
Part 2 follows the format of Part 1 quite closely, with 10 chapters devoted to the development and service of the Merlin-powered Mustangs, followed by a chapter of color materials and the ever-important chapters relating to modeling, walk-around photo galleries, and technical diagrams. Detail-conscious modelers will have a field day with the information in these sections. An extensive chapter of kit builds is found in both Parts 1 and 2. I bounced back and forth between inspiration, awe, and a little bit of intimidation while reviewing the work of masters. Thorough kitography sections in each part provide superb planning and information to get the stuff you need to build the model you choose. The three scale fold-out drawings give you a great resource for locating details directly on kit parts if you need to.
The color galleries are printed on a light tan pages. I got a good laugh from seeing a tan stripe in the middle of each volume, making the color gallery easily located for ready reference on the bench. Old NATOPS manuals have red edges in the emergency procedures sections, so if you have a color emergency while working on a P-51 model, you will know where to quickly look!
The product websites referenced above have images that highlight the quality of the publications with beautiful representative page samples. Scans of the table of contents for each volume are included in this review, to give you a sense of the layout and balance of information in each book.
I can’t recommend these books highly enough if you are planning to model any P-51 or P/F-82. The photography and color renderings are excellent and the book is a superb resource, falling almost into the “coffee table” category. Together Parts 1 and 2 will allow a complete and thorough modeling experience when planning a kit build in any scale, even beyond the ones common in the plastic world. But whether or not you use this book as a build reference, they will add greatly to anyone’s aviation library.
Thank you again to SAM Publications for providing this book for review. To the folks in the IPMS Reviewer Corps, thank you again for giving me the review opportunity, and especially thanks for all the filtering, edits and other tech wrestling you do to make the Reviewer Corps excel.