P-51D Mustang American Aces
While this is the 4th volume in MMP’s “Spotlight On” series, it is the first one I have had the pleasure of seeing in person. This book (and I imagine the others in the series) consists primarily of large, full-page color profiles of the subject matter.
Upon opening the book, one is immediately presented with an introductory page briefly discussing the P-51D’s development (not the P-51 in general, just the “D” model, so the author assumes some general knowledge of the aircraft type). This is immediately followed by over 40 pages of color profiles. At the end of the book is a page showing the general finish of the P-51, and a 2-page section listing P-51 Aces.
The majority of the pages are of color side-view profiles, with occasional top- and bottom-views (also in color) that correspond to a particular side-view subject. In some cases both sides of a particular aircraft are shown. In the center of the book is a large foldout color side-view (equaling 4 pages in size) that is impressive. The quality of the artwork is first-rate, and in my opinion any of these pages would stand alone as a high quality art print.
Each of the ‘profile’ pages has only one drawing per page, so the size of each is substantial. Many pages also contain a scrap view showing a particular detail such as personal markings or victory symbols. The description of each page’s subject matter is brief, but contains all the necessary information such as pilot, serial number, unit information and a description of the camouflage and/or other markings coloring. In a way, this book reminds me of what good quality aftermarket decal instructions would look like if aviation artists created them.
One of the last pages of the book contains a 4-view profile (top, bottom, left and right views) of a P-51D in 1/72nd scale. This will be of particular use to the modeler as it highlights areas of the wing that were filled and puttied on the actual aircraft to help provide a smooth airfoil. Different areas of the airframe are color-coded to describe this.
After this is a 2-page table of P-51 Aces, in order by victory count. Name, rank, unit and victory tally are listed, as well as the page in the book containing a profile of the pilot’s aircraft (if present).
The last page contains a brief bibliography and publishing information.
I enjoyed paging through this book tremendously. I say “paging” as there really wasn’t a lot of reading to be done! But I like looking at nice artwork and getting inspired to build something, and along those lines this book definitely succeeds. As I mentioned before, it really did remind me of what a great aftermarket decal instruction sheet would look like if artists illustrated it. It wouldn’t surprise me if eventually some accompanying decals were released in conjunction with this book and others in the series (although that is pure conjecture on my part). The judicious use of the top/bottom profiles, as well as detailed scrap-views will help the modeler know all the details of any particular scheme. The page at the end describing which sections of the Mustang’s wing were puttied over and painted is an added little bonus. If you are into Mustangs, or like high-quality color profiles that provide enough detail for finishing a model in a particular scheme, then this is a worthwhile addition to your library.
Thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copy, and to IPMS for allowing me to review it!