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The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang Part 2

The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang Part 2 Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2015 Title The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang Part 2
Author Malcolm V. Lowe Publisher SAM Publications
Published 2014 ISBN 9781906959043
Format 224 pages, softbound MSRP (BP) £19.99


SAM Publications recently released part two of their P-51 Mustang Modeller's Data File series. The subjects covered with lots of nice period imagery include:

  • Merlin-Mustang Development
  • Initial USAAF Operations
  • Service Excellence in Europe
  • Service Excellence Worldwide
  • The RAF's Merlin-Mustangs
  • Post-War Merlin-Mustang Service
  • Lightweight Mustangs
  • Twin Mustangs and Further Developments
  • Conflict in Korea
  • Other Operators and Civil Service
  • Mustang in Colour
  • Modelling the Mustang in Popular Scales
  • Walk Around
  • Technical Diagrams

This title picks up from Part I with the modification of an early Mustang with the Merlin engine and the resulting changes that rippled across North American Aviation's production lines. Coverage extends to F-82 Twin Mustang as well as continuous operations from World War II well into the 1950s with the U.S. Air Force and even longer with many allied air arms. As is typical with this series, the title provides good coverage of the detail differences between each production version of the Mustang as well as some of the modifications that were adopted in the field (such as the Malcolm hood).

As you can see in the coverage above, the later sections provide the usual outstanding resources of diagrams and scrap drawings from various Mustang technical manuals which illustrate the details and differences of the different Mustang versions and will help the modeler put some of the more obscure kit instructions back into perspective.

One interesting aspect about this title is the frequent reference to Merlin-powered Mustangs in the narrative. To be historically accurate, only a few Mustangs were ever Merlin-powered, the vast majority were powered by license-built Packard Merlins which might sound like the same thing, but the RAF didn't think so. If you look at other RAF aircraft like the Lancaster, the RAF assigned different mark numbers to those aircraft powered by Packard-built Merlins versus the Rolls Royce-built Merlins. The author provides some interesting coverage of the Mustang in RAF service, but little to these same Mustangs that were reassigned to the Polish and other units that were given these aircraft after the RAF pilots experienced difficulties using the US-made oxygen, crew restraints, and other systems in the cockpit.

I'm not certain how long the draft of this title waited before publication but you'll notice that the kit resource tables are a bit puzzling. While there are nice lists of details and decal sheets, many of which are out of production, they don't list many good kits that have been available in that same time frame including the classic Hasegawa 1/32 P-51D, the periodically reissued Monogram 1/32 Phantom Mustang, and the Zoukei-Mura Inc. 1/32 P-51D kits. Nevertheless you will find lots of good kits, detail sets, and decals listed here.

Despite the above nit-picks, this is another good reference that is assembled with the modeler in mind and provides many useful resources for your next P-51 project without having to ravage through a stack of books and magazines. You'll want to add this title to your reference library.

My sincere thanks to SAM Publications for this review sample!