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The North American P-51 Early Mustang

The North American P-51 Early Mustang Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review October 2013 Title The North American P-51 Early Mustang
Author Richard A. Franks Publisher Valiant Wings Publishing
Published 2013 ISBN 9780957586611
Format 192 pages, softcover MSRP (BP) £18.95


The North American P-51 Early Mustang – sixth installment in Valiant Wings' "Airframe & Miniature" series – conveniently covers every Allison- and Merlin-engine derivative in one thoroughly capable compendium.

In 192 pithy pages – nearly 50 more than in previous "Airframe & Miniature" titles – the inimitable Richard A. Franks tells the whole terrific tale:

  • Evolution – NA-73X and Mustang Mk I
  • P-51, A-36, P-51A and Mustang Mk II
  • The Early Merlin-powered Mustangs
  • Test Airframes, Conversions & Projects

Prefatory notes recap design, development, and operational use.  Chapters itemize individual variants with corresponding serial numbers, detail distinctions, and, where appropriate, colors and markings.  Data blocks include dimensional and performance specifications.  And photos and drawings clearly illustrate every Mustang type.

Want the origin of the "Malcolm hood"?  It's here.  The XP-51's propeller types with diameters?  Yep.  The A-36A's ventral scoop style?  That, too.  Exactly how Britain first married Merlins to Mustangs?  Absolutely.

Coverage then turns meaty for modelers.  Over 30 pages of authoritative camouflage & markings information with color plates by Richard J. Caruana provide plenty of project inspiration.  A chapter listing all known "early" P-51 kits follows.  A subsequent section covers five dedicated model builds.  A collection of isometric version views clearly charts Mustang evolution.  And detail photos, walk-arounds, tech-manual excerpts, glossary, appendices and scale drawings conclude contents.

Whew. That clears things up – beautifully!  The North American P-51 Early Mustang is the perfect reference for "early" Mustang models.  And I absolutely loved it.

Robustly recommended!

My sincere thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for this review copy.