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  1. P-51/F-6 Mustangs Kagero SMI Library No 11 The North American P-51 Mustang has got to be one of the most famous fighters of all time, so there’s no real requirement for me to regurgitate its design milestones and operational career. That is exactly what this book does too, where the design element takes up only a couple of paragraphs. The rest of the narrative contains information about the operations the P-51 carried out along with its lesser known derivative, the F-6 reconnaissance ship when flying with the USAAF within the European Theatre of Operations. This narrative, in both English and Polish takes up only the first seventeen pages, the next sixty five pages is really all about the men who fought their war in these aircraft through period photographs of the pilots and their steeds, some including their ground crew. Each of the photographs are annotated in both languages and contains information about the men, their victories and in some, their unfortunate demise. Where there are no known photos of the men posing next to their machines there are photos of their aircraft, mostly in flight, taking off or landing. The last few pages of this section are in full colour. At the back of the book are several colour side views of eleven aircraft on five pages and back cover. The book is very well printed in portrait orientation with a soft cover and even though the photographs are over 70 years old, because of their posed nature, they are really clear, which allows the modeller to see many of the paint schemes and inscriptions really well. The book comes with a small sheet of what look like 1:32 scales masks, so that the modeller can paint the Stars and Bars, of which there are four on their models rather than use decals, The sheet also includes just the Stars, although I've yet to find where these were used. Conclusion This book isn’t really my normal fare, but once I started to read it and really look at the photographs I didn’t stop until I got to the end. Some of the photographs are quite powerful, some are thought provoking, they are all interesting for one reason or another. The information on the F-6 operations is probably one that hasn’t been told fully, and needs to be explored more, but at least they pilots have got a mention as, with most reconnaissance units, they get very little recognition over the fighter boys. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Mustang – Thoroughbred Stallion of the Air Fonthill Media The Mustang started life in response to a need for the USA to supply fighters to the RAF. Initially powered by an Allison V-1710 engine with a single stage supercharger, performance low down was good, but at higher altitudes was unsatisfactory. Early combat with the RAF was predominantly in the ground attack role making use of it’s low level capability, but there was a need for an escort fighter that could perform at high altitudes. The rest as we know is history. When the Mustang met the Merlin, a true thoroughbred was born. The Mustang became infamous for its ability to take the air offence deep into German territory when escorting the USAF bomber streams during daylight raids due to its superb range and endurance. Written by Steve Pace who has been writing aviation material for 40 years and a former Boeing employee working on the 707 & 727 production lines, this up to date record of the Mustang delivers an indepth record and understanding of the aircraft from before its conception to the current day where some still survive and partake in airshow and racing circuits. With over 200 pages and 200 images of which over 60 are in colour, the book is broken down into logical chapters. It comes in hardback form approximately A4 in size with high quality matt finish pages. Starting with a historical over view of the A-36, F-6 and P-51 leading into developmental highlights throughout its life cycle, a great amount of detail supported with good quality black and white images lays the foundation for the rest of the book. It links political and historical events around the world that drove the development of the aircraft as well as summarising the key technical progressions that allowed it to stay in the front lines for so long, indeed long after World War II. From there, the focus turns to World War II. Starting with its role within the US Army Air Force, again delving deep into it’s technical evolvement unearthing many experimental trials and prototypes to evaluate new ways of getting the most from the aircraft. Whilst the most notable event being the transition from the Allison to the Merlin powerplant, other developments included ski’s and weapons carriage. The same format follows in subsequent chapters looking at the Mustang in RAF, RAAF and other foreign service. A break in the flow of the book has 32 pages with colour images going right back to 1940 in prototype form right up to current restored aircraft. These pages are printed on gloss paper. Special dedication to each main subgroup is given, the A-36, P-51, F-6/RF-51 and of course F-82 twin Mustang with chapters on each. Mention also goes to late derivatives such as the Piper Enforcer, famously being powered by a turboprop. Service and development after the war gives particular focus on operations during the Korean War where the Mustang played a key role in ground attack operations against the North Korean troops trying to push forwards. Again, the long range and good payload of the Mustang compared to the jets of the era made it highly effective in this role which enabled it to return to front line service. A full 21 pages are dedicated to the structures and systems employed and evolved in the aircraft including drawings of fuel layouts, supercharger design, gun exploded diagrams and many more. This section is particularly valuable for modellers due to the close up photographs and diagrams to assist scratch building. In the appendices at the rear of the book are no less than 20 combat accounts from various pilots who flew on such operations. This makes for excellent reading and inspiration to get a feel for what the aircraft was like when it mattered. Conclusion This is a very detailed book, perhaps the definitive book covering the complete lifespan of the Mustang up to the present day. Due to the way the chapters are organised and written, there are however duplications of information to the point of having the same photo and text captions 3 times throughout the book referring to the XP-51G. As such, the book could probably have less pages without losing on value if one was to be critical. It provides a good mix of factual information in written form and pictorial references that makes it an ideal modelling reference book. If you’re Mustang fan and want some ideas and inspiration for your builds, you will find everything you need in this. Review sample Courtesy of