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U. S. Air Force P-51D Mustang 1944

  • Kit Manufacturer: Revell-Monogram
  • Major Material: Plastics
  • Model Specifications: 1:32 Scale
  • Work Experience: According to Revell-Monogram, the Phantom Mustang was created by Monogram in 1961. It was the first kit molded in clear plastic and had moving parts so the builder could actually see the internal parts move. This kit had been re-released for a limited 20,000 editions in 1995 for celebrating the 50th anniversary of Monogram. The moving parts including functional landing gears, propeller, and the bomb releasing mechanism. Driven by two small electric motors and connecting linkages hidden in the base stand, these sophisticated mechanisms were ingeniously designed. However, the plastic parts are delicate and were not very well injected, and hence need to be carefully fixed into the right shape to make them move smoothly. After all, I am happy that I've found this kit from the Toy's R Us at Taipei, but am regret that I didn't buy two and save one as collector's item.

Historical Notes: Considered by many authorities to be the best fighter plane to come out of World War II, the Mustang is regarded today as a classic of fighter design. It outperformed all other Allied fighters in speed, range and maneuverability and became established as the principal Allied fighter plane.

The Mustang is a single-seat fighter built by North American Aviation Corp. It was originally designed at the request of the British Air Purchasing Commission for the Royal Air Force (RAF). The terms of the contract required completion of the prototype in only 120 days. The actual design and construction of the prototype was completed in 117 days. It first flew in October 1940 as the NA-73. The first production model was completed within one year and shipment was made to Great Britain in November 1941. The RAF named it the Mustang.

Of the first ten production aircraft, two were delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force for evaluation. Up to this time the USAF had shown no particular interest in the plane, having under development the P-38 Lightning and the P-47 Thunderbolt. The two planes were designed XP-51 and named Apache by the Air Force.

The XP-51 was powered by the Allison V-1710-39, 12 cylinder liquid-cooled engine of 11000hp. Its top speed was 382 mph. After extensive testing of these two planes, the USAF ordered 150 planes and soon after, another 310.

Flying with the RAF the Mustang was used mainly for ground support and low-level strafing, and was soon recognized as an outstanding design. The RAF experimented with the use of the more powerful Rolls Royce Merlin engine. Performance, particularly at higher altitudes, was so greatly improved, North American began a complete redesign of the Mustang, strengthening the air frame to take the more powerful engine. The Rolls royce Merlin V-1650-3 engine was licensed to Packard Motor Car Company for manufacture in the U.S.

Two of these new Mustangs were ordered by the USAF as the XP-78. (later changed to XP-51B). Top speed with the new engine was 411 mph. On the basis of tests by the RAF, the USAF ordered 2200 planes even before the two XP-51B models were flown. They were produced in the North American plant in California and in a new factory in Dallas, Texas. This model first went into service in 1943 as the P-51B Mustang, the USAF having adopted the British name.

In 1944 the P-51D went into production with the still more powerful Merlin V-1650-7 engine, built by Packard, incorporating a two-stage, two-speed supercharger. At this time, the rear of the fuselage was cut down and a beautifully streamlined "bubble" canopy was installed to provide better rear vision.

The P-51D was the most widely produced model of the Mustang, 7,956 being built. Total production of all models was 15,576. Ten of the P-51D were modified to two-place trainers and designated TP-51D. One of these was further modified for use as a high-speed observation post for the Supreme Allied Commander, General Eisenhower, during the Normandy invasion. (by Monogram)

More Pictures:   | Side View |   | Back View |

Recommended References:

  1. North American Aviation : P-51 Mustang (Production Line to Frontline, 1)
  2. North American P-51 Mustang (Osprey Modelling Manuals 19)
  3. America's Hundred Thousand : U.S. Production Fighters of World War II
  4. Air Command : Fighters and Bombers of World War II
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