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P-51 Mustang in Detail & Scale book

The best source of information for designing and building an accurate scale Mustang.




P-51 Mustang in Detail and Scale, volume 50, front cover


I love the P-51. Sporting beautiful classic lines and with a fascinating history, it has legions of fans the world over.

The Mustang was designed in just 102 days at the beginning of World War II. With a massive range of 1,650 mi (2,755 km) with external fuel tanks, it worked beautifully as a bomber escort. It was also an excellent dogfighter, responsible for shooting down 4,950 enemy aircraft during the war.

A dream of mine for many years now has been to design a scale version of this very famous fighter. There is no shortage of free information easily found on the Internet about it. Detailed drawings, high quality pictures, and authoritative facts are much harder to find, however. These books fill that need.

The Detail & Scale aviation book series by Bert Kinzey contains exactly the type of information that I so often find lacking in other technical information sources. The focus is on specific scale details needed to accurately reproduce a specific airplane.

There were more than 15,000 Mustangs built, in more than two dozen different versions. When building a scale model, it can be very tricky knowing which physical features go with the specific version that you are building. That is exactly the strength of this book series, clearly pointing out the differences.

Given the large number of variations and the wealth of information to cover, the P-51 is covered by two companion books. The first goes through the P-51C and the second book starts with the P-51D.

P-51 Mustang in Detail and Scale, volume 50, back cover

The Good

These are volumes 50 and 51 of the series, and it is clear that the author was a master at his craft by then. Though they are only about 75 pages each, these large format books do not leave anything out.

The books contain a large number of very sharp and detailed pictures. Considering how many fuzzy P-51 pictures I have had to squint at as I try and make sense of what I am seeing, they are a joy. The captions make it very clear what it is that you are looking at. Most are in black and white, but an eight-page insert contains full color pictures that really bring the airplane to life.

Besides the well-written text and pictures, tables clearly summarize the differences between the aircraft variations.

P-51 Mustang in Detail and Scale, volume 51, front cover

The Bad

At first glance, I was very surprised to learn that the books lack both a table of contents and an index. As I became more familiar with the books, I found them very easy to navigate. They follow a very carefully designed format, making finding information in them a breeze.

There is excellent information contained about the cockpits, landing gear, and engines, but do not look for interior design details. That is simply out of the scope of what they set out to do. No information was provided on the airfoils used, for example. Other books contain details on how the airframe was put together, but not these ones.

The Ugly

You could fault the books for containing mostly black and white pictures, but I would not. Many are historical pictures that are not available in color.

P-51 Mustang in Detail and Scale, volume 51, back cover


As I did the research for my scale model, I was becoming frustrated at the lack of good, high quality information on the P-51. It turns out that even the pros have this problem. The back of each of these books contains a section on commercial plastic Mustang scale kits, pointing out their many inaccuracies.

The many excellent close-up pictures easily justify the price of the books. If you are interested in creating an accurate scale replica of the Mustang, I know of no better source of information.

5 / 5 stars      

Click here to get P-51 Mustang in detail & scale, Part 1 from Amazon.

Click here to get P-51 Mustang in Detail & Scale, Part 2 from Amazon.

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