Building the P-51 Mustang

Published: March 14th, 2012     
Author: Michael O’Leary
Reviewed by: Greg Wise - IPMS# 44378
Company: Specialty Press
ISBN #: 978-1-58007-190-1
Other Publication Information: New softbound edition, 11 X 8.5”, 240 pages, 397 b/w photos
Price: $34.95
Product / Stock #: SP190
Product provided by: Specialty Press

What more can be said about America's all time greatest fighter aircraft, the North American P-51 Mustang? While pondering this thought as a modeler, I realize we have a lot of unanswered questions. As a P-51 crew chief, I am always asked off the wall questions from the P-51 enthusiasts and fellow modelers alike. Lastly, as an A&P mechanic and P-51 restoration guy, I had a few unanswered questions myself.

In this well documented, beautifully written book, you will find lots of the gemstones you were looking for, and much more. The factory photos are very high quality, showing the details modelers are looking for. Rare vintage wartime photos document testing weapons, rocket assisted take off development, and more jaw dropping oddities. The text is well thought out and the story is explained in a captivating manner. This includes developing linear performance data and design evolution, as seen from the vantage point of the factory. The manufacturing story unfolds as each page is turned, showing the can-do spirit of those who made it happen. As I write this, there are 7 airworthy flying examples in the hangers where I work, a true testament to these Mustang legends.

About the Author

Author and photographer Michael O'Leary is well known in the field of aviation journalism, having served for more than 20 years as editor of Air Classics and Warbirds International Magazines. O'Leary has a life-long fascination with the North American P-51 Mustang, having accumulated more than 3,000 original photographs and vast amounts of documentation relating to the famed World War II fighter. He has also built a tremendous body of work as an aviation photographer, capturing the visual beauty of the P-51 by using lovingly restored Mustangs as subjects for the covers of his magazines.

Bottom Line

This book is not just another footnote on the P-51; it is a must for the P-51 modelers, historians, enthusiasts, and pilots. With over 12 years on Mustangs, I highly recommend this book to everyone who is in love with the Mustang.

Thanks to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the review copy. It is a welcome addition to my library.

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