Although the Mustang was designed at the requisition of the British Government it became the symbol of the domination of the USA in the air of World War 2 at all fronts, from Europe to Pacific. There are many publications depicting construction and differences between variants of P-51 already published. This time Kagero provides us a book which is actually a photo-album showing particular machines of the late Mustang variants: D, K, F-6D and F-51.
This publication, as no.03, continues the SMI Library series. The book is a bit smaller than typical A4 format, although I can't say what format it is. Inside the publications we will find 122 photographs depicting Mustangs. As these are mostly war-time photographs only 12 are in colour, others are black/white. The quality of photos is very good and you see they were carefully chosen. If only it was possible few planes are shown from different angles, sometimes on close-ups of the engine nacelles, personal emblems etc. The pictures are reproduced in nearly half-page size and each picture is described in English and Polish language. The description is sometimes just the serial number, date and number of the unit but many of the descriptions are the authors remarks, for example about colours, or circumstances of the depicted situation. These are many times very useful and interesting. If I recognise it correctly half of the pictures were taken in Europe, others are from Asia, USA (for the Air Guard planes) and few pictures depicts machines sold to Latin America countries. One page of the book is bibliography and a short recommendation of the other publisher books about P-51's. The last part of this books are colourful drawings by Janusz Światłoń depicting six Mustangs on the large port and starboard side profiles, full upper side view and undersides of the wings. For four of these machines Kagero have provided a sheet of decal in 1/32, 1/48 and 1/72 scales printed by Cartograf. On the decal we can find emblems, serial numbers and individual letters of depicted machines. Other markings, especially national “stars and bars” or stencils we will have to provide on our own. These are very popular and can be easily found in our “spare-decal-boxes” or even in the other dedicated sets so I think this is not the problem. It is a pity that for the “Cheese Cake Chassie” there are no “lightning bolts” provided on the decal. These can be of course painted using some simple masks but it is another difficulty which we encounter if you choose this machine for our scaled-down replica. However I absolutely realise that because there are eight “lightning bolts” required for just one plane, there is simply not enough space on the sheet to accommodate these decals in all three scales. Decals, as usual for Cartograf, represents very good quality and I don't expect any problems. Pictures are sharp, colourful, vivid and without slightest misalignment. Maybe a bit of decal agents would be useful while placing on the model.
To summarise the review I think this is an interesting publications for the Mustang enthusiasts. You will not find here any technical drawings, scale plans, information about versions etc. This is not the place for this sort of information, there are plenty of books available on the market where you can find it. In this book you will find plenty of good quality pictures showing how colourful and interesting markings were seen of the American late war work-horse of the air war. The decal and colour drawings is a great addition for modellers who are eager to add one of these Mustangs to their collection. I am sure that it is not possible to show all interesting P-51's in one book so I hope to see next part of this series with more Mustangs in the future.
Highs: Very good quality of photographs carefully chosen for publication, nice drawings of Janusz Światłoń, great decalsLows: A few more decals would be fondly seen if only this would be possible.Verdict: A good book recommended to all Mustang fans.
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