P-51B Mustang Shangrila

Item Number: AP51BTE

MSRP Price: $169.95

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Scale: 1/24 scale model

Wing Span: 16.1

Length: 18.25
P-51B Mustang Shangrila
Model Description

This collectable model P-51C Mustang represents the ultimate in long-range fighter development in World War II, the aircraft that was finally able to escort bombers from bases in England to targets deep in Germany. Painted as “Shangi-La,” flown by Maj. Don Gentile in Europe, this 1/32-scale model P-51C Mustang makes a great pilot gift, or a present for any veteran, aviation enthusiast or history buff.

This iconic American aircraft of World War II, which also served in combat in Korea, actually began as a British aircraft. Designed and flown in just 178 days in response to a British proposal for a fighter-bomber. British officials wanted North American Aviation to build the Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk under license, but NAA President James “Dutch” Kindelburger persuaded them that his company could build a new, better design in less time.

The NA-73 project featured two innovations: an efficient laminar-flow wing developed by the National Advisory Committee of Aeronautics, and a radiator design that used exiting hot air to provide a modicum of additional thrust. The XP-51 showed good performance at low altitudes, and the British government placed orders for several hundred of the fighters. In 1942, the Army Air Forces placed an order for 320 P-51As, as well as orders for a dive bomber variant, the A-36.

Also in 1942, the Mustang received the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine – and the results were magic. High altitude performance exceeded expectations, with the Merlin-powered Mustang topping 440 mph in tests.

The Mustang was taking off – and with the addition of long-range tanks, the P-51 proved to be the answer to the Army Air Force’s need for a fighter with the range to accompany bombers all the way to their targets deep in Germany.

The definitive version of the Mustang, the P-51D, featured a bubble canopy, six .50-caliber machine guns, and a range of 1,650 miles. Top speed was 437 mph.

Maj. Don Gentile – who also flew with the Royal Air Force in an “Eagle Squadron” - ended World War II with 19.83 aerial victories.

The Mustang continued in service following World War II, operating as a fighter-bomber in Korea. The Mustang is a popular airframe for air racing, and restored versions are a common sight at air shows.