HOBBY MASTER AIR POWER SERIES
*** Important Product Update:
Hobby Master has informed us that HA8501 has been released with an incorrect wing configuration (inadvertently used the P-51D wing leadig edge which has a slight larger indention at the wing root and has (6) leading edge guns instead of the (4) on the P-51B). The error was discovered after the production run was completed and therefore this model is shipping with the incorrect wing configuration. Due to the inaccuracy with this model we have been authorized to drop the web price to $59.95 (down from $74.95). We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. Please contact Sally or I with any questions that you might have!
Future P-51B releases are being re-tooled with the correct wing configuration and therefore HA8502 will be delayed until this change has been made.
About Capt. Don Gentile: Major Dominic Salvatore "Don" Gentile (December 6, 1920 - January 28, 1951) was a World War II USAAF pilot who surpassed Eddie Rickenbacker's World War I record of 26 downed aircraft.
The U.S. military required two years of college for its pilots, which Gentile did not have, so he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was posted to the UK in 1941. Gentile flew the Supermarine Spitfire Mark V with No. 133 Squadron, one of the famed "Eagle Squadron" during 1942. His first kills (a Ju 88 and Fw 190) were on August 1, 1942, during Operation Jubilee.
In September 1942, the Eagle squadrons transferred to the USAAF, becoming the 4th Fighter Group. Gentile became a flight commander in September 1943, now flying the P-47 Thunderbolt. Having been Spitfire pilots, Gentile and the other pilots of the 4th were displeased when they transitioned to the heavy P-47. By late 1943, Group Commander Col. Don Blakeslee pushed for re-equipment with the lighter, more maneuverable P-51 Mustang. Conversion to the P-51B at the end of February 1944 allowed Gentile to build a tally of 15.5 additional aircraft destroyed between March 3 and April 8, 1944. After downing 3 planes on April 8, he was the top scoring 8th Air Force ace when he crashed his personal P-51, named "Shangri La", on April 13, 1944 while stunting over the 4th FG's airfield at Debden for a group of assembled press reporters and movie cameras. Blakeslee immediately grounded Gentile as a result, and he was sent back to the US for a tour selling war bonds. In 1944, Gentile co-wrote with well-known war correspondent Ira Wolfert One Man Air Force, an autobiography and account of his combat missions.
His final tally of credits was 19.83 aerial victories and 3 damaged, with 6 ground kills, in 350 combat hours flown. He also claimed two victories while with the RAF.
About the P-51B: The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and other conflicts. The Mustang was conceived, designed and built by North American Aviation (NAA) in response to a specification issued directly to NAA by the British Purchasing Commission. The prototype NA-73X airframe was rolled out on 9 September 1940, 102 days after the contract was signed and, with an engine installed, first flew on 26 October.
The Mustang was originally designed to use the Allison V-1710 engine, which had limited high-altitude performance. It was first flown operationally by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber (Mustang Mk I). The addition of the Rolls-Royce Merlin to the P-51B/C model transformed the Mustang's performance at altitudes above 15,000 ft, giving it a performance that matched or bettered the majority of the Luftwaffe's fighters at altitude. The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 60 series two-stage two-speed supercharged engine, and armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns.
From late 1943, P-51Bs (supplemented by P-51Ds from mid-1944) were used by the USAAF's Eighth Air Force to escort bombers in raids over Germany, while the RAF's 2 TAF and the USAAF's Ninth Air Force used the Merlin-powered Mustangs as fighter-bombers, roles in which the Mustang helped ensure Allied air superiority in 1944. The P-51 was also in service with Allied air forces in the North African, Mediterranean and Italian theatres, and saw limited service against the Japanese in the Pacific War. During World War II, Mustang pilots claimed 4,950 enemy aircraft shot down.
Info: P-51B Mustang - "Shangri La," Captain Don Gentile, 336th FS, 4th FG, USAAF