Classic Colours, USAAF Colours 4:
P-51 Mustang Units of the Eigth Air Force
by Roger Freeman
Book review by Steve Jantscher
This is the fourth (and I believe final) volume in the Classic Publications soft cover book series USAAF Colours. Part of a "Classic Colours" series which I hope continues. This book covers the most significant fighter aircraft of the Eighth Air Force, the P-51 Mustang. While not nearly as varied and colorful as their Luftwaffe counterparts, the Eighth Fighter Command had many personalized and colorful (if silver and/or olive drab based) aircraft. This book provides a nice selection of those in both black and white photographs (there are three color photos) and full color side profiles drawn by Jim Laurier, of which there are thirty. This is really a modelers book. The text deals with the markings and camouflage of Eighth Air Force Mustangs, but it is the photographs that are the real value to this book. Many haven't been widely seen before, while some are common, but in each case it is the detailed description accompanying each photograph that aids in the interpitation of colors and markings found on the mustangs displayed.
In addition to these modeling type references, there are throughout the book sprinkled many stories and antic dotes from the flyers themselves. these stories liven up what would otherwise be just a very good markings and painting subject book. The last third of the book is devoted to the aces of the Eighth Fighter Command, and their mounts, in text and pictures.
One good thing I hope to comes from the publication of this definitive resource are more, and better researched decal sheets. I was also interested in noting that no where was there mention of blue winged Mustangs. I was somewhat at a loss to understand the lack of a simple, tabular illustration of squadron and air wing nose and tail colors and side codes. perhaps the author thinks that such information is better found in his earlier book The Mighty Eighth, but I find it's failure of inclusion as a small minus in the overall value of this book. After all, both the Mustang and the Thunderbolt Aero Detail books have graphic tables showing at a glance the group and squadron identity markings.
All in all this is a great economical addition to ones' library. Almost 100 pages of all Mustangs. Besides color and markings information, each photograph is a wealth of period details and diorama ideas.
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