Easy Model EM36359 USAAF North American F-51B Mustang Fighter - Captain Don Gentile, "Shangri La", 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group (1:72 Scale)
"The best fighter pilot I ever saw."
- General Chuck Yeager, commenting on the flying skills of his fellow airman, Captain Clarence E. "Bud" Anderson
No other aircraft of WWII could fly as high, go as far, or fight as hard as the famed Mustang. Piloted by a record 281 Aces, this agile and ferocious dogfighter tallied more kills than any other Allied airplane. As the bombers of the Eighth Air Force fought their way deep into Hitler's Germany, it was the Mustang that cleared the skies of Luftwaffe fighters. The powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engine gave the Mustang a speed of 445 mph. Re-styled with an aerodynamic bubble canopy for greater visibility, and outfitted with 6 fast-firing .50 caliber machine guns, the P-51 became the best fighter of the war.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a F-51B Mustang that was piloted by Captain Don Gentile, who was attached to the 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 6.75 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: August 2010
Historical Account: "Record Breaker" - Major Dominic Salvatore "Don" Gentile was the WWII USAAF pilot who was the first to break Eddie Rickenbacher's WWI record of 26 downed aircraft.
After a fascination with flying as a child, his father provided him with his own plane, an Aerosport Biplane. He managed to log over 300 hours flying time by July 1941, when he attempted to join the Army Air Force. The U.S. military required two years of college for its pilots, which Gentile did not have, therefore Gentile originally 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 (Ju 88 & Fw 190) were on August 1st, 1942, during Operation Jubilee; and he downed an FW-190 and a JU-88 on August 1st, 1942.
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 3rd and April 8th, 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 13th, 1944 while stunting over the 4th FG's airfield at Debden for a group of assembled press reporters and movie cameras.
Col. Blakeslee immediately grounded Major Gentile as a result, and he was sent back to the US for a tour selling War Bonds. 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.