Corgi US37102 USAAF North American P-51B-5 Mustang Fighter - Don Gentile, "Shangri-La", 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, Debden, Essex, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Okay, let's go."
- Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower on the eve of D-Day, June 5th, 1944
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.
This particular 1:72 scale aircraft was piloted by Don Gentile of the 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, then based at Debden, Essex, in 1944.
Wingspan: 6.25 inches
Length: 5.25 inches
Release Date: January 2009
Historical Account: "One-Man Air Force" - Don Gentile had claimed 21.8 kills and six ground strafing kills by April 1944. The tally prompted General Eisenhower to dub him a "one-man air force." Trained in Canada after being rejected by the USAAC, Gentile claimed his first kill with the RAF in Spitfires. He then scored two in USAAF Spitfires and four in P-47s, before converting onto the P-51B and claiming an additional 15.5 up to April 13th, 1944. The majority of his claims came in this aircraft, which became one of the best-known P-51s of the Eighth Air Force in WWII. It was written off an the end of Gentile's last mission on April 13th, 1944. He clipped the ground at Debden while beating up the airfield for the attending press, who had gathered to welcome him back from his final sortie. The aircraft broke its back in the resulting crash-landing. Gentile was subsequently killed in a post-war flying accident.