Corgi AA27706 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - 44 13761, Capt Jack M Ilfrey, "Happy Jacks Go Buggy", 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, Kings Cliffe, England, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"The Mustang was a good fighter and the best escort due to its incredible range, make no mistake about it. It was also the best American dogfighter. But the laminar flow wing fitted to the Mustang could be a little tricky. It could not by any means out-turn a Spitfire. No way. It had a good rate-of-roll, better than the Spitfire, so I would say the pluses to the Spitfire and the Mustang just about equate. If I were in a dogfight, I'd prefer to be flying the Spitfire. The problem was I wouldn't like to be in a dogfight near Berlin, because I could never get home to Britain in a Spitfire!"
- RAF Chief Naval Test Pilot and C.O. Captured Enemy Aircraft Flight Capt. Eric Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, RN, after testing the Mustang at RAE Farnborough in March 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.
Following combat experience the P-51D series introduced a "teardrop", or "bubble", canopy to rectify problems with poor visibility to the rear of the aircraft. In America, new moulding techniques had been developed to form streamlined nose transparencies for bombers. North American designed a new streamlined plexiglass canopy for the P-51B which was later developed into the teardrop shaped bubble canopy. In late 1942, the tenth production P-51B-1-NA was removed from the assembly lines. From the windshield aft the fuselage was redesigned by cutting down the rear fuselage formers to the same height as those forward of the cockpit; the new shape faired in to the vertical tail unit. A new simpler style of windscreen, with an angled bullet-resistant windscreen mounted on two flat side pieces improved the forward view while the new canopy resulted in exceptional all-round visibility. Wind tunnel tests of a wooden model confirmed that the aerodynamics were sound.
The new model Mustang also had a redesigned wing; alterations to the undercarriage up-locks and inner-door retracting mechanisms meant that there was an additional fillet added forward of each of the wheel bays, increasing the wing area and creating a distinctive "kink" at the wing root's leading edges.
Other alterations to the wings included new navigation lights, mounted on the wingtips, rather than the smaller lights above and below the wings of the earlier Mustangs, and retractable landing lights which were mounted at the back of the wheel wells; these replaced the lights which had been formerly mounted in the wing leading edges.
The engine was the Packard V-1650-7, a licence-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 60 series, fitted with a two-stage, two-speed supercharger.
The armament was increased with the addition of two more .50 in (12.7 mm) AN/M2 "light-barrel" M2 Browning machine guns, the standard heavy-calibre machine gun used throughout the American air services of World War II, bringing the total to six. The inner pair of machine guns had 400 rounds per gun, and the others had 270 rpg, for a total of 1,880. The B/C subtypes' M2 guns were mounted with an inboard axial tilt, this angled mounting had caused problems with the ammunition feed and with spent casings and links failing to clear the gun-chutes, leading to frequent complaints that the guns jammed during combat maneuvers. The D/K's six M2s were mounted upright, remedying the jamming problems. In addition, the weapons were installed along the line of the wing's dihedral, rather than parallel to the ground line as in the earlier Mustangs.
The wing racks fitted to the P-51D/P-51K series were strengthened and were able to carry up to 1,000 lb (450 kg) of ordnance, although 500 lb (230 kg) bombs were the recommended maximum load. Later models had removable under-wing 'Zero Rail' rocket pylons added to carry up to ten T64 5.0 in (127 mm) H.V.A.R rockets per plane. The gunsight was changed from the N-3B to the N-9 before the introduction in September 1944 of the K-14 or K-14A gyro-computing sight. Apart from these changes, the P-51D and K series retained V-1650-7 engine used in the majority of the P-51B/C series.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAAF North American P-51D Mustang fighter that was nicknamed "Happy Jacks Go Buggy", and piloted by Capt Jack M Ilfrey, who was attached to the 79th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, then deployed to Kings Cliffe, England, during 1944.
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Release Date: July 2021
Historical Account: "Go Buggy" - With ace pilot Jack Ilfrey having been shot down over France just six days after D-Day, but luckily managing to avoid capture thanks to the efforts of the French resistance network, he soon found himself in London being interrogated by Allied intelligence officers. It was highly unusual to allow a downed airman to resume combat operations in the same theatre of operations following a successful repatriation, as they were at risk of both placing his helpers in danger and being shot as a spy if brought down again. Despite this, after a short spell touring USAAF airfields to recount his experiences to fellow pilots, Ilfrey found himself back at Kings Cliffe airfield, the commanding officer of his old squadron. The unit had recently traded their twin-engine P-38 Lightnings for North American P-51D Mustangs, with the P-38s transferring to the Ninth Air Force for use in ground support operations.
With his Mustang receiving the same "Happy Jack's Go Buggy" nose artwork as his previous fighter, Ilfrey would not score any further victories flying the Mustang, but he would use it as an unlikely wartime flying taxi. On the way home from completing an escort mission to Berlin, Ilfrey's wingman was hit by flak and forced to make a hasty landing at an abandoned airstrip in Holland. Unwilling to leave the young airman to an uncertain fate, Ilfrey landed his "Go Buggy" at the same airfield, beckoned his wingman into the cockpit and took off again sat on his lap - he described this as an extremely uncomfortable, but memorable flight back to Kings Cliffe for the pair.