In 1940, at the request of the British, the P-51A ("Mustang") fighter plane was designed by North American Aviation. The design
showed promise and purchases of Allison-powered Mustangs began in
1941, primarily for photo reconnaissance and ground support use due to it's limited
high-altitude performance. But in 1942, tests of P-51B's using the British
Rolls-Royce "Merlin" engine revealed a much improved speed and service ceiling.
In late 1943, Merlin-powered P-51B's entered into air combat over Europe.
Providing high-altitude escort to B-17's and B-24's, the Mustang's scored heavily over
German interceptors. By the end of the war, P-51's had destroyed 4,950 enemy
aircraft in the air, more than any other fighter in Europe.
Mustangs served in nearly every combat zone, including the Pacific. Over 14,800 P-51's were
built by North American Aviation. During the Korean Conflict, P-51D's were used
primarily for close support of ground forces until withdrawn from combat in
In 1944, Captain Clarence Bud Anderson returned to the 375th Fighter Group for a second combat tour. He was assigned a new P-51D Old Crow in the dark green mask. Captain Bud was on a mission when the first drop of snow in Germany fell. Thus he noted a mixed flight of dark green and silver aluminum Mustangs below him. After his mission, he told his ground crew that the one painted the dark green stood out against the snow background and silver ones appeared to the have the best camouflage. Because of that Bud suggested to paint the Old Crow silver color the next time it was down for heavy maintenance.
The next morning, Captain Bud arrived at the station to find his P-51D Old Crow to use for his mission. To his surprise he found the Old Crow in a gleaming aluminum paint scheme ready for flight. Three members of his crew worked on it through the night scrapping, rubbing and remarking. They were all tired and their hands were raw due to the cold and solvents they used. The change made to P-51D Old Crow was dedicated to Bud Anderson and all 357th crew chief and ground support personnel who maintained the P-51 Mustang during World War II.
Fully assembled, Handcrafted Model Airplane with Removable
(Scale: 1/24, Length: 16.2", Wing Span: 18.25")
Source and Links: U.S.A.F. Museum.