One minor complaint with the early Mustangs was poor visibility to the rear. This was not an uncommon problem with fighters of the era.
After the jump, a look at one attempt to fix this problem.
Many aircraft designs of the late 1930s and early 1940s featured a more or less straight line from the top of the pilot’s armored headrest back to the tail section. This made for good aerodynamics but poor visibility. Early in the production of the Supermarine Spitfire R. Malcolm & Co introduced a blown plexi-glass piece that would allow the pilot some ability to look back down the spine of the aircraft.
For the Spitfire, this type canopy was used from very early in production (only a few early Spitfires were built with flat canopies) until very late in World War II. The Malcolm Hood became a part of the Spitfire’s distinctive look. But a few other types also got the treatment. Most significantly, the vast majority of early Mustangs with the RAF and many England based Mustangs serving with the USAAF did too. I’ve also seen this on a small number of Thunderbolts.
But prior to the introduction of the Bubble Canopy on the P-51D the Malcolm Hood was a very popular field modification. It was even more aerodynamic than that later bubble. The P-51D added the bubble and about 200 HP, yet it was about 5 knots slower than a P-51B with the Malcolm.
This particular aircraft is from the Tamiya kit with Aviation USK decals. As always the Tamiya kit was a joy to build, but I’m no fan of these decals. They are limited run and are printed on a solid clear sheet. A very thick clear sheet that did not disappear under the decal treatment I usually use.
This plane is from the 357th Fighter Group. This group ranked third for total kills in the 8th Air Force, but it ranked number one for the number of pilots who made ace. That includes such well known pilots as the group’s top ace Leonard K. Carson (18.5 kills); Clarence E. Anderson (16.25 kills); and Charles E. Yeager (11.5 kills, including five on one mission). “U’ve Had It” was flown the group’s number two ace, John B. England with 17.5 kills.