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.
One of my 354 favourite planes…
Its good to have a list!
Reblogged this on Souvenirs de guerre.
I reblogged it on the wrong blog.
Watch the traffic Dave!
Are you suggesting I may get some comments in French? You’ll have to do the replies!
No problem Dave. I will be more than honoured to do so.
Some wonderful aircraft, and a really interesting account of the different canopies. Very vague memories say that there was a Mr Malcolm. He must have been a very clever man.
Good point. I know the corporate identity, but indeed either Mr Malcolm or one of his engineers was very clever!
I just love the look of the P-51 with the Malcolm hood. Terrific paint scheme Dave, invasion stripes always look the business, and you have done a great job of them. Great write-up, great looking kit.
Thanks Rich! The hood is definitely a different look that I like too.
Superb finish to the models, the blown hood certainly does improve visibility and I think, enhances a beautiful aircraft.
Nice looking Mustang.
The one Mustang I have built (so far!) I opted for the Malcom hood. To me, these are the best looking Mustangs. Better than the bubble top… to me anyways. I really like the bare metal/camo scheme too.
I do like the look, both of the hood and the paint. It is one of the more appealing looking Mustangs.