P 51b Mustang Ace

Unit Card:


Set - Number

Angels 20 - 26/31


The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was a single-seat fighter used extensively in WWII and beyond, claiming 4950 kills, second only to the Hellcat in total air kills among US planes. The Mustang first rolled off the assembly line in late 1940. Starting in late 1943, P51s were used to escort bomber raids into Germany. The appearance of the Mustang revolutionized bombing doctrine by providing a reliable escort for the bombers all the way to the German doorstep. Moreover, as the war progressed, allied doctrine switched again, with the P51s sent ahead of the bombers in order to destroy German fighters before the bombers arrived, devastating German fighter formations as they were in the process of forming up. The main theaters of operation for the P51 were Northern Europe, North Africa, the Mediterranean and Italy. They saw relatively limited combat in the Pacific. Expert opinion at the time accorded it the status as the best American dogfighter, and its quality as a plane is exemplified best by its continued use after WWII, and in some of the world’s airforces as late as 1980.


The P51 is a fast plane, with a high speed potential of 7, and a regular speed of 2-4. Gunnery is a respectable 6-5-3, and it can usually get into position to make shots at range-1 or 2. The defensive stats are also a respectable 3-7-3. It lacks the 4 armor of several of the truly outstanding planes in the game such as the Fw190 and the Wildcat, but its defensive line and speed in particular make it sturdy enough that you can often keep it out of harms way. The P51 has average turn and roll scores. A four will usually get the job done if you need to turn or roll, but neither are the specialization of the P51. Instead, the P51 is the quintessential vertical fighter in this game, climbing at an excellent 5, and also diving at an equally excellent 5. The Mustang Ace also packs two abilities that complement its vertical fighting prowess. Skilled Flier expands your arsenal of difficult maneuvers when you win initiative. Unlike Boom and Zoom where you are limited to Diving and Climbing, the P51 can simply attempt any two difficult maneuvers. On the whole, I probably prefer the Boom and Zoom SA, since it plays to the P51’s strengths and has no limitations when you lose initiative. Diving and Climbing are the main difficult maneuvers you should be doing with your Mustang anyway. Meanwhile, Bounce allows the Mustang to attack first when you begin a turn in diving status and win initiative. This is a difficult set of circumstances to set up, but the Mustang can at least pick up some synergy from the fact that it should be ending many of its turns in diving status and at least some of the time you’ll win initiative. Since you also get two difficult maneuvers when you win initiative and have a fast speed, there’s a decent chance that you can find a target on your following turn and utilize the SA. This is especially useful if you need to set up a head-on shot and finish an opponent before they can fire back.

Flight Builds and Tactics: The Mustang is your only US ace represented in Angels 20, and thus it becomes your default first choice for many US air flights. Although you can get away using a Veteran as your highest pilot represented and have a ready-made and extremely useful plane in the form of the Veteran Navy Wildcat, many flights will want to use the P51 Mustang. At higher point levels, there’s virtually nothing preventing you from having both the Navy Wildcat and the Mustang Ace in your flights. One difficulty that a pure nation US flight has is in distributing the remaining points once you decide upon the Mustang Ace. At 100 points, only two P40B Rookies fit comfortably with the Mustang. A second Mustang Ace leaves one moving first and potentially becoming a target to the opponent, though this build may actually be better than bringing the two Rookies with their negative special abilities. If you drop the size of the game to 90 points, a single Mustang Ace pairs very nicely with his cousin the P51C escort, and plays nicely against other nation builds at 90 points. Once you go above 100 points with the US air, you’ve generally got the points available to take the Mustang Ace and a good selection of the other US planes to reach 120, 150, or whatever size of game you wish to play. In my experience, the Mustang Ace is easier to use than the Mustang Escort. You’re generally moving it last and you have an excellent opportunity to maneuver upon another target. Vertical fighters in particular don’t need excellent angles to be able to hit their target. When you’ve got a pilot bonus and a diving bonus, even a shot from a poor angle can turn into a hit, whereas most tailing shots turn into instant kills. The main strengths of the plane are its Climbing bonus and speed. You’ll want to climb nearly every turn where possible, and then take as many shots as you can get in diving status. Use your speed to set up good shots, and don’t be afraid to Climb or Dive at high speed if high speed is necessary to get into position. If you lose initiative and need to escape, high speed 7 can quickly get you away from most other aircraft, while climbing or diving to escape them.

Plastic Figure Notes:

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