I almost forgot to check out the DCS: P-51D Mustang as its free (starting yesterday and ending today) to fly. I’ve flown the TF-51D and now I’m jumping over to the combat capable version of the Mustang and here are my thoughts so far along with my usual suggestion for guides on getting started with this module.
The legend in DCS
I’ve said it many times before and probably will again… the Mustang has a legendary status about it that transcends the actual airplane itself making it an icon. Whenever it shows up in a flight sim it brings with it a lot of history in tow. That can sometimes make for some difficult expectations, fortunately, DCS World treats the Mustang with what I think is an appropriate level of attention to try and bring the aircraft’s personality and character out.
The exterior of the aircraft is very good. I think some of the materials may need to be checked out again after all of the recent engine upgrades but it certainly holds up. There’s lots of detail everywhere.
The cockpit is very good having received a recent makeover. There are lots of subtle details and the way the lighting interacts with the cockpit is very impressive in 2.5.6. Oddly, I found a few of the gauges and labels to be blurry in an uncharacteristic way. With so much sharp attention to detail these days in most DCS World modules I was a bit surprised. We’ve talked in the comments section about a few quality issues with the Spitfire cockpit and frankly I see a few of those here too. It still looks brilliant 95% of the time.
One thing I have to mention is the sound. It is probably the most convincing P-51 Mustang sound I’ve heard in a flight sim so far. The throaty growl of the Packard Merlin, the whistle from the gun ports, it’s all here and it’s very convincing.
So far I’ve only used the P-51D in the provided quick missions starting with a quick takeoff and tour around before getting into combat. The Mustang, like most WWII aircraft in DCS, seem to have some lateral stability issues which requires a fair bit of trimming and rudder work to keep on centre. Purely from my own viewpoint, I feel like it may be a little overdone, and there are lots of non-flight model reasons for that but I do find that tuning each axis with +20 adjustments in DCS World dampens the controls to something that feels a little more reasonable and precise.
In turns you have to watch the stalls as this aircraft feels a little unstable. I didn’t check to see what my fuel status was so it may have been the rear tank causing extra stability issues in which case I’ll need to do some more testing.
The 500lb bombs and HVAR rockets definitely work well. In the provided ground attack mission (Caucasus map where you target modern BTR’s) I was able to take out three BTR’s with the rocket attack and another two with the bombs. Not so bad!
As for the .50cals, they sound good and they make terrific (if overdone) puffs on the target when they hit but the damage model for DCS World is definitely a failing and it seems to show with the .50cals more than with the 20mm cannons on the Spitfire. Looking forward to that major upgrade that is due soon.
The P-51D is a really good DCS WWII module and if you’re a fan of WWII air combat and want to jump into DCS World, the Mustang is perhaps one of the more accessible types with decent ground handling and a mix of air to air and air to ground capabilities.
It’s far and away from any fly-by-wire magical flying that you get with the more modern aircraft, however, and this does require some more serious work on the controls. It’s not as hard as some have made it out to be but if you’re new to sims this will teach you in a very direct way how challenging a WWII warbird can be.
The module comes with a great set of skins with everything from air racing to historical combat schemes. What it lacks are some good quick missions as there’s a very sparse supply out of the box. There are five full length missions available as well which are all based on the Caucasus map which is good if that’s all you have but disappointing if you want the WWII experience. I hope that Eagle Dynamics steps up with some more content for this module “out of the box” on both Normandy and their new Channel Map when the time is right.
A few guides that may help you sort out some of the operation of this module. Many of these are older but they should still get you going.
Of course, Chuck’s Guides is always highly recommended if you want to read a guide on how to operate a module. You can find Chuck’s Guide for the DCS: P-51D Mustang right here.