|Richard A Franks|
|Valiant Wings Publishing|
|£24.95 MSRP at www.valiant-wings.co.uk|
272 pages, A4 Format, softcover,
ISBN: 978-1-912932-14-6, Airframe and Miniature #12
Few aircraft elicit the interest in enthusiasts, modelers, and the public like the Spitfire; especially in the UK where it has reached near-deity levels. To the uninitiated, Spitfires all seem to be about the same, especially the Merlin powered ones which are covered in this volume. However, reality shows us that the Spitfire's variations are even more convoluted than the Bf-109, as difficult as that might be to believe.
This latest volume from Valiant Wings straightens out much of the difference in sub-variants that often confuse even those who are enamoured by the aircraft. Much of the issue comes from aircraft being upgraded on the production line and even those which have changed variants either through rebuilds. This is especially the case with the difference between variants is little more than an engine change.
This update continues with the format that works extremely well and provides information in one place that no other series does better. The Airframe portion is the history section and this is divided logically into five sections; Mark I-V, VI-IX/XVI, Photo recon, and a camouflage and markings section. This latter is where you will find a plethora of full color profiles.
The Miniatures section has your kit reviews and some builds of various scales. Then there is a section that is fairly unique to this series and that is the sometimes minute differences between aircraft as the airframe progressed. For instance, there are nine drawings of the prototype alone. This is topped off with an extensive detail section using both period and extant airframes to cover all the parts and pieces. As usual, there are appendices with kits, decals, aftermarket and books. These are things that are generally available so don't go looking for Aeromaster or Superscale decals or Starfix kits in the list as they aren't there.
So why do a second edition? Well, the hobby is not static and it was decided to provide more information, not only by including the recent Eduard Mk.I build, but also by expanding the kit resource section and adding in more information on these aircraft in foreign service. It is enough to add 32 pages to an already large book, bringing the total to 272 pages.
It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that this is the best modeler's resource on the Merlin Spitfire I have ever read. Buy it.
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