|Richard A Franks|
|Valiant Wings Publishing|
|£24.95 MSRP at www.valiant-wings.co.uk|
274 pages, A4 Format, softcover,
ISBN: 978-1-912932-112-2. Airframe and Miniature #16
First flying several years prior to WWII, the Hurricane was the type that was in more squadrons at the start of WWII than any other British fighter. In many ways, the Hurricane was the transition aircraft between the RAF's biplane fighters and modern low wing monoplanes with retractable landing gear and a closed canopy. Still, it was built in very much the same manner as its biplane predecessor with a metal tube fuselage covered in fabric aft of the cockpit area with the forward section covered in metal panels. Early Hurricanes had a wing that was fabric in the outer panels and sported a fixed two blade wooden prop.
One of the major improvements incorporated in the Hurricane was the ability to handle a prodigious number of guns in the wing. Most had 8 30 calibre Colt/Browning machine guns, though they were capable of holding 12. These guns were a major improvement as they were not subject to jamming as were the previous British airborne machine guns. Later planes were able to incorporate 20mm cannon in the wings and some had 40mm guns in wing pods, making them particularly effective against armor.
Though the Spitfire gets all the glamour when it comes to the Battle of Britain, it was the Hurricane that was operated by more squadrons and shot down considerably more enemy aircraft during that period of time. While the Spitfire was able to stay potent and was vastly improved as the years went on, for the Hurricane, what you had in the first plane was, despite increases in engine power, pretty much what you had in the last one built in 1944. Its obsolescence for the European theater did not make it obsolete for other theaters, such as North Africa, the Mediterranean and in the Far East, where it was a more than capable fighter and an even better fighter bomber. The end of the war saw the type rapidly removed from service and within a year it had almost entirely disappeared from the skies.
This latest book from Valiant Wings follows a familiar format to all the other Aircraft and Miniatures books. It is much more of a modelers volume than the other series, which is what makes it so popular. It starts with an introduction to the type along with its various improvements as production continued. This leads into evolution section with data on each upgrade and difference. This includes prototypes and test aircraft. Canadian production and the Sea Hurricanes are not forgotten and included. We then move on to one of my favorite sections; colors and markings. The Hurricane family wore a fairly surprising range of schemes. It includes those operated by non-RAF air forces.
Next is a section on available kits. The key to this is available so your old favorites from Frog, for instance, are not covered. The kit building section provides articles on the new Airfix and Arma Hobby 1/72 kits along with the Hasegawa kit in 1/48 and the Fly kit in 1/32. The section that provides drawings of every minute difference between Hurricanes starting from the first to the last and those proposed is next. Very useful. The 'in detail' section provides lots of images of current museum aircraft as well as period images and images taken from technical manuals. Then a full listing of all known Hurricane kits, decals, and books. Finally a great set of fold out plans in 1/48 scale.
Overall, this makes this THE book to have on the Hurricane. The amount of information is incredible. It is a book that I can easily provide my highest recommendation.
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