|Richard A Franks|
|Valiant Wings Publishing|
|£18.95 MSRP at www.valiant-wings.co.uk|
|Notes:||98 pages, A4 Format, softcover, ISBN: 978-1-912932214, Airframe Detail #10|
The Bristol Beaufort was designed to be a land based torpedo bomber to replace the various biplane bombers like the Vildebeest. Several companies tendered designs but it was Bristol that won the competition with an aircraft that borrowed heavily from their successful Blenheim. This is fairly easy to see in the shape of the flying surfaces.
However, the fuselage, though similar in inital appearance, was quite different. It was deeper in order to carry the torpedo and the upper fuselage was higher than the aft portion in order to accommodate a radio operator and a mid-fuselage turret. Over the life of the aircraft, several different turret designs were used. The aircraft was also re-engined with the Mk.I using a Taurus engine while the Mk.II used the Pratt&Whitney Twin Wasp. This latter engine was originally used on Australian production Beauforts due to the difficulty of getting the Taurus from the UK. It turned out that the greater reliability and power of the Twin Wasp saw this engine being used in later UK production aircraft as well.
Despite not being as well known as the Blenheim or Beaufighter, the Beaufort provided sterling service not only with the RAF in the Mediterranean, but also with the Australians in the Pacific. Starting in 1943/44, the Beaufort was replaced by the Beaufighter, though continued to be useful in patrol and various secondary roles. to provide support to resistance movements and to extract downed pilots.
This latest book by Valiant Wings not only provides a fair history of the type, but, thanks to a fair number of extant airframes, is able to give us a look at the details of this interesting aircraft that also included period photos and illustrations. There is a very interesting color and markings section and the modeler is not forgotten. This isn't a modeler's book as other series will cover that. However, there are two build reviews. One is the 1/72 Airfix kit into which the builder put his usual mass of aftermarket. The other is the new ICM 1/48 kit which was built straight from the box. In addition, there is information on kits, accessories, decals and books for those who want more. Finally, there is a brief rundown of units who operated the type.
In all, it is another superb effort from Valiant Wings and a book that easily gets my highest recommendation.
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