About two months ago, I was contacted about doing some book reviews with an emphasis on the scale modeller in mind. While I am a somewhat sporadic reader in the big picture scenario, building model airplanes keeps me very active in the reference category. So this new undertaking is right up my alley.
A representative from Pen & Sword Books sent me an email asking for my help in reviewing some books within their Flight Craft series. I very happily agreed and received my first book a few weeks ago. My vacation freed up some time to sit down and take a good look at it.
The first book of hopefully many to be reviewed is “V-Bombers: Valiant, Vulcan, & Victor”. Dave Windle and Martin Bowman do a great job bringing these three bombers to life with the lineage as well as first hand accounts with the aircraft themselves. It’s never a bad thing to learn about what you are building. An added bonus to every build for me is the knowledge learned while researching each airplane that passes through my workbench. Most times, it fuels the fire with added inspiration.
From a model builders perspective, I found one lacking issue. There were no pictures of the cockpit or the landing gear. Not a major issue but it is something that I rely on for my builds. I list the negative about the book first because the positives will leave you not really caring too much about cockpit pictures.
Okay, there are quite a few components that go into building a model airplane with much of my time going towards research. Literally from start to finish, I research each aircraft that I am building to make sure that I have every aspect as close to accurate as possible. Books like this are a staple at my workbench. The Flight Craft series is excellent in that it is tailored for me, the model builder. After the textual information on the aircraft, you really start to see the major benefits in the book. The first, and maybe it just makes me happy to see, is the profiles of the aircraft. The front, side, and underside/top view are illustrated and it may seem like a petty plus but it is so useful. Before I attach the wings or horizontal stabilizers on any build, I pull up pictures to see how they sit. With the profile images, you can easily open the book and see how the placement should be.
Your next section is also extremely helpful. They take you through each variant with a color profile view and provides you with a great look at the paint schemes. Literally seventeen pages of this! After that, there is a section containing the production and serial blocks for each aircraft. Below that lists the V-Bomber units. Both aspects are extremely vital when you are looking toward building specific squadrons.
The final section of the book happens to be my favorite. Titled “Modelling The V-Bombers”, Pen and Sword takes you through each kit made for that aircraft with actual modellers reviews and remarks. When I am looking to purchase a kit, this will help out tremendously. Since reading this book, I have begun searching for all three V-Bombers with the advice from this section. The book goes on to show representations of each airplane built by the modellers. Another great look at how your kit may turn out. It really gives you the confidence to know that you could build a great looking kit.
Overall, this will be a very useful resource when I finally get my hands on one of the three aircraft. Pen and Sword is cruising in the right direction here and it’s always nice to see books aimed towards building models. If you would like to see what other publications Pen and Sword has to offer, head on over to http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/. I have already received two more books to review and I remain impressed with each.