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Mushroom Model Publications

 

Blackburn Skua & Roc

 

by Matthew Willis
 

 

S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: Orange Series No 8106 - Blackburn Skua & Roc by Matthew Willis
ISBN: 978 83 89450 39 5
Media: Soft cover; 165mm x 230mm format ; 160 pages plus covers
Price: GBP13.99 available online from Mushroom Model Publications
distributed in the USA by MMD
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Succinct coverage of Skua & Roc development, operations, variants and structural details; well presented and captioned photos; very attractive profiles and line drawings; handy one stop reference for Skua and Roc modellers; good timing for the Special Hobby 1/48 scale kits
Disadvantages:  
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Brett Green


Mushroom's Skua & Roc book is available online from Squadron

 

F i r s t  R e a d

 

Murphy's Law strikes surprisingly often in the modelling world.

A few months ago I was scouring for Blackburn Skua references as I was building the new 1/48 scale Special Hobby kit. I was especially interested in the recess for the bomb cradle, the bomb swing crutch and the cockpit interior. There was very little published information available at the time.

Naturally, now that I have finished the model, Mushroom Model Publications has releases a very useful reference for both the Blackburn Skua and Roc in their Orange series. This book amply answers the questions that I had.

The Blackburn Skua was an idiosyncratic aircraft. Designed for the British Fleet Air Arm to perform as both fighter and dive bomber, it suffered from numerous potentially fatal design flaws.

Nevertheless, the Skua was rugged, a good dive bomber, easy to land on deck and held the honour of being the first British aircraft to claim an aerial victory in World War Two. The victim was a Dornier Do 18 shot down by two Skuas on 26 September, 1939. Skuas were also responsible for the destruction of the first Axis capital ship of the war, sinking the German cruiser Konigsberg in 1940.

By June 1940, Skuas on board HMS Ark Royal in the Mediterranean were the first British fighters to encounter, and to be shot down by, enemy Vichy French fighters.

The last Skuas were withdrawn from front line service on the HMS Ark Royal by April 1941. Despite its peculiar assignment and underwhelming specifications, several Aces scored more than five victories in the Skua.

The Roc was less ambiguous in service, and might be most accurately classified as misguided. It was fascinating regardless, with its cumbersome rear turret. The fact that it was unsuccessful is perhaps less surprising than the fact that it flew at all!

The author, Matthew Willis, starts with a description of the concept and development of the Slua, followed by specifications and development of the Roc. Next comes a description of the Skua's involvement in the Norway campaign of 1940, then other service areas including Dunkirk, the English Channel and the Mediterranean. Second line duties and further proposed developments are also covered.

Pages 114 to 141 provide contemporary wartime detail photos, factory drawings and a walkaround of several remnants and a preserved example.

This title is rounded out with 33 colour side profiles of the Skua and Roc in a good selection of colours and markings.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Once again, Mushroom Model Publications has provided a one-stop reference for an important but oft neglected aircraft type.

This title will be interesting to all Royal Navy aviation and RAF enthusiasts, but is especially helpful to modellers due to the detailed reference photos and line drawings, plus the inspiration of the attractive artwork.

The timing is terrific for the 1/48 scale Special Hobby kits too!

Highly Recommended.


All Mushroom Model Publications books are available direct from the publishers, who now accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex, Switch)  

North American distributors are MMD, Australian distributors are Platypus Publications. In Europe, the books are available from any good bookshop (via our UK distributors, Orca). Contact MMP direct in case of difficulties. 

Thanks to Roger at Mushroom Model Magazine  for the sample.


Review Copyright 2007 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 13 December, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007

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