S u m m a r y
||Orange Series No 8106 - Blackburn
Skua & Roc by Matthew Willis
||978 83 89450 39 5
||Soft cover; 165mm x 230mm format ;
160 pages plus covers
GBP£13.99 available online from Mushroom
distributed in the USA by MMD
||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
Reviewed by Brett Green
Mushroom's Skua & Roc book is available online from Squadron
Murphy's Law strikes surprisingly often in the modelling
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
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
The last Skuas were withdrawn from front line service on the HMS Ark Royal by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
This title is rounded out with 33 colour side profiles of
the Skua and Roc in a good selection of colours and markings.
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
All Mushroom Model
Publications books are
available direct from
who now accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex, Switch)
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.
Roger at Mushroom Model
Review Copyright © 2007 by Brett Green
This Page Created on 13 December, 2007
Last updated 24 December, 2007
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