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Allied Wings No. 4
Westland Whirlwind Mk.I


S u m m a r y

Title and Author Allied Wings No. 4
Westland Whirlwind Mk.I
by Alex Crawford & Phil H. Listemann
Colour Art by Malcolm Laird
ISBN: 2-9526381-8-7
Media: 54 pages in a soft cover (170 mm x 245 mm) with 32 pages of text, 49 B&W photos and 1 in colour, 10 colour profiles and various lists.         
Price: 13.00 available online from Philiedition's website
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Interesting and rare subject, excellent profiles by Malcolm Laird.
Disadvantages: No plan view artwork showing camouflage on wings and tailplane
Recommendation: Highly Recommended


Reviewed by Glen Porter

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The Westland Whirlwind was designed as a twin-engined fighter capable of taking on single-engined fighters escorting bombers. It failed, not only because of unreliable engines, but it simply wasn't manouverable enough, as indeed was every other twin-engined fighter. Even the best of them, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, was eventually pulled from the skies, deemed not good enough to handle the superior Focke-Wulfs and Messerschmitts.

This is the fourth in the Allied Wings series, the others being in order Spitfire Mk. XII, Marauder Mk.I and the Northrop BT-1. It follows the same formula as the others beginning with a chapter on the development of the aircraft including photos of prototypes, early colour schemes, the delivery schedule and technical data.

Next comes the two main Squadrons involved with the Whirlwind starting with No. 263 Squadron (Code: HE) which got its first example on the 6th of July 1940. There follows a comprehensive account of the aircraft, aircrews and some of the more notable incidences that befell them from failed interceptor to ground attack and December 1943 when they began to convert to Typhoons.

No. 137 Squadron (Code: SF) received its Whirlwinds later than 263, September 1941 and gave them up earlier, June 1943 and after a some-what chaotic debut in which its CO, Squadron Leader Sample was killed in a collision with a new pilot, the squadron performed as well as 263 in what ever task they were given.

Although it failed as a fighter, it performed quite well as a fighter-bomber but by the time it was switched to that role it was overshadowed by the very versatile Mosquito so its effect on the war effort was negligible.

The second half of the book, like the earlier editions, is filled with various lists covering Operational Diary-Number of Sorties, Bases occupied by each Squadron, Claim Lists, Aircraft Lost on Ops, Aircraft Lost by Accident, Time of Operational Use of each aircraft and an Honour Roll.

The whole book is interspersed with many never before seen black and white photos of the aircraft and those who flew them along with some very nice colour profiles by Malcolm Laird which brings me to my only criticism of this other-wise excelent reference title. All of the gorgeous art-work is of the port-side only, no starboard or plan view. Okay, I know any-one building a Whirlwind will probably have some other references any-way but we all know how unreliable some can be and in particular kit colour schemes and cammo patterns.

Apart from the old Airfix kit, the only other 1/72 scale offering is from Pavla of a few years ago but I'm told there are some very good kits in 1/48 scale so anyone contemplating any of these kits will find this edition from Allied Wings to be of great assistance.

I'm all aquiver, just thinking about what they might come up with in the future.

Highly Recommended

Thanks to Philedition for the review sample

Review Copyright 2008 by Rob Baumgartner
This Page Created on 13 June, 2008
Last updated 13 June, 2008

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