S u m m a r y
|Publisher and Catalogue
||Modeller's Datafile Number 16
The Hawker Hunter - A Comprehensive Guide
by Paul Bradley
|Media and Contents:
||Soft, glossy, laminated colour covers; 21cm x 29.5cm portrait format, 128 good quality satin-finish pages.
£19.99 + p&p
available online from SAM Publications
||Good coverage of type history, with excellent photographs. Informative colour profiles and 'walkaround' views, as well as clear information on kits available and modelling potential.
||Regrettable lack of an 'Understanding the Subject' chapter and a shame that the manufacturer's stencilling diagram shown, was not reproduced in a larger format.
||Provides good inspiration and detail, which will help anyone to produce a more than satisfactory model. Recommended to anyone interested in Sir Sidney Camm's, jet-powered thoroughbred.
Reviewed by Steve Naylor
Modeller's Datafile Number
16 is available online from Squadron.com
Although the sixteenth in the series so far, this is only the third 'Modeller's Data File' (MDF) publication I have ever purchased, the others being MDF 6 (Bristol Beaufighter) and MDF 8 (Gloster & AW Meteor). So in my case, only purchased if the subject is an 'absolute interest', a criteria which Hawker's superb Hunter admirably fills.
The format of these titles is fairly well established now and this new one on the Hunter follows it pretty much exactly. Checking on SAM Publications' website, I see that for some reason after MDF 13 (F-4 Phantom II - Part 2: USN & MC), they reduced these book's subtitle to 'A Comprehensive Guide', losing the '...For The Modeller' qualification. The distinction or nuance escapes me (probably not difficult!), but at least it does not seem to have affected the quality of this new offering, from regular 'Scale Aviation Modeller International' magazine contributor, Paul Bradley.
Thankfully, almost all the usual chapters are there, with the first third of the book covering the Hunter's development and service, both home and abroad, illustrated with many fine colour and black & white images. Next comes a description of Hunter camouflage and markings, including two pages of squadron nose markings (colour artwork by Mark Gauntlett) and 15 pages of colour side-views (artwork by Srecko Bradic), covering over 50 aircraft (single and two-seaters) from all operators. The 'Walkaround' section comes next, with a good selection of cockpit, ejector seat and general airframe views, interspersed with various diagrams from the aircraft manuals (though not quite as many, as in the two titles I mentioned as having purchased earlier). One diagram which would have been of great interest to the modeller, is the manufacturer's stencilling guide for the Hunter, reproduced at the bottom of page 87. Unfortunately, the original is presumably so large that most of the text here is unreadable, even with the aid of a magnifying lens, which is a great shame as this would have been a good candidate for reproduction in a larger format, perhaps as additional fold-out diagram. On the plus side though, there are colour photographs of the two types of flying suit appropriate to the Hunter, covering the periods 1950s-1960s and 1970s to 1980s, which will be a boon if you are going to put a pilot in the 'hot seat' of your model.
Next, we come to an area of the book which differs slightly from my experience with previous titles. The first is an omission, namely the 'Understanding the Subject' chapter, which usually appeared in the 'Modelling The ... [Hunter]' section of the book. This is the chapter which consisted of several pages of the same basic perspective view of the subject, modified for each variant, annotated with notes describing the differences and provided with a key to the modelling choices and kit(s) to be used as a basis. As a modeller, I always found this diagrammatic feature particularly helpful in identifying what 'bits' a certain variant did, or did not, have (as an adjunct to the written information) and so its absence is to be regretted in my opinion.
In compensation for this 'loss' though, the second difference is a welcome addition to the format, in the shape of a chapter on 'Modelling the Hunter', with descriptions of specific kit builds in all the major scales. These firstly cover building the basic kits available and identifying any problems and fixes needed for them, as well as going on to describe several popular conversions, using aftermarket kits and some scratchbuilding. Personally, I would have preferred more construction photographs in these articles and less written description, but as I myself intend to do a GA.11 version of the Hunter in 1:48 at some point, I am nevertheless grateful that this is all helpfully explained on pages 102 and 103. Naturally, of course, a certain Irishman's Law will mean that by the time I get around to doing that, the Academy F.6 will no doubt have been supplanted be a new-tool, injection-moulded offering which far surpasses anything we modellers have seen to date (Safety Disclaimer: do not hold your breath at this point)!
We are nearing the end of the book now, as we move into the Appendices. The first of these covers all the known kits of the Hunter, by scale, with brief notes on each kit's history, features and markings offered. Appendix 2 itemises the accessories that have been produced to date for the Hunter, listed by manufacturer, followed by the same for decals in appendix 3, with some (but not all) of these, illustrated to give a flavour of their contents. Appendix 4 gives details of the aircraft's specifications (performance, dimensions, weight, etc.), with appendix 5 tabulating the RAF users of the Hunter by unit. The book concludes with a bibliography (Appendix 6), an index and a fold-out set of 1:72 plans of all variants.
Like most modellers I imagine, I'm not an 'expert' on any aircraft, let alone the Hawker Hunter, so I cannot attest to the accuracy of a lot of what is presented here in this book. On the other hand, that is why we buy these books, for the security of knowing that the author is at least more of an expert than we are. Having bought this book because I have Hawker Hunter coming up in my modelling future, I can honestly say that I have not been disappointed. The technical background provides the inspiration and the modelling detail will more than provide all I, and any other modeller, will need, to help choose a subject, a kit and anything else needed to produce a satisfactory model. Despite the couple of slight reservations I mentioned earlier, this book does what it says on the cover and so I have no problem in recommending it to anyone modelling Sir Sidney Camm's, jet-powered thoroughbred.
Review sample courtesy of my own meagre resources.
Copies should be available to order from most good book retailers, but can also be ordered direct from;
Review Text Copyright ©
2009 by Steve Naylor
Page Created 21 June, 2009
21 June, 2009
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