Wednesday, June 18

Review: Valiant Wings new “Westland Whirlwind-A Detailed Guide To The RAF’s Twin-engine Fighter”

Today we review Valiant Wings new title – “Westland Whirlwind-A Detailed Guide to the RAF’s Twin-engine Fighter” their new book in the Airframe Album series. This time again covering a not so well known fighter with a bit of a cult audience – we had to see what these people liked about this kite and these books are a great place to start let’s have a look..

Westland Whirlwind-A Detailed Guide to the RAF’s Twin-engine Fighter
Written by: Richard A. Franks
Publisher: Valliant Wings
82 pages.
A4 softcover portrait format
English text.
Available from: Valliant Wings' Website directly for £15.95

Coming in time to almost coincide with Trumpeter’s 1/48th scale Whirlwind kit Valiant Wings have released their new title in the Airframe Album No 4 series – this one is centred on the late WWII twin engine fighter the Westland Whirlwind. Called “Airframe Album No 4 – The Westland Whirlwind - A Detailed Guide to the RAF’s Twin-engine Fighter”. It is penned by Richard A Franks with the added help of several co-conspirators Wojtek Sankowski and Richard J Caruana who add some lovely visuals to the book.

Physically coming in at 82 pages this A4 softcover portrait format has a glossy cover with a beautifully done purpose drawn illustration which really impressed me – it looks like a great box-art and it sets the bar for the rest of the book high.
The book is full of 3D line drawings, black and white period pictures and coloured profiles. Before we get to those we start at the beginning with the first of the four main sections of the book on the technical description of the Whirlwind.

After a short preface we go into a section of drawings of the aircraft in technical manuals and period shots we look at the real innards of this aircraft. Several differences in airframe variants and part types are seen side by side which is always the best way of describing differences in similar aircraft. This is a great part of the book for people wanting to know the subtle differences.

Valiant wings have pioneered the use of marque-by-marque isometric drawings which further show the sometimes subtle and sometimes very different changes in airframes. These drawings - by their new artist Wojtek Sankowski are for me the party piece of this book.
From the prototypes to the last civil Whirlwind – these graduate to show you with notes attached and often pictures, of the differences of types. I like this section as it really does show you the shapes and info of the evolution more than just words.
Next the book discusses colours. A shame that there are so little coloured pictures of this kite – we are still treated to a dedicated analysis of the colours as they were on all of the different aircraft in development and service.
Roundels, theatre codes, lettering and civilian themes are shown in this detailed description of the colourschemes as well as the dates and aircraft they were used on and the phasing in and out dates of schemes. Mostly from the brown/ green to the grey/green scheme.
Like in all of the other books in this series you get a nice cameo from one of the best profile artists Richard J Caruana who adds twenty profiles of aircraft in various RAF markings. Although there was only one nation who used these kites there are still several interesting profiles that Richard has pinpointed – excellent work from him as usual.
The service record of individual Whirlwinds is catalogued in the next few pages of the book – a brief history of the different airframes and what happened to them is documented as well as several pictures of types in their heyday.
Lastly there is a section devoted to modellers directly. The kits, decals and aftermarket of the Whirlwind in all scales are detailed with some small pictures for you to check against your own stash. There is also a large list of books that are essential to your collection if you call yourself a fan.
I think Westland Whirlwind fans would be adding this title to the list of references listed around at No: 1 somewhere. Like all of the others in this series and from this publisher they are some of – if not the best all-in-one books of a single type around.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the guys at Valiant Wings for sending this book – you can get it directly on their website