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  1. Spitfire Part 2 (Griffon Powered) Airframe & Miniature #13 ISBN: 9781912932009 Valiant Wings Publishing The Spitfire has to be the most iconic aircraft of WWII and although the phrase is sometimes overused it really is the case for the Spit. After its initial success in the Battle of Britain and beyond, the first meetings with the Fw.190 drove Supermarine to improve their thoroughbred, leading to the definitive Merlin engine Mark the IX. Rolls Royce were also working to improve the engine and that effort bore fruit in the shape of the larger more powerful Griffon engine, which required some structural changes that affected the centre of gravity. Later adaptations to improve the pilot's view over his shoulder by cutting away the top of the fuselage and installing a bubble canopy gave stability issues that were hard to fix, as was the monstrous torque from the gutsy new Griffon engine. The Book We reviewed the first volume of this work here a little less than a year ago, and now we're back again with volume 2, which covers the later Griffon engine Spitfires including the Seafires that were seen later in WWII, as the race for performance and combat advantage that persisted until the end of hostilities… and in fact continues today but with different competitors. The book is perfect-bound with 272 pages on glossy paper, lots of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day. It is of course written by Richard A Franks, with profiles by Richard J Caruana, and models by a group of fine modellers. With this being volume 2 it deals with the Griffon engine variants, from the Mk.IV prototype up to the Mk.24 with its contra-rotating prop, with everything in between, including the Seafires ending with the Mk.47, the short-lived Spiteful and Seafang, the oddities and of course the Photo-Reconnaissance variants that were modified to provide the Allies with detailed pictorial evidence of enemy movements, sometimes with dramatic consequences. If you're familiar with the Airframe & Miniature series, you'll know that the pages are broken down into the Airframe section that deals with the 1:1 real thing, and the miniature section that covers the scale models and has a number of builds, plus a host of photographic detail that will be of great help to the modeller. The breakdown in more detail is as follows: Airframe Chapters 1. Evolution - Mk.XXI to Mk.24 2. Evolution – Seafire Mk.XV to FR Mk.47 3. Spiteful & Seafang Miniature Chapters 6. Spitfire & Seafire (Griffon-powered) Kits 7. Building a Selection 8. Building a Collection 9. In Detail: The Supermarine Spitfire & Seafire Engine, Propeller, Cowls Fuel & Oil systems Cockpit & Canopy Radio Mid & Aft Fuselage Tail Wings Undercarriage Armament, Ordnance, Drop Tanks, Sighting & RATO Camera Access Panels Miscellaneous Appendices I. Kit List II. Accessories and Mask List III. Decal List IV. Bibliography 1:48 Scale plans, equivalent to 8 pages in a single concertina fold-out The scale plans by Richard J Caruana are well thought out, and fold out sideways with the left-hand edge captive to the inside cover, and the isometric drawings by Juraj Jankovic, the side profiles are by Wojciech Sankowski that pick out the differences between variants and sub-variants are a boon for anyone like me that struggles to remember the details that separate the marks, so I'll be bookmarking that with a tab. As usual with the photographs in these titles, they're excellent for the most part, and as good as they can be for the occasional slightly grainy one that is all that remains of this or that variant. There's only so much that modern photo editing software can do, after all. The four builds by Libor Jekl and Steve A. Evans are all first-rate too, with two each in 1:72 and 1:48, all of which wouldn't look out of place on competition tables at the highest level. In 1:72 (by Libor Jekyl) there are a Fujimi FR.Mk.XIVe and an Xtrakit F Mk.22, while in 1:48 Steve A Evans builds a silver Airfix FR.Mk.XIV and a Special Hobby Seafire Mk.XV with high demarcation grey top surface. Conclusion A worthy complement to volume 1 and very nice weighty tome with tons of insight and information on one of Britain's most beloved prop aircraft. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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