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  1. The Westland Whirlwind – Airframe Album #4 (9781912932221) A Detailed Guide to the RAF’s Twin-Engine Fighter Valiant Wings Publishing The new Special Hobby Whirlwind kit in 1:32 has sparked renewed interest in this under-utilised aircraft that looks like it goes fast and means business, but due to the lack of development capacity at the time, relegated it to an aviation history dead-end. This book has been enhanced and updated to hit the market at just the right time, the original having been released a surprising seven years ago – a fact that blew my mind. The book is written by Richard A Franks, a man with prolific output who must have a gigantic reference library, with the strapline "A Detailed Guide to the RAF's Twin-Engined Fighter" carried over. It has 96 pages (excluding covers) of glossy paper in a soft-backed perfect bound portrait format, an increase of 16 pages over the original edition, whilst retaining its portrait A4 format. Inside the front cover is the following index: Technical Description Detailed coverage of constructions and equipment Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs Production Concise history of each airframe built Big-Scale Whirlwind Build of the all-new 1:32 scale Whirlwind Mk.I from Special Hobby by Steve A Evans Appendices I Kit list II Accessory & Decal List III Bibliography 1:48 Scale Plans A preface and introduction to the Whirlwind takes up the first pages, with the next section at 30 pages covering the technical description with tons of photos. Evolution takes up 14 pages (no change, as there have been no new versions, unsurprisingly), with 17 pages taken up with camouflage and markings as per the previous edition. The next section is 9 pages long and is allocated to the production with a variable number of lines of text for each one, depending on how interesting its history was, which is possible due to the low number of airframes that were made. The new Big-Scale Whirlwind section has Steve A Evans building Special Hobby’s kit from the box, adding just some old Eduard Sutton Harnesses to the pilot’s seat, and of course a heap of talent plus some paint and glue, coming in at 7 pages. The end result is of course excellent, and the kind of model we all aspire to. There are three pages devoted to the appendices, and as they are time critical, they have been kept compact, rather than padding out the back of the book. The plans at the rear of the book are in 1:48, which is my favourite scale and will be very useful for anyone trying to build the Trumpeter kit in that scale that came out around the time of the first edition. That’s not a perfect kit, but it’s probably the best one we're likely to get for a while, given the paucity of alternatives. The text of the rest of the book is closely spaced around the numerous photos, diagrams and drawings that are everywhere without being hard to read or appearing cluttered. The aforementioned pictures are of high quality and will be of great interest to the modeller as well as the amateur historian, or just anyone interested in aviation in general and the Whirlwind in particular. The colour profiles in section four are by Richard J Caruana, and are of high quality, accompanied by notes appropriate to each airframe depicted, helping the reader to gain insight into the subject matter. Conclusion This a yet another very accessible book for the modeller or interested reader, and serves up even larger quantities of information, some of which hasn't been available on the web, as well as a build of the new Special Hobby kit. The Whirlwind has been long overlooked in the history of British early WWII fighters, and it is a welcome sight to see that being remedied in kit form over the last few years, and while no kits are perfect, they’re certainly welcome, as is the re-print of this expanded book. Well worth a read, and great reference material. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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