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  1. RAF Trainers - Vol 1: 1918-1945 Book by AIRfile The Author Neil Robinson, AIRfile's editor, is no stranger to the modelling publications world; formerly being editor of esteemed entities such as IPMS (UK); Scale Aircraft Modelling and Model Aircraft Monthly. Neil is also well know for his editing and commissioning of the "Camouflage & Markings" and "Combat Colours" ranges of books. The Book This book is the first of a two volume series covering the aircraft types and their markings which were used by the RAF for training new pilots and also for conversion and continuation training on other aircraft. This first volume encompasses the period from the end of World War One up until the end of World War Two (1918 to 1945) and, as such, shows the development of British training aircraft requirements; from the formative years of the Royal Air Force up to the period of probably their greatest need - the demands for qualified pilots during WW2. The book produced in A4 softback format with 74 pages and is profusely illustrated with no less than 148 views of aircraft in full colour, some just side profiles whilst others are of a 4-view full page layout. Each aircraft illustrated has a simple heading which provides details for the aircraft, type, unit and location plus the period that the colour scheme refers to. There is also a historical narrative about the relevant aircraft type and its requirements and roles as a trainer aircraft What is immediately apparent is that not all trainer aircraft were yellow! Aircraft of the inter-wars period appeared to have quite garish schemes; however operational requirements, especially those for conversion units and continuation training would have differing emphases on their colour demarkations; especially during the wartime period. A caveat in the book is that some of the source images are from black and white photographs, with all the associated problems that come with trying to interpret colours from them. In order to provide the best information for the reader, the team has cross-referenced these details with other well-recognised publications, such as Windsock Datafiles (Albatros); RAF Flying Training & Support Units since 1912 (Air Britain); The History of Britain's Military Training Aircraft (Haynes) to name just a few There are many interesting subjects illustrated within this book and one nice example is the captured Heinkel III which was not only used as an evaluation aircraft but also for training aircrew and anti-aircraft crews in aircraft recognition. I'm sure that this scheme will find itself on someone's planned build soon! Conclusion AIRfile continue to produce informative and colourful publications for the modeller and this, their fifth production, looks to be just as good as their previous editions. The full colour images have been produced with expertise from those excellent illustrators: Peter Freeman and Tim Walsh. The illustrations should be of great help and importance for the modeller who may be looking to enhance their builds; plus the narrative which is supplied with each illustration helps to understand the historical reasoning behind the aircraft and its markings at that period of time. This book is literally packed with illustrations of trainer aircraft, in various colour schemes and markings and I am sure it will become an essential reference for aircraft modellers of all scales. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. RAF Trainers - Volume 2 : 1945 - 2012 Book by AIRfile AIRfile AIRfile produces a very nice range of illustrated guides which are, in their own words "covering camouflage and markings, full of well-researched, clear and unambiguous full colour illustrations, with detailed informative captions, produced by a cooperative of well-known aviation enthusiasts, authors and illustrators, designed to provide comprehensive camouflage scheme and markings coverage culled from a variety of areas including previously published material, official and private documents and photo collections, and primary sources". The author and illustrator, Peter Freeman, along with co-author Tim Walsh have obviously worked hard to get as much detail and information together for this, the second volume on the subject of trainer aircraft used by the Royal Air Force, and that effort shows in the range, diversity and colours of aircraft types covered in this volume. Additional expert help has been provided by such esteemed contributors as Mike Starmer, Paul Lister and Peter's son Jon Freeman. The Book This is the second volume in a two-volume set in which Volume 1 covered RAF Trainers of the period 1918 to 1945. As before, this new book covers the aircraft types used by the RAF for the purposes of all types of training; including basic, conversion, continuation, advanced and cross-training for their pilots and aircrews; plus operational evaluation of new aircraft types. A fairly general consensus is that trainer aircraft are viewed as typically yellow or red/white coloured aircraft however this book shows just how diversified the colour schemes are for the various training elements within the Royal Air Force, including some of the civilian subsidiaries involved with this training. This 84 page book, including card covers, is produced in A4 softback format and starts with a one page introduction/preamble on the history of training aircraft requirements, the constraints under post-war austerity and the issues concerned with the advancements of fast and ever changing technology. The rest of the book is wonderfully illustrated with 77 actual pages of aircraft views and includes 169 views of different aircraft in full colour. Of these, 123 illustrations are of side profiles, usually showing four aircraft to a page, however some of those are supplemented with plan views to highlight markings/colours on or under the wings as necessary to assist the modeller with details. The remaining 46 views, which are virtually every second page, show full page 4-aspect views of each aircraft (top and bottom plans plus left and right profiles) and these full page views take up over half of the book's contents. Each illustrated aircraft has a narrative; as shown in the above image, comprising of a title depicting aircraft builder and type; version; serial and marking; Squadron and location; and date when these markings were in use/applied to the relevant airframe. The narrative itself gives historical information as to where and when the aircraft was built, plus a chronological listing of stations and squadrons this aircraft was attached during its service life etc. The descriptions go on to give examples and details about the colour schemes used; any interesting or unique uses of the aircraft codes and also lists the ultimate fate of the depicted airframe. The narrative also provides a source reference on where the data for this illustration and narrative has been derived. The 4-view illustrations can be really useful to the modeller in that all four sides of the aircraft are shown, as in the above Lightning T4 of 226 OCU in 1963. The colours are sharp and even show tone changes where the fuselage shape changes etc. There is no evidence of colour-bleed or alignment issues to be seen throughout the book. Some of the pages are in the four aircraft to a page format and the range of aircraft covers rotary wing as well as fixed wing, plus there is even a remote UAV illustrated on one of the pages in the form of the MQ-9 Reaper. While these side profile views only show one aspect of the aircraft described, there are occasions when the specific placement of special markings or colours on or under the wings need to be shown for effect. These views are included as additional inserts alongside the relevant aircraft image as in the views of the Meteor, Gnat and Canberra above. Further elaborations on the markings are the squadron badges and motifs, many of which are also included as small inserts alongside the particular aircraft. Not all trainer aircraft are bright and colourful, some of the tactical training units and squadrons adorn the current camouflage pattern in use at that time, although they look to be enhanced with squadron motifs and, in the case of the Typhoon above, has a Wing Commander's rank emblem shown in detail. The aircraft covered are not just the standard British aircraft but also some foreign types as well, as depicted above by the SAAB Gripen, on loan to the Empire Test Pilot School in 2008, which was used to train pilots on 4th generation jets. Other aircraft types to be seen in this book are gliders as seen by the example above belonging to the Air Cadets. There are also shared military/civilian contract aircraft described within these excellent pages as can be seen by the Squirrel, of Defence Helicopter Flying School, above as depicted in 2009. There is also the Harrier T4, belonging to QinetiQ, illustrated as it looked in 2008. Incidently it is one of these aircraft which achieved the first unmanned approach and landing aboard an aircraft carrier while underway. Conclusion AIRfile continues to produce informative and colourful publications for the modeller and this looks to be no exception. The full colour images have been researched and produced in a well laid out format and includes a short, but fully informative, narrative with each aircraft illustration. They have been excellently illustrated by Peter Freeman and Tim Walsh, both well known in the field of aviation research. The illustrations contained in this book should be of great value for the modeller who may be looking for inspiration on the subject of RAF trainer aircraft or to enhance their model builds with specific colours, markings and details. Add to this the very informative narratives which accompany each illustration and again we have a winning publication. This is one book which I will keep handy as a guide to modern trainer aircraft colours and markings and I am sure it will become an essential reference for aircraft modellers of all scales. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of Buy it Now Kindly mention Britmodeller.com to the supplier when making enquiries or placing orders
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