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Boulton Paul Defiant – Airframe Detail No.5

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Boulton Paul Defiant – Airframe Detail No.5

ISBN: 978-0-9957773-6-1

 Valiant Wings Publishing




During the 30s the British Air Ministry were obsessed with turrets, and insisted on plonking them in any design that was proposed, even including the Spitfire for one brief moment.  They felt that the division of labour between two crew members gave a better chance of the aircraft attacking unescorted bombers, but this turned out to be incorrect thinking, as the Defiant found to its cost when it entered combat.  The additional weight of a turret and extra crewman affected the top speed of the aircraft, despite it being powered by a Merlin engine, and having no forward-firing guns also proved to be quite an impediment.  The introduction of the Merlin XX in the Defiant Mk II went some way toward solving this issue, but it was still relatively easy pickings for the more agile 109s and 190s of the Luftwaffe.  Where it came into its own was as a nightfighter, as the speed issue became irrelevant, and the ability to cruise below or next to a bomber unseen gave it an advantage similar to the German Schräge Musik.  After it was phased out in favour of the faster Beaufighter and Mosquito coming into the nightfighter role, it was assigned other 2nd line tasks, such as search and rescue, as well as target towing.




This book, by author Richard A Franks, with profiles and plans by Richard J Caruana and example model produced by Steve A Evans is perfect-bound as usual and consists of 98 pages within a card jacket, printed on glossy paper stock throughout.  It is number 5 in the Airframe Detail series that concentrates more on the aircraft in question, with just a short section to the rear with an example build plus all the Defiant model-based fun you can lay your hands on at time of writing.  It has of course been well-timed to cash in on the popularity of the type due to the newly minted and very nice Defiant kit from Airfix in 1:48, so should hit the right spot for a great many of us, self-included.  The book is broken down into sections as follows:







Technical Description

Detailed coverage of construction and equipment



Camouflage & Markings

Colour side profiles, notes and photographs



1:48 Scale Plans




Kit Build

A build of Airfix's new 1:48 Defiant by Steve A Evans


  Appendices   92



Defiant kits



Defiant accessory & mask list



Defiant decal list



Boulton Paul Defiant production & squadrons – a list of all Defiants built, along with details of all squadrons, other units and nations that used the type











Inside there are tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is going to be black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day.   The plans in 1:48 are typical of Valiant's style, with crisp lines and plenty of detail, including locations of the lines of rivets that criss-cross the surface of the type.  The profiles and plans cover all the major marks from day fighter to night, air sea rescue, and eventually target tug, which was the role that it ended its days in, with the turret removed and replaced by a winch-operator's workstation.  The sheer level of detail giving within the pages is perfect for the modeller, and will be of use to anyone from novice to super-detailer, with some of the contemporary photos showing how worn these workhorses became during night operations, with a few photos showing them in repair and replenishment, presumably while their exhausted crew recovered for the next night's sortie.






Steve Evans' build of the excellent new Airfix kit shows what can be done to the model, and results in a lovely example that anyone would be proud to have in their cabinet.  From a modelling standpoint there is plenty of scope for building and painting a worn-out Defiant in the black scheme, and here there are some photos of just how shabby some of them became.



Another cracking book from Valiant, and an interesting one personally as I have a fondness for the Defiant, as well as a couple of kits in the stash.


Very highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of



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