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Cessna T-37 Tweet & A-37 Dragonfly Warpaint #127


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Cessna T-37 Tweet & A-37 Dragonfly Warpaint #127

Guideline Publications




Cessna have a history of creating aircraft for the US military, and responded to a request for a new US jet trainer in the early 50s with their design numbered 318, which had the crew side-by-side to assist interactions between pilot and pupil, and was simply designed with much in common in terms of instrumentation with the more technical and expensive fighters of the day that the pupils would eventually progress onto.  The wide wheelbase and low wing made for easy entry and predictable flying characteristics, and the two license-built engines were re-engineered to ease the new pilots into the world of flying an aircraft without a prop.  With some minor alterations to improve the airframe further, it entered into service with the US Air Force in the late 50s, and quickly gaining a reputation of being slow, noisy and unreliable, with the nickname Tweety-Bird or Tweet coined thanks to its squealing, shouty engine note.  In the early 70s an improved B model was developed with more powerful engines to make up for the sloth of the previous model. 


Meanwhile the trainer was developed via a further redesign in the early 60s to convert the Tweet into a more aggressive type, the Dragonfly.  Its wing was hardened to accept weapons pylons, and additional fuel could be fitted to the wingtips to give it longer loiter times, as well as under the wing on pylons.  It entered service in Vietnam as the A-37A Dragonfly in a close support role, evolving into the B, which was a much more capable weapons platform with a huge carry weight for its size.  After the dramatic pull-out of Vietnam, it continued service with the US, and was also utilised deep in the middle of COunter INsurgency (COIN) operations in South America, where its loiter time and weapons carriage capabilities were put to extensive use.


The T-37 was replaced in the 90s by the Beechcraft Texan II turboprop, with the last flight as late as 2009, some 52 years since it first flew.  The war-fighting Dragonfly was phased out in favour of the exceptional A-10 Thunderbolt II in the 80s and 90s as the new aircraft became available.  The rest is history – as was anyone that went up against the Warthog, as it came to be known.




This book is by author Kev Darling and covers the birth and development of these two long-lived types in much more detail, as well as providing tons of excellent pictures of many airframes in service in colour due to its relatively recent service, plus loose 1:32 plans of the Tweety Bird and Dragonfly (do they know something?) and a number of colour profiles throughout the book.  The book is in the usual Warpaint format of portrait A4(ish) with a soft card cover but has an increased page count from the norm that necessitates a perfect binding to accommodate the total of 96 pages plus content printed on the four side of the glossy covers.   A short introduction details the birth of the types and their subsequent variants and history.


  • Cessna Goes Military
  • XT-37/T-37 Tech
  • Enter the T-37 Tweet
  • Bring on the T-37B
  • US Army – Project Long Arm
  • Into Hell on Earth - The War in Vietnam
  • Into the Fray – The Smallest Fighter – The Fastest Gun Arrives
  • The First Dragonfly – The A-37A Arrives
  • A Bit More Grunt – The A-37B Dragonfly
  • The A-37B in Vietnam
  • Dragonflies with the VNAF
  • The Tweet in AETC Service
  • Tweets and Dragonflies in Other Jobs
  • Final Years of the Dragonfly
  • Tweet and the Dragonfly in Latin America
    • -El Salvador
    • -Guatemala
    • -Honduras
    • -Nicaragua
    • -Panama
    • -Brazil
    • -Chile
    • -Colombia
    • -Ecuador
    • -Paraguay
    • -Peru
    • -Uraguay
  • Europe
    • -Greece
    • -Portugal
    • -Turkey
    • -Germany
  • Indian Sub-Continent
    • -Bangladesh
    • -Pakistan
  • The Middle East
    • -Morocco
  • The Far East
    • -Burma(Myanmar)
    • -Camboddia/Kampuchea
    • -South Korea
    • -Thailand
  • A-37A/B in Detail
  • T-37A/C in Detail






The pages include a lot of useful pictures with informative captions of both aircraft on the apron, on the field, in the air, during trials and even under construction with all sorts of panels missing, plus appropriate photos and drawings dotted around.  The "In Detail" sections have many numbered close-up photos with matching captions providing excellent information on both types that will be a boon to modellers as well as people that just like to know what everything does.






There are a smattering of kits available in 1:72 and 1:48, with a bit of a gap in 1:32 that leaves an opportunity for some company or other, but there’s nothing out there yet in injection moulded styrene.  It is popular with many modellers and former US pilots and groundcrew especially, who often cut their aviation teeth on the A-37 at the beginning of their career



The Warpaint series always gets a thumbs-up due to their inability to produce a bad one.  This is an excellent book that will see plenty of use by anyone interest in, or building one of this Jekyll & Hyde aircraft that is both a well-loved trainer and capable ground-attack aircraft.


Very highly recommended.




Review sample courtesy of


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