Valiant Wings Publishing | Airframe & Miniature 4: The Hawker Tempest (Second Edition)

Reviewed by Kevin Futter

UK publisher Valiant Wings Publishing has revisited Number 4 in its Airframe & Miniature series, entitled The Hawker Tempest: A Complete Guide to The RAF's Last Piston-engine Fighter, and updated it for a second edition. The updated material is mainly centred around the addition of two model builds featuring kits that weren't available at the time of the first edition. Happily, one of them is the Special Hobby Mk V kit in 1/32 scale. The author is Richard Franks, and the illustrations are shared between Richard Caruana and Jacek Jackiewicz, with the cover art by Jerry Boucher.

The book spans 160 pages, plus a gatefold section of scale drawings at the back. It's extremely well printed on quality glossy paper, and the reproduction of all drawings and photographs is first-class.

The contents are broken up into nine separate chapters, grouped into two distinct sections:

There is also a preface, along with a collection of appendices at the rear of the book:

  1. Tempest Kit List
  2. Tempest Accessory List
  3. Tempest Decal List
  4. Tempest Production
  5. Bibliography

The sample images below (courtesy Valiant Wings Publishing) should give a good indication of the nature and style of the book's contents:

While not mentioned in the table of contents, the Preface comprises three pages, describing a potted history of the Hawker Tempest, and providing useful support for the subsequent technical information.

The sequence of chapters covering the evolution of the airframe spans 21 pages, and consists of brief summaries supported by period photos and crisply-rendered greyscale profile drawings. They are clear and easy to follow, and form a handy guide for discerning what features distinguished which variants. The Tempest certainly underwent more proposed and trialled variations than I was aware of!

The Camouflage & Markings section consists of 18 pages, and covers the gamut of schemes worn by the various domestic and export versions of the Hawker Tempest. The information presented is structured around a discussion of applicable camouflage schemes, supported by colour artwork, period photos, and extensive captions. It also includes a handy stencil placement guide in 1/72 scale on page 41.

The colour profiles in this section are by Richard Caruana, and are very well done. All in all, this chapter provides plenty of information and inspiration for modellers looking to build any version of the Tempest.

Chapter 5 features a brief look at the state and history of surviving Tempest airframes. It's mainly a set of chronological dot-points, but is handy nonetheless. The sheer number of extant Tempest airframes was the big surprise for me here!

Chapter 6 features a brief description of the commonly available Hawker Tempest model kits. The relatively recent 1/32 scale series of kits from Special Hobby is given fair treatment, but the earlier and rarer kit from PCM is passed over. It's fair to say that the former kit represents a decent refinement over the latter release.

Chapter 6 is Building a Selection, and features the following kit builds:

These builds are extremely well done, and provide a nice cross-section of the available kits to build.

Chapter 7 is called Building a Collection, and features a series of annotated isometric 3D line drawings by Jacek Jackiewicz. These are designed to illustrate the salient differences between the various development and production airframes as the series evolved, and form a perfect companion to the earlier 'evolution' chapters.

Chapter 8, In Detail, features an extensive selections of photographs and diagrams, covering both period and surviving Tempests. Many of the images have been published previously, but many more have not. The walkaround photos have been taken with a modeller's eye, which is not only welcome, but very handy. At 38 pages, this is the longest section of the book.

The five appendices cover the usual list of available kits, aftermarket, decals, and mask sets, as well as a concise bibliography for further research. A useful list of Tempest production figures is also included.

At the very back of the book, secured inside the rear cover, is a set of 1/48 scale Tempest plans by Jacek Jackiewicz in gatefold format. These are printed on heavy, non-glossy plain stock, and cover the following airframes:

For some reason, most likely production logistics, the Mk VI plans are separate from the gatefold section, being included as part of the book's standard glossy pages. This of course in no way affects their utility.


Not being a Tempest expert, I can't give a considered evaluation of the accuracy or veracity of the text itself, and so will leave that to more knowledgeable readers. All other elements of the book ooze quality however, from the clear photography to the beautiful profiles and the detailed scale plans. Contemporary photographs are plentiful and very nicely reproduced. Overall it's an impressive attempt to be the Complete Guide the title alludes to. Recommended!

Thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for the review sample.

© Kevin Futter 2019

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This review was published on Friday, May 03 2019; Last modified on Friday, May 03 2019