Valiant Wings Publishing | Airframe & Miniature No. 16: The Hawker Hurricane
Reviewed by Kevin Futter
UK publisher Valiant Wings Publishing has released Number 16 in its Airframe & Miniature series, entitled The Hawker Hurricane: A Complete Guide to the Famous Fighter. The author is Richard Franks, and the illustrations are shared between Richard Caruana and Juraj Jankovic. The terrific cover art is by Jerry Boucher.
The first thing that struck me when I picked up this book was how heavy it is; at a hefty 272 pages plus a gatefold section of scale drawings, it is indeed a weighty tome. 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:
- Airframe Chapters
- Evolution - Prototype & Mk I
- Evolution - Mk II to MK V
- Sea Hurricane & Canadian Production
- Reconnaissance (PR & TacR), Prototypes & Projects
- Camouflage & Markings and Colour Profiles
- Miniature Chapters
- Hurricane Kits
- Building a Selection
- Building a Collection
- In Detail: The Hawker Hurricane
There is also a preface, along with a collection of appendices at the rear of the book:
- Kit List
- Accessory & Mask List
- Decals List
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 weighs in at a substantial 45 pages, and describes a potted history of the Hurricane, which provides useful support for the subsequent technical information. Also included in this section are three pages summarising Hurricane production.
The sequence of chapters covering the evolution of the airframe spans 36 pages, and consist of brief summaries supported by 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 Camouflage & Markings section covers 51 pages, and includes a single-page stencil placement guide. Rather than a dedicated section for colour profiles, they are instead interspersed throughout the text as necessary. They are by Richard Caruana as usual, and are very nicely rendered indeed. A set of profiles for aircraft in foreign service is also provided.
Chapter 6 features a brief description of the commonly available Hurricane and Sea Hurricane model kits. Not only do we have a range of options in 1/32 scale, there is also a couple of options in 1/24 scale, thanks to Airfix and Trumpeter. Only the Fly 1/32 and Trumpeter 1/24 kits are given any attention in this section, however.
The modelling section features four kit builds, comprising 1/72 Airfix and 1/72 Arma Hobby builds by Libor Jekl, along with 1/48 Hasegawa and 1/32 Fly builds by Steve Evans. These models are extremely well done, and will serve as inspiration and guidance for our own Hurricane builds when we get to them.
Chapter 8 is called Building a Collection, and features a series of annotated isometric 3D line drawings by Juraj Jankovic. These are designed to illustrate the salient differences between the various prototype and production airframes as the series developed, and form a perfect companion to the earlier 'evolution' chapters.
Chapter 9, In Detail, features an extensive selections of archival and contemporary photographs and diagrams, including a series of walkaround detail photos of surviving airframes. The walkaround photos have been selected with a modeller's eye, which is not only welcome, but very handy.
The four appendices cover the usual list of available kits, aftermarket, decals, and mask sets, as well as a concise bibliography for further research.
The scale plans included at the very back of the book are to 1/48 scale, and presented in gatefold format. They're printed on heavy, non-glossy plain stock, covering the following airframes:
- Hawker Hurricane Prototype (final form)
- Hawker Hurricane Mk I (early production)
- Hawker Hurricane (mid-production with metal wings)
- Hawker Hurricane (late production)
- Hawker Hurricane Mk I Trop
- Hawker Hurricane Mk IIa (series I)
- Hawker Hurricane Mk IIa (series II)
- Hawker Hurricane Mk IIa (series I Trop)
- Hawker Hurricane Mk IIb Trop
- Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc
- Hawker Hurricane Mk IV
- Hawker Sea Hurricane Mk II
- Hawker Hurricane Mk IIc
These are drawn by Richard Caruana and look very nicely done.
Not being a Hurricane 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 copy.
© Kevin Futter 2021
This review was published on Saturday, March 13 2021; Last modified on Saturday, April 02 2022