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Flight Craft Series of reference books

Flight Craft 5: Sukhoi Su-15

By Yefim Gordon

Flight Craft 5: Sukhoi Su-15Description:
In the late 1950s, the Sukhoi Design Bureau, already an established fighter maker, started work on a successor to its Su-9 and Su-11 single-engined interceptors for the national Air Defence Force. Similar to its predecessors, the new aircraft designated Su-15 had delta wings; unlike the Su-9/Su-11, however, it had twin engines and lateral air intakes freeing up the nose for a powerful fire control radar. First flown in May 1962, the Su-15 officially entered service in 1965 and was built in several versions, the late ones having cranked-delta wings and a more capable radar. Being an air defence fighter, the Su-15 frequently had to deal with intruders. Unfortunately the aircraft gained notoriety in two separate incidents involving shoot-downs of Boeing airliners (a 707 in 1978 and a 747 in 1983), both of which were South Korean and had intruded into Soviet airspace on what was very probably clandestine spy missions.

This book describes the developmental and service history of the Sukhoi-Su-15, containing a comprehensive survey of all model-making kits currently available on the market.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 6: Il'yushin/Beriyev A-50

By Yefim Gordon

Flight Craft 6: Il'yushin/Beriyev A-50Description:
Brought out in the late 1970s as a successor to the obsolete Tu-126 airborne early warning aircraft, the A-50 co-developed by the Il'yushin and Beriyev bureaux is one of the most interesting military variants in the field of IL-76 military transport. Differing outwardly from the latter mainly in having a conventional “saucer” rotodome, the A-50 entered flight testing in 1980; the new Soviet AWACS entered service four years later. The improved A-50M was developed several years after that. The type continues in service with the Russian Air Force today, and the fleet is being upgraded to A-50U standard.

This book describes the A-50's thrilling developmental history, taking in its many variants (including the A-50EI export model for India) and gives an extensive overview of the various scale model kits covering the subject currently available on the market.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 7: V-Bombers - Valiant, Vulcan & Victor

By Martin Bowman, Dave Windle

Flight Craft 7: V-Bombers - Valiant, Vulcan & VictorDescription:
Britain's desire to stay at the leading edge in the design and development of modern jet powered aircraft was born in the later stages of the Second World War. The Royal Air Force sent requests to the leading aircraft manufactures for a variety of specifications, amongst which was one for a long-range heavy bomber. Three designs were accepted and eventually went into production – these became the V-Bomber Force.

The Vickers Valiant, Vulcan and Victor saw prolific and varied service during the course of their careers. This book contains fabulous colour profiles (created by Dave Windle) of all three types in different operational modes, configurations and colour schemes. Martin Bowman has written detailed descriptions and photographs to create the perfect enthusiasts reference. This enhanced and revised edition (the book was initially published in 2009) comes complete with model-making content as well as a host of brand new design features, making for a lively new addition to our esteemed Flight Craft series.

Vintage Airfix Review:
There are some great images, in this book, of these famous aircraft that can be used to aid and inspire all modellers. I particularly like the pictures of the Victor as a fuel tanker, refuelling a Lightning which will make for an easy but impressive diorama.

This book is an informative overview of the V-Bomber Force aircraft that will benefit all aircraft modellers research of these ground breaking aircraft of the Cold War.

 

Flight Craft 8: Mikoyan MiG-31

By Yefim Gordon

Flight Craft 8: Mikoyan MiG-31Description:
The MiG-31 started life as an advanced derivative of the famous MiG-25P interceptor, becoming the first Soviet fourth-generation combat aircraft. First flown in 1975, it differed from its progenitor primarily in having a crew of two (pilot and weapons systems operator), a highly capable passive phased-array radar – a world first – and new R-33 long-range missiles as its primary armament. The maximum speed was an impressive Mach 2.82, the cruising speed being Mach 2.35. The type entered service in 1981; more than 500 copies were built between 1981 and 1994. The powerful radar and other avionics allowed the MiG-31 to operate as a 'mini-AWACS' scanning the airspace and guiding other interceptors to their targets; a flight of three such aircraft in line abreast formation could cover a strip 800 km (500 miles) wide. To this day the MiG-31 remains one of the key air defence assets of the Russian Air Force.

The book describes the MiG-31's developmental history, including upgrade programmes, and features a full and comprehensive survey of the various MiG-31 model-making kits currently available on the market.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 9: Avro Shackleton

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson

Flight Craft 9: Avro ShackletonDescription:
Initially projected as a maritime reconnaissance version of the Lincoln bomber, itself a development of the famous wartime Lancaster which saw post-war service in a General/Maritime Reconnaissance role, (see Flight Craft No 4), the Avro Shackleton, (named after the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton) was a completely new design, powered by four Rolls Royce Griffon 57 engines driving six blade contra-rotating propellers.

Split into three main sections, this latest Flight Craft title, perfectly timed to coincide with the release of the first examples of the eagerly awaited new tool 1/72 scale Airfix kit, offers a concise history of the Shackleton's development and operational career from the prototype and initial entry in to RAF service in 1951, and its use with the South African Air Force, the only other operator of the type.

Section 1 chronicles its design, ongoing improvements and development through the three main Marks, in both the Maritime Reconnaissance and Airborne Early Warning roles, until its retirement after four decades of RAF service in 1991, which includes scores of contemporary photographs with detailed captions, many of which have never been seen in print before.

This is followed by a 16-page colour illustration section featuring profiles and 2-views of the colour schemes and markings carried by the type in RAF and SAAF service. The final section lists all the plastic model kits, accessories and decal sheets produced of the Shackleton in all scales.

As with the other books in the Flight Craft series, whilst published primarily with the scale aircraft modeller in mind, it is hoped that those readers who might perhaps describe themselves as 'occasional' modellers may also find that this colourful and informative work offers something to provoke their interests too.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 10: Mil' Mi-6/-26

By Yefim Gordon, Dmitrity Komissarov

Flight Craft 10: Mil' Mi-6/-26Description:
Developed in the early 1950s to meet a Soviet Army requirement and first flown in June 1957, the Mi-6 was the largest-yet helicopter created in the Soviet Union. Its notable features included a power-plant consisting of two turbo-shaft engines (for the first time on a Soviet helicopter) and stub wings offloading the main rotor in forward flight; the cabin was big enough to accommodate artillery systems and tactical ballistic missiles. Built by two plants, the Mi-6 saw service with the Soviet Air Force (including participation in the Afghan War) and the air arms of several Soviet allies. It also proved valuable as a civil air-lifter during oilfield exploration in Siberia, remaining in service right the way up to 2002.

A worthy successor to the Mi-6 appeared in 1977 – the Mi-26. With its 20-ton payload, it was (and still is) the world’s largest and most capable transport helicopter. Again, the Mi-26 had both military and commercial uses (the former included participation in several armed conflicts); the type is still in production, being updated to meet modern requirements, and has been exported to several countries in Asia and Latin America.

The book describes the history, variants and service career of the Mil’ ‘big lifters’ and contains a detailed overview of the scale model kits covering these types which are currently available on the market.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 11: English Electric Lightning

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson

Flight Craft 11: English Electric LightningDescription:
Developed to intercept increasingly capable Soviet bombers such as the Tupolev Tu-16, Tu-22 and Tu-95, the English Electric/BAC Lightning had a phenomenal rate of climb, a high ceiling, and a top speed of over 1,300mph at 36,000ft, and is a favourite of both aviation enthusiasts and aircraft modellers alike.

This homage to the only all-British Mach 2 interceptor fighter, follows previous Flight Craft book formats, in that it is split in to three main sections.

The first section offers a concise design and development history covering the six main single-seat fighter and two twin-seat trainer Marks; from its first RAF operational squadron deployments in 1960 through to its frontline retirement in 1988, and coverage of the only other two air forces to operate the type, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

This is followed by a 16-page full colour illustration section featuring detailed profiles and 2-views of the colour schemes and markings carried by the type in RAF, Royal Saudi and Kuwait Air Force service.

The final section lists most of the plastic model kits, accessories and decal sheets produced of the EE/BAC Lightning in all the major scales, with photos of finished models made by some of the UK's best modellers.

As with all the other books in the Flight Craft series, whilst published primarily with the scale aircraft modeller in mind, it is hoped that those readers who might perhaps describe themselves as 'occasional' modellers, or even simply aviation enthusiasts, may also find that this colourful and informative work offers something to provoke their interests too.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 12: The Junkers Ju87 Stuka

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson

Flight Craft 12: The Junkers Ju87 StukaDescription:
The Junkers Ju 87 ‘Stuka’ (a contraction of the German word Sturzkampfflugzeug, ie dive bomber) was arguably the Luftwaffe’s most recognisable aeroplane, with its inverted gull wings and fixed spatted undercarriage.

Designed by Hermann Pohlmann as a dedicated dive bomber and ground-attack aircraft, the prototype first flew in 1935, and made its combat debut in 1937 with the Luftwaffe's Condor Legion during the Spanish Civil War. After several design changes in the light of operational experiences, the ‘Stuka’ went on to serve the Luftwaffe and Axis forces, from the invasion of Poland in 1939, through the Battles of France and Britain in 1940, over the North African desert and the across Mediterranean, the invasion of Russia and the subsequent bitter fighting in that vast area, and following several more design changes and upgrades, continued to serve through to the end of World War Two.

This latest addition to the growing Flight Craft range, follows the previous well established format, in that it is split in to three main sections. The first section, after offering a concise design and development history, continues with coverage of the various sub-types, from ‘Anton’ to ‘Gustav’ and their operational use from the Spanish Civil War to the end of World War Two.

This is followed by a 16-page full colour illustration section featuring detailed profiles and 2-views of the colour schemes and markings carried by the type in Luftwaffe and Axis service. The final section lists as many of the injection-moulded plastic model kits produced of the Junkers Ju 87 in all the major scales that the authors could find details of, including the brand new Airfix 1/72 and 1/48 scale kits which were released while this book was being written, with photos of many finished models made by some of the world’s best modellers.

As with all the other books in the Flight Craft range, whilst published primarily with the scale aircraft modeller in mind, it is hoped that those readers who might perhaps describe themselves as 'occasional' modellers, or even simply aviation enthusiasts, may also find that this colourful and informative work offers something to provoke their interests too.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 13: The Gloster Meteor in British Service

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson

Flight Craft 13: The Gloster Meteor in British ServiceDescription:
The Gloster F.9/40 was Britain’s first jet fighter and as the Meteor F.I became the first jet-powered aircraft of any description to enter service with the Allies in World War II. Several early Meteors were despatched to Europe in the hope that 1945 might witness the first ever jet-on-jet combats between it and the much-vaunted German jets – a contest which, in the event, was never to occur.

Post-war, and the Meteor quickly became the backbone of the UK’s day fighter defences, progressing through successive Marks as it did so, until finally being replaced on the front line by later types during the mid-1950s. With their ever-adaptable airframe, two-seat Meteors became Britain’s primary night fighter too, serving for several years until replaced by the Gloster Javelin from the late 1950s onwards.

With its operational career over, the Meteor’s adaptability and ruggedness was put to sterling use as an advanced trainer, the most obvious example of which was the T.7. As late as 1982, a handful of stalwarts were still soldiering on.

Although space precludes a comprehensive history of such a prolific aircraft, it is hoped that both aviation enthusiasts and aircraft modellers may find some interesting examples in these pages, and sufficient inspiration to help them choose which colour scheme to finish their latest Meteor model in.

This latest addition to the FlightCraft range follows our well-established format in that it is split into three primary sections. The first covers the Meteor using numerous photographs, informative captions and tables. The second is a 16-page full-colour illustration section featuring detailed profiles and 2-views of many of the colour schemes and markings carried by British Meteors. The final section lists as many injection-moulded plastic model kits of the Meteor, in all the major scales, that the authors could obtain, plus a gallery of models made by some of the UK’s best modellers.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 14: Messerschmitt Bf109

By Robert Jackson

Flight Craft 14: Messerschmitt Bf109Description:
The famous Messerschmitt Bf 109 single-seat fighter was one of the most important warplanes of the Second World War. Originally designed during the 1930s, and a contemporary of the equally-legendary Supermarine Spitfire, it was vitally important to Germany’s Luftwaffe and was flown in combat by the highest-scoring fighter pilots in history.

It was in service throughout the Second World War and was built in a number of significant versions that proved to be worthy adversaries of the very best of the Allied warplanes that it flew against. Bf 109s operated in all the major areas of conflict where German forces were engaged in combat and, in modified form, the type even had a post-war career in several countries that extended well into the 1950s.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 15: The Supermarine Spitfire

By Lance Cole

Flight Craft 15: The Supermarine SpitfireDescription:
The story of the Supermarine Spitfire has been told across many years and the debate about it is enduring, yet the Spitfire remains a true icon. For aviation enthusiasts, for historians, for modellers, the word Spitfire conjures many stories and affections. This book presents the Spitfire enthusiast with an up-to-date history of the Spitfire – not just in its design and application in war, but also as a flying memorial and as an aero modellers’ vital focus.

The text examines recently revealed forgotten aspects of the Spitfire story; by combining the elements of design, the story of a weapon of war and a revered scale model, this book frames an essential chapter in aviation history. Packed with original and contemporary images and information, and displaying unique Spitfire model collections, the narrative bridges an important gap and is a worthy addition to the Flight Craft series.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 16: The Hawker Hunter in British Service

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson

Flight Craft 16: The Hawker Hunter in British ServiceDescription:
The Hawker Hunter is one of Britain’s classic post-war jet aircraft. Initially introduced in 1954 as a swept-wing, transonic, single-seat day interceptor, it rapidly succeeded the first-generation jet fighters in RAF service such as the Gloster Meteor (see Flight Craft 13) and the de Havilland Venom. Powered by the then newly developed Rolls-Royce Avon turbojet, the Hunter’s performance transformed the RAF’s day fighter squadrons from the mid-1950s until the advent of the English Electric Lightning from the early 1960s (see Flight Craft 11).

Even then, as successively improved variants of the type were produced with increasingly more capable engines and expanded fuel capacity, the Hunter successfully transitioned into a strike/ground attack fighter-bomber and fighter reconnaissance platform. Two-seat variants were developed for training and other secondary roles with the RAF and the Royal Navy and a few remained in use until 2001, albeit with specialised MoD Test and Evaluation units – well over forty years after the type’s initial introduction. Hunters were also famously used by two RAF display teams, the ‘Black Arrows’, who looped a record-breaking twenty-two Hunters in formation, and later the ‘Blue Diamonds’ as well as the Royal Navy’s ‘Blue Herons’.

The Hunter saw combat service with the RAF in a range of conflicts including the Suez Crisis as well as various emergencies in the Middle East and Far East. The Hunter was also widely exported, serving with many foreign air forces, in which it also saw active service, which unfortunately lies outside the scope of this particular publication. Almost 2,000 Hunters were manufactured by Hawker Siddeley Aviation, as well as being produced under licence overseas and will remain one of the UK’s most iconic aircraft designs of all time.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation Aircraft

By Neil Robinson

Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation AircraftDescription:
It could be argued that the heyday of British military aircraft flight testing began in the 1940s, and continued throughout the three decades that followed, during the so-called Cold War period, and as such, the authors have purposely chosen the first 30 years, The Golden Years, 1945 to 1975, from the end of World War Two until the mid-1970s, as this was arguably the most exciting period with many wonderful and new types rubbing shoulders with wartime and immediate post-war designs that were utilised for development purposes, making for an eclectic mix of shapes and colour schemes.

Alongside the technical aspects of military testing and development, are the many and varied colour schemes and markings carried by the aircraft themselves – not only by the brand-new experimental designs, but by existing production machines, suitably modified, to greater or lesser degrees, to develop the technical advances in systems and weaponry.

Scores of different aircraft types are covered in British Military Test & Evaluation Aircraft The Golden Years 1945 - 1975, with over 65 rarely seen contemporary photographs from private collections, and, differing slightly from previous Flight Craft book formats, over 50 pages of specially commissioned full colour profiles and plan views, visually chronicling the diverse range of colour schemes and markings applied to these fascinating aeroplanes.

Compiled by Neil Robinson and Martin Derry, who have authored several other Flight Craft books, with informative background text by well known aviation historian Malcolm V Lowe and superbly executed illustrations by Mark Rolfe. As with other books in the Flight Craft series, although published with aircraft modellers in mind, it is hoped that most aviation enthusiasts will find something of interest here too.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft: Avro Lancaster 1945-1965

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson

Flight Craft: Avro Lancaster 1945-1965Description:
The Avro Lancaster, such a stalwart of the skies during the Second World War, also enjoyed an interesting and surprisingly colourful post-war career. It is this era that the authors have chosen to focus on by profiling the type across its many variants.

Split into three primary sections, this book offers a concise yet informative history of the Lancaster's post-war operational career (from 1945-1965) charting the course of the various alterations and improvements that occurred during this time and including a selection of contemporary photographs with detailed captions. A 16-page section features 32 colour illustrations (in profiles, 2-views and 4-views) specially prepared by Mark Gauntlett. The book's final section provides a list and box top illustrations of the plastic model kits produced of the Lancaster in all scales plus reviews and 'how to' construction notes on building a selection of kits in 1/144, 1/72 and 1/48 scales.

As with the other books in the Flight Craft series, whilst published primarily with the scale aircraft modeller in mind, it is hoped that those readers who might perhaps describe themselves as 'occasional' modellers - if indeed they model at all - may also find that this colourful and informative work offers something to provoke their interests too.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft: Hawker Hurricane

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson

Flight Craft: Hawker HurricaneDescription:
When Sidney Camm's masterpiece, the Hawker Hurricane, entered RAF service in late 1937 it quickly became one of the most important aircraft in Britain's military arsenal, especially in the first three years of the Second World War. This title covers the history of this iconic design, from the prototype and the initial production variants' entry in to RAF service, through its development and use, first as a day fighter, and then night fighter, intruder, fighter-bomber, catapult-launched and then carrier-based fighter, and eventually dedicated ground attack machine.

The Hurricane served in every wartime theatre, from Norway and France, the Battle of Britain, the defence of Malta, to the campaigns in the Western Desert and the Mediterranean, on the Russian Front and in the Far East where it saw service until the end of hostilities.

Split into three primary sections, this volume offers a concise yet informative history of the Hurricane's development, operational career and design improvements, including many contemporary photographs with detailed captions; a 16-page colour illustration section featuring 48 separate aircraft (in profiles and 2-views); and finally a section prepared by that well-known and established doyen of model makers, Tony O'Toole, listing and illustrating the plastic model kits produced of the Hurricane in all scales.

As with the other books in the Flight Craft series, whilst published primarily with the scale aircraft modeler in mind, it is hoped that those readers who might perhaps describe themselves as 'occasional' modelers – if indeed they model at all – may also find that this colourful and informative work offers something to provoke their interests too.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft: Russian Gunship Helicopters

By Yefim Gordon

Flight Craft: Russian Gunship HelicoptersDescription:
Features;
* Profiles of iconic types such as the Mil MI-24 'Hind', the Mil-28 and the Kamov Ka-52 'Alligator'.
* Summary of design histories and careers
* Colour reference for paint schemes
* Critical review of available kits
* Over 180 colour and black and white illustrations, including 20 full colour side-views and a range of various 3-view line-drawings.

With profiles of a host of exciting designs, accompanied by a descriptive narrative history of the various types, this volume combines practical information with reflective historical analysis, making for a visually rich volume providing modellers with all they need to know about the most exciting Russian Gunship helicopter designs and associated model kits.

This edition deals primarily with the three principal attack helicopter types of the present-day Russian Army;

The Mil MI-24 'Hind' – otherwise known as 'the Flying Crocodile' – has been produced in large numbers with many versions and variants produced. It has been supplied to a host of countries and seen considerable combat action in conflicts both in the Soviet Union and abroad. It still forms the backbone of army aviation in Russia and remains at the forefront of national exposure.

The Mil-28 is a more contemporary type and is broadly the equivalent of the McDonnell Douglas AH-64 Apache.

The Kamov Ka-52 'Alligator' – NATO name 'Hokum-B' – also features. This helicopter is in service with the Army and is entering service also with the Russian Navy.

Well-illustrated histories and structural analyses are supplemented with detailed descriptions of the various plastic scale model kits which have been released, along with commentary concerning their accuracy and available modifications and decals. This level of detail and insight is sure to prove invaluable to a wide community of model-makers, both at home and overseas.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

Flight Craft: Soviet Spyplanes of the Cold War

By Yefim Gordon

Flight Craft: Soviet Spyplanes of the Cold WarDescription:
'Spy in the Sky' matters have long been a source of interest and fascination for aircraft enthusiasts, historians and modellers and none more so than the elusive and secretive Soviet types of the Cold War era. Yefim Gordon presents us here with a range of such types, presenting a collection of photographs, profiles and line drawings together with supplementary text detailing the history of each craft, encompassing the various developmental milestones, successes and pitfalls experienced along the way.

The Soviet Union's two dedicated spyplane types, the Yakovlev Yak-25RV 'Mandrake' (the Soviet equivalent of the Lockheed U-2) and the MiG-25R 'Foxbat' are profiled, supplemented by details garnered from a host of original sources.

Well-illustrated histories and structural analyses are set alongside detailed descriptions of the various plastic scale model kits that have been released, along with commentary concerning their accuracy and available modifications and decals.

With an unparalleled level of visual information - paint schemes, models, line drawings and photographs - it is simply the best reference for any model-maker setting out to build a variant of this iconic craft.

Vintage Airfix Review:
No review currently available.

 

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