Aircraft Reference Books - Vintage Airfix


Aircraft reference books

All these titles are available to purchase from Pen and Sword.

Contents:
- British Aircraft of the Second World War - By John Frayn Turner. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- D-Day Dakotas - By Martin Bowman. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Fighters Under Construction in World War Two - By Graham Simons. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Flight Craft 16: The Hawker Hunter in British Service - By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Flight Craft 18: British Military Test and Evaluation Aircraft - By Neil Robinson. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Flight Craft 7: V-Bombers - Valiant, Vulcan & Victor - By Martin Bowman, Dave Windle. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- FOCKE-WULF Fw 190 - By Chris Goss. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- FOCKE-WULF Fw 200 The Luftwaffe's Long Range Maritime Bomber - By Chris Goss. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Hunters over Arabia - By Ray Deacon. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Knights of the Battle of Britain - By Chris Goss. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Lionel Morris and the Red Baron - By Jill Bush. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109 - By Chris Goss. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- Race Across the Atlantic - By Colin Higgs, Bruce Vigar. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- The Berlin Airlift - By John Grehan. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.
- The English Electric Lightning - By Martin Bowman. Reviewed by Vintage Airfix.

 


 

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British Aircraft of the Second World War

By John Frayn Turner

British Aircraft of the Second World WarDescription:

This unique book, now republished, was the first of its kind to be published on British aircraft of the Second World War. Aviation enthusiasts and aero-modellers can see British aircraft as they really were, through magnificently reproduced colour photographs. Each of the forty-nine types of aircraft is accompanied by a brief 'biography' together with tables of the most important marks and their specifications, engine, span, length, height, weight, crew number, maximum speed, service ceiling, normal range and armament. There is also a section on British aircraft in action, which includes accounts of outstanding exploits by the pilots of different types. John Frayn Turner, the well-known aviation author, has chosen the pictures and provided the text.

Vintage Airfix Review:

An absolute must for any aeronautic enthusiast or WWII historian. The amount of detail on a huge amount of aircraft of the era is outstanding and the way it's presented makes it the perfect base for further research on a specific aircraft.

All the images, both black and white and colour are of a superb quality. The section on British aircraft in action, including accounts of pilots exploits, is fascinating.

This is the kind of book that, as a boy, I would take with me everywhere and bore my parents with. I loved it.

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D-Day Dakotas

By Martin Bowman

D-Day DakotasDescription:

On 18 December 1935 when the first flight of the Douglas DC-3 took place, few could have imagined that it would become one of the world’s most celebrated aircraft of all time, not just as a commercial airliner but also as the C-47 military transport. When production ceased in the summer of 1945, a total of 10,926 had been built.

This wonderfully versatile aircraft played a significant part in airborne operations around the world; but perhaps its most notable employment occurred during the June 1944 Normandy campaign. This important episode within the wider history of ‘D-Day' is enlivened here in classic fashion by Martin Bowman, in a narrative that features both extensive historical notes as well as deeply personal accounts of endurance and individual gallantry.

This amplified account of events as they unfolded in the skies above France on D-Day (5/6 and 6/7 June, 1944) reveals the invaluable contribution these workhorses of World War II made to the overall success in Normandy. It follows the author’s comprehensive five part work published by Pen & Sword (Air War D-Day) that included a multitude of personal military accounts from both Allied and German personnel who took part in Operation ‘Overlord’ and the Normandy campaign.

Vintage Airfix Review:

The Airfix Dakota kits, in its various incarnations, has always been a favourite. This beautiful aircraft has been a workhorse for many years and there are still some in civil service now and there’s always a Dakota at most air shows.

In WWII it really came into its own and Martin Bowman has superbly documented it’s role, in fantastic detail.

This book is highly recommended, and I would suggest getting this book and an Airfix kit together. Reading this book will bring a new dimension to your creativity and appreciation of one of the best aircrafts to ever be built.

 

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Fighters Under Construction in World War Two

By Graham Simons

Fighters Under Construction in World War TwoDescription:

A wide variety of military fighter aircraft were developed and utilized during the course of the Second World War. Development was dictated by the imperatives of war, and the Second World War saw fighter combat on a larger scale than any other conflict to date. This book profiles some of the most important fighter aircraft employed during the conflict, such as the iconic Spitfire, Hurricane, Typhoon, Bristol Beaufighter and De Havilland Mosquito, charting the developmental course of each craft in turn. The book works to illustrate the skill and initiative of the engineers who designed and created such aircraft, as well as the pilots who went on to fly them. This is a vivid account of the development and exploits of some of the most important fighter aircraft employed during one of the most pivotal periods of military and aviation history.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This book is a must for the World War 2 enthusiast. From the first chapter, which reveals the innovation used and in-depth information on the Spitfire production. To the DH Hornet, a long-range fighter destined for the war against Japan, but 'was too late to see war service'.

It has some fantastic, previously unseen pictures from the construction off the British fighters, engines and weaponry and details the struggles of constructing, the now, iconic machines when man power and resources where limited.

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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:

For any enthusiast and/or modeller of the Hawker Hunter this book will be like catnip, you’ll find yourself drooling over every page. For it is ‘every’ page that has outstanding images of this classic post war aircraft.

As you would expect for a book in the Flight Craft series, there are some kit reviews and colour schemes and markings. There’s also a detailed section of the cockpit which will aid you in your kits cockpit detail.

A beautifully written book arranged in chronological order with a lot of helpful detail for the modeller.

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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:

There are many modellers who like to take a production aircraft kit and modify it to a variant of that aircraft. For those modellers, this book really must be in your library.

It has many interesting, one-off, aircraft from 1945 to 1975, an era when aircraft development was at its height and, in same examples, its wackiest.

The colour illustrations of test aircraft alterations and livery are beautifully aimed at the modeller to help to get that perfect model. This along with the description and photos of what, where and why these aircraft were developed will add to your knowledge and understanding of the golden years of aircraft development.

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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.

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FOCKE-WULF Fw 190

By Chris Goss

FOCKE-WULF Fw 190Description:

The Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was widely regarded as the Luftwaffe’s finest fighter. It first saw service in France in August 1941, immediately proving itself at least the equal of the then latest Spitfire variant, the Mk.V.

There were a number of characteristics which contributed to the Fw 190’s success. The first of these was that it had been designed from the outset to be a weapons platform, rather than an aircraft to which weapons were added, as was the case with previous fighters. This meant that it could carry a wide range of armament in the form of various combinations of bomb racks, cannon pods and, later, unguided rockets.

It was also built to withstand heavy punishment, with the extensive use of electrically-powered equipment instead of the hydraulic systems which, used by most aircraft manufacturers of the time, were more susceptible to failure if damaged by gunfire. The relatively small diameters of electrical wires were much less likely to be hit by gunfire than larger hydraulic pipes.

Another element in the Fw 190’s construction which added to its durability was its wide-tracked, inwards-retracting landing gear, as opposed to the much narrower, outwards-retracting landing gear of the Messerschmitt Bf 109. This gave the Fw 190 much greater stability on the ground which resulted in far fewer ground accidents than experienced by the Bf 109.

The Fw 190’s BMW 801 D-2 radial engine also produced 1,677 horse power, giving the early Focke-Wulf 190 A-8 a top speed of more than 400 miles per hour – which was considerably faster than the early variant Spitfires.

It was the Spitfires with which the Fw 190 pilots frequently had to contend when in combat over the English Channel, and particularly during the Allied raid on Dieppe in August 1942, when more than 100 Focke-Wulfs (from Jagdgeschwaders JG 2 and JG 26) engaged Spitfires and Hawker Typhoons, claiming sixty-one Allied aircraft ‘kills’ against just twenty-five losses of their own.

The Fw 190’s weapons capability also saw it used as a fighter-bomber. The Fw 190 A-3/U3 Jabo was used with considerable effect against Allied shipping in the Channel and against the south-eastern coasts of England in 1942 in tip-and-runs raids. These fast, low-level attacks proved very difficult for the defending RAF squadrons to counter and only one Fw 190 was lost on these operations.

In this illuminating study of the early service of the Fw 190, Chris Goss has assembled a unique collection of photographs illustrating the wide use of this highly versatile aircraft.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Yet another superb addition to the Air War Archive series. Good, clear images ideal for the modeller and great historical and evolutionary detail.

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FOCKE-WULF Fw 200 The Luftwaffe's Long Range Maritime Bomber

By Chris Goss

FOCKE-WULF Fw 200 The Luftwaffe's Long Range Maritime BomberDescription:

Originally built as an airliner that could carry passengers across the Atlantic for Deutsche Lufthansa, the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor developed into the Luftwaffe’s principal long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft. It was used in the North Sea and in the Atlantic, searching for Allied convoys and warships, passing on information to waiting U-boats.

The Fw 200 was also capable of carrying a bomb load of up to 2,000kg, and it was claimed that Condors sank more than 300,000 tons of Allied shipping. By September 1940, one unit, KG 40 based at Bordeaux-Mèrignac in Occupied France, had sunk over 90,000 tons of Allied shipping. For the next three years the C-series Condors were described by Winston Churchill as ‘the scourge of the Atlantic’, eventually being overcome by the introduction of long-range Coastal Command aircraft, escort carriers and the deployment of Catapult-Armed Merchantman vessels. 

The Fw 200 also used as a troop transport, capable of carrying thirty fully-armed soldiers. one Fw 200 was even converted into a luxury, two-cabin airliner for use as Hitler’s personal aeroplane.

In this selection of unrivalled images collected over many years, and now part of Frontline's new War in the Air series, the operations of this famous aircraft are portrayed and brought to life through the first-hand accounts of the pilots who flew them and those that fought against them.

Vintage Airfix Review:

With more images than pages you’ll find this archive invaluable for the preparation of a Focke-Wulf Fw 200 build.

For a Luftwaffe historian, or indeed any historian, the detailed research by the author makes this book a great addition to any library.

As with all the titles in the Air War Archive series it’s a joy to thumb through time and again.

I highly recommended series of books.

 

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Hunters over Arabia

By Ray Deacon

Hunters over ArabiaDescription:

Based on official records held at the National Archives and other published sources, ‘Hunters over Arabia’ presents an in-depth account of the operations performed by the Hawker Hunter squadrons policing the desert wastelands and high mountain ranges of the Middle East. Copiously illustrated with colour and black and white photographs, a high percentage of operations performed by this versatile British ground attack and reconnaissance fighter are described in detail.

Using a chronological format, the narrative focuses on the period during which the Hunter served in the Middle East, from 1960 to 1971. Further chapters are dedicated to the three Hunter variants most closely associated with the Middle East, the FGA.9, FR.10 and T.7, together with their respective allocation dates. A short background to Aden, its historical links to Britain, and RAF airfields administered by Middle East Command complete this factual account.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Fantastic colour and black and white images and beautifully written with great use of National Archive documentation. This book will thrill and inform all enthusiasts of the Hawker Hunter.

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Knights of the Battle of Britain

By Chris Goss

Knights of the Battle of BritainDescription:

The Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross), known simply as the Ritterkreuz (Knight’s Cross), was the highest German military award of the Second World War. Instituted on 1 September 1939, to coincide with the German invasion of Poland, it was awarded for leadership, valour or skill. As the war progressed, higher variants were instituted, namely the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, and the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves Swords and Diamonds.

Similar in design, but larger, than the Eiserne Kreuz (Iron Cross), and worn around the neck as opposed to on the breast, the border and hanging loop on the Knight’s Cross were made of pure silver which was marked ‘800’. The award was made by a number of German manufacturers.

On 3 June 1940, the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuz mit Eichenlaub (Knights Cross with Oak Leaves) was instituted, by which time 124 Rittterkreuz had been awarded to all arms of the German military, of which forty-nine had been awarded to Luftwaffe personnel. The first recipient was Generalfeldmarschal Hermann Göring on 30 September 1939; the first Luftwaffe operational Luftwaffe aircrew member recipient, and the fifth overall, was Oberst Robert Fuchs, Kommodore of Kampfgeschwader 26. His award was made on 6 April 1940.

The first fighter pilot to receive the Ritterkreuz was Hauptmann Werner Mölders of III Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 53 (III./JG 53) on 29 May 1940. Only three Luftwaffe officers would receive the Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub in 1940, and all of them were fighter pilots – Mölders on 21 September 1940 (he was then Geschwader Kommodore of JG 51), Major Adolf Galland (Kommodore of JG 26) on 24 September 1940, and Hauptmann Helmut Wick (Kommandeur of I Gruppe/JG 2) on 6 October 1940.

Throughout the summer of 1940, many more Luftwaffe members, be they serving on fighter, bomber, dive bomber or reconnaissance units, would receive the Ritterkreuz. Some of these awards were made posthumously, whilst others would learn of their awards whilst a prisoner of war in Britain or, later, in Canada.

In this book, the renowned aviation historian Chris Goss provides biographical details of all operational members of the Luftwaffe who received the Ritterkreuz during 1940 or were awarded it as a result of their actions in what became known as the Battle of Britain.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This is one of those books that you have on the shelf. Safe in the knowledge that it’s there when you need it and that it’ll have the information you need on a specific Luftwaffe aircrew member between April and December 1940 that were awarded the Knights Cross.

Chris Goss has once again brought together a high level of detail from a specific time in air war history and collated it into a very useful and informative book.

I must have book for any Battle of Britain historian.

 

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Lionel Morris and the Red Baron

By Jill Bush

Lionel Morris and the Red BaronDescription:

Nineteen-year-old Lionel Morris left the infantry for the wood and wires of the Royal Flying Corps on the Western Front in 1916, joining one of the world’s first fighter units alongside the great ace Albert Ball. Learning on the job, in dangerously unpredictable machines, Morris came of age as a combat pilot on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, as the R.F.C. was winning a bloody struggle for admiralty of the air.

As summer faded to autumn, and the skies over Bapaume filled with increasing numbers of enemy aircraft, the tide turned. On 17 September 1916, Morris’s squadron was attacked by a lethally efficient German unit, including an unknown pilot called Manfred von Richthofen. As the shock waves spread from the empty hangars of No.11 Squadron all the way to the very top of the British Army, the circumstances surrounding Morris’s death marked a pivotal shift in the aerial war, and the birth of its greatest legend.

Told through previously unpublished archive material, the words of contemporaries and official records, Lionel Morris and the Red Baron traces a short but extraordinary life; and reveals how Morris’s role in history was rediscovered one hundred years after his death.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This is not just another 'Red Baron' book, it's practically a complete historical account of the Great War.

Mainly following Lionel Morris, a family member of the author, there are sections on others key players of the RFC and the Great War.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone with any interest in WWI, RFC or early war machines.

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MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109

By Chris Goss

MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109Description:

The most iconic German aircraft of the Second World War, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the Luftwaffe’s principal fighter from 1939 until 1942 when the superior Focke-Wulf Fw 190 came into greater prominence. The Bf 109 served in every theatre of the war, though in this book the author examines the Tip and Run era, D-Day and the Eastern Front.

In the later years of the war, the Bf 109 fought with some success in the defence of Germany against Allied bombers. The Bf 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft in history and more aerial kills were made with this fighter than any other aircraft. Indeed, A total of 105 Bf 109 pilots were each credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft; thirteen of these men scored more than 200 kills, while two scored more than 300. The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring fighter aces of the war: Erich Hartmann, the top-scoring fighter pilot of all time claiming 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories, and Günther Rall, who claimed 275 victories. All of them flew with JG 52, a unit which exclusively flew the Bf 109 and was credited with over 10,000 victories, chiefly on the Eastern Front.

The Bf 109 was also supplied to several of Germany's allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia.

In this selection of unrivalled images collected over many years, the operations of this famous aircraft in the latter part of the Second World War are portrayed and brought to life.

Vintage Airfix Review:

The 109 was an awesome aircraft and has a unique place in aviation warfare history. This beautiful book will be a great addition to any enthusiast, historian or modeller. The images are inspirational to the modeller and the in-depth history is fascinating. A great publication.

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Race Across the Atlantic

By Colin Higgs, Bruce Vigar

Race Across the AtlanticDescription:

It was Tuesday, 15 June 1919 and for the residents of Clifden on Ireland’s west coast this was not to be a normal day. Just before 08.40 hours, descending out of the gloom, came a large, twin-engine aeroplane lining up for final approach. One or two on-lookers recognised the danger straight away for this was an area of soft bog, but their attempts to alert the pilot were in vain.

The aircraft began to sink and, with a squelch, came to a sudden stop, the tail rearing up in the air. Dazed and with fuel filling the cockpit the two-man crew scrambled out, grabbing what they could. After a flight lasting 16 hours and 28 minutes, Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten-Brown had won the race to be the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic.

It was a rough ending for a race that began in April 1913 when Lord Rothermere, aviation philanthropist and owner of the Daily Mail, offered a prize of £10,000, roughly equivalent to $1,000,000 in today’s money, to ‘the aviator who shall first cross the Atlantic in an aeroplane in flight from any point in the United States of America, Canada or Newfoundland to any point in Great Britain or Ireland in 72 continuous hours’.

Illustrated by many unique photographs this book tells the story of the race, delayed for almost six years by the First World War. Many aircraft would be entered but few would even get off the ground. The teams faced great difficulties in preparing for the challenge of crossing one of the most hostile stretches of ocean on Earth.

The authors not only reveal tales of failures and technical difficulties, but of the intense frustration of waiting for the perfect weather-window. And even when finally airborne, Alcock and Brown’s flight almost ended in disaster on several occasions as weather conditions almost conspired to cast them down into the grey, cold waters of the Atlantic and almost certain death.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Reading this book is like reading a film script and right from the first page, you’ll be hooked. It starts with a run down of all the contenders and their fate. Then, due to the gripping writing, you’re there, with all the ups and downs of the events before the historic flight. Once you’re through all that, you’re in the cockpit with Alcock and Brown and every dump and dive of the flight across the Atlantic.

This book is highly recommended to take you on a trip, in your mind, across the Atlantic. It’s an exciting trip from the early days of aviation and a great feat that shouldn’t be forgotten. The final pages of this book prove that it hasn’t been.

 

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The Berlin Airlift

By John Grehan

The Berlin AirliftDescription:

The fate of the free world hung in the balance. Stalin’s Soviet Union sought to drive the Western democracies from Germany to continue the communist advance across Europe. The first step in Stalin’s scheme was to bring Berlin under Soviet control. Berlin was situated deep inside the Soviet-occupied region of the country, but the German capital had been divided into two halves, one of which was occupied by the Soviet Union, the other, in separate sectors, by Britain, France and the USA. Stalin decided to make the Allied hold on West Berlin untenable by shutting down all the overland routes used to keep the city supplied.

The choice faced by the Allies was a stark one – let Berlin fall, or risk war with the Soviets by breaking the Soviet stranglehold. In a remarkably visionary move, the Allies decided that they could keep Berlin supplied by flying over the Soviet blockade, thus avoiding armed conflict with the USSR.

On 26 June 1948, the Berlin Airlift began. Throughout the following thirteen months, more than 266,600 flights were undertaken by the men and aircraft from the US, France, Britain and across the Commonwealth, which delivered in excess of 2,223,000 tons of food, fuel and supplies in the greatest airlift in history.

The air-bridge eventually became so effective that more supplies were delivered to Berlin than had previously been shipped overland and Stalin saw that his bid to seize control of the German capital could never succeed. At one minute after midnight on 12 May 1949, the Soviet blockade was lifted, and the Soviet advance into Western Europe was brought to a shuddering halt.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Another superb title in the brilliant Images of Aviation series. Stuffed with great images of the time and perfectly detailed information, superbly illustrating one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. 

As an aviation enthusiast, this book fulfils my needs. There are images of most of my favourite aircraft and great stories to go along with them.

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The English Electric Lightning

By Martin Bowman

The English Electric LightningDescription:

The early 1950s were a boom time for British aviation. The lessons of six years of war had been learned and much of the research into jet engines, radar and aerodynamics had begun to reach fruition. In Britain, jet engine technology led the world, while wartime developments into swept wing design in Germany and their transonic research programme were used to give western design teams a quantum leap in aircraft technology.

The English Electric Lightning emerged at this time. This supersonic fighter aircraft of the Cold War era is perhaps best remembered for its amazing take-off performance, its exceptional rate of climb and its immense speed. Here, Martin Bowman takes us on a photographic journey, illustrating the various landmarks of the Lightning's impressive operational history.

Vintage Airfix Review:

When I first saw this book, it sparked a memory of the first time I heard the sound of the Lightning and, it would appear, it isn’t just me. In the first few pages, the unique sound of the Lightning is mentioned.

This book, from the Images of War series, has all that you would expect. Great images and details of variants and missions.

From a modeller’s perspective, I would love to have seen some colour images in here. But as an aircraft enthusiast it’s a great addition to my library and memory.

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