This latest volume of the Windsock Datafile series returns to the subject begun in #139 - the AMC DH9A. Author John Alcorn continues his clear and easy to read account of the "Ninak"'s career, with a good selection of period photos backed up by scale drawings and colour profile artwork.
The big difference this time is that, with the development of the aircraft and the Liberty engine dealt with in Vol.1, the major part of the text now concentrates on the DH9A's postwar career policing the British Empire. Reading the account of the RAF's role in various trouble-spots, it is sobering to realise, despite the passing of some 90 years, how many of them remain at the centre of present day conflicts. The efforts of the 1920s seem quite naive in retrospect, ultimately futile and representing unfinished business at best, and in some cases sowing the seeds of problems that haunt us to this day.
The second section focuses on colours and markings, and the move from PC10 and PC12 to overall Aluminium Covering V84 for service in tropical regions. Concurrent with the change in overall finish came the adoption of flamboyant unit markings, and a real boon to modellers will be the squadron by squadron description of "Ninak" units and their individual insignia. There are some spectacular schemes among these, not least because of the red high-visibility wing- and tail-tips often sported to aid the recovery of aircraft forced down in remote and hostile terrain.
The pictorial content of the book is excellent, with Windsock's usual detailed captioning of the vintage photos. Obviously, the quality of these images varies considerably - some are pin-sharp while others were clearly taken as snapshots, but their value as references is uniformly good (and incidentally many also illustrate the deceptively care-free nature of military flying in those days). Once again, many of the aircraft shown are brought vividly to life by Ronnie Bar with a set of excellent profiles. Some schemes inevitably stand out, notably the "VIP" machines in their spectacular colourful finishes - and something to note is just how shiny the waxed and polished surfaces of these were (not the easiest thing to represent in small scale without the end result looking "toy-like").
Modellers are well served in the second installment of Doug Carrick's scale drawings. This time they are all reproduced to 1:48 in a handy pull-out centre spread. Supporting these modern plans is a series of really useful illustrations taken from original maintenance manuals, showing the internal structures and fittings to good effect, plus the all-important rigging layout.
Vol. 1 was noteworthy for its excellent "walkaround" photos, and the follow-up certainly doesn't disappoint with 8 pages of new shots concentrating this time on the undercarriage, armament and the engine.
The Windsock Datafile two-part coverage of the DH9A is excellent - a more than fitting tribute to Jack Bruce and Bruce Robertson who had originally been working on the project. John Alcorn has taken up the challenge and made it his own. Highly recommended to modellers and enthusiasts alike.
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Highs: Clear and informative text. Excellent vintage photos, accompanied by plans and profiles.Lows:Verdict: With a 1:32 "Ninak" announced by Wingnuts, this (together with Vol.1) is the perfect reference. Now all we really, really, really need is a 1:48 kit... Roden?
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...