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Hawker Hart Family

Hawker Hart Family Book Review

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review May 2008 Title Hawker Hart Family
Author Alex Crawford Publisher Mushroom Model Publications
Published 2008 ISBN 978-83-89450-62-3
Format 256 pages, softbound MSRP (BP) £17.99


The Hawker Hart and its derivatives (Demon, Hind, Audax, Hector, Hardy, Osprey, Hartebeeste) comprised much of the operational equipment of the RAF, and many other air arms in the 1930’s. Bombers, fighters, trainers, army coop, these roles and many other tasks were carried out by these aircraft. Perhaps the first “multi-role combat aircraft”. On it’s introduction, the Hart bomber was faster than the RAF’s front-lone fighters, and this elegant, reliable and highly adaptable aircraft remained in service well into the jet age, surviving in the Afghan air arm into the 1950’s. The Hart family went to war, in Finland, East Africa, Iraq (fighting on both sides) and elsewhere, and Hectors even flew bombing missions over Dunkirk in 1940.

This new book, by Mushroom Model Publications (MMP), is written by a highly respected historian and best-selling author. It tells the story of these elegant aircraft in all their versions. It is profusely illustrated with 202 black and white historical photos (a handful of these were taken of surviving aircraft in museums). There are 148 color photos, the majority of which were also taken in museums and are mostly of the walk-around type. There are 17 1/72nd scale line drawings as profiles and 7 more as 2-views. Included also are 3 illustrations from tech manuals and a color photo of a poster that advertises a aircraft display at Hendon.

The book chronicles the design, development and service of the Hart family in it’s many guises. From the vibrant colors of the pre-war RAF and FAA through the drab camouflage of wartime operations, and the many overseas users: Swiss Air Force, Portuguese Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, South Rhodesian Air Force, Royal Egyptian Air Force, Latvian Air Force, Estonian Air Force, Canadian Air Force, Royal Iraqi Air Force, Persian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Belgian Air Force, Afghan Air Force, Irish Air Force, Yugoslavian Air Force, Swedish Air Force, Spanish Republican Air Force and the Finish Air Force. This is done in 41 color profile paintings and 9 color illustrations of upper wing markings for these various countries (including the RAF of course).

There are 7 data lists and a bibliography in the book. The book is 256 pages long, this more pages than Mushroom Model Publications normal amount for their aircraft books. It is done to cover these aircraft types, whose stories cannot be squeezed into their standard format. The book is soft-cover in 6 ½” x 9” size pages and labeled as “MAXI SIZE”.

This book will be essential reading for all those interested in military aviation and British aircraft. It is an invaluable reference for aero-modelers and aviation historians. Highly recommended. Mushroom Model Publications is based in Redbourn, Herts UK.

A forthcoming book, for later this year, is shown on the back cover of this new book. It will be titled “Gloster Gladiator”.

I want to thank Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) and Casemate for this review sample.