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British Experimental Combat Aircraft of WWII

British Experimental Combat Aircraft of WWII Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review September 2012 Title British Experimental Combat Aircraft of WWII
Author Tony Buttler Publisher Hikoki Publications
Published 2012 ISBN 9781902109244
Format 200 pages, hardcover MSRP (USD) $56.95


Spitfire.  Mosquito.  Lancaster.  Aircraft enthusiasts instantly recognize those British warplane legends.  Ditto for Hurricane, Halifax and Anson.

But how about Bi-Mono, Shrimp and Dumbo?

Those historical footnotes never entered Commonwealth service.  But they and other curiosities comprise the cast of Tony Buttler's enormously entertaining BRITISH EXPERIMENTAL COMBAT AIRCRAFT OF WWII.

And what a ripping read it is.  Spanning 35 chapters and 200 pages, HIKOKI's hefty handbook recaps dozens of weird, wonderful wings.  Lavishly illustrated with 150 photos and illustrations, Buttler's brilliant book proceeds alphabetically – and wends and weaves through a host of largely stillborn wartime efforts.

An introductory data block with salient subject specifics leads each installment.  Text then traverses through design, development, testing and fate.  Notes on structure conclude individual aircraft coverage.  And where available, fascinating original concept drawings season segments.  An absorbing appendix – "One-Off Modifications to Production Aircraft: A Photographic Gallery" – complete contents.

Crack Buttler's book in half for my favorite sections – the Martin-Baker M.B.3, Miles M.20 "utility fighter" and, astonishingly, Napier-Heston Racer.  Backtrack a bit for another: the truly tiny Hilson Bi-Mono.  Then lunge forward to Vickers' huge Windsor.  Fascinating stuff!

Some subjects – like Supermarine's Spiteful and Westland's Welkin – actually entered limited service.  But most – like Miles' bizarre, beautiful M.39B Libellula – remained rarities.

I simply couldn't put BRITISH EXPERIMENTAL COMBAT AIRCRAFT OF WWII down.  Bombers.  Trainers.  Fighters.  Concept-provers.  And more.  Treat yourself to loads of fascinating fun – and get Tony Buttler's terrific tome.

Rabidly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Specialty Press for this review sample!