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The Supermarine Spitfire - Part 1

The Supermarine Spitfire - Part 1 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review October 2018 Title The Supermarine Spitfire - Part 1
Author Richard A. Franks Publisher Valiant Wings Publishing
Published 2018 ISBN 978-0-9957773-5-4
Format 240 pages, softcover MSRP (BP) £19.95


Let's cut to the chase.

If your library sports just one book on Merlin-engine Spitfires and Seafires, make it this one.

Like all entries in Valiant Wings' superb "Airframe & Miniature" range, The Supermarine Spitire - Part 1 boasts something for just about everyone – and in munificent quantities, manifest quality, and matchless clarity.

Ably edited by Richard A. Franks, it completely surveys every Merlin-engine Spitfire and Seafire variant in one handy, 240-page handbook.

Seeking a thoroughly competent, capsule Spitfire history? Look here. Authoritative camouflage and markings notes? Yep. Airframe and interior details? Variant chronicles? Model builds? Definitely.

All with hundreds of pretty pictures spicing Valiant Wings' sumptuous smorgasbord.

Period photos. Tech-manual excerpts. Scale drawings. Evolutionary variant isometrics. Color plates. And more.

I counted at least 115 profiles – not counting plan views – by Richard J. Caruana, who also drafted the book's superb scale plans.

Markings fans will love Caruana's one-stop, one-page Spitfire RAF insignia and stencil guide – with official dimensions.

Coverage really turns meaty for modelers in the second half of this brilliant book. That's where you'll find sections on:

  • current Merlin-powered Spitfire and Seafire kit assessments,
  • model builds to 1:72, 1:48, and 1:32 scales by Libor Jekl, Steve A. Evans, and Dani Zamarbide, and
  • isometric drawings charting the evolution of Merlin-engine variants.

Nearly 60 pages of Spitfire and Seafire minutiae – in and out, top to bottom, prop to rudder – follow. Fuselage. Wings. Stabilizers. Armament. Landing gear. Even engine cooling components.


Four appendices listing Merlin-engine Spitfire and Seafire kits, accessories, decals, and references complete contents.

What a masterful monograph. Make it your handbook on Merlin-powered Spitfires and Seafires. Then line-up behind me for the sequel on Griffon-engine versions!

Roundly recommended!

With thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for this review copy.