by: Darren Baker [ ]
With a number of the early aircraft having flown out of RAF Boscombedown while under trial and the Hunter Preservation Group now flying out of Boscombedown meaning I get to see the Hunter doing what it should, Fly Fast. This would seem the perfect time to take a look at this title from the Pen and Sword series Images of War covering the Hawker Hunter.
The following portion of the introduction is from Pen and Sword:
f ever there was a real pilot's aeroplane it was the Hunter; an outstanding multi-purpose aircraft which excelled in the roles of interceptor fighter, ground attack, reconnaissance, research vehicle and two-seater trainer, not forgetting its dramatic formation aerobatic performances.
The Hunter is one of the world's greatest aircraft. For three decades, pilots have enthused about it, extolling the virtues of its smooth, aerodynamic lines, 4 x 30mm cannon, the Rolls-Royce Avon engine, and its outstandingly honest handling characteristics combined with a lively performance. It saw operational deployment in Europe with Fighter Command and 2nd TAF, in Cyprus, the Middle East and the Far East, operating in the ground-attack role against rebels in Aden and Malaysia respectively. The Hunter was a classic thoroughbred of its time, from the stables of one of the finest fighter manufacturers in the world and, for fifty years, its adaptability was rarely challenged.
Although the last example was retired in July 2001, the Hunter legend undoubtedly lives on, with 114 potentially airworthy airframes located in fourteen countries around the world. Here, the legendary tale of the Hunter is told in words and images.
This offering from Pen and Sword is part of the ‘Images at War’ series. This series of books are soft backed offerings having a good card cover with a very good spine to the book that keeps the contents in good order. This book covering ‘The Hawker Hunter’ has been authored by Martin W Bowman. This title from Martin W Bowman is one of 85 offerings covering aircraft and conflict primarily during World War 2 credited to him by Pen and Sword alone, but as you can see he has more strings to his bow. The contents of this title are provided over 119 pages of good quality semi gloss paper.
The contents are presented in the following sections:
Chapter 1 – A Hunter We Will Go
Chapter 2 – The Hunter’s Halcyon Days
Chapter 3 – Detached Service
Chapter 4 – End of Empire
Chapter 5 – Overseas Customers
The text in this offering from the Images of War series is quite light as regards dedicated text which is a shame. But with that said the author has used most of the dedicated text space on the early production days of the Hawker Hunter and its export success to both European Air Forces and further afield. The text covering development from the early test aircraft through to serving aircraft is an interesting read that provides a fair grounding into its birth and life.
There is an excellent selection of photographs in this book telling a broad story of the Hawker Hunter through its life, but all of the photographs are in black and white and I feel that is a shame as some truly stunning paint schemes were applied to the Hunter. With that said bland and white photographs do tend to show detail better than colour and so have their place in this title.
I accept that the photographs provided are the main reason most will pick up this offering as it offers a great pictorial history of the Hawker Hunter, but spare a thought and give consideration to the captions that for me make the photographs so valuable. I do not know the level of effort that goes into the aspect of writing the caption in the book, but they add a great depth to the photograph in many cases. A great example of this is a crashed Hunter with its nose smashed up, nothing unusual you may think but this plane crashed from 800ft without a pilot to keep it level.
Many modellers are on a tight budget and spend hours online looking for that right reference, well this book brings it to you in one place and has a lot more interest to it to boot. I would perhaps have liked to see a little more dedicated text on the Hunter, but the captions and the text more than make up for it in my mind.
Darren Baker takes a look at a recent release from Pen and Sword titled and covering ‘The Hawker Hunter'.
Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.