Valiant Wings Publishing | Airframe Extra No. 7: The Suez Crisis
Reviewed by Kevin Futter
UK-based publisher Valiant Wings Publishing has just released the seventh title in Airframe Extra series. Issue No. 7, entitled The Suez Crisis: Empire's End, combines historical narrative, profile artwork, and seven model builds, and clocks in at 74 pages.
The specific structure of the contents is as follows:
- RAF Profiles
- 1/72 Meteor Build
- 1/72 Sea Hawk Build
- 1/72 Piper Cub Build
- 1/48 RF-84F Build
- FAA Profiles
- 1/72 Il-28 Build
- 1/48 Mustang Build
- Colour Reference
- 1/48 Meteor NF Mk 11/13 Build
- France & Israel Profiles
There's also a brief foreword from publisher Mark Peacock, followed by a table of contents. It's then on to the main content sections.
This 19-page section is written by Steve Evans, and covers the background and conduct of the Suez Crisis, running from late October to early November 1956. The format follows a basic chronological description of events, with context given where appropriate. It includes a smattering of interesting period photographs, and represents a handy primer for the events of the conflict itself, as well as being a good starting point for further historical research.
As with all the profiles in the book, this section is illustrated by Richard Caruana, and features six pages of colour profiles with captioned colour notes. The RAF deployed a fascinating variety of Cold War-era aircraft to the Suez region, and these profiles cover Hunters, Meteors, Venoms, Canberras, and Valiants. There's also a single Shackleton, a pair of Hastings transports alongside a pair of Valettas, and a lone Whirlwind helicopter.
1/72 Meteor F Mk 8 Build
The first of the title's seven model builds features Libor Jekl's build of the Xtrakits (ex-Special Hobby) 1/72 Meteor F Mk 8 kit. Like all the builds in this book, it's a typical magazine-style photo-essay of the build, covering eight pages of hints, tips, and advice. While largely an out-of-box build, Jekl is an absolute wizard in this scale, and his expert handiwork has delivered a build so exquisite that it truly belies its tiny scale. Libor Jekl's builds for Valiant Wings publications have single-handedly persuaded me that 1/72 models can in fact appear as convincing as those from larger scales. Bravo!
1/72 Sea Hawk Mk 6 Build
Libor Jekl returns with the book's second build, featuring the HobbyBoss 1/72 Sea Hawk Mk 6 kit. The style of this seven-page build is similar to the preceding one, as is the result!
As with the other builds in this book, it features a section entitled "Historical Significance", wherein that particular aircraft's role in the battle is elucidated. It's a nice touch, and saves the historical section from becoming bogged down with such tangents.
1/72 Piper J-3 Cub Build
Libor Jekl makes it three in a row with his build of the KP 1/72 Piper J-3 Cub kit. Over the course of six pages, Jekl shows us how to convert KP's kit to Israeli configuration, and as usual, he turns out a very impressive model indeed.
1/48 RF-84F Thunderflash Build
The fourth build in this title sees Steve Evans pick up the reins, and features the relatively new Tan Model 1/48 RF-84F Thunderflash kit. This kit appears to be highly detailed, but tricky to assemble in places, and Evans does a terrific job turning out a French aircraft in Suez markings.
In contrast to the RAF section, these five pages contain mostly Sea Hawk and Sea Venom profiles, though there are also three Wyverns, and one example each of the AEW Skyraider and Avenger. Four photos of Sea Hawk carrier operations are also included.
1/72 Il-28 Beagle Build
Steve Evans is back with a four-page build of the Trumpeter 1/72 Il-28 Beagle kit. It's one of Trumpeter's early efforts, and is not an easy build. Evans overcomes its difficulties, and turns out quite an impressive Beagle in Egyptian Air Force markings.
1/48 P-51D Build
This build sees Steve Evans tackle the venerable Hasegawa 1/48 P-51D kit in another five-page treatment. The build is largely out-of-box, and results in an attractive rendition of an IDF Mustang in Suez markings.
This single-page reference lists each of the major colours used by RAF, FAA, French, and Israeli aircraft, and matches them against paint numbers from seven different brands - six acrylics (Akan, GS Mr Aqueous, Humbrol, Lifecolor, Tamiya & Xtracrylix) and four enamels (Humbrol, Revell, White Ensign & Xtracolor). Terrific stuff, and a fantastic bit of value-add.
1/48 Meteor NF Mk 11/13 Build
The book's final build article features the Classic Airframes 1/48 Meteor NF Mk 11/13 kit, and is again handled by Steve Evans over six pages. It's a difficult short-run kit, but the result is, yet again, terrific.
France & Israel Profiles
The final section of the book is three pages of colour profiles featuring French and Israeli aircraft. With the exception of a single Dassault Ouragan, the types are all American, and include three Corsairs, several RF-84Fs, a single Avenger, and - most oddly - a single B-17G in Israeli service. A motley collection indeed!
Here's a small selection of sample pages, courtesy of Valiant Wings:
I enjoyed this title a great deal. Its blend of interesting history, attractive artwork, and impressive model builds is nearly perfect. The magazine format is highly accessible, and can be used as a launching pad for more comprehensive research into the period covered.
My only complaint is that, for a title with such a heavy modelling focus, there are no large scale builds featured. I understand why this isn't done, but I personally find it a regrettable omission.
That said, I think this is a fine starting point for modelling aircraft of the Suez Crisis, and has much to recommend it.
Thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for the review sample.
© Kevin Futter 2017
This review was published on Saturday, May 27 2017; Last modified on Saturday, May 27 2017