This latest instalment of the quality hardback series shows Royal Air Force assets in the public eye.
If you enjoy modelling Royal Air Force machines, you may already have purchased the previous three superb books in the RAF in Camera family. Through stunning Air Historical Branch imagery, author Keith Wilson curates a well-considered array of photos showing RAF aircraft in all their glory, the volumes each focusing on the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
Now, though, he’s followed a tangent by exploring RAF aircraft, as the title states, throughout 100 Years On Display. This means types participating in pageants and parades, overseas ‘flag-waving’ tours, exercises at home and abroad, and during special formations and flypasts – and this covers almost the air arm’s entire history. The Hendon Aerial Derby, 1919 Victory Parade and then Hendon’s RAF Pageants feature early on in the text, but the image choices begin squarely in the so-called ‘Silver Period’… that glorious interwar phase that gave birth to characterful types such as the Bristol Bulldog, Fairey Flycatcher, Gloster Gauntlet and many more.
All images shown here are courtesy of Pen & Sword and the Air Historical Branch
Besides the criteria already mentioned, the coverage also includes air races and record attempts. These include pioneering heats of the Schneider Trophy series, Peter Twiss setting a new world air speed record in the super-sleek Fairey Delta, and the famous 1969 Daily Mail Transatlantic Air Race won by Harrier GR.1s
There is huge variety because the book delves through the ages, offering heady studies of entities such as the Blue Diamonds with their Hawker Hunters, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and the Red Arrows among other display teams (including those smaller formations from training units).
Fast-forward and you are treated to wonderful views of later fast jets – Tornado, Buccaneer, Hawk, Typhoon and more – wearing special anniversary/retirement schemes. Ariel shots looking down on formations while they fly over The Mall in London remind us just what spectacle the RAF has provided over the years… and continues to do so. Heaps of colour scheme inspiration lie within this volume, which is larger than previous editions at 472 pages - the captions providing just enough information without taking over, allowing the photos to do their job.
The sections exploring the RAF’s activities on the ground, at events such as naming ceremonies, tournaments and tattoos, funerals, and special anniversary gatherings, seek to broaden the coverage, and RAF diehards will welcome this different perspective. However, if it’s aircraft alone you’re interested in then you may gloss over the aforementioned pages. An interesting and unexpected facet is that of images showing different mixed flights of RAF aircraft and those from foreign air arms – NATO and otherwise.
Ultimately, though, this is a handsome reference book and every bit as good as the previous editions. It will undoubtedly prompt thoughts of building on different themes, or even just encourage you to portray a particular aircraft livery you hadn’t considered before. One thing is guaranteed… even a quick glimpse of these pages and you’ll be searching through aftermarket decal lists like there’s no tomorrow.
The book is good value at the usual RRP of £50, but currently Pen & Sword has it on a special offer for £40. If you have the others, you certainly won’t want to miss this volume.
RAF in Camera 100 Years on Display
By: Keith Wilson
Format: 285 x 224mm