If you enjoy making powerplants a focal point of your aircraft builds, the new hardback from Specialty Press is for you, as CHRIS CLIFFORD reveals.
Besides cockpits, the obvious element of many World War Two aircraft modelling projects is that of the engines. How to portray them in a detailed, convincing manner is an important facet of our hobby and the just-released book America’s Round-Engine Warbirds, available in the UK through Crécy Publishing, will be a boon to any modeller seeking how to do so on their builds of US radial-powered flying machines.
This 216-page study describes major powerplants from noted manufacturers Curtiss-Wright and Pratt & Whitney – and how they were employed in aircraft such as the Flying Fortress and Texan, different single-/twin-engined bombers and single-engined fighters. Wasp, Whirlwind, Hornet, Twin Wasp, Cyclone and other engines are all explored, while there’s also focus on the Duplex Cyclone fitted to Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress.
Detail inside and out
While photographs of the relevant aircraft appear throughout, the show is well and truly stolen visually by the engines themselves – both via imagery of them installed and outside of the airframe. This is a lavishly illustrated tome and is ideal not just for those seeking the utmost detail, but also modellers who truly enjoy knowing all about the subjects they are building. Both strands are catered for by excellent black and white (and colour) photos, along with factory drawings and annotated exploded/piece part views. Associated turbo/superchargers are also described, along with gearing and other sub-assemblies. Aircraft variant delivery details are also imparted throughout the engaging narrative, which is not as dry as you might consider given the technical nature of the subject.
With so many visual cues incorporated, modellers can’t help but achieve great results in detailing, painting and weathering their models’ engines. Reference for adding cabling and ensuring correct paint shades will be key takeaways, but also the appearance of firewalls, bearers and adjacent ancillary equipment. Mind you, while the visuals are dominated by engines, particular colour period photos of different aircraft (PBM-3 Mariner, B-25 Mitchell, A-20C Havoc and North American Texan among them) are wonderful to see for their own value. Also useful in the first chapter is the selection of photos showing pre-war aircraft and engines, while the latter pages highlight post-war machinery, thus handily bookending the coverage of World War Two. This worthy publication costs £39.95 direct from Crécy and its official stockists.
America’s Round-Engine Warbirds
By: Bill Yenne
Format: 236 x 240mm