The Lysander is one of those aircraft which you probably love or hate - slow and ugly, but blessed with incredible STOL capabilities and used for some of the most daring espionage missions of WW2. One way or another, it deserves a place in any model collection and you could hardly find a better reference for building it than Mushroom's new book.
James Knightly's book breaks down into 3 basic sections filling 208 pages:
1. A history and development of the Lysander, including technical descriptions, scale plans etc.
2. A walkaround section
3. A series of colour profiles
Such a brief description does no justice to the contents, so I'll examine each section in a bit more detail.
History and Development
122 pages follow the Lysander from its design and first prototypes, through service introduction and baptism of fire. Separate sub-sections deal with service oversees and with various air forces around the globe. Throughout, the photo coverage is excellent, with well-printed and captioned B&W wartime photos backing up the detailed text.
A set of excellent 1/72 scale plans are included, covering all the versions from prototype through to Mk.III, including the Special Duties modifications and these are augmented by a number of scale diagrams linked to sections of the text, illustrating aspects such as bomb carriers and dinghy stowage on the undercarriage spats.
A technical section discusses various aspects of the Lysander airframe in some detail, going on to introduce some of the remarkable Lysander "One-Offs" such as the tandem-winged P-12 "Delanne" and "Pregnant Perch" ground strafer and Blackburn Steiger. These are all illustrated with more 1/72 scale plans and I can imagine a few modelling projects are bound to spring from this section alone!
After a chapter of pilots' anecdotes which really bring the aircraft to life for the reader, the book then lists Squadron Codes for RAF and Dominion Lysander units, technical specs for the major versions, productions batches, serials and quantities produced and an extensive bibliography.
Rounding off the first section of the book is chapter devoted to preserved Lysanders around the world, including the service history for each and their current status.
After a general view of some of the preserved machines, things really kick into gear with a superb set of colour photos, backed up by original illustrations from manuals, covering the Lysander in almost forensic detail. The pictures are well printed and a good size with detailed captions and broken down into logical sections; fuselage, cockpit, canopy, engine, wing, tail, undercarriage and armament. The walkaround section is about 60 pages long with over 200 photos - so, basically, everything you can imagine needing for a model is covered.
Rounding off the book are a set of 28 colour profiles, some including plan views as well. If you're still left in need of inspiration for modelling projects after the previous sections, this should do it for you with colour schemes for Portuguese, Egyptian, Turkish and Irish aircraft, as well as some of the more expected RAF, RCAF, USAAF and Finnish Lysanders.
James Knightly's book on the Lysander is well written, packed with detail and a modeller's' dream with its walkaround section. The price seems almost absurdly low for such a useful reference, so I'd suggest anyone who's even remotely considering ever modelling the Lysander to go and grab a copy before the publishers realise they've set the price too low! Unreservedly recommended.
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I've rapidly grown to be a big fan of Mushroom Model Publications - their books on the PZL 23 and Boulton Paul Defiant have been great, but the latest volume on the Westland Lysander must rate as the best yet, combining invaluable reference pics and an extraordinarily low price.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...