Book author: Wojtek Matusiak
Stratus Publishing keeps on making pleasure to the all enthusiasts of the Polish Air Force. In the series of “Polish Wings” authors focuses on particular types of airplanes which were used in Polish units. After two issues presenting the Spitfire Mk. IX's issue No. 16 takes a look at Supermarine Spitfire Mk. XVI's used in Great Britian during and shortly after the World War Two.
Book content does not differ from other of this series. If you have read my two other reviews of Polish Wings about Spitfire IX's you already got the picture. There's no index but it can be divided into the following “chapters”:
- No. 131 Wing and No.131 Wing HQ
- No. 302 Squadron
- No. 308 Squadron
- No. 317 Squadron
- Polish pilots in RAF units
Idea of the content layout is pretty simple. After the brief foreword in each section you get a lot of archive photographs with the authors detailed description. There are not only strictly technical information about types of equipments but also serial numbers of depicted planes, dates and circumstances of taking the photo (many times), names of people who are captured in the picture and, of course, descriptions of the plane look and its unique characteristics. Wojtek Matusiak have carefully chosen those which are presented in his book. Most of the machines, if not all, are also presented on at least one side profile picture by Robert Grudzień, also a well known artist.
It is easy to guess what can be found in the first four sections so please let me say few words about last two chapters. “Warsaw” focuses on two machines which were exhibited shortly after the war in Warsaw as a part of RAF Aviation Exhibition. Two Polish machines, JH-Q TB581 from No. 317 Sqn and QH-Z TB292 from No. 302 Sqn were displayed for some time in front of the National Museum and later handed over to the Polish Army Museum. In 1950 these two planes, as politically incorrect, were simply scraped. As the access to these planes was public author managed to gather a lot of photographs presenting these birds in different situations and condition.
Last section also refers to the post-war times. Although Polish Air Force was disbanded some Poles still remained in His Majesty service, some even kept on flying Spitfires. Few known machines of these very few pilots are depicted and described here. What is more some of these planes even have balkenkreuzes instead of roundels. Look inside the book if you want to know why.
Publication is written in English but publisher provides an insert with all texts and descriptions translated into Polish.
Together with two previous releases depicting Spitfire IX's this is a “must have” for all modellers who are interested in the history of Polish Air Force. This book is a valuable reference and a great inspiration for many models. Value of so many great archive photographs and a load of knowledge in just one book is priceless. Beside I hope that thanks to this book we will see some not very distant future more Mk.XVI's on the Aeroscale or hobby contests as for me this type is very underestimated and rarely seen “in modelling action”.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.