Published: June 6th, 2011     
Box Art
Box Art
Author: Tim Kershaw, Illustrated by Krzysztof W. Wolowski
Reviewed by: John Ratzenberger - IPMS# 40196
Company: MMP Books
ISBN #: 978-83-61421-17-7
Other Publication Information: Softcover, 208-pp, B&W photos, Color profiles, 1/48 scale 3-view dwgs
Price: $39.00
Product / Stock #: 8112
Product provided by: Mushroom Model Publications

Might as well get this over with right now - THE BEST MUSHROOM BOOK I HAVE READ!!!!

OK, I'll admit it - the Silver Wings era is my favorite, and in that, the Gamecock is high on my list - so I'm a bit prejudiced. But this book is much more than I expected - it is very well written, very well organized, and very well illustrated. The Grebe and Gamecock are 1920's aircraft; built in small quantities, never saw action - so there simply isn't that much around on them. The author has gone to great lengths to dig out that information and then cover it in a complete and well-organized manner.

The author leads off with 3 paragraphs that properly fix the aircrafts' place in history and it just gets better from there. The Grebe was the RAF's first post-WW1 fighter, replacing the Snipe. The Gamecock was the RAF's last wire-braced wooden fighter. Both were superb aerobat's - thrilling crowds at numerous shows and building public consciousness, support, and favor for the RAF during the lean inter-war years which facilitated the ability to quickly build the RAF - equipment, stations, and personnel - in the mid-to-late 30's to win the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The author discusses the career of Henry Folland who designed the Grebe and Gamecock, and the SE5 before them. He also discusses other related "family" aircraft, such as the British Nieuport Nighthawk and Nightjar, and the Gloster Grouse, Gorcock, Goldfinch, and others.

Each aircraft gets a history, data charts, many photos (well-placed and captioned), service history, serial lists, production data, structural details taken from service manuals, color profiles, and 48th scale line-drawings. For the arithmetically challenged "true scale" guys, you set the copier at 67%. Sounds like the typical book, but the author has done a great job of "flowing a story" without getting sidetracked by numbers and details better presented in a chart or table elsewhere.

The appendices provide additional details, a length list of references, and a list of model kits. I'm going through the reference list to see if I need to add any to my library; the model list I have well-covered, if un-built.

Mushroom Model Publications are doing a great job with this series, having previously published books on the Bulldog and Gauntlet, Fury and Nimrod, Hart, and Gladiator, all nearing or at the end of the Silver Wings era. The Grebe and Gamecock book takes us to the start of that era and here's hoping they have plans to fill in the middle. I'd like to recommend the next books cover the Siskin and Flycatcher - and that Tim Kershaw be the author.

Highly and unreservedly recommended if you haven't figured it out already. If you are at all interested in "Silver Wings" you must have this book.

My sincere thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review sample and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review it.

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