Supermarine Spitfire V, Volume 1

Published: March 8th, 2021     
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Cover
Author: Wojtek Matusiak
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
Company: MMP Books
ISBN #: 978-8366549128
E-Book ISBN #: 8366549127
Other Publication Information: Illustrator: Robert Grudzień Portrait Soft Square Bound, A4 (8.25” x 11.625”), 96 pages
Price: $29.00
Product / Stock #: 29
Product provided by: Casemate Publishers

MMP was founded in 1996 by Roger Wallsgrove, to publish "Mushroom Model Magazine". This quarterly modelling magazine was developed from "Mushroom Monthly", a club newsletter which ran from 1985 to 1995, achieving a world-wide reputation for quality articles, fearless and honest reviews, and a great sense of humor. From 1997 the magazine was produced in collaboration with Robert Peczkowski and Artur Juszczak (Stratus), which meant a big leap in print quality and design. MMP expanded into book publication in 1999, and since then we have built up a list of books on aircraft and aviation, naval, military vehicles, and military history.

Wojtek Matusiak lives in Warsaw, Poland. Wojtek Matusiak is a leading World War 2 Polish Air Force and Spitfire researcher, having published numerous articles and dozens of books on the subjects, as well as readily assisting other authors. He has maintained an enthusiastic interest in the history and development of the Spitfire, as well as of Poland's military aviation, throughout his life.

Wojtek Matusiak author's the latest in Mushroom Model Publications' series of aircraft used in the Polish Air Force. This volume represents Wojtek Matusiak's tenth book for MMPBooks. The front cover by Marek Rys features a 303 Squadron Spitfire Mk. Vb during Operation Spartan in early 1943. The back cover by Marek Rys features another Spitfire Mk.Vb, also during Operation Spartan. Both the front and rear cover feature special markings in the white bands on the forward fuselage that extended from spinner to cockpit that represented the Germans during this exercise. This represents Volume one of a two volume series. This first volume covers Polish Squadrons from 302 through 308, while the second volume will cover Squadrons 315 through 318. Many of these photographs have never been published before.

I counted 231 black and white photos along with 14 color photographs that include detailed captions. Robert Grudzien contributes 36 full color side views. There are plenty of color scrap illustrations that highlight the detail of insignias. The great part of these color side views is they are backed up with period photos of the aircraft that is being portrayed.

The Table of Contents focuses on the following sections:

  • Poles on Spitfire Vs
  • The 1st Polish Wing
  • The 2nd Polish Wing
  • The 3rd Polish Wing
  • No 302 Squadron 'City of Poznan' [Page 13, 27]
  • No. 303 Squadron Kosciuszko - City of Warsaw' [Page 59]
  • No. 306 Squadron 'City of Torun'[Page 72]
  • No. 308 Squadron 'City of Cracow'
  • Victories Credited to Polish Spitfire V Pilots [Table] [Page 91]

Wojtek Matusiak off on the beginnings of Polish pilots escaping to England to fight the Germans. What I learned was that the Polish pilots were never part of the RAF, but considered a separate force. The Polish Air Force still shared RAF equipment and operated in conjunction with the RAF. The Polish Air Force started out with Hawker Hurricanes, but transitioned to the Supermarine Spifire along with the rest of the RAF. Next up are histories of the three Polish Wings and Squadrons 302 through 308. This is all amidst very well captioned photographs and illustrations.

What I really enjoyed in this book is the use of actual photographs to support the color profiles of each type. MMP Books features this in many of their books which I think is a huge attraction. This really brings these period photographs to life. The examples as shown on pages 27, 59. and 72, are good examples of this. In the case of the illustration on Page 59, you get a nice color profile of the subject aircraft, a color illustration of the badge under the windscreen, and two 'in action' black and white photographs of the color profile, W3765 of 302 Squadron. All of the color profiles are dealt with in this way detailed and provide great insight into what is depicted.

Polish Wings 29 provides an interesting view into a lesser known chapter in aviation history. The text and captions are all in English thanks to the author who apparently moonlights on the side translating Polish and English. Wojtek Matusiak is an excellent writer and ably crafts the storyline with interesting morsels to prevent this from being simply a progression of facts. This book is essential if you're considering building any of these aircraft in scale. Luckily, being a Supemarine Spitfire Mk V means there are no shortage of options in kits and accessories to build any of the aircraft represented. There is even a 'quasi' advertisement on page 2 that provides specific decals for this monograph. If you have any interest in Polish (or British) aircraft, this is a must-have book. I am really looking forward to Volume 2 of this two-part set!

My thanks to Casemate, Mushroom Model Publications, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

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