The Airspeed Company was set up by future novelist Neville Shute Norway in Portsmouth, Britain, in the mid-Thirties, building small passenger aircraft. During WWII, the RAF relied on the twin-engined Airspeed Oxford as a multi-purpose trainer for a wide variety of roles, including pilot and aircrew training, aerial photography, navigation, and even gunnery training when fitted with an Armstrong Whitworth turret. Derived from the earlier Airspeed Envoy, an early executive aircraft, the Oxford was, post-war, also developed into an effective small airliner, the Consul. Over 8,900 Oxfords and Consuls were built, a testimony to its effectiveness in all roles. The Oxford and Consul have now been made a subject of the long-running Warpaint series from Guideline Publications in Britain.
The book has all the essential elements of the series – a short, descriptive text, plenty of period photos, colour profiles and scale plans. The text covers the development and service of both types, and also includes some useful data tables. Useful details and photos of foreign service, including with the USAAF during WWII, can be found inside, but the text has some issues – it is disorganized, has quite a bit of repetition and the author’s overuse of exclamation points is irritating. In this respect, it is in my view a rather disappointing addition to what is the usually excellent Warpaint series.
Photo production is very good, aside from the one-page ‘walkaround’ – the photos here are far too small to be of much use, and many of them are too dark anyway.
There are eight pages of very nice, full-colour profiles by Sam Pearson, not only of the Oxford and Consul, but also of the earlier Envoy as well – useful for those with the RS kits. These are complemented by two pages of 1/72 five-view scale plans.
Overall, a useful - if a little expensive for 52 pages - package for the modeler who may own any of the recent kits from Special Hobby or AZ Models, or indeed the old Frog kit and one that, in the absence of any other Oxford references (I can only think of the very old Profile publication) can be recommended. My thanks to Guideline Publications for the review sample.