Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle
Tony Buttler was born in 1956 and joined High Duty Alloys in Redditch in 1974 as a metallurgist. For nearly 20 years he was closely involved in the testing of aluminum and titanium airframe and engine components for many of the world's most important airplanes. It was during this timeframe that his interest in military aircraft grew into a passion. Since 1995, Tony has been a freelance aviation historian, and is well known for his Secret Projects series of hardbound books with Crecy Publishing. He has also written many titles for the Warpaint series of monographs as well as many articles for most of the popular historical aviation magazines.
Mark Rolfe is a freelance military and automotive technical artist, author and photographer. Mark studied graphic design at the Salisbury College of Art and studied Technical Illustration at the Bournemouth & Poole College of Art and Design. He currently lives in Salisbury, Wilshire with his wife. He has worked on a number of titles in Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces and Combat Aircraft series and has worked with other publishers such as Aifile, Hikoki, and Guideline. You can find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mark.rolfe.7.
Warpaint's latest is their standard A4 format softbound publication that is 28 pages (excluding covers) on the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle. I counted 71 photographs (1 in color) along with 23 of Mark Rolfe’s color profiles. Mark Rolfe also contributes the centerfold (eight A4 pages) that features eleven line drawings, all in 1/72 scale. The front cover photograph features an aerial shot of the last Albemarle GT Mk. I, V1599. The back cover features two photographs. The first picture features the Albemarle B Mk. I with its bomb bays open. The second picture shows paratroopers just before boarding Albemarle V1740 ‘8-ZA’ in preparation for D-Day.
The Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle is a little known but unique bomber to come into service for the British during WWII. Designed to Air Ministry Specification B.9/38 is was essentially a backup as it was designed to be made entirely of non-strategic materials to avoid using light alloys which were in high demand. Another feature was; it was the first British aircraft of the era to be designed up front with a tricycle landing gear. Originally intended for its primary mission to be a bomber, the Air Ministry changed it to the reconnaissance mission with a secondary role as a bomber in 1938. First flight was achieved on March 20, 1940 with around 602 aircraft eventually being built. Only the first 32 aircraft were built with outfitted as bombers with all subsequent production finished out as transports.
Tony Buttler starts out with the development of the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle, ably covering the intricacies of the design and development of the Albemarle. The different variants, although rather subtle are addressed followed by test flying experiences. Operational service evaluation was conducted by Bomber Command in August 1942. Operational testing was also conducted by the Army Co-Operational Command as a transport along with experimental evaluation through the Telecommunications Research Establishment. The In Detail chapter describes the airframe, armament, and power plant and works well with the In Detail photo essay that follows. The Albemarle kits and accessories chapter is quite short, but that is only due to the paucity of available kits, since the recent Valom 1/72 kits are the only injected kit available. The good news is that Valom has released three separate versions of the Albemarle with an Albemarle ST Mk.V, an Albemarle B Mk.I, and a Albemarle ST Mk.II / GT Mk.I.
The Chapters include:
(Color Plates) [Page 9]
- Test Flying
- Service Career
- Centerfold drawings by Mark Rolfe [Page 14b]
- In Detail
- Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Squadrons, Units, and Representative Aircraft (Table)
- Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Production List (Table) [Page 24]
- Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Data (Table)
- Author’s Note
- Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle Kits and Accessories
- Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle In Detail (Photo Essay)
Tony Buttler provides a very readable text that is supplemented with photographs and illustrations from Mark Rolfe. This is easily the most complete reference on the Albemare that I ahve come across and as such, is a valuable addition to your reference library. If you have the Valom kits, I would consider this edition essential as an aide to your build. I was able to read this tome easily over a single night. If you own one the previous releases in the Weapon series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.
My thanks to Guideline Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.
My Dad is in that photo and that was the very first plane to 'drop' on D-Day. 22nd Independent Parachute Company _The Pathfinders
Anyone know if any Albemarle still exist or if where there are any more photographs?