French Flying Boats 1924-1939

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Marcin Wawrzynkowski, Illustrator Janusz Światłoń
Product / Stock #
Front Cover

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.

Marcin Wawrzynkowski author’s the latest in Mushroom Model Publications' series of aircraft used in the Polish Air Force. This volume represents Marcin Wawrzynkowski’s first book for MMPBooks. The front cover by Marcin Górecki features a Lioré et Olivier LeO H-13B3 flying above a Latham 43 HB.3 on the water. The back cover by Marcin Górecki features a Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2 banking over a peninsula. I counted 160 black and white photos along with one colorized period photo. Janusz Światłoń contributes 25 full color side views as well as top and bottom views as appropriate. Colors are called out along with any unique logos or designs with scrap views. 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:

  • Organization of Polish Aviation
  • French Aircraft in the Polish Naval Aviation
  • Camouflage and Markings
  • The Naval Air Squadron’s Numerical Markings System [Table]
  • Lioré et Olivier LeO H-13B3 & LeO H-13E [Page 32]
  • Periods of Service and Assignment of the LeO H-13B3/E Flying Boats [Table]
  • CAMS 30E [Page 45]
  • Periods of Service and Assignment of the CAMS 30E Flying Boats [Table]
  • Latham 43 HB.3 [Page 61]
  • Long Distance Flights Performed in Poland by the Latham 43 HB.3 Flying Boats [Table]
  • Periods of Service and Assignment of the Latham 43 HB.3 Flying Boats [Table]
  • Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2/HE.2 [Page 80]
  • Long Distance Flights Performed by the Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2 Amphibians [Table]
  • Periods of Service and Assignment of the Schreck FBA 17 HE.2 Flying Boats [Table]
  • Periods of Service and Assignment of the Schreck FBA 17 HMT.2 Amphibians [Table]
  • Lioré et Olivier LeO H-135B3 [Page 91]
  • Long Distance Flights Performed by the LeO H-135B3 Amphibians [Table]
  • Periods of Service and Assignment of the LeO H-135B3 Amphibians [Table]

Marcin Wawrzynkowski kicks off this tale with a background of the creation of Polish naval aviation from its start in 1911. Early aircraft acquisition was ex German and Italian flying boats, many of which will well worn by the time they reached Poland. The influx of French amphibians and flying boats in 1924 brought a new era to the service. These aircraft managed to soldier on until the start of World War II, where they were completely outclassed. The chapter on Camouflage and Markings heads off into the interpretation of black and white photos, dealing with several theories on the actual colors of the aircraft. Marcin Wawrzynkowski then covers the acquisition and service of each type in more detail. I especially appreciated the first person interviews as it provides the reader a sense of time-travel to find out how things really were.

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 45 and 80, are a good example of this. The illustration and photo captions are quite detailed and provide great insight into what is depicted.

Polish Wings 27 provides an interesting view into a lesser known chapter in aviation history. The text and captions are well translated into English thanks to Tomasz Basarabowicz, alleviating the need to bone up on your Polish reading skills. Marcin Wawrzynkowski 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. Choroszy Modelbud has a CAMS-30E available. Several kits are available of the Schreck FBA 17 in 1/144, 1/72, and 1/48. I could not locate any kits of the Latham 43 HB.3, Lioré et Olivier LeO H-135B3, Lioré et Olivier LeO H-13B3, or LeO H-13E flying boats.

If you have any interest in Polish (or French) aircraft, this is a must-have book.

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

Highly recommended!


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