I've always been a fan of the Gladiator and certainly in my eyes she is still one of the best looking biplane fighters ever produced. When I saw the chance to give this book a read and review I jumped on it. I'm very glad that I did. My initial flip through of the book left me speechless. The publication is printed on thick paper stock and is wrapped in a beautiful glossy cover complete with a sweet photo of a Gladiator touching down in a perfect 3-point landing.
The first 10 page chapter of the book includes a brief rundown of each of the known Gladiator survivors and a photo of each. I found this information to be very interesting although a couple of airframes only warranted a paragraph or two due to the fact little is known of its history. The second 13 page chapter of the book runs though the Gladiators operations manual step by step. This section is an interesting read if for nothing else to see what is required to keep this wonderful aircraft flying.
Now for the really interesting bits. The third chapter consists of a technical description of the Gladiator to include many photos and several factory drawings of various systems and diagrams of the airframe. To back up the details, several pages of 1/72 scale views of the various Gladiator marks are provided along with absolutely superb 3D drawings of the Gladiator without her skin.
Ok, so you say you're not impressed yet? The remaining 110 pages or so is in my mind is alone worth the price of the book. The author covers the Gladiator section by section with some absolutely stunning photography intermixed with numerous 3D drawings of the same aircraft section. I cannot overstate the added detail provided by Marek Rys' work in creating the 3D drawings used in this publication. His drawings clearly convey detail that in many cases are just can't be captured by conventional photography. The author covers the following sections with photography and drawings:
- The Swedish J8A in Detail
Following the details are six pages of anaglyphs created from the 3D drawings. The book comes with the anaglyph glasses to allow you to view them in stereo. I personally thought they are neat to look at, but I'm not sure how helpful they are. In the last chapter the author finishes the book off with a bang. The chapter features 41 pages of stunning color profiles. Like the 3D drawings, I was absolutely blown away with the quality of the artwork.
In summary I would highly recommend this book to any aviation fan and certainly to anyone planning on modeling the Gladiator.
I'd like to thank both Mushroom Model Publications for this wonderful book and to the IPMS for the opportunity to share my review with you.