Hawker Hunter

Published on
January 12, 2023
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Tony Buttler
Other Publication Information
Key Publishing Ltd.
Product / Stock #
Historic Military Aircraft Series, Volume 16
Company: Key Publishing Ltd - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Casemate Publishers - Website: Visit Site
Front Cover

It’s always been my opinion that the well-known and well-liked Hawker Hunter is one of the most elegant jet aircraft to ever take to the skies. I’ve built dozens of models of this lovely aircraft over the years, from the 1/72nd scale offering by Airfix when I was a kid up to several iterations of the impressive 1/32nd scale Revell offering. There’s just no beating that look!

Tony Buttler’s 95-page book is not intended to be a definitive examination of this aircraft. In fact, the back cover states the intent clearly; “A general appreciation of one of Britain’s most popular aircraft.” This intention is well-met by the author, who starts us off with a basic history of the development of this machine shortly after the end of World War Two, then leads us into operational variants in British service, both single and two-seat versions, export versions, combat history and finally aerobatic teams who have generally taken to the beast with gusto. The book is chock-full of interesting pictures, both black and white and in color, and show something of the elegant lines of this aircraft from virtually every angle. What is not shown are more specific items that would prove of some interest to the average modeler, including cockpit shots or close-ups. This really is an overview rather than an inspection.

One chapter I found a rather surprising read concerns the combat history of the type. Although it has served operationally all over the world for decades, it really hasn’t proven itself a particularly effective fighter aircraft. The only real air-to-air combat the Hunter has seen (so far) has been during some of the earlier India-Pakistani clashes, where it was regular bested by the American F-86 Sabre of similar vintage. It has, on the other hand, proven to be a pretty useful ground pounder over the years, although its payload is comparatively limited.

Interesting as well, there doesn’t appear to have been much experimentation or development of the type over time either, most research being comparatively modest modifications to the engine or fitting the system to handle different missile types. Some airframes are highly conducive to dramatic updates. The Hunter, for all its elegance, appears not to be one of them.

None of this, of course, detracts from the main point behind the Hunter’s popularity – its intrinsic beauty. Perhaps that’s why it’s one of the favorites of the modeling community – or at least the British modeling community. This book serves that esthetic well, showing the machine in all its glory in general shot after general shot. It really is a handsome aircraft.

If you’re as much a fan of this design as I am, you will thoroughly enjoy perusing this book, which may offer some tempting schemes to add to your collection. The book is well-written without being pedantic and gives you a lovely thumbnail sketch of this lovely aircraft. Highly recommended!

My thanks to Key Books for publishing this fascinating tome, and to IPMS/USA for letting me take a look. Fun! Be safe, everyone, and happy modeling!


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