Potez 63.11, Single No. 19

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Marek Ryś and Teodor Liviu Moroşanu
Other Publication Information
Softbound, 24 pages, 42 black & white photos, 5 pages of line drawings in 1/72 and 1/48 scale, 4 color profiles
Product / Stock #
No. 19
Provided by: Casemate UK - Website: Visit Site
Book Cover

Developed from the Potez 63 long-range twin-engine fighter first flown in 1936, the Potez 63.11 reconnaissance aircraft was delivered in prototype form in late 1938. So promising was the design—and so urgent the need—that the French Armée de l’Air ordered 145 examples from the drawing board even before the plane had begun its initial trials. The first production machine was delivered in July 1939, and in that year alone Potez received orders for 1,684 63.11s. Deliveries were hampered by various component shortages and production difficulties, but even so, French aerial reconnaissance units had been equipped with 860 of these aircraft by the time that Germany invaded France in May 1940. A two-volume survey of French military aircraft from 1939 to 1942 published in 2005 described the 63.11 as “the most emblematic plane of the dramatic Battle of France…its crews having to make up for its defects with their courage and skill.” In fact, more 63.11s were lost in combat than any other type in operational service with the Armée de l’Air during that action.

That said, if you’re seeking historical information regarding the Potez 63.11, you’ll have to look elsewhere, as this publication has no such material. Nor does it provide any statistical details, or even a specifications table. So, what is the audience for which this short book is intended? This product is aimed directly at the modeler, and its visually oriented contents serve that purpose very well. For example, there are interior views depicting all three crew positions, along with photos showing the ‘add on’ installation of external guns beneath the wings. There is a nicely detailed side view drawing of the rear gunner’s 7.5mm MAC 24 machine gun, and there are useful photos showing the 63.11’s 14-cylinder Gnôme-Rhône engines uncowled. The line drawings in 1/72nd and 1/48th scale show the aircraft in both wheels up and wheels down configuration, and from both above and underneath. The two-page, color four-view (with left and right side views in 1/48th scale and above and below in 1/72nd) depicts a 63.11 as it appeared when assigned to the Depot d’Instruction de l’Aviation, a unit manned by Poles at Lyon-Bron, France in March 1940.

If you’ve read this far then it’s quite possible that you might have an interest in building a kit of the valorous Potez 63.11. Luckily, that’s been doable for a good long while, as a quick jump over to www.scalemates.com will show. Heller first released a 1/72nd edition in the mid-1960s, and it has re-released that molding in multiple boxings over the years, most recently in 2018. I have one in the stash and it’s a little dated, with raised panel lines and a very yellowed decal sheet, but still buildable. More recently, Azur has done the 63.11 in both 1/72nd and 1/48th, and there are bunches of after-market decals to be had.

Modeling can be an act of memorialization. Ponder the emotions of the gallant Frenchmen who flew these lightly armed airplanes, often without fighter escort, while they tracked the unstoppable flood of invading Nazi panzers. And then use this book to help build the kit.

Thanks to Casemate for providing the review sample.


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