Westland Scout & Wasp

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Adrian M. Balch
Other Publication Information
Illustrator: Richard J. Caruana, Softbound, A4, 52 pages (including covers)
Product / Stock #
Warpaint Series 110
Company: Warpaint Books, Ltd. - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Guideline Publications - Website: Visit Site
Front cover

Warpaint’s latest is their standard A4 format softbound publication in 52 pages (including covers) on the Westland Scout and Wasp helicopters. The book is split into two, with the first half dedicated to the Westland Scout and the second to the Westland Wasp. I counted 122 color photographs and 19 black and white pictures, along with 32 of Richard J. Caruana’s color profiles. Richard J. Caruana also contributes the four 1/48 line drawings.

Adrian M. Balch graduated from Swindon College in 1969 and began working as an assistant publicity manager for a metallurgist company, where he produced brochures and edited the company’s magazine. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1971 and served for 22 years as an Air Traffic Controller around the world. His interest in aviation photography led to his contributions to leading aviation magazines, with his first article published in December 1966. He has also worked with BBC TV and ITN as well as producing publicity calendars and postcards for the aviation industry. He has amassed a collection of over 350,000 color photographs in addition to an even larger number of digital images. A sample can be found at https://abpic.co.uk/pictures/photographer/Adrian%20M.%20Balch . This is at least his eleventh aviation enthusiast book to be published. 1986 saw his first book published by Airlife Publishing Ltd, Aerobatic Teams of the World. Balch followed with Vintage Glory - aircraft colour schemes of the '50s and '60s; Airline Nostalgia"; "The Boeing 727; Testing Colours - aircraft of the A&AEE, RAE and ETPS; and De Havilland Twin Booms - the Vampire, Venom & Sea Vixen. Balch has also worked in the Warpaint Series, including: The Hunting Jet Provost & Strikemaster, The Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, The de Havilland Tiger Moth, and The Sikorsky S-55 Chickasaw & Westland Whirlwind.

Adrian Balch starts out with the Westland Scout, a light helicopter developed from the Saunders-Roe P.531, a private development which first flew in 1958. The P.531 was successfully evaluated by the British Army Air Corps and the Fleet Air Arm, and ordered into production in 1959. Designated as the Scout AH Mk. I, they replaced the Army Air Corps Skeeter for training, transport, liaison, and search & rescue. The Wasp was developed in parallel but took longer to enter service due to more exhaustive service trials. Balch follows up with the operational service of the Scout that also includes a chapter on the “Eagles” display team that I found interesting. The five Westland Scouts only flew for one season in 1984, doing about a dozen shows. The “Eagles” were sponsored by the Daily Telegraph and flew in the standard Army black and green camouflage. The primary modification was the addition of smoke-generating equipment [Page 16].

The second half of this book is devoted to the Westland Wasp and its operational service with the Fleet Air Arm. Originally the Wasp was to be designated the Sea Scout HAS. I, but it ended up being introduced to service in 1964 as the Wasp HAS Mk. I. The Wasp featured minor modifications to enable the tail unit to be folded along with the main rotors, and with modifications to the landing gear to better handle ship board operations. The Wasp saw action in the 1992 Falklands war, scoring a direct hit with anti-ship missiles on the Argentinean submarine ARA Santa Fe.

The last seven pages are focused on close-up color photographs to show off the details of the Scout and Wasp. A quite thorough table of available kits, decals and detailing sets adds a great touch, especially as a round-up of all the decal options available.

The Chapters include:

  • Design & Development
    • The Saunders-Roe P.531S
    • Successful Evaluation
    • Westland Scout & Wasp Colour Schemes [Page 3]
    • Payload and Performance Issues
    • Into Production
    • Test & Trials Machines [Page 8]
  • The Scout in Service with the Army Air Corps
    • Overseas Operations
    • Flying the Scout
    • The Eagles Display Team
    • Colours and Markings [Page 16]
  • In Service With…
    • The Royal Marines
    • Bahrain State Police
    • Royal Jordanian Air Force
    • Uganda Police
    • Royal Australian Navy
  • In Civilian Use
  • In Preservation
  • The Wasp in Service with the Fleet Air Arm
  • Westland Scout / Wasp Scale Drawings [Page 24]
  • Wasp Tests and Trials
  • The Wasp Goes to War
  • Colour Schemes and Markings
  • Export Wasps
  • In Service With:
    • The Brazilian Navy
    • Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service [Page 33]
    • Royal New Zealand Navy
    • South African Air Force [Page 38]
    • Indonesian Navy
    • Royal Malaysian Navy
  • In Civilian Use
  • Technical Description
    • Wasp HAS Mk. 1
    • In Detail
    • Flotation Gear
  • Westland Scout In Detail [Page 43]
  • Westland Wasp in Detail

The Tables include:

  • Westland Scout Specifications
  • Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service Wasps
  • Westland Wasp Specifications
  • Westland Wasp Scout & Wasp – Kits, Decals, and Accessories

This tome is really a handy reference for the Westland Scout and Wasp helicopters with plenty of photos and illustrations to help you with your 1/48 Fujimi Wasp and the 1966 based Airfix 1/72 Scout kits. Of course there is a Fujimi 1/50 kit that came out in the late sixties or the early seventies. I haven’t actually measured the Fujimi kits, but I wouldn’t be surprised if their 1/48 scale kit is not actually 1/50th since the sprue layout is identical. Now if we could only get someone to issue a new tooled 1/48 kit… I was quite impressed with the quantity of color photographs included, especially important since the Scout and Wasp were often brightly colored birds. If you have any of the Warpaint series, you know how great a value this book is. Highly Recommended!

My thanks to Guideline Publications and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!


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