English Electric Lightning...



...Flightcraft number 11,  from Pen and Sword


Title: English Electric Lightning

Author: Martin Derry and Neil Robinson

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-47389-055-8

For aircraft enthusiasts and modellers alike, the Flightcraft series of large format paperback books offer great value for money and  and has some fine examples of a great variety of finished models in the Model Showcase.  It is number 11 in the Flightcraft series, and covers one of my personal favourites of the Cold War era, the English Electric Lightning.  With 96 pages this is a good size book, and a £16.99 very reasonably priced.  One good indication of the content is that the first 75 pages are devoted to the history of the type, well illustrated with lots of period colour photos and some excellent colour profiles.  The final 20 pages are devoted to the modellers section.

The historical story starts with the development work and English Electric's 'Project 1', or P1 and P1A airframes.  Then it carries on with sections that follow it in a chronological sequence, so F.1 and F.1A: F.2 and F.2A: F.3: T.4: T.5: F.6: Lightning Exports: and then Lightning Camouflage and Markings and the profiles in a section simply, The Lightning in Colour.  That all leads into the final element of the book, Modelling the Lightning.  Lightnings were frequently seen in bare metal, though often with some brightly coloured squadron markings and tails.  Later we saw them in green/grey upper surface camouflage, a dark green scheme and also some air superiority grey schemes as well.

The modelling section showcases a good variety of well finished models in different scales by both Fred Martin and Trevor Snowden.  It also lists and comments on all the various models of the Lightning that have been available over the years in all the different scales.  There have been a lot over the years, and this section does include the most recent Airfix releases as well as their older ones among them.  A final appendix give some basic data tables on the aircraft.

I am of an age to remember seeing the Lightning as a regular airshow performer when it was in service, and their 'party piece' of a high speed run and then 'going ballistic' never failed to impress.  It is a shame that no flying examples remain here in the UK, though there are a number of museum examples, and one or two which do 'fast taxi runs'.  While I was moderating the Military Modelling website, one of our members, and my friend, was a huge fan though he sadly passed away at a young age.  I always think of Tim when the topic of the Lightning comes up, and I am certain he would have been among the first in line to get this new Flightcraft title.  A great little reference for aircraft enthusiasts and modellers alike.