Hawker Hart Family
Oh, Happy Days !!! Not six months after I reviewed Mushroom's Fury-Nimrod book and wished for one on the Silver Winged two-seaters, here it is !!! I wish I could claim some credit for providing inspiration, but I know better.
And it really isn't just "here it is" -- it's "here it is in spades" !!! Because this is the first of Mushroom's new "Orange Maxi" series, with an expanded number of pages to cover types that cannot be covered in the standard format.
The Hart was designed to a 1926 specification for a light bomber and went into squadron service in 1930, promptly out-running the current day fighter, the Bristol Bulldog. Thus it slightly pre-dates its' single-seat cousin, the Hawker Fury.
The Hart was so successful it was developed into roles for 2-seat fighter, army co-op aircraft, target-tug, trainer, and naval equivalents. The Hart family includes the Hart itself, Demon, Osprey, Audax, Hardy, Hind, Hector, and Hartebeest, not to mention variations for different countries. Mostly all were the sleek inline engine version, the exception being the ugly Hector and a few radial engine versions of which only the fully cowled Bristol-engine versions such as the 'Persian Hind' and 'Latvian Hind' do justice to the beautiful lines of the basic airframe.
All in all, the Hart family was used by all UK/Commonwealth air arms and some 15 other countries, in Europe and the Middle East and Far East, sometimes up to 20 years. Most of the combat was in the Middle East in the 30's and early 40's. But the Mushroom book can best tell that story.
The book is in standard Mushroom format, albeit as mentioned, much larger. I'll discuss it in several "sections", although the book isn't formally divided up that way.
The first section, 75 pages, covers the development and RAF/FAA service history, second-line duties, and in some cases, special versions or information of the Hart, Demon, Osprey, Audax, Hardy, Hind, and Hector. There is an extensive discussion of the construction of the Hart which of use to modelers. The section concludes with a brief look at the Hart family in the Abyssinian Crisis with Italy, skirmishes in the Middle East, and chasing pirates in the Far East.
The next section (pages 76-97) cover Commonwealth service in much the same manner. For each country there is a section on colors and markings that is very useful in conjunction with the color profiles at the end. Of note are the variations of brown and green in lieu of the usual dark earth / dark green one expects. Following this, on pages 98-107, we are off to war with emphasis on the Middle East and East Africa. And then (pages 110-146) all the variants in foreign service are discussed, again with color and marking info that goes well with the color profiles. Note a few of these flew against the RAF.
In the sections above, there are numerous 1/72 scale profile drawings and a few 4-views. There are no cutaways, cross-sections, or detail drawings. There is one subtle error in the top-view drawings (i.e. pages 14/15, 34/35) which show the fin offset to starboard. The text says (page 11), and all photos clearly show, that the fin is offset to port - not sure what happened to the drawings. More significant, in the 4-view of the Opsrey on page 34/35, the upper wing is clearly that of the Hart and has not the modified center section to allow the wings to fold. vUnfortunately, many of the above sections do not read that well. The sentences are short and choppy -- I had the feeling that research notes were literally transcribed rather than rewritten. A few well-placed connectives would have helped smooth out the text.
The other issue I had was the, to me, unnecessary and boring focus on crashes and accidents. OK, there isn't a lot of combat to talk about, but who crashed what when isn't a good substitute. In my opinion, there could have been more discussion of the role these aircraft and others played in the evolving doctrine and expansion of the RAF/FAA in the period. There's nothing wrong with some historic context and social history.
The next section (pages 147-152) has charts of production numbers, claims, and specifications.
Following all this, on pages 153-163, is a unique and very interesting section of period pilot's notes and of flying the Shuttleworth's Hind. This is priceless. There are some cynical comments on cockpit arrangement and management of the retractable radiator that really bring the aircraft to life.
Next, a one-page bibliography, which frankly simply doesn't do justice to the material available on either the aircraft or the RAF/FAA 'tween wars.
Next, on pages 165-172, is an extensive and informative discussion of surviving aircraft. This gives one hope that more restorations going to be on display, or even in flight.
The next-to-last section, pages 173-231 - that's right, 58 of 'em - are the detail photos and these are just great -- one of the best collections I have seen from Mushroom. The first 10 pages are of the RAF Museum Hart and Hart Trainer and these are modeler's photos, down to nitty-gritty details, and the accompanying text does a great job pointing out the highlights. These ten pages and the pilot's notes mentioned before are worth the price alone. The rest of the detail photos are also good and are useful in supplement to the first ten pages. Some period photos and documentation are interspersed. The last few pages cover weapons and contain some great shots of the Light Series and Universal Carrier mounts, useful for any number of aircraft/models, not just the Hart family. The available cockpit detail is a bit of a shortfall particularly given the pilot's notes prior. See the photos and description of the ram's head exhausts on page 191 -- designed as flame dampening, they tended to collect unburned fuel then explode!
Lastly, the final 33 pages contain the standard Mushroom color profiles. These are a great cross-section of all aircraft and variants, to include Commonwealth and Foreign Service, for a total of about 43 profiles. If you want to build a member of the Hart family, you have dozens of options available. As one might expect, many of these profiles are of aircraft shown in B/W pictures earlier and sometimes previously discussed. I didn't do any exhaustive checks, but everything appears to be correct back here.
There are some editing issues, particularly in the first dozen pages, but these are obvious and should not, except for the drawing errors, lead anyone astray.
On page 7, bottom photo is id'd as J9933 when it is J9938.
On page 9, the upper right insert is id'd as K2089, it is K1996.
On page 55, aircraft are id'd as K5545 and K5513 - they are K4645 and K5513.
On page 80/81, the last line on page 80 is repeated atop page 81.
On pages 216/217 a couple photos and captions are mixed up.
And add to these the drawing errors already mentioned.
This is a great book !!! I note the editing issues, the choppy text, the focus on crashes, and the fin offset to alert you -- they are insignificant compared the value of the other material in this book. As I noted the pilot's notes and the detail photos alone are worth the price, in my opinion. I have a fairly good collection of "Silver Wings" references -- none of them (except my original 1936 Air Ministry reprint of the 1932 Hart Aeroplane Manual) present this much info on the Hart. This is not another rehash of pictures and information available elsewhere -- you would spend a lot of time and money collecting it yourself.
If you are a fan of the Hart family, or of the 'Silver Wings' era, then you want this book. Regardless of what you already have, I believe this book will add to, not just duplicate, information in your collection.
I have a squadron of 1/72 and 1/48 Hart family kits (Aeroclub, Airfix, Merlin/Frog) in my stash, plus the West Wings wood/tissue, rubber-powered model -- time to get a couple of them out ...
By Ray Mehlberger
The Hawker Hart and its derivatives (Demon, Hind, Audax, Hector, Hardy, Osprey, Hartebeeste) comprised much of the operational equipment of the RAF, and many other air arms in the 1930’s. Bombers, fighters, trainers, army coop, these roles and many other tasks were carried out by these aircraft. Perhaps the first “multi-role combat aircraft”. On it’s introduction, the Hart bomber was faster than the RAF’s front-lone fighters, and this elegant, reliable and highly adaptable aircraft remained in service well into the jet age, surviving in the Afghan air arm into the 1950’s. The Hart family went to war, in Finland, East Africa, Iraq (fighting on both sides) and elsewhere, and Hectors even flew bombing missions over Dunkirk in 1940.
This new book, by Mushroom Model Publications (MMP), is written by a highly respected historian and best-selling author. It tells the story of these elegant aircraft in all their versions. It is profusely illustrated with 202 black and white historical photos (a handful of these were taken of surviving aircraft in museums). There are 148 color photos, the majority of which were also taken in museums and are mostly of the walk-around type. There are 17 1/72nd scale line drawings as profiles and 7 more as 2-views. Included also are 3 illustrations from tech manuals and a color photo of a poster that advertises a aircraft display at Hendon.
The book chronicles the design, development and service of the Hart family in it’s many guises. From the vibrant colors of the pre-war RAF and FAA through the drab camouflage of wartime operations, and the many overseas users: Swiss Air Force, Portuguese Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, South Rhodesian Air Force, Royal Egyptian Air Force, Latvian Air Force, Estonian Air Force, Canadian Air Force, Royal Iraqi Air Force, Persian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Belgian Air Force, Afghan Air Force, Irish Air Force, Yugoslavian Air Force, Swedish Air Force, Spanish Republican Air Force and the Finish Air Force. This is done in 41 color profile paintings and 9 color illustrations of upper wing markings for these various countries (including the RAF of course).
There are 7 data lists and a bibliography in the book. The book is 256 pages long, this more pages than Mushroom Model Publications normal amount for their aircraft books. It is done to cover these aircraft types, whose stories cannot be squeezed into their standard format. The book is soft-cover in 6 ½” x 9” size pages and labeled as “MAXI SIZE”.
This book will be essential reading for all those interested in military aviation and British aircraft.
It is an invaluable reference for aero-modelers and aviation historians. Highly recommended.
Scott Van Aken
This is by far the most ambitious book yet produced by Mushroom Model Publications. It is certainly the thickest and covers the extensive production of the Hawker Hart family of two place fighters, bombers, and army cooperation aircraft. In fact, there is more information in one place on these aircraft than in any other book on the subject that I have seen.
This alone makes it a 'must have' for the enthusiast.
All of the different variants, sub-variants and modifications are covered within the 256 pages. There are dozens of superbly done line drawings and three views. Hundreds of photographs in both black & white and color are provided for you.
There is a complete history of each major type along with the various air forces that operated the aircraft. Some of these are rather obscure to most modelers and provide a rich background for possible projects. The many period photos are well reproduced and chosen for clarity. As is the norm for these books, there is also an extensive 'walk around' section using photos of extant airframes as well as period images and illustrations from tech manuals.
A complete production history is also provided as is a listing of surviving airframes, regardless of condition. This is all capped by an excellent section of well over 20 pages of superbly done profiles.
In all, this book is not only an exemplary resource, but a real bargain as well. It has certainly earned my highest recommendation and I am positive you will find it to your liking as well.
Alex Crawford is probably one of the best author regarding the British biplanes of the thirties, having written so far some of the best books of that category, on the Gloster Gladiator and Hawker Fury and Nimrod, both books published by Mushroom.
This time, it is the Hawker Hart family and its derivatives which are under the spot. The Hart family became the mainstay of the pre-war RAF in various roles, from the light bomber to the two-seated fighter, without forgetting the co-operation aircraft. T
he book is classical, being spit into the description of each version, followed by the operational use up to the first months of the war. Some point of interest, the actions taken in Palestine early in 1939.
All the countries which have introduced any Hart or derivative in their inventory are studied one by one, and I was pleased to read something about Afghanistan, a country for which it is always difficult to find out information. Generally speaking, it is a book easy to read.
The photographs are clean and relevant, even if some are really too small, and would deserve to be published in a much larger size. On the colour plates side, the quality is excellent and give to modellers a good source of inspiration, even if details on “when and where” in some captions are missing. One third of the book is reserved for close-up details of surviving airframe, something highly appreciated by modellers.
Anyway, this book is a really nice one with a lot of valuable information, and something more economical than the alternative “Hawker Aircraft since 1920” by Francis K. Mason published by Putnam many years ago. And for the ones who already have the latter, Alex Crawford is offering a good update at a very reasonable price.
Amazon.co.uk customer review (4th) 2013-05-13
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Concise History of the Family, 7 May 2013
By P. Bowes - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Hart family has a history and development almost as complicated as that of the Spitfire (except in this case all the variants have different names) thi book clearly and concisely explains how all the types are interrelated. Excellent source book for those interested in inter-war and early World War Two aviation. Also gives some brief operational details. Recommended.
Amazon.co.uk customer review 2013-05-13
By J. Towell (Yorkshire)
A soft back book printed on good quality paper with 256 pages, 33 colour profiles and many photographs. It provides information on all of the family variants including export versions. Highly recommended. (It might have been even better in a slightly larger format.)
Amzon.co.uk bestseller list 2013-05-13
amazon.co.uk - customer review 2013-05-13
By C. Wyatt "King Chris" (London)
The Hawker Hart was one of the most elegant aircraft of the interwar period. It spawned a range of variants, from light bomber to trainer to naval spotter aircraft. It was also used by several nations and saw some operational service in the 1930s and early World War Two. This book aims to cover the lot. From unit history, service history, variant types, overseas operators, survivors, colour profiles and detailed photos for modellers. The consequence of that is each bit feels a little brief. For example, Sweden's use of the aircraft during the Winter War, supporting Finland, was too short at just a couple of paragraphs. RAF unit details also feel a little brief. However, at over 250 photograph rich pages, it does a good job in covering this aircraft (and its variant's) history. If you are interested in this aircraft, or aircraft of this period in general, it's worth buying.
Czech modeller's magazine HPM 6/2008 2013-05-13
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