Aviation Guide

The Fairey Battle

by SAM Publications

Review by David Harvey


The Fairey Battle has long suffered a poor image in the eyes of most people. But, as the preface states in this publication, with the terrible losses suffered by the crews, the fact that the first two Vcs awarded to RAF crews were to a Battle crew and the first enemy aircraft shot down to an allied aircraft was credited to a Battle, it should be more well known and appreciated.

On the model side of things the Battle is covered in 1/72 by several manufacturers and in 1/48 it has several variants produced by Classic Airframes.

The book

This A4 sized publication is the first in the Aviation Guide series from SAM publications that is designed to cover the esoteric aircraft. This book covers the Battle from inception to demise in the RAF and the many countries that used it, including Australia. The publication is layed out in a similar format to the Modellers Data file series also put out by SAM publications.

The contents of the book are:

  • Chapter 1 - The history of the Battle (pages 6 - 13)
  • Chapter 2 - Construction and Equipment (pages 14 - 48), including:
    • Section 1 - Airframe,
    • Section 2 - Cockpit interior,
    • Section 3 - The Tail,
      Section 4 - Armament and bomb load,
    • Section 5 - Undercarriage,
    • Section 6 - Wings and centre section.
  • Chapter 3 - Camouflage and markings (pages 52 - 59);
  • Pages 25 - 28 Colour side views;
    Page 29 Colour plan view
  • Pages 30 - 33 Colour photo section (walkaround);
  • Page 49 Storage and transport dimensions;
  • Pages 50 - 51 Scale plans by Richard Caruana;
  • Appendix 1 - Squadrons that used the Battle (pages 60 - 62); and
  • Appendix 2 - The bibliography.

Crammed into the 63 pages is a phenomenal amount of information and photos. The photos themselves are very extensive in their coverage and detail. These photos cover the aircraft in all stages of manufacture and service so you get to see underneath the skin and other places you wouldn't normally see on any aircraft. There are also detailed images of areas such as the engine, bombracks and the wheels wells. The amount of writing in this publication is minimal and covers only that which realy needs to be covered with most space allocated to images, drawings and plans.

An extra little bonus from my point of view is that in the Armament and bomb load section you are given colour plans of the bombs used complete with the different stencils and other markingfs colours and meaning.

One of the drawbacks with the images is that the cockpit photos are of the prototype during manufacture and not of a production model. The walk around included is of the Fairey Battle Bombing and Gunnery Trainer which is currently located at the RCAF Museum in Rockcliffe, Canada. Being a museum display they were unable to get into the aircraft and take any internal photos of it, hence they only give exterior shots. There are also a few shots of the Mk 1 Battle located at the RAF Museum. This aircraft is a composite of several aircraft and contains some possible errors in the rebuild.


In summary I can recommend this book for those interested in the Fairey Battle or those who are making a model of one and want some detail photos. It is relatively cheap and has a good coveage of most areas of the Battle.

This publication is courtesy of my wallet and is available from Snowy Mountain Models and most good modelling book shops eg Aeroworks.

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