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Flight Craft 20: Vickers VC10 & Super VC10 (Paperback)

Aviation Civil Aviation Modelling

By Lance Cole
Imprint: Air World
Series: Flight Craft
Pages: 88
Illustrations: 200 colour & black and white
ISBN: 9781526760067
Published: 13th October 2020

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Designed and manufactured by the men who would make Concorde, the Rolls-Royce powered Vickers VC10, and its larger variant, the Super VC10, represented the ultimate in 1960s subsonic airliners. The VC10 was Britain’s answer to the Boeing 707 and the Douglas DC-8.

The VC10 was a second-generation jetliner designed in the 1960s and manufactured into the 1970s. It incorporated advanced engineering, new aerodynamics, and design features, to produce a swept, sculpted machine easily identifiable by its high T-tail design and rear-engine configuration.

The VC10 could take off in a very short distance, climb more steeply and land at slower speed than its rivals the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8. These were vital safety benefits in the early years of the jet age. At one stage, the Super VC10 was the biggest airliner made in Europe and the fastest in the world.

On entry into service, both the VC10 and the longer Super VC10 carved out a niche with passengers who enjoyed the speed, silence and elegance of the airliner. Pilots, meanwhile, loved its ease of flying and extra power. Yet the VC10 project was embroiled in political and corporate machinations across many years and more than one government. BOAC got what they asked for but went on to criticise the VC10 for not being a 707 – which was a different beast entirely. Questions were asked in parliament and the whole story was enmeshed in a political and corporate affair that signified the end of British big airliner production. Yet the men who made the VC10 also went on to design and build Concorde. Many VC10 pilots became Concorde pilots.

In service until the 1980s with British Airways, and until 2013 with the RAF, the VC10 became a British icon and a national hero, one only eclipsed by Concorde. It remains an enthusiast’s hero.

The VC10 has a good claim to the term *aviation icon* and it always seems to be a popular modelling subject, particularly as it holds appeal for modellers of both civil and military types. This the author's second book about this aircraft published by Pen & Sword Aviation (the first was VC10 - Icon of the Skies and was reviewed in volume 23 issue 12) and like all the Flightcraft series is aimed at the modeller as well as the aviation enthusiast. As usual, the book is divided into three sections covering the aircraft, the colours it wore, and how to produce a model of the type. The first section provides the majority of the book and starts with the aircraft's development. This is followed by a section that outlines some engineering details, such as the high-lift wing, which made the VC-10 stand out from its contemporaries. The service history follows on from that, split logically into BOAC/BA, RAF and other operators, such as British Caledonian and East African Airways. This is followed by the final chapter in this section that details the types variants.
The second section presents a selection of colour profiles illustrating the various colour schemes worn by the VC10 during its airline and RAF service. These are confined to side views only but do show a varied selection, and there must be an example that will tempt most modellers among them. Finally, the modelling section is unusual in that it includes die-cast and other solid models as well as plastic/resin kits. This section consists of a series of reviews of each kit/model, which are illustrated by photos of completed examples. Also mentioned is the wide variety of decals available from Two-Six. On reading the summary list, your reviewer was surprised by how many plastic kits were available, and may even consider dusting off his vac-form skills if an Airways Models 1/72 example ever comes his way. I highly recommended this title for those seeking a good one-stop reference to the VC10.

SCALE AVIATION MODELLER INTERNATIONAL

Featured by

Royal Aeronautical Society

Featured in

Air Fan, June - July 2021

As featured by

Aeroplane, March 2021

The 20th Flightcraft volume will be equally familiar to modellers, with a well-laid-out historical narrative backed by good-quality period photos of the interior and exterior and a collection of 24 full-colour profiles.

Airfix Model World

"The images are awesome and give a lot of useful views for modellers and anyone interested in this aircraft."

Read the full review here

IPMS/USA

The visuals are impressive, becoming the mainstay of this volume. Must-have Air Modeling Series in our library.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

A fantastic book that I would recommend to anyone historian, modeller or aircraft enthusiast I think you will enjoy it.

Read the full review here

Aeroscale

Enjoyed it.

Click here for the full review

Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

This book is written by a real enthusiast of the type and that becomes very clear as one starts reading. His coverage of the background and development of the aircraft shows that he's done his research.

Click here for the full review

ModelingMadness.com

As featured by

Cocardes International, February/March 2021

Any book that further witting and unwitting testimony about the German troops who manned the Western Front lines is a welcome addition to the library of work on the Great War. Some fascinating insights.

Books Monthly

In summary, while the amount and level of detail in the writing is more than enough to provide a comprehensive history of the VC10, it is also very well presented and makes for enjoyable reading on the aircraft, which is only enhanced by the fabulous artwork and photographs. The book can easily be read from cover-to-cover but can also be enjoyed as a coffee table book where a quick ten minutes looking at the photographs will take you back to the golden age of jet travel.

Read the full review here

Flight Line Book Review

As featured by

JP4, January 2021

Another really good addition to the FlightCraft series I think, which should interest modellers as well as fans of both civilian and military aircraft types.

Read the full review here

Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

The long and successful career of this splendid quad-jet is well detailed and images are truly beautiful.

Read the full review here

Marco De Montis

This is really useful for the modeller, and very interesting for the enthusiast.

Read the full review here

Airport Spotting

As featured on Scale Modelling Now

Scale Modelling Now

An excellent book detailing not only the design and development of the VC10, but also its service history both civil and military. The informative text is illuminated with a good selection of photographs. In addition there is a really useful colour profile section showing the various liveries this wonderful aircraft has carried during its lifetime. For me however the modelling section is a real bonus containing as it does what must be many unique photographs.
Finally it is currently available (26/10/2020) for an absolute bargain price, so what is there not to like? I can’t think of anything!

Anthony Hart

About Lance Cole

Lance Cole has been a motoring and aviation writer and PR for over 30 years. He is also an internationally published photographer, illustrator and designer. The author of over 20 books, he has a parallel career as a news correspondent and TV camera-journalist. But it is old cars and their design and driving that fascinates him. He has driven Saabs all over the world and contributed to Saab design when he was a young design student. Lance wrote Erik Carlsson’s obituary for the Daily Telegraph.


Lance currently lives in England but yearns for a return to the outback of Australia where old cars rule.

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Boeing’s 747 ‘heavy’ has achieved a fifty-year reign of the airways, but now airlines are retiring their fleets as a different type of long-haul airliner emerges. Yet the ultimate development of the 747, the -800 model, will ply the airways for many years to come. Even as twin-engine airliners increasingly dominate long-haul operations and the story of the four-engine Airbus A380 slows, the world is still a different place thanks to the great gamble that Boeing took with its 747. From early, difficult days designing and proving the world’s biggest-ever airliner, the 747 has grown into…

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