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Flight Craft 9: Avro Shackleton (Paperback)

Aviation Modelling Royal Air Force

By Martin Derry, Neil Robinson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
Series: Flight Craft
Pages: 96
ISBN: 9781473862630
Published: 13th January 2016



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Initially projected as a maritime reconnaissance version of the Lincoln bomber, itself a development of the famous wartime Lancaster which saw post-war service in a General/Maritime Reconnaissance role, (see Flight Craft No 4), the Avro Shackleton, (named after the polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton) was a completely new design, powered by four Rolls Royce Griffon 57 engines driving six blade contra-rotating propellers.

Split into three main sections, this latest Flight Craft title, perfectly timed to coincide with the release of the first examples of the eagerly awaited new tool 1/72 scale Airfix kit, offers a concise history of the Shackleton's development and operational career from the prototype and initial entry in to RAF service in 1951, and its use with the South African Air Force, the only other operator of the type.

Section 1 chronicles its design, ongoing improvements and development through the three main Marks, in both the Maritime Reconnaissance and Airborne Early Warning roles, until its retirement after four decades of RAF service in 1991, which includes scores of contemporary photographs with detailed captions, many of which have never been seen in print before.

This is followed by a 16-page colour illustration section featuring profiles and 2-views of the colour schemes and markings carried by the type in RAF and SAAF service. The final section lists all the plastic model kits, accessories and decal sheets produced of the Shackleton in all scales.

As with the other books in the Flight Craft series, whilst published primarily with the scale aircraft modeller in mind, it is hoped that those readers who might perhaps describe themselves as 'occasional' modellers may also find that this colourful and informative work offers something to provoke their interests too.

Featured in

Catalina Society

As featured by


Carefully researched, with a section for the modelling enthusiast.

The Shackleton Association

As featured in

Modelbouw Magazine, November/December 2016

The Avro Shackleton, also known in the RAF as ‘40,000 rivets flying in close formation’ was very much a product of WWII that just took a long time to arrive. The authors have managed to do full justice to both the history of this important aircraft and to the scale model kits that have been produced to immortalise it. Recommended to all enthusiasts of aviation matters and to all model makers.


... their text does pretty well in documenting the type's development history, the differences between the marks and 'Phase' modification standards, camouflage and markings carried, squadron allocations, bases and dates. There are 16 pages of colour profiles, very well done with good colour balance. Photo coverage is, as promised, quite extensive, and includes a shot of MR2 WG557 with Royal Navy titling.

Aeroplane Monthly, August 2016

The latest addition to Pen and Sword's Flightcraft series is No 9 and in 96 pages covers the famous Avro Shackleton. The book opens with the explanation of the Defined Purpose of Coastal Command needing a new maritime reconnaissance aircraft in the mid-1950's. After the end of WW2, the long-range lend-lease aircraft the RAF had been using, the Liberators and Catalinas, needed to be returned to the USA. A temporary solution was the use of Lancaster B.3 airframes that remained from wartime stocks along with remaining Sunderlands but they were not the ideal solution and a new aircraft was needed. The growth of Soviet Naval forces and the Cold War threatened British Maritime interests, and generated a fear similar to that of the German U-boats during WW2...

... The final couple of pages carry a set of useful colour photos of the interior details of the cockpit instrument panels, ideal for the modeller. Not mentioned in the book are the very new Eduard sets for the detailed cockpit instrument panels, and instrumentation for the detail in the fuselage work stations which are included in the new Airfix kit and will look even better with the pre-coloured panels in these new accessory sets.

Military Modelling - Robin Buckland

In the preface to this excellent volume the authors start by saying that the object of it '....is to offer as much visual coverage of the Avro Shackleton as possible within the confines of just 96 pages...', and I can immediately and unqualifiedly confirm that they have succeeded admirably in this task. Any modellers requiring a single-volume reference to enable them to construct a near-perfect replica of the aircraft need look no further than this book.

Very highly recommended.

International Plastic Modellers Society Magazine (IPMS)
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