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Fairey IIIF
Interwar Military Workhorse

by Philip Jarrett

Ad Hoc Publications


S u m m a r y

Title and Author Fairey IIIF - Interwar Military Workhorse
by Philip Jarrett
Ad Hoc Publications
ISBN: 0-946958-72-6

Soft, glossy, laminated card, colour covers; A4 portrait format on 248 semi-gloss pages (8 in colour).  Includes 31 colour artworks, 491 photographs and 20 line drawings.

Price: GBP25.00 net
Review Type: First Read

Superb photographs, line drawings and paint schemes.  Contains an extensive amount of technical and operational detail plus accounts and anecdotes from pilots and crew.

Disadvantages: Price, to an extent for some, otherwise none.
Recommendation: An important aircraft, from the period between the two World Wars. Excellent resource for aviation enthusiasts and modellers, albeit the latter are currently hampered by the lack of suitable subjects.


Reviewed by Steve Naylor

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For an aircraft that gave such sterling service at home and abroad, on both land and sea, it seems a little churlish of the manufacturer not to have given it a name.  Equally, despite its use in numerous roles, service with several countries and use as a flying test bed for other equipment developments, the Fairey IIIF has also been much neglected in both modelling and publishing circles.  Perhaps this new book, by well known author and aviation historian Philip Jarrett, will help to stimulate some interest in the IIIF as a subject and bring it out of the shadow of its better-known successor, the Fairey Swordfish.


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This new book from Ad Hoc, whilst actually a 'stand-alone' title, sits well with this publisher's more well known 'From The Cockpit' series.  To put it another way, if you liked their Swordfish book ('From The Cockpit' No.10), and interwar biplanes are your 'thing', then you will definitely want this one for your collection.  At 248 pages, this the largest volume this publisher has produced to date and, taken together with the superb photographs and line drawings included, this is understandably reflected in the cover price.  With one or two exceptions, the majority of photographs are endorsed 'Author's Collection', and what a collection they are.  Most have come from private archives and so, in keeping with other titles, have never been published before.  Their quality is outstanding and when placed alongside the extensive amount of technical and operational detail contained within these pages (itself a testament to the enormous amount of research which the author must have undertaken), this must surely be the most detailed and accurate work on the Fairey IIIF ever published.

Following the author's introduction, there are 13 chapters detailing the origins, development and operation of the IIIF in both Royal Air Force and Royal Navy service.  Foreign operators are also covered, detailing the aircraft's use by the Argentine, Greek and Chilean navies, as well as the NZPAF (the New Zealand Air Force division of the Royal Navy) and the Irish Air Corps.  There are even chapters on civilian-registered machines and an interesting one on the IIIF's use as a target tug, as a launch platform for glider targets and as a target itself (a variant known as the Fairey Queen).  Retaining a flavour of the 'From The Cockpit' series, there are many accounts and anecdotes from pilots and crew and I particularly enjoyed the description of spotting for a battleship's broadside, the IIIF pilot noting the 'kink' in the ship's wake, as the whole vessel was moved sideways in the water by the recoil!  As has been alluded to, the book is copiously illustrated with excellent black and white photographs of the IIIF in action, but also includes many useful shots of the aircraft with the covers and airframe covering removed (showing fantastic detail of the aircraft's construction and internal equipment layout), as well as on the assembly line.  Also included are reproductions of several period manufacturer's drawings, including side elevation, rigging diagram and float profile.  To round the illustrations off, there is a double-page spread cutaway by Frank Munger AMRAeS and the final chapter is a selection of carefully researched and often colourful IIIF paint schemes, by Roger Chesneau, of both float and wheeled examples.





Although not a biplane person myself, I was nevertheless very impressed by this book.  The Fairey IIIF was an important aircraft in the period between the two World Wars and served with distinction in many diverse roles and environments.  In many ways, this makes it puzzling as to why it has, thus far, been so neglected by both publishers and kit manufacturers alike.

This book will not be a casual purchase for most readers.  Modellers would be more than satisfied with its contents, were it not for the lack of suitable candidates to do this aircraft justice.  Were it not for a lack of a fuselage sections drawing, I would go as far as to say that there is enough information here for the scratch-builders out there to make an pretty good attempt.  However, for those with an interest in this period of British aviation, whether on land or sea, you will find much in this new title to both educate and inspire you.


Thanks go to Ad Hoc Publications for the review copy.

Copies should be available to order from most good book outlets, but can also be ordered direct from;

Ad Hoc Publications
Wattisham Road
Suffolk IP14 2HX

Tel: 07776 134277 Email: sales@adhocpublications.com


Review Copyright 2009 by Steve Naylor
This Page Created on 2 September, 2009
Last updated 18 December, 2009

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