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Book Review
Westland Lysander
  • Mushroom_Lysander_Cover

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Originally published on:

The Lysander is one of those aircraft which you probably love or hate - slow and ugly, but blessed with incredible STOL capabilities and used for some of the most daring espionage missions of WW2. One way or another, it deserves a place in any model collection and you could hardly find a better reference for building it than Mushroom's new book.

James Knightly's book breaks down into 3 basic sections filling 208 pages:

1. A history and development of the Lysander, including technical descriptions, scale plans etc.
2. A walkaround section
3. A series of colour profiles

Such a brief description does no justice to the contents, so I'll examine each section in a bit more detail.

History and Development
122 pages follow the Lysander from its design and first prototypes, through service introduction and baptism of fire. Separate sub-sections deal with service oversees and with various air forces around the globe. Throughout, the photo coverage is excellent, with well-printed and captioned B&W wartime photos backing up the detailed text.

A set of excellent 1/72 scale plans are included, covering all the versions from prototype through to Mk.III, including the Special Duties modifications and these are augmented by a number of scale diagrams linked to sections of the text, illustrating aspects such as bomb carriers and dinghy stowage on the undercarriage spats.

A technical section discusses various aspects of the Lysander airframe in some detail, going on to introduce some of the remarkable Lysander "One-Offs" such as the tandem-winged P-12 "Delanne" and "Pregnant Perch" ground strafer and Blackburn Steiger. These are all illustrated with more 1/72 scale plans and I can imagine a few modelling projects are bound to spring from this section alone!

After a chapter of pilots' anecdotes which really bring the aircraft to life for the reader, the book then lists Squadron Codes for RAF and Dominion Lysander units, technical specs for the major versions, productions batches, serials and quantities produced and an extensive bibliography.

Rounding off the first section of the book is chapter devoted to preserved Lysanders around the world, including the service history for each and their current status.

Walkaround Section
After a general view of some of the preserved machines, things really kick into gear with a superb set of colour photos, backed up by original illustrations from manuals, covering the Lysander in almost forensic detail. The pictures are well printed and a good size with detailed captions and broken down into logical sections; fuselage, cockpit, canopy, engine, wing, tail, undercarriage and armament. The walkaround section is about 60 pages long with over 200 photos - so, basically, everything you can imagine needing for a model is covered.

Profiles Section
Rounding off the book are a set of 28 colour profiles, some including plan views as well. If you're still left in need of inspiration for modelling projects after the previous sections, this should do it for you with colour schemes for Portuguese, Egyptian, Turkish and Irish aircraft, as well as some of the more expected RAF, RCAF, USAAF and Finnish Lysanders.

James Knightly's book on the Lysander is well written, packed with detail and a modeller's' dream with its walkaround section. The price seems almost absurdly low for such a useful reference, so I'd suggest anyone who's even remotely considering ever modelling the Lysander to go and grab a copy before the publishers realise they've set the price too low! Unreservedly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here on AeroScale.
I've rapidly grown to be a big fan of Mushroom Model Publications - their books on the PZL 23 and Boulton Paul Defiant have been great, but the latest volume on the Westland Lysander must rate as the best yet, combining invaluable reference pics and an extraordinarily low price.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 83-917178-4-4
  Suggested Retail: 9.99
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Sep 09, 2006
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2020 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Armorama. All rights reserved.


Well if no one else wants to say anything I will. Excellent book, especially for the price and thicker than their other books to date. Some rare an unpublished material as well. (They are also branching out into armour and ships). The Me 410 and Yak 9 UP books are now available and for the rest of 2006 and 2007 the following are promised. Japanese Special Attack Aircraft and Flying Bombs. MiG 1/MiG 3 Hawker Hurricane German Air Projects Vol 3 Fiat Cr 42 Baptism of Fire. Hungarian-Slovakian Air War of March 1939 (How's that for an obscure subject?) Fury and Nimrod Rotor Aircraft of the III Reich Montpelier Squadron 13/JG 52 Roc and Skua
SEP 09, 2006 - 12:47 AM
Hi Antoni Yep - as I say in the review, this book is such absurdly good value for money, it almost makes you wonder if someone's boobed over the RRP. I recommend grabbing it quick before anyone realises... All the best Rowan
SEP 09, 2006 - 01:55 AM
Howdy Merlin Many thx for reviewing this book. I have two 1/32nd scale Lysander kits {the old Matchbox offerings} with plans to build something 'different'. This book looks like exactly what the doctor ordered in that regard. Especially some of the close up pics of the cockpit area. This straight 'thru' birdcage design style was quite particular to the Lysander, and in the large 1/32nd scale it almost screams for at least a little extra detailing....something most of the Matchbox kits need anyway... Thx again for the heads up Tread.
SEP 09, 2006 - 08:05 AM
Merlin, Agree this book is a steal -- I have it, although I haven't read it just leafed thru it carefully. I'm waiting till I can pull the Gavia Lizzie out of the stash ... John
SEP 09, 2006 - 08:05 AM
For superdetailing the 4+ publication on the Westland Lysander is also very good value.
SEP 09, 2006 - 01:12 PM
Hi Antoni I quite agree - in fact the 4+ book was my primary Lysander reference for the last few years. Now it'll have to share its place with Mushroom's new title. And, of course, I've run out of excuses for not getting on with my Lizzie for the Finnish campaign! The weeks seem to be getting shorter and shorter, but I really must get some building done soon! :-) All the best Rowan
SEP 09, 2006 - 01:38 PM
Yup, got 4+ also ... Not sure how I got so attached to this bird ... I think it started with the Matchbox 1/72 kit ... John
SEP 10, 2006 - 07:57 AM

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