| | One victory is credited to a Romanian Farman, an F40 of Esc 5 destroyed a Fokker monoplane, and this incident is depicted in the dramatic cover painting.
Farman F40 1916-1919
Corpul Roman de Aviatie
by Serban Ionescu
656 Holloway Road
London, N19 3PD
If Farman F40 references are not exactly thick on the ground and details of Romanian air operations in World War One even rarer, then surely a work which combines the two can be classified alongside hen's teeth. Such is the little sixteen page booklet I picked up from the Aviation Book Shop at the 1999 IPMS UK Nationals.
The Farman F.40 entered service with the French air service in June of 1915 and was not an immediate success. Criticisms were made not only of its performance, but of its structural integrity, and the quality of both construction and of the materials used. A crash program of improvements was initiated, but by the time of its completion the big pusher was well past obsolete. Nonetheless it was built in large enough numbers to equip more than forty escadilles and saw wide service in a variety of roles on the western front and overseas, it also served with the forces of almost every other allied nation and was produced under licence in Italy and elsewhere. Possessing features of both Maurice and Henri Farman designs the F40 was sometimes referred to as the "Horace" Farman.
| | Fifteen unique photographs illustrate the monograph. Here a Romanian F40 apparently carries a spare wheel.
Published by Modelism International in Bucharest this little booklet comprises sixteen glossy pages in A5 format with a fold out A2 sheet of drawings at the back. The almost entirely Romanian text is supplemented by a photograph on every page, each with a helpful, if brief, English caption. Every photograph is new to me and, I should think, everybody else outside Romania. They are especially useful in making sense of the colour illustrations which are confined to the front and back covers, an action painting of a Romanian F40 in combat on the front and various unit/personal emblems on the back. Other sources tell us that France supplied Romania with twenty F40's, but the same sources also say that five escadrilles were equiped with the type and this suggests three times that number. Here one of the photographs, according to its English caption, illustrates the Romanian production line and the mystery is solved.
| | The drawings display a commendable level of detail and Modelism list others on their web site
The jewel in this work is the large fold out page of scale drawings. I first became aquainted with east European model publications in the mid seventies and two things struck me; the poor quality of the paper and printing, and the high quality of the content, especialy of the drawings. I can say that the quality of the paper is improved, whilst the quality of the drawings is not in the least diminished. On one side of the A2 sheet is a detailed 1/40 scale drawing with additional scrap views in twice that scale of the airscrew and Hotchkiss gun. Turning the page reveals highly detailed 1/20 scale drawings of the nacelle and engine, more detail scrap views, and a very complete set of sections, also well detailed. I reduced the drawings to 1/72 scale for the purposes of comparison with those in "French Aircraft of the First World War" (Flying Machines Press). As far as outline is concerned there is nothing to choose between the two, but in terms of detail and completeness the Romanian product wins hands dowm. his is how it used to be done and how most modellers wish it still were. Editors of printed model magazines please take note.
Special thanks to Len Smith of South East London IPMS for pointing me at the Aviation Book Shop, who tell me they have copies in stock at £3.95 sterling.