Paul Ludwig and Malcolm Laird Ventura Publications 1999 ISBN 0-9583594-4-X
You must know, up front, that I am somewhat biased in this review as Paul and I have been friends and fellow IPMS-Seattle members for almost 30 years. Malcolm is the owner of Ventura Publications. Part 1 of this title was reviewed in the February 1999 IPMS-Seattle Newsletter and in IPMS/USA Journal 12/2 for January/February 2000. The current offering follows on from and adds, smoothly, to Part 1 in almost exactly the same format. If you liked Part 1, you'll like Part 2. Malcolm's wife Judy's page layout and book design is neat, uncluttered and very attractively printed on good heavy glossy stock ensuring quality reproduction of the 109 black and white photos, four color photos, two shaded line drawings and ten pages of Malcolm's color renderings of the subjects discussed in Paul's fluid, easily read, text. The book comprises 72 pages. Spitfire marks illustrated in this title are: IIa, IIb, VIII and PR XI; Part 1 illustrated marks IIc, Va, Vb, Vc, Vb (trop), Vc (trop) VIII and IXc.
Whereas Part 1 covered, essentially, the history of the 31st Fighter Group (FG) in a smooth narrative, Part 2 covers a more diverse lot of units: The 4th FG, the 52nd FG, the 67th Recon. Group, the 7th Photo Recon. Group and US Navy and USAAF evaluation Spitfires in a somewhat more episodic manner. As before there are four appendices addressing, in good detail: Camouflage Colours, 52nd FG Combat Victories on Spitfires, a Bibliography and Spitfire Colour Schemes in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations.
This pair of books has a three pronged appeal: To the colors and markings enthusiasts, to Spitfire enthusiasts and to general aviation history enthusiasts (like me). For model builders publication of this book now is in timely proximity to MPM's release of a 72nd scale kit of the PR XI Spitfire and of Aeroclub's 48th scale release of a kit replacing the nose of Occidental's otherwise acceptable Mk. IX, from which a good Mk. VIII or PR.XI can then be built. Air Waves have also recently released a 48th scale conversion kit to make a PR.XI from Occidental's Mk.IX. These conversion/correction kits, and others relating to Spitfires, in 48th scale are reviewed in the June 2000 issue of Scale Aviation Modeller International (SAMI) magazine. With these new releases the modeler can now do all of the Spitfire marks covered in these two volumes in either 72nd or 48th scale.
Part 2, like Part 1 of this title is good value for money; especially if you are a Spitfire fan. It is the fourth release in Ventura's Classic Warbird Series; the first two releases being: Spitfire - Star of Israel and Spitfire - the ANZACs.