Book Review
AVRO Shackleton
AVRO Shackleton
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


The AVRO Shackleton is one of those aircraft that I remember seeing and hearing in flight and due to its lineage reminded me of the Lancaster seen during World War 2 and that went out of service around the time I was born. With the UK being an island the Shackleton was an important aircraft due to the many years it spent watching and searching our waters for enemy submarine activity. This offering from Pen and Sword is part of their Flight Craft book series and provides a look at the Shackleton.

The following portion of this introduction is as supplied by Pen and Sword:
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


This offering from Pen and Sword is part of a series titled Flight Craft. This offering is authored by Martin Derry and Neil Robinson and these two authors have worked together on a number of titles within this series. The book is a soft backed offering with a stiff card that offers a reasonable level of protection to the contents. The contents themselves consist of 96 pages of a semi gloss paper that present both text and photographs in a good way.

The contents of this offering breakdown as follows:
A Defined Purpose
Shackleton MR 1 Enters Service
Shackleton MR 2
Shackleton AEW 2
Shackleton MR 3
Shackleton Camouflage and Markings
The Shackleton in Colour
Modelling the Shackleton

Looking through this title from Pen and Sword I can see the goal of the series laid out in front of me, the goal in my opinion is to provide grounding in the aircraft from its origins through its service with the RAF and the role they performed. This title looking at the AVRO Shackleton covers an aircraft that served it is considered passed its sell by date watching the UK's waters for enemy submarine activity, a role that is going to be done with 8 Boeing P8 aircraft based at RAF Lossiemouth in the near future.

The book begins by laying out its aims to the reader due to feedback on other titles in the Flight Craft series with the aim of providing the modeller a high degree of visual reference along with enough text to provide a grounding in the aircraft. The book starts at the beginning by covering the aircraft that performed the dedicated role taken on by the AVRO Shackleton with a look at the Lancaster, Sunderland and Neptune. We are then presented with a concise history of the Shackleton covering the design and development of the aircraft. The text then provides an insight into the various models of the AVRO Shackleton that saw service with the RAF and performed a stirling effort long after it was due to have been retired. I was very pleased to see the South African aircraft covered in the title as it offers something a little different.

The aspect of this title that will draw the attention of the modeller the most are the glorious photographs in the title, but these are preceded by a written section covering the camouflage and markings that makes for a very interesting read. The photographs have been well chosen and show some very pleasing views of the AVRO Shackleton from prototype to end of life aircraft. The photographs are a mix colour and black & white with excellent captions provided with the images that are of a very good quality, being well written and providing the sorts of information I like to see provided.

The artistic angled views of the AVRO Shackleton provide a range of views over and above what I was expecting. The side on views I was expecting are enhanced with views from above, head on and the underside of the wings. The section also covers a very good number of aircraft that should please most. The modelling section in this offering is one that I especially enjoyed reading due to it being more a review of the products than as an informational segment on models available. The result of this section is that it has steered me towards the Airfix offering with the latest Revell offerings being worth a look. Also here is a short section on the after market items available. The book closes with a nice series of pictures covering the offices of the Shackleton and so a plus for the modeller who likes to add extra detail.


This offering as part of the Flight Craft series looking at the AVRO Shackleton is the best one I have looked at as yet from a modellerís viewpoint. The high point for me is that the photographs and text have been well considered and have a very pleasing ratio present, I also like that the photographs are of a good size. The modelling section is especially good due to reading more as a review than a look at what is available; the information on the work needed on the early Shackleton models from Revell that is the early Frog offering. If there is a Shackleton in your future this book is a worthy contender as a reference offering.
Highs: very good ration of text and images and an especially good model section.
Lows: Nothing jumps out at me as being weak.
Verdict: A great reference title for the modeller interested in the Shackleton.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781473862630
  Suggested Retail: £16.99
  PUBLISHED: Nov 02, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to Pen & Sword Books!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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