GC 1/145 in France, 1940


Bartlomiej Belcarz


Mushroom Models Publications




Scott Van Aken

Notes: #7102 ISBN 83-917178-1-X

Mushroom Models Publications have gained a very positive reputation for publishing books on some of the more unusual and interesting topics related to WWII. You only have to look back on the Japanese Floatplanes and Gladiator books to see this. You may also notice that these books are all basically written by various Polish authors. Poland has always produced quality material and one only needs to look to the excellent books produced by AJ Press to see this. Unfortunately for those of us who don't speak the language, much of the really good info in these books have gone unread.

With the Mushroom books, one gets all of that quality in terms of research and photographs and the bonus of being able to read it! Fortunately, the folks who do the translations are well versed in English and none of the sometimes hilarious and sometimes confusing syntax errors are found in MMP products.

This particular edition follows in the standards of the earlier books. There are plenty of photographs and graphs as well as a goodly number of quality drawn profiles of the aircraft in question. There is also a rather large section of color photos of surviving aircraft, though neither one of the two extant planes is in anything close to museum quality condition! Still, it is a valuable reference for modelers and does present information on what these planes were like.

Before I go too much more into the book, I should mention that while the title of the book is of the only active duty unit to fly these planes, the book itself is more on the Caudron C.714 lightweight fighter. This is an aircraft that was basically designed as an armed version of a French racing aircraft. It kept many of the traits of this aircraft, but like so many other planes based on racers, it really wasn't ready for prime time, so to speak. Adding the extra military materials to the plane degraded its performance to where it wasn't the world beater it should have been. Add to all of that the case where it was being hurriedly developed during a time when war was imminent and French industry wasn't up to quick development of an aircraft. Like so much of the French aviation industrial base, there were aircraft ready to go but for one or two key components and so production was very slow and unreliable. Add to it the lack of reliability in the Renault R 12 engine that powered the plane and it is amazing that they were able to contribute at all.

With a plane that wasn't really ready to fight, add to that mix that the French Air Force didn't want it and French pilots didn't want to fly it. The aircraft was instead built for export to Finland, but before they could all be delivered, the need disappeared. One more wrench in the works was that those who were to fly it in Finland were Polish volunteer pilots. The Poles wanted some autonomy and the French wanted to integrate the pilots into regular French units. As you can see, the situation gets quite confused and, to those of us who like history, it gets interesting. I'll not spill the beans on the outcome of things, but to say that I was rather impressed by how well the planes really did in what use was made of them.

OK, so what you have is a book that combines the background of an aircraft, the only unit to fly them in combat, and a modeler's guide to the aircraft along with photos of extant planes and a bunch of profiles. How can one go wrong. If you have an interest in the unusual in general or the C.714 in particular, then you can't be without this one.

Thanks to Mushroom Models Publications for the review copy.

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