Valiant Wings Publishing: Gloster Gladiator


Richard A Franks


Valiant Wings Publishing


£17.95 MSRP at


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 130 pages, A4 Format, softcover, ISBN: 978-0-9957773-1-6,
 Airframe Album #12

This latest book from Valiant Wings covers the Gloster Gladiator. While perhaps not a plane that is on the mind of may Americans, such is not the case in the UK and other parts of the world. The Gladiator was a logical progression of the Gauntlet and had things like an enclosed canopy, more modern main gear and, in some cases, wing mounted guns.

The guns thing is interesting as prior to the late 1930s, British machine guns were notorious for their jamming, so had to be accessible to the pilot in order to clear jams. This all changed with the Colt-Browning guns that were license built in the UK. Finally, a gun reliable enough to put outside of the reach of the pilot. It was this gun as much as anything else that helped with the success of the Hurricane, which was designed to carry them. It also meant that there were not always guns available for other types, such as the Gladiator so early planes did not have these, though the designers were smart enough to provide a universal gun mount so that a variety of machine guns could be carried.

Thanks to this foresight and the generally nice handling and speed of the Gladiator, it was a successful export plane to those nations who had a need for the type. This included Latvia, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania and China to name a few.

The Gladiator was also developed to operate with the Fleet Air Arm, where its slow landing speed was an asset. The type also served in front line service during the early days of the war and in the Mediterranean, which was considered a secondary war zone and so often did not have the latest and greatest.

In line with others in the series, the author tells the complete story of the type, including its operational use. There is also a great section that covers all the prototypes and uses drawings to show the differences. All known info on these planes is provided and that includes not only the use of the aircraft by other nations. Thanks to a lot of survivors, we get a well done close-up section with both modern museum and period photographs.

A very nicely done section on the various camouflage and markings schemes is provided. So much information is provided, that it has left almost no room for one of the staples of the series, and that is model builds. Apparently the builders have decided to include their Gladiator builds in other publications so this one has but one build, that being the large, and expensive, Silver Wings 1/32 kit. A complete listing of kits, decals, accessories and books is also provided.

In all, a great addition to the Valiant Wings library and one that you should seriously consider picking up.

November 2017

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