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60 Years of Combat Aircraft: From World War One to Vietnam War One.

60 Years of Combat Aircraft: From World War One to Vietnam War One. By Bruno Pautigny. Paris: Histoire and Collections, 2010. Illustrations. Pp. 160. $38.00 (Amazon) ISBN: 978-2-35250-117-2

A self-taught illustrator, Bruno Pautigny began his career in a small advertising agency. As his career progressed, other agencies followed with assignments varying from advertising copy to medical textbooks. As a general illustrator, he enjoyed illustrating automobiles and other mechanical devices. Growing tired of the pressure within the print industry, he switched to working for several book publishers. Later Revell Inc., maker of plastic models, approached him about illustrating box art for their upcoming aviation releases. He also has illustrated articles in France's Wing Master, a plastic-modeler magazine. While creating for Revell and Wing Master, Pautigny created over 400 aircraft illustrations used in French aviation profiles. The majority of the book's illustrations are from these profiles.

60 Years of Combat Aircraft is a thin "coffee table book" with slick pages. Having no dust jacket, Bruno's skills of illustration leap off the cover as you hold the book--from a Fokker Dr. I Triplane in one corner to a McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II in the other. The book's five chapters are titled "World War I," "World War II," "The Fifties," "The Sixties," and "Concerning Illustrations"; within each, a sub-chapter of aircraft of individual nations of the period is shown. Interestingly, a sub-chapter of the "The Fifties" is Operation Musketeer, the Anglo-French-Israeli plan for the invasion of Egypt to capture the Suez Canal. Concerning Illustrations has a discussion about how German aircraft of a different era are illustrated legally today. Each chapter's first pages give a brief introduction of Pautigny's opinion of the aircraft and his experiences illustrating them. Many aircraft have many illustrations (there are twelve North American P-51 Mustangs alone). Not surprisingly, "World War II" contains 60 percent of the illustrations.

Most pages have three eight-inch-wide illustrations above a short paragraph describing the aircraft's paint scheme, markings, and history. Most of these illustrations show the standard left profile of the aircraft with the propeller blades omitted. There are no factory-fresh aircraft here; each of them is shown as if it had seen action for a long time. With the book's slick pages and the colors of the illustrations, the aircraft seem to float above the page!

Don't do what I did and thumb through the book looking for what famous Boeing B-29 Pautigny illustrated. You won't find one. As he states in his introduction, he included in the book only what he has illustrated in his career. So any of you Boeing B-29 crewman out there who want a superior illustration of your aircraft, I know a guy ...

Summing up, this large format book with slick pages and superior illustrations is deserving of the price. If money is no object, this is a fine book to add to your coffee table. If, however, you are looking for a true reference book with all the principal aircraft of an era, there are other books available for far less.

Scott Marquiss, Docent, National Air and Space Museum, Mall and Udvar-Hazy Center

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Author:Marquiss, Scott
Publication:Air Power History
Date:Sep 22, 2014
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