Potez 63 Family
The Potez 63 and its variants was a significant part of the French Air Force’s equipment in 1939/40, serving in the light bomber, fighter, and reconnaissance roles. The development and operational use of these elegant twins is described in this new book, illustrated with many photos, including a good selection of previously unpublished ones. With 1/72nd scale plans, colour artwork illustrating the colours and markings, and text by a noted French aviation historian, this book is essential reading for WW2 aircraft enthusiasts.
Amazon Customer Reviews
By Jim Davis (Maryland Heights, MO USA)
...but still pretty good.
French aircraft from the end of WWI to the end of WWII are a huge gap in my aeronautical knowledge. This book goes some way towards filling in that gap.
The Potez 63 family seemed to be typical of that era: a too little, too late product of once proud French aviation industry that had been allowed to become dangerously rundown between the wars. Author Fernandez describes the great difficulty the French had into bringing this aircraft into service and the rough time it had once in service. A large portion of the service photographs show crashed or derelict airframes.
This book follows the now standard Mushroom format with modifications. There are no extant examples (presumably, the book doesn't say) so contemporary factory photos and service manual drawings have to substitute for the usual full color walk around photos. It doesn't quite work. The line drawings are really quite excellent. The plan views are on one side of the fold out, so make sure that you get that if buying second hand. There are also 2 cutaway drawings: a full page unannotated 631 which looks like it might be contemporary and, on the fold out, a modern 63-11 annotated cutaway by Aviagraphica which probably has appeared elsewhere. Also, the section on the 63-11 is separate from the other members of the family. Finally, there are almost 50 pages of superb color profiles and a rare color photo.
There are a few minor problems leading me to deduct a star. The description of the aircraft and its systems seemed a little on the brief side. The drawings make up for this somewhat but not completely. For example, the 63-11 has a fixed machine gun firing down to the rear at about a 45 degree angle. What was the purpose of this gun? Suppression of anti-aircraft fire after a strafing run? Also a table of French, Polish, etc ranks would have been useful. Cne., C./C., Por., Cet., etc mean nothing to me. A map or two would also have been nice.
All in all, a worthwhile purchase. Modelers might find more here than general enthusiasts (there is even an ad for MPM plastic kits enclosed) but this book is a welcome look at a neglected subject.
ModelArt Australia February 2009 2009-11-10
amazon.co.uk - customer review 2009-11-10
This is a excellent book. It covers the whole history of this aircraft.
Also includes picture in color of the aircraft interior and exterior.
It also tells what other countries used this aircraft.Glenn Davis
IPMS UK Magazine 2009-11-10
BMFA NEWS 2009-11-10
Subject: Potez 63 Family and Yakovlev Yak-23 – The first Yakovlev jet fighters
Pages: 176 plus pull-out plans, and 152
Format: SB / larger than A5
Photographs: Many; one period colour in Potez book, some of preserved machines in Yak book Illustrations: Colour profiles and plans (95 in Potez book, 68 in Yak), scale plans and period diagrams
Price: Around £14.99 and 13.99
What they Say: “The latest book from MMP describes the design, development and operational use of the French Potex 63 family of twin-engine aircraft, the most numerous modern design available to the Armée de l’Air and Aeronavale in 1940. An invaluable reference source for aircraft historians and enthusiasts, and scale modellers.”
“The latest book from MMP describes the design, development and operational use of the first jet fighters from the Yakovlev design bureau, the Yak-15, -17 and -23. An invaluable reference source for aircraft historians and enthusiasts, and scale modellers.”
What we Say: In neither case can I argue with MMP’s assessment of the value of these recent titles. The publisher is prolific and continues to deal with subjects less well covered elsewhere, but the quality of its books generally just keeps improving. If you’re building any of the Azur Potez 63 kits the new MMP book will be invaluable, especially given that it includes a set of 1:72 scale plan views drawn on a pull-out piece of thick A3 paper, with a detailed cutaway on its reverse. The relevant scale profiles and front views are included within the book, along with the plethora of colour profiles, manual drawings and a huge number of photographs. Ally these with text by José Fernandez and at this price you couldn’t ask for a better book on what in some respects was France’s Bf 110.
A cursory glance at the cover of MMP’s Yak volume and you could be forgiven for thinking that it covers only the Yak-23. Look more closely and you’ll see that in fact it details all the early Yak fighters, from Yak-15 to -23, through their development and operational use. Scale plans to 1:72, manual drawings, period black and white images and a comprehensive selection of colour photographs of preserved Yaks complement the colour profile selection. Fewer of the latter are in natural metal than I’d anticipated and I particularly like the red and grey Yak-15 flown by a Russian aerobatic team. The text is comprehensive and includes details of ‘export’ operators as well as providing all the technical data that you could wish for. In summary, if either of these books covers your area of interest, or if you just collect the MMP series, you won’t be disappointed.
Paul E Eden
Thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review copies
Aeroscale.co.uk 2009-11-10by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]
As part of Mushroom's Orange Series of detailed aircraft references, author José Fernandez has written a concise but highly informative overview of Potez's extended family of twin-engined fighters, light bombers and reconnaissance machines. The book is soft-bound in A-5 format, which allows it to fit neatly beside the average work area and comprises 176 pages of text, scale plans, B&W (plus one colour) photos and colour profiles.
The text covers the background and development of the 63 family, including the numerous offshoots and foreign versions. Most sections are quite brief, but have plenty of useful information about the aircraft and its service history. For me the most interesting chapter is an eye-witness account of Night Fighter Squadron 1/13 by Sgt/Chef Post from the period immediately before the declaration of war, through to the fall of France. The general state of unpreparedness is quite shocking to the modern reader, and one can't help but sympathise with the pilots as reinforcements trickle in piecemeal and they attempt to provide some semblance of defence for their country in primitive conditions with machines that weren't even fully armed before June 1940! The language is translated a little too literally from the original French, resulting in some idiosyncratic phrases at times, but the chapter makes fascinating, if inevitably somewhat depressing reading. The situation facing the squadron's crews is well illustrated in the chaos generated by the German onslaught:
"The Potez 631 was too slow for a fighter, badly armed for assault, badly equipped for reconnaissance. Does that matter? It was badly needed. It will thus perform all these missions... Soon the advance of the Panzerdivisionen, breaking through the fortified lines in several places, creating such a great danger that all means had to be used to stop them. The assault aviation units had been virtually annihilated during the previous days, and cannot fly anymore. The night fighter units will replace them!"
The book is profusely illustrated with hundreds of photos, most of which I've never seen before. These illustrate the aircraft both under construction and in service. Particularly useful for modellers are the equivalent of "walkaround" sections for the Potez 630-637 and Potez 63-11, where the author has assembled a comprehensive selection of detailed period photos and technical illustrations covering each area of the aircraft, both inside and out.
Interspersed throughout the text are a series of excellent 1/72 scale side and front drawings of the various versions, accompanied by a pull-out page of plan views. The back of the plans is filled with a poster-sized cutaway illustration of the Potez 63-11. I must admit that I'd have preferred all the scale drawings to be on the pull-out sheet to make scanning and enlarging easier, but their inclusion is a real boon to modellers of the MPM kits in 1/72 and 1/48 scale.
Lastly, there's the colour profiles, with the most comprehensive selection of colour schemes for the Potez 63 family you could want, from spectacular part-natural metal 630s, through day- and night-fighting 631s during the Battle of France, a huge selection of 63-11s, Vichy machines, captured aircraft, export versions - no-one could fairly claim to be lost for inspiration.
Model Aircraft Monthly, January 2009 2009-11-10
Reviewed By D.M. Knights, IPMS# 17656
I'll start with a confession. I love the Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) books. This latest book in the Orange Series is on the French light reconnaissance bomber/heavy fighter. The book covers all of the Potez 63 family, including the Potez 63-11. The first half of the book covers all of the solid nosed versions, 630-637. The second half covers the 63-11 with the redesigned fuselage and glass nose.
The Potez was designed as a heavy fighter/light bomber. As such it fills the same class as the Me-110 and the later DeHavilland Mosquito. Like the later two aircraft the Potez series was used in the night fighter and reconnaissance roles as well. The Potez family of aircraft were used not only by the French, but the Germans, Hungarians, Romanians, and Greeks.
The book is clearly targeted at the modeling audience. This publication is a treasure trove for the modeler. In addition to the text supplying the history of the development of the aircraft, there are tons of photos including plenty of detail shots. There are plenty of detail shots to allow a modeler to go to town detailing their favorite Potez model. In the back of the book there are numerous color side views as well as a set of plans in 72nd scale.I highly recommend this book for anyone with even a passing interest in the subject. It is a great value
Aeroplane, February 2009. 2009-11-10
Reviewed by Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
F i r s t R e a dC o n c l u s i o n
Potez 63 Family is the newest issue in Mushroom Model Publications’ Orange series. The Orange series combines the Yellow Series’ focus on aircraft with the Red Series’ focus on history. For all practical purposes, this monograph is divided into two distinct sections. The first deals with the Potez 630 (Hispano- Suiza fighter), 631 (Gnome-Rhone fighter), 633 (G-R light bomber) and 637 (G-R reconnaissance). These are the aircraft that looked much like the Bf 110, or so the French anti-aircraft gunners thought. The second section focuses on the Potez 63-11. This was the version with the large nose greenhouse and short cockpit canopy. This version is usually characterized as the “reconnaissance” version, although it was heavily armed and was also used as a ground attack aircraft. Each section provides a brief overview of the development of the aircraft. They then go on to describe the combat service of the aircraft in the French Air Force. Each section also covers the aircraft in foreign service. I had thought the Potez in Romanian service were war booty bought from the Germans, but that was not the case. Rumania was a paying customer before the War began. Finally there are the “walk-arounds”. In a number of Mushroom books the walk-around is comprised of photographs of restored or preserved aircraft, but that is not the case here. In both sections the pictures are of original aircraft, taken before and during the War, and drawings from the manuals. Considering the number of aircraft actually built and the impact of the war, it is an amazing collection. Modelers will find a wealth of detail. Apart form the walk-around, the book is filled with excellent pictures, most of which I have never seen. There are pictures of the prototype 630 and 631 taken from just about every angle. There is also a wonderful set of pictures of the natural metal 630 with the free-form khaki green scallops (fringe?) around the cockpit. The monograph also includes 1/72 scale line drawings of the main variants of the Potez 63 series and on a separate fold out insert, top and bottom views along with a cutaway drawing of the Potez 63-11. However, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of any of the drawings. If you find the narrative a bit confusing as to which model had what engine and performed what duties, not to worry. There is an excellent chart setting forth the specifications for, and production numbers of, each member of the Potez 63 family. Finally, there are the profiles. About 75 individual aircraft are covered. The profiles cover the various schemes worn by the Potez family in its service with various air forces – French, Vichy, Greek, German, Romanian and British, including a 63-11 in RAF desert scheme.
Considering the actual number of Potez 63 series aircraft that were in service, the type is well represent in modeling both in 1/48 and 1/72. In 1/48, there are resin kits from JMGT for the 631 and the 63-11 and injection molded kits from Azur for the 630, 631 and 63-11. This volume from Mushroom will be an invaluable source of not only information, but also inspiration. Given the lack of information on the Potez in English, this is a much needed and welcomed book.
French military aviation is not very known outside France, and this book is particularly welcomed as the Potez 63 was one of the major aircraft of the French Air Force in 1940. This aircraft is treated in almost 180 pages, so any one who can expect to find out many details won’t be disappointed. This very versatile aircraft was used in many variants as twin-engined fighter aircraft, night fighter, light bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. This latter version, the Potez 63-11 was the eyes of the French Army in 1940, and the units sustained heavy losses just in trying to bring back photographs of the position of the German Army.
For those who don’t know the Potez, this book will certainly give the a very good beginning. After having read the book, any reader will have a good knowledge of what the Potez has been, whatever the version involved. The orange series offers, as usual, numerous photographs of aircraft (including the foreigners users, Greece, Rumania, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and Yugoslavia and even under British markings !), and many close-up which will satisfy the modellers. The line drawings (1/72) are included and for the top and bottom views published in a separate poster. This posters displays a cute-way as well, unfortunately an old drawing, known for thirty years at least which contains many mistakes like the 50 kg bombs under the wings, something which was planned and tested but never actually used operationally by the squadrons. That probably explains why the author was unable to provide any photograph of the racks and bombs. Consequently, an updated version of this cute-way would have been appreciated.
Despite this, this book is a good one, and for any WW2 French Air Force enthusiast, the book is now a must and a good investment knowing that three majors types were put into service and are gathered in a single book !...
By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The attractive Potez 63 (well, until the Potez 63-11 reconnaissance aircraft, which proves how easy it is to make an ugly airplane from a nice one) was the most numerous aircraft in the French Air Force at the beginning of the Second World War, with over a thousand produced. Like many successful aircraft designs, the basic airframe was modified extensively to accommodate different missions, including fighter, light bomber, and reconnaissance. This latest from Mushroom Model Publications examines this diverse family in detail.
Like other titles in the Orange Series, this book aims at providing as complete a picture of the Potez 63 family as possible. This results in a balanced text, covering development and operational histories. Complementing the text are detailed scale drawings, including a separate pull-out sheet providing top and bottom views (along with a large cutaway view of the Potez 63-11). In addition to the detailed drawings, a wide selection of photos illustrate the aircraft in French as well as foreign service. The latter is surprisingly diverse, with many nations operating the type either through purchase or capture.
No Mushroom book would be complete without color profile illustrations, and this book provides that in quantity. Nearly eighty side view illustrations and over a dozen top and bottom views cover the Potez 63 family thoroughly. While the majority of these illustrations are of French machines, there are also drawings of Yugoslav, Swiss, Greek, Romanian, German, Italian, Spanish, and British examples. The standard French camouflaged examples are interesting enough, but some of the foreign Potez aircraft are very tempting modeling subjects.
With a series of excellent model kits put out by MPM, this book will provide all the information and inspiration needed to tackle any one of those.
Reviewer: Scott Van Aken
This new book from Mushroom Models Publications is on the Potez 63 family of twin engine aircraft. In 1940, this aircraft was the most numerous modern design that was available to the French Air Force and built in rather large numbers. In addition to being used by the French, export versions were used by Yugoslavia and Greece with others being provided to the Romanian and Hungarian Air Forces. Captured versions were used by the Luftwaffe as trainers while some were also flown by the RAF.
The Potez 63 had a somewhat long development period and typical of the French military industry of the time, were often near complete and waiting things like engines and propellers. This latter situation caused some of the earliest planes to be flown with two bladed props that were not totally suited to the type. One could also call the Potez 63 a multi-role airframe as the 630 and 631 were fighters differing from each other in engines used. The 633s were bombers while the 637 was a recon plane. The 637 was not really that effective and was later replaced by the vastly superior 63-11 with its redesigned, all clear nose section.
The author provides a full history of these aircraft including both development and operational use by the various services. There is a lot more to the story than people think and the historical section covers nearly half the book. This is then followed by a details section that uses period tech manuals and photographs to show the different parts of the airframe, including those sections that are different from type to type. Finally, there are many pages of superb color profiles showing the type in all variations and in use by all services. This is additionally enhanced throughout the book by 1/72 line drawings of the different versions as well as an excellent selection of period photographs. As a bonus, a very large fold-out is included that has 1/72 plans on one side and a huge cutaway of a Potez 63-11 on the other.
Those of you who are interested in these aircraft or aviation in general simply must add this volume to your shelves. You will not find a more complete reference like it.
By Ray Mehlberger
Mushroom Model Publications (MMP) is based in Redbourn, Herts, UK. There books are publish in Poland in cooperation with Stratus in Sandomierz. The books are in English. Their series of books are mostly on aircraft and a few on armor.
This latest book from MMP describes the design, development and operational use of the French Potez 63 family of twin-engined aircraft. The most numerous modern design available to the Armee de l’Air and Aeronavale in 1940. Produced in several versions as day and night-fighters, light bombers and reconnaissance aircraft, these aircraft played a major role in the unsuccessful fight against the Germans in the Battle of France.
Post-armistice, the Potez saw service with the Vichy Air Force, and with the Greek, Romanian and Hungarian Air Forces – and with the RAF and Luftwaffe.
The design, development and use of all versions of these aircraft are described in detail, profusely illustrated with 226 black and white photos and one rare color one. There is a 4-view 1/72nd scale drawing of the Potez 630, a 3-view 1/72nd drawing of a Potez 631, a 4-view 1/72nd scale drawing of the Potez 633 and a 5-view 1/72nd scale drawing of the Potez 63-11.
The book also contains 5 information charts, 22 illustrations out of technical manuals, 26 black and white walk around type photos of several 63 family types and a cut-away drawing of a Potez 631.
The color illustrations consist of:
3 side profiles of French Potez 630’s (plus a 3-view of another French one)
13 side profiles of French Potez 631’s (plus a 3-view and a 2-view of French ones)
3 side profiles of French Potez 633’s
4 side profiles of French Potez 637’s
4 side profiles of a Romanian Potez 633 (plus 2 upper and lower views)
29 side profiles of French Potez 63-11’s
1 2-view of a Polish 63-11
1 upper and lower illustration of a French 63-11
1 Polish side profile of a 63-11
2 side profiles of Romanian 63-11
1 Swiss side profile of a 63-11
1 Greek side profile of a 63-11 (plus an upper and lower view of another)
1 German side profile of a Potez 630
4 German side profiles of a Potez 63-11
2 Italian side profiles of a Potez 63-11
1 Spanish Nationalist side profile of a Potez 63-11 1 British profile of a Potez 63-11
1 French 3-view of a Potez 63-11
The book is 176 pages long and in MMP’s usual 9” x 6 ¾” soft-cover format for this series of aircraft books. There is a 23” x 16 ½” sheet inserted into the book as a BONUS. It has a cut-away drawing on one side (that spans the whole sheet) of a Potez 63-11. Below this drawing is a listing of the names of 142 parts in the drawing. The reverse side of the sheet has 1/72nd scale line drawings of the tops and bottoms of the aircraft of the Potez 63 family.
Finally, there is a loose sheet insterted into the book that lists 4 different plastic model kits in 1/72nd scale by MPM in their Azur series of kits. These are a Potez 63-11, a Potez 630, a Potez 631 and a Potez 633B-2. A further 3 Potez kits are listed in 1/48th scale. A Potez 630, a Potez 631 and a Potez 63-11. Color boxarts are shown for 4 of these kits, however we are not told which kits are illustrated.
A forthcoming book is announced on the back cover: “French Bombers and Reconnaissance Aircraft 1940”.
This book will be of great interest to aircraft historians and modelers alike. Highly recommended.
Skrzydlata Polska 2009-03-19
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