Updated: Dec 29, 2022
Neville Duke's "Test Pilot" Card Game, A Pepys Original Game
First Published: 1955, A Pepys Game by Castell Brothers Ltd., St. Cross Street, London
Illustrator or Designer: A. B. Bowbeer of "Flight"
Contents: 44 Regular cards, 48 Small cards + Rules Booklet
There is a "Playing Pack" of 37 cards, a "Priority Test" set of 7 cards and a "Result of Test" pack of 48 small cards.
In the playing pack there are 2 "Neville Duke" cards, 14 cards: 2 x 7 individual 'planes, 3 cards showing "All 'Planes", 14 cards: 2 x 7 pairs of 'planes, 2 cards with a group of three civil 'planes, 2 cards with a group of four military' planes.
The 7 "Priority Test" cards have red borders.
The "Result of Test" pack has 12 cards each of 4 small cards: Test O.K., Compass Unserviceable, Radio Failure & Sticking Undercarriage.
Test Pilot cards: Neville Duke, Avro Vulcan, Bristol Britannia, De Havilland Comet 3, Fairey Delta 2, English Electric P1, Fairey Rotodyne, Gloster Javelin, All ‘Planes.
Test Pilot cards: Fairey Delta 2 & Avro Vulcan, Avro Vulcan & Gloster Javelin, De Havilland Comet 3 & Bristol Britannia, Bristol Britannia & Fairey Rotodyne, English Electric P1 & De Havilland Comet 3, Fairey Delta 2 & Fairey Rotodyne, Gloster Javelin & English Electric P1, Fairey Rotodyne & Bristol & De Havilland, Fairey Delta & English Electric & Gloster Avro.
Test Pilot cards: Priority Tests - Avro Vulcan, Bristol Britannia, De Havilland Comet 3, Fairey Delta 2, English Electric P1, Fairey Rotodyne, Gloster Javelin.
Test “Pilot cards: “Result of Test"small cards - Test O.K., Compass Unserviceable, Radio Failure & Sticking Undercarriage + small card back.
A couple of years before Pepys' game Neville Duke published his autobiography, also titled "Test Pilot".
Front & back covers of "Test Pilot" (1953) Allan Wingate Ltd., London
Neville Duke (1922-2007) was a major celebrity in the late 1940s and 50s, his fame and popularity were said to be equivalent to that of Stanley Matthews or Sterling Moss.
He was a highly decorated World War II fighter Ace, a breaker of multiple air records and the chief Test Pilot for Hawker. He was also a Vice President of the Eagle Club, formed by Eagle magazine, and some have speculated that he partly inspired the character of Dan Dare. The best short biography I have found is The Guardian's Obituary.
Arthur Bowbeer of Flight Magazine produced the illustrations for the game. He is best known for his highly detailed and accurate cutaway drawings of aircraft which were a popular regular feature in Flight.
Mig-15 Cutaway Drawing by Arthur Bowbeer, Flight 28/1/1955
In 2011 Lagoon reproduced the game as part of their Pepys range.
The original set featured here was part of Rex Pitts' personal collection.
Game & Version Details
Test Pilot - Box & Contents
Test Pilot - Card Back
Test Pilot - Rules Front
Test Pilot - Rules Back
Test Pilot - Box Top
Test Pilot - Box Side Left
Test Pilot - Box Base
Test Pilot - Box Side Right