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  1. British Fighter Aircraft in WW1 Design, Construction and Innovation. By Mark C. Wilkins. Casemate Publishers. ISBN 9781612008813 The Great War heralded a fascinating era of aeronautical development, coming as it did just as the very first aviators and their machines were establishing themselves in Europe. As answers to various problems were sought a huge range of designs were tried, from tail first canards, pusher and tractor engines, monoplanes, biplanes, triplanes and more. This book is a natural follow on from the same authors previous work 'German Fighter Aircraft in World war 1', reviewed here in 2019. Filling 192 pages it is richly illustrated with around 250 photographs and drawings, many of them contemporary. It is printed on good quality glossy paper, dimensions 254mm x 203mm, between hardback covers. Sections are: Introduction The British Aircraft Industry The British and Colonial Aeroplane Company (B&CAC)/Bristol The Royal Aircraft Factory Aircraft Manufacturing Company (Airco) A. V. Roe & Company (Avro) Sopwith Aviation Company Engines and Props Conclusion Appendix 1: The 1915 Defence of the Realm act Appendix 2. Aircraft Designer Patents Notes Bibliography Modern full colour photographs are used to illustrate preserved machines such as those owned by the Shuttleworth collection. Others cover reproduction machines under construction such as John Saunders SE5a, and John Shaws beautiful Sopwith Camel, shown below: These are accompanied by detailed drawings/sketches of key components such as tailskids, interrupter gear, and others. All valuable information for modellers. I particularly liked the period advertisements, and factory shots of aircraft under construction which are very atmospheric. The major manufacturers are covered in dedicated chapters, featuring individual aircraft such as the Bristol Scout and F.2B, the RAF BE.2 and SE5a, Avro 504 (not really a fighter, but it fits in well) and Sopwiths Pup, Triplane, and Camel to name a few. This is rounded off with a very interesting chapter on engines and propeller manufacturing. Finally there is a selection of original patent drawings covering Avro's method of seat mounting to Sopwiths method of securing rigging wires (- and it's not a turnbuckle!). It is not a book to give you a detailed history of each aircraft, rather it describes the development of the various companies and some of the deigns they produced. There is as much information on Tommy Sopwith and the establishment of his famous company, as there is about the aircraft themselves. Plenty of anecdotes are sprinkled through the chapters, I particularly like the contemporary accounts from pilots. For example, Elliot White Springs, US 148 Aero Sqn "in a dogfight down low nothing could get away from it...a Camel could make a monkey out of an SE or a Fokker at treetop level but it couldn't zoom and it couldn't dive". Conclusion When looking back to earlier times, nothing is more important than context. To properly understand the story being told, the reader needs to be 'in the shoes' of the people of the time, and see things from their knowledge base and social values. This something this book does so well. The introduction and first chapter set the scene very well, setting out how British design lagged behind the French, and developed in different ways to the Germans. The author makes interesting points that I not considered before, such as the British use of the wooden box girder fuselage on all major designs throughout the war, while other nations used welded steel or plywood semi-monocoques. He also discusses how designs not only had to be good flying machines, but also had to be practical to build, transport, and maintain. There is a great deal of original thought and presentation that lifts this book above being just another book about First World War Aviation. It is a 'Sunday Morning' book, sit in your favourite armchair with a mug of tea, and spend a pleasant hour or so reading and enjoying this lovely book. There are a good few Sunday mornings to be had! Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf.G/H/J In Combat German Medium Tank (9788366673182) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The vehicle that was to become the Panzer IV began life as a semi-secret rearmament project of the newly minted Nazi regime, and at the time it was intended to be a Platoon Leader’s tank, which was heavily armed and armoured to make way for the other lighter tanks such as the Pz.II and Pz.III when they encountered heavy resistance. Production began with the tank fitted with a short barrelled 75mm gun in 1937 as the Ausf.A. By the time war broke out in Western Europe, they were already using the Ausf.D, which needed appliqué armour during its service life to cope with the larger calibre rounds it was receiving by then. The Ausf.E took this and rolled it into a single plate of 50m frontal armour and an additional 20mm on the turret and sides. The Ausf.F saw armour increase again, but by then the gun was considered underpowered, so some later examples were fitted with the new long-barrelled gun from the factory, while others were retro-fitted later. In mid-1942 the Ausf.G was manufactured in substantial numbers, but it was seen as over-complicated, an issue that beset many of their projects, but that was intended to be remedied by the Ausf.H, the extension of which was also the goal of the last variant, the Ausf.J. By this time the home situation was getting worse, and it was paramount to run the production lines as fast and efficiently as possible in between devastating bombing raids. This new book from Kagero Publishing is the fourth in a series, this one from author Michał Kuchciak. The book is soft bound, and runs to 80 pages in a portrait-oriented form. The book initially concentrates on the development of the type through the early stages in a potted history of the variants that led to the later marks that are the actual subject of the book. The various chapters are laid out as follows: Bataillonführerwagen Versions armed with a short-barrelled 75mm gun Re-arming Panzerkampfwagen IV with long-barrel guns Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.F2/G (Sd.Kfz.161/1) Towards a simplified design – Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H (Sd.Kfz.161/2) Final version – Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.J (Sd.Kfz.161/2) Organisation of Panzer units and brief combat history Camouflage and markings Export Conclusion Selected bibliography End notes Given the scope of the book, it is a fairly detailed overview of the type, with photos and drawings, plus several pages of profiles, plans and isometrics of the Ausf.J in various scales and some greyscale 3D cut-aways of the interior. In the latter half of the book, there are a lot of candid photos of the type in action, during downtime and maintenance in all kinds of weather, which will no doubt provoke some diorama ideas. A few useful tables are included too, especially table 5 near the back of the book that shows the various statistics and features of the three variants in a side-by-side “top-trumps” manner that shows the progression toward the ultimate Panzer IV. As a bonus, you will find a glossy A4 print of the cover artwork in landscape, focusing closely on the panzer in the foreground. Conclusion If you’re interested in the Panzer IV, this is an excellent book to broaden your knowledge and prime you for a potential deep-dive later into weightier tomes. Some great pictures and really nice profiles. Highly recommended. At time of writing, this book is currently on discount with casemate Review sample courtesy of
  3. A thread to keep you all updated on the latest modelling books from Casemate and our distributed publishers. Click on the jacket images of the books to link through to the website with more info. - Casemate UK
  4. R.E.P. type F in Royal Serbian Air Force Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK Dragan Ž. Šaler, Aleksandar M. Ognjević ISBN: 978-83-66148-53-6 Early aviation is a fascinating subject, so I was very pleased to see this new book from Kagero in the 'Famous Planes' series. It covers the R.E.P type F, a machine that I had not previosly heard of. The 'R.E.P.' come from the French designer/manufacturers initials, Robert Esnault-Pelterie. As well as aeroplanes he designed and built his own aero engines, and there was nothing suitable when he began his experiments in the early 1900s. He developed the 'semi radial engine' which only had the upper half of a normal radial engine, which apparently solved problems of lubricating the lower cylinders. These are described and illustrated in the book, and were something I was completely unaware of. Even more interesting is the double row 7 cylinder semi radial, which looks very strange with the two upper halves of a radial one behind the other in a 4 - 3 arrangement. His aircraft designs were just as innovative and he built several monoplanes, improving each successive design as experience was gained. In the period 1910 to 1912 the French Army received a total of thirty five R.E.P machines, and were able to equip two Escadrilles. They were excellent flying machines, and very highly thought of by those that flew them. In October 1912 a few days after the start of the first Balkan war between Serbia and Turkey, a sealed boxcar was discovered at a railway station at Toponica in Serbia. The train was traveling from Paris to Istanbul in Turkey, so as they were at war, the Serbian authorities opened the boxcar. Inside was an R.E.P. type F with spares, and it is this aircraft that now forms a large part of the story that book tells. Assembled and flown by Serbia (using foreign pilots due to a lack of trained Serbian airmen), the Type F went on to have several adventures and proved itself to be a sturdy and useful machine. As well as the narrative, the book contains a wealth of period photographs, 2D and 3D drawings, detailed technical drawings of engines and construction views, and markings worn during its service, mostly in colour. Should you be tempted to scratch build a model, the are three view plans in 1:72, 1:48, and a separate A3 sheet in 1:32 scale. There is so much detail in this book that a scratch build model is certainly viable. Who will be first to post one in 'Ready for Inspection' on this forum? Conclusion. This is certainly a niche interest book, aimed squarely at those of us with an interest in early aviation. The fascination of this period is that these guys were pioneering and working out what worked, and what didn't. If you can put yourself in their shoes while reading, then it becomes quite an absorbing story. I had never heard of the R.E.P. series of aeroplanes, and was interested to read that Britain purchased twelve of them. Vickers even produced them under licence, flying the first one from Joyce Green (near Dartford) in 1911. In Kageros style the A4 sized book is printed in English on the left side and Polish on the right side of each page, with seventy two pages between the softback covers The authors must have seen production of this book as a labour of love, as it surely would have taken much effort to seek and discover the detailed information and accompanying photographs. It therefore contains a wealth of original material, and if early aviation is in your sphere of interest, this book should be high on your list of purchases for 2020. Highly Recommended Review sample courtesy of
  5. German Fighter Aircraft in World War 1. - Mark C. Wilkins Casemate Illustrated Special. As aviation enthusiasts we tend to be drawn to particular areas of interest, be that modern jets, naval aircraft, airliners etc. For me one of the most fascinating areas is early aviation, and in particular the First World War. So many new ideas were being tried out, that a wide variety of different aircraft types emerged. This 21 x 26 cm hardback book from Casemate looks at the major German manufacturers and the designs they produced. Separate chapters are devoted to: 1. The Taube 2. Aviatik 3. Halberstadt Flugzeugzelte 4. Fokker Flugzeugwerke 5. Junkers Flugzeugwerke 6. Albatros Flugzeugwerke 7. LFG Roland and Pfalz Flugzeugwerke 8. Production Methodology 9. Siemens-Schuckert Werke 10. Armaments and Engines Each chapter looks in detail at the successful aircraft these manufacturers produced. For example the Fokker chapter covers the E.1 to E.IV Eindekkers, the D series, The Dr.1 Triplane, The D.VII and the D.VIII. Not only is the aircraft type and history described, but worked into several of the sections is a series of photographs and descriptions of accurate replicas under construction. These have built using the original drawings, production techniques, and engines. Many of the modern colour photographs are paired with original black & white photos showing the same stage being undertaken over 100 years ago. The Fokker sections features replicas from Achim Engels E.III Eindekker, Fokker Team Schorndorf's Dr.1 Triplane, Achim Engels D.VII, and Fokker Team Schorndorf's D.VII. All of them have been built as close as possible to the original machines, as if they were an extended part of the production run. The Albatros chapter features Craftlabs beautiful D.III's, with their varnished plywood fuselages, and reveals many useful details for model makers. The picture of the Craftlabs D.III in flight, looking up at the sunlight showing the wing construction the fabric covering, is one of many stunning photos. As well as containing a wealth of period and modern photographs, there are beautiful profile drawings by Ronny Bar of several aircraft, and numerous original drawings. The final chapter looks at the Engines and Armaments with particular emphasis on the widely used Daimler Mercedes D.III and LMG 08/15 Spandau. Colour photos provide many useful details of the D.III and Austro-Daimler 6 engines. Conclusion. I absolutely love this book, and have been totally absorbed in it. The author seems to have found a unique approach to describing these aircraft by blending a little bit of history with some understanding of the production techniques and materials used to create them. I'm not aware that anyone else has ever done this before, and it is a winning formula. As a modeller of 1:32 First World war aircraft, it has really advanced my understanding of how these aircraft were built. I can see how struts were fitted to wing spars, and how turnbuckles are hardly noticeable on rigging wires, it's brilliant and wins my personal 'Book of the year' award! - All I want now is another couple of these books covering British and French aircraft in the same way. Very Highly Recommended Review sample courtesy of
  6. The Waffen SS in Normandy (9781612006413) July 1944, Operations Goodwood and Cobra Casemate Publishers via Casemate UK Once the Allies landed on the beaches in Normandy in June 1944, the Nazi forces that were defending the northern French coastline had to move their units, particularly their armoured SS units to the point of attack, despite Hitler's lingering concerns that this might be a feint to distract from the main attack. That and the general interfering that Hitler was prone to meant that getting authority to move would be difficult and could have consequences for those disturbing him or going against his wishes. This new book from Casemate is bound in a softback cover with half-width fold-out fly-leaves giving a synopsis of the contents in front, and details of the publishing house at the rear. It contains 128 pages of glossy paper, much of which is printed in black and white, with a number of pages in colour, including profiles and some excellent colour photos from the time. The book follows the timeline of the battles and gives information about the key players in the Waffen-SS Divisions, and their struggle to get to the front in a vain attempt to throw the Allies back into the ocean. The German forces that were present in the invasion area did a good job of holding the Allies in check until the end of June, after which their break-out was to test and break their resistance, with operations Goodwood and Cobra taking Caen and rolling into Brittany, sealing the fate of the German forces in France. Later, the British Operation Goodwood and Canadian Operation Totalize began the constriction of what was to become known as the Falaise Gap, where much of the retreating German materiel and manpower were either killed or captured. The photos are of the usual high quality, with a number of destroyed SS vehicles, plus some grisly pictures of dead soldiers, and of course the leading figures of the SS. Thankfully the number of gruesome pictures are few, but they are a little upsetting, so if you're of a delicate nature, now you know. Spread throughout the book are a quantity of profiles of the SS vehicles involved in the actions detailed in the book, and each of the main battles and engagements have a short section devoted to them. Conclusion Although the SS are a contentious subject for some, they were integral to the defence of France, so their activities bear scrutiny if you wish to have the whole picture of the battles. Of course it's not for everyone because of this, but it's interesting to see how they were defeated both by the Allies and the lack of understanding of the situation by the Führer back in Berlin. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Modern Chinese Warplanes ISBN.978-09973092-6-3 Harpia Publishing The first publication of Modern Chinese Warplanes came out in 2012 and was acknowledged to be a superb publication with in depth analysis and information on all types and version of Chinese aircraft then in service. Six years have passed since that first release and the fascination with the Chinese military machine has yet to wane, in fact it is stronger than ever for both the analyst and the enthusiast alike. In the time between publications the Chinese military has been completely overhauled, with a new command structure within the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, (PLAAF), and the introduction of a host of new aircraft, systems and weapons. The general structure is now a thoroughly modern system able to cope with China’s challenges and aspirations. Consequently, this fully revised edition is organised in three parts: the most important military aircraft and their weapons found in service today; aircraft markings and serial number systems; and orders of battle for the PLAAF. The study includes the latest developments emerging from behind the ‘Great Wall', including the J-20 stealth fighter programme, Y-20 strategic transport and the latest developments in UAVs that are equipping a rapidly modernising air arm. The book is filled with high definition photographs of each and every type and a lot of sub-types of aircraft, their weapons and systems. There are quite a few aircraft that I only had an inkling of their existence and roles. This pressing is so up to date that some of the aircraft have yet to reach full production, yet alone full operational status. The author seems to have had unprecedented access to photographs that in the recent past would have been unheard of from what was the Bamboo Curtain. Whether this means that the Chinese authorities are being more open to allow information like this to be released, or they are now supremely confident in their military and their abilities. Conclusion Like its predecessor, this publication is amazing in its depth of information of the command structure and equipment currently in service with the PLAAF, backed up by a plethora of superb high definition photographs. Gone are the days of the pixelated or fuzzy images of old. For the modeller this allows a greater level of detail information for the models they make. If you are interested in modern Chinese aircraft then this book is a must have, especially as many of the aircraft are now available in model form in most scales. Review sample courtesy of
  8. SMS Armoured Cruiser Blücher Kagero Super Drawings in 3D The SMS Blücher was the last armoured cruiser built by the German Empire. She was constructed to counter the new armoured cruisers rumoured as being built by the British. Blücher was larger than preceding armoured cruisers and carried heavier guns but was unable to match the size and armament of the battlecruisers which replaced armoured cruisers in the British Royal Navy and - later - the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine). When the Germans learned of the true details of these new British ships, called the Invincible class, and that they were to be armed with 12" battleship guns, they realized that the Invincible class was a completely new type of warship, soon to be known as battlecruisers. By the time the Germans learned of this it was too late to turn back and construction of the Blücher took place as scheduled. The ship was named after the Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher, the commander of the Prussian forces at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Blücher was built at the Kaiserliche Werft shipyard in Kiel between 1907 and 1909, and commissioned on 1 October 1909. The ship served in the I Scouting Group for most of her career, including the early portion of World War I. She took part in the operation to bombard Yarmouth and the raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby in 1914. At the Battle of Dogger Bank on 24 January 1915, Blücher was slowed significantly after being hit by gunfire from the British battlecruiser squadron under the command of Vice Admiral David Beatty. Rear Admiral Franz von Hipper, the commander of the German squadron, decided to abandon Blücher to the pursuing enemy ships in order to save his more valuable battlecruisers. Under heavy fire from the British ships, she was sunk, and British destroyers began recovering the survivors. However, the destroyers withdrew when a German zeppelin began bombing them, mistaking the sinking Blücher for a British battlecruiser. The number of casualties is unknown, with figures ranging from 747 to around 1,000. Blücher was the only warship lost during the battle. This latest release from Kagero follows the now familiar format, with a short history of the ship, covering seven pages, including:- Specifications Hull Armour Armament Machinery Operational history The next seventy eight pages are taken up with the wonderfully rendered 3D drawings that this series has become known for. Although with this release there is so much more. Not only are the lower hull and propellers provided, but also great swathes of the interior of the ship have also been included in the finest detail. These include the engine rooms, propeller shaft spaces, turrets, magazines and even the forward torpedo compartment. For those modellers with a slightly masochistic bent, this information will be perfect for a scratch built interior for your models. The renderings show every part of the ship both in wide angle and close up which show some amazing detail not seen in other publications. As with most other releases this edition comes with an A1 pull out sheet with a top down and starboard side view, that also includes full interior cutaway showing all the ships spaces. On the reverse it is a similar story, but with the ship cut athwartships from stern to stem, giving twenty six diagrams. Conclusion As we’ve come to know what to expect from this series I can’t really say much more, other than if you’re a maritime fan you really should have them all in your reference library. What really picks this release out more than the rest is the amount of detail the authors have provided, what with all the cutaway renders and diagrams. Here’s hoping for a nice 1:350 injection moulded kit to go with it, such as the Combrig example, who also do one in 1:700. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. The Battleships of WWII Kagero There are many books on the battleships of WWII, what makes this one different is that it includes photographs and histories of many battleships that never saw action as well as the more famous ships of the main protagonists. In part one of a a two volume set, we see ships from Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Spain and Argentina all have a place alongside those who only had short careers during the war, such as Greece and France. The battleships and pocket battleships of German naturally have the largest section, alongside those ships from Japan. The photographs include ships builds, launches, trials, as well as war time photographs of the ships in action, including several after they’ve been sunk, but still accessible, or, as in the case of most of the French fleet, scuttled. Some ships have a very limited number of photos included. The best example of this is the Japanese battleships, Musashi and Yamato, of which only few photographs exist. But there are quite a few new ones, which I haven’t seen before, especially those from private collections which, apparently were very difficult to get permissions to print Some of the histories are rather disingenuous, particularly against the British against the German battleships, including theories that have yet to be proven and inaccuracies of historical fact. Whether this was due to the author’s deadlines, bad editing to get the volume down to a certain page count, or even bad translation, I couldn’t say. Conclusion Having read the author’s previous books on the Japanese carriers, Kaga, Soryu, and Hiryu with some interest, he does pick some rather difficult subjects, particularly when there are few photographs of particular ships. This volume is still interesting and I learnt quite a bit about the smaller navies ships, even if they saw little or no action. It is certainly a good book to have in your collection as there is quite a bit of detail shown in the photographs of ships that have been kitted, therefore improving the look or accuracy for the maritime modeller. Review sample courtesy of
  10. OSA 1 Fast Missile Boat Kagero Super Drawings in 3D The Osa class is probably the most numerous class of missile boats ever built, with over 400 vessels constructed between 1960–1973 for both the Soviet Navy and for export to allied countries. "Osa" means "wasp" in Russian, but it is not an official name. The boats were designated as "large missile cutters" in the Soviet Navy. The earlier Komar class were cheap and efficient boats (and the first to sink a warship with guided missiles, destroying the Israeli Navy's Eilat), their endurance, sea keeping, and habitability were modest at best, and the missile box was vulnerable to damage from waves. Among their other weak points were the wooden hull, the radar lacked a fire control unit, and had an inadequate defensive armament consisting of two manually operated 25 mm guns with only a simple optical sight in a single turret. The Komars' offensive weapons were a pair of P-15 Termit (NATO: SS-N-2 "Styx") missiles, and there was insufficient capacity to hold the more modern longer-ranged P-15Ms. The sensors were not effective enough to use the maximum range of the missiles, and the crew of 17 was not large enough to employ all the systems efficiently. In order to remedy all these shortcomings, it was felt that bigger boats were needed to mount the necessary equipment and to provide more space for a larger crew. In the new design the hull was made of steel, with a low and wide superstructure made of lighter alluminium alloys, continuous deck, and a high free-board. The edges of the deck were rounded and smooth to ease washing off radioactive contamination in case of nuclear war. The hull was quite wide, but the Project 205 boats could still achieve high speeds as they had three Zvezda M503 radial diesel engines capable of a combined 12,000 hp (15,000 hp on Project 205U onward) driving three shafts. These powerful engines allowed a maximum speed of about 40 knots, together with reasonable endurance and reliability. There were also three diesel generators. Two main engines and one generator were placed in the forward engine room, the third main engine and two generators in the aft engine room. There was a control compartment between the two engine rooms. The problem related to the weak anti-aircraft weaponry of the earlier Project 183R was partially solved with the use of two AK-230 turrets, in the fore and aft deck. An MR-104 Rys (NATO: "Drum Tilt") fire-control radar was placed in a high platform, and controlled the whole horizon, despite the fact that the superstructures quite low. Even with the unit placed in the aft position, this radar had a good field of view all around. The AK-230 turrets were unmanned, each armed with two 30 mm guns capable of firing 2,000 rpm (400 practical) with a 2,500 m practical range. Use against surface targets was possible, but as with the previous Komar ships, once all missiles were expended it was planned to escape and not fight. The missile armament consisted of four box-shaped launchers (protected from bad weather conditions) each with one P-15 Termit (NATO: SS-N-2 "Styx") missile. This doubled the available weapons compared to the Project 183R, giving greater endurance. The missiles were controlled by a MR-331 Rangout (NATO: "Square Tie") radar and a Nikhrom-RRM ESM/IFF that even allowed targeting over the horizon, if the target's radar was turned on. With all these improvements, these ships were considerably more effective. They had one of the first, if not the first close-in weapon systems (CIWS). The survivability rating was improved to 50%, and the required volley of 12 missiles could be launched by only three ships. Sinking a destroyer was therefore regarded as 'assured' using only six ships (two squadrons of three vessels), making the Project 205 vessels easier to coordinate and even cheaper than would be the required number of Project 183R boats to achieve the same effectiveness. I have always been fascinated by this class of vessel, they looked sleek and powerful. It’s great to see the Osa being the subject of this ever increasing collection of books, and while it is not the most complicated vessel seen in the series, the small details included in the renderings will be very useful. As usual there is a short introduction on the first six pages, covering the following:- Osa – from design to production Construction P-15, missile fangs of the ship Artillery armament Radiolocation equipment Osa’s under different flags Days of glory Museum ships bibliography The rest of the fifty nine pages are filled with the beautifully rendered 3D drawings we have got know so well in this series, covering every part of the ships structure, weapons, radars and sundry equipment. The drawings are really clear and perfect for the maritime modeller to see all the useful details that could help make that masterpiece that we all strive for. This release does include drawings for below the waterline, particularly useful for getting the propellers and rudders right,. An A3 folded sheet of line drawings is also included and this contains 4 views of the ship overall, in 1:100 scale, while on the reverse there are detail drawings of equipment in no particular scale, giving more detail to the information hungry modeller. Of particular interest are the distinctive Bass Tilt radars, P-15 missile and Nichrom IFF array Conclusion Following the now tried and tested formula that Kagero have made their own, this book is superbly produced and with the subject matter being one of the first fast missile boats which just happens to be the subject of the Merit 1/72 model released a year or two ago, plus several other kits that can still be found on auction sites etc. The most useful thing though, if building the Merit kit, is the positioning and style of the ships railings, which will need to be scratch built as the kit didn’t include them. Review sample courtesy of
  11. From The Riviera to The Rhine August 1944 to February 1945 Casemate Publications Written by Simon Forty and published by Casemate themselves, in their WW2 Historic Battlefields series, this book looks at the battles of the US 6th Army Group and French 1st Army from the landings in the South of France all the way to the French/German border along the Rhine. Two months after D-Day, just as the battle of Normandy was reaching its climax, with all eyes on the Falaise Pocket, the Allies unleashed the second invasion of France not in the Pas de Calais but the French Riviera. Immaculately planned, effectively undertaken, the Allies quickly broke out of their bridgehead, drove 400 miles into France in three weeks, and liberated 10,000 square miles of French territory while inflicting 143,250 German casualties. On September 10 they linked up with Patton's Third Army and advanced into the Vosges Mountains, taking Strasbourg and holding the area against the Germans' final big attack in the west: Operation Nordwind in January 1945. US Seventh Army and 6th Army Group undertook a successful campaign placing a third Allied army group with its own independent supply lines, in north-eastern France at a time when the two northern Allied army groups were stretched to the limit. Without this force the Allies would have struggled to hold the frontage to Switzerland and Third Army would have been exposed to attack in its southern flank—something that could have had disastrous repercussions particularly during the Ardennes offensive of December 1944.The images of palm trees and azure seas obscure our view of this campaign. It was no cakewalk. The Germans knew the Allies were coming and had strong defences in the area. A shortage of landing craft, vehicles, and matériel meant that the US Seventh and French First armies were restricted in the assault. The heavy fog and anti-glider defences made for a difficult airborne assault, but it was carried out effectively, the amphibious assault was text-book in execution and the invasion of southern France ended up as a significant victory. But the story of 6th Army Group wasn't finished. Taking up a position on the east flank of Third Army it fought its way through the Vosges and withstood the Germans' last throw: Operation Nordwind—the vain attempt to relieve pressure on the Ardennes assault by attacking in the Vosges. Heavy fighting pressed hard towards Strasbourg but the Allies were ultimately victorious, inflicting severe losses on the Germans. One of the more thought provoking elements in the book are the then and now photographs with the images side by side of men fighting in the streets of a French town, and today, with people walking peacefully along the same street. Conclusion Casemate should be praised for publishing this series of books, as although they may not be of an immediate interest to the modeller, when you take a closer look at the photographs there are a host of ideas that could be used in some interesting dioramas or vignettes. There are also the modifications and markings that could make for some unusual and different builds. For those interested in military itself it has been a real eye opener, as I knew of Operation Dragoon but not of the leading role of the French army, nor of the battles from South to North. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Italian Submarine Scire’ Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Scirè was launched on 6 January 1938 in OTO's shipyard in La Spezia and commissioned on 25 April 1938, one of 17 Ardua class submarines. At the beginning of the war, she was assigned to 15th Squadron (I Submarine Group) based at La Spezia and was under command of Adriano Pini. On July 10, 1940, while on patrol in the western Mediterranean, French cargo ship SS Cheik (1058 GRT) was torpedoed and sunk by Scirè 54nm from the Asmare Light, north of Sardinia. In the summer of 1940 Scirè underwent a series of modifications converting her to a SLC boat. The size of the tower was reduced, her deck gun was removed, and 3 watertight cylinders were mounted on her deck instead to accommodate maiali. These cylinders, each weighing 2.8 tons, could hold up depths down to 90 meters. On September 24, 1940 Scirè, under command of Captain Junio Valerio Borghese, sailed from La Spezia for her first special mission to be performed in Gibraltar. In the evening of September 29, upon reaching the Strait of Gibraltar, Sciré received an order from Supermarina to suspend the mission and return to the base as Force H had left the Mediterranean to operate in the Atlantic. In 1940 Scirè made it first foray into the Bay of Gibraltar intent on sabotage of the British ships in Gibraltar Harbour with three manned torpedoes. None of the three were successful with the most daring getting stuck 100 metres from HMS Barham. The crew were forced to withdraw and the explosion of the torpedo's only achievement was to tip off the defenders of Gibraltar Harbour. They organised for boats to drop small charges into the water each night that would have proved fatal to any diver in range of the shock wave. Scirè entered the Bay of Gibraltar again in September 1941 with better results than the previous time. On September 20, 1941 three tankers were attacked and Fiona Shell (2444 GRT, 1892) was sunk whilst other two ships, RFA Denbydale (2145 GRT) and MS Durham (10893 GRT) were damaged. The Italians decided to create a permanent base in Spain eventually converting a ship called Olterra that was moored off Algeciras into a permanent base for naval sabotage. Scirè accomplished many missions inside enemy waters. Among these, the most important was carried out on 3 December 1941. Scirè left La Spezia carrying three manned torpedoes. At the island of Leros in the Aegean Sea, it secretly loaded six crew for them: Luigi Durand de la Penne and Emilio Bianchi (maiale 221), Vincenzo Martellotta and Mario Marino (maiale 222), Antonio Marceglia and Spartaco Schergat (maiale 223). On 19 December, Scirè reached Alexandria in Egypt, and its manned torpedoes entered the harbour and sank in shallow waters the British battleships HMS Valiant, Queen Elizabeth and damaged the tanker Sagona and the destroyer Jervis. All six torpedo-riders were captured and the battleships returned to service after several months of repairs. During one of these missions, on 10 August 1942, Scirè sank, damaged by depth charges dropped by the British naval trawler Islay in Haifa bay, about 11 kilometres (5.9 nmi) from the harbour. Islay was captained by Lieutenant Commander John Ross of North Shields, Tyne and Wear who was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. The wreck of Scirè, lying at a depth of 32 metres (105 ft), became a popular diving site and Shayetet 13 training location. In 1984 a joint Italian-Israeli Navy ceremony was performed, in which the forward section was removed from the submarine and sent to Italy to become part of a memorial. In the whole of this series, under the Super Drawings in 3D banner there have been very few submarines, probably due to being enough detail to fill at least 80 pages of renders to be deemed interesting enough. Unless, of course, the publishers have enough information and access to the real thing to include the interior then I don’t think we will see too many more being included. With the Scirè though we really have the story of two submarines, the initial design with deck gun and normal submarine attributes, then the second, after here modification to chariot carrier, and this is what makes this title interesting. The reader is able to see the effect of the modifications to the subs profile and equipment fixtures and fittings. This is all covered through the wonderful renderings in the eighty pages of the book, the first seven pages of which cover the following parts of her story. Design SLC History The sinking The renderings show every part of the submarine in both guises, as well as the interior of the shelters and the maiali themselves. Also included is an A2 sheet with five views of the sub as originally built on one side in 1:100, while on the reverse you have five views of her as converted 1:150, along with detail drawings of the deck gun in 1:50 and maiale in 1:125. Conclusion While this is perhaps not the most detailed submarine title Kagero have released, the interest is in the conversion of the boat and the history of her daring operations. Of particular interest to those of the Mediterranean Sea war and of the brave maiale divers as I don’t believe there is a model of this sub available, in injection moulded plastic. Though there are a couple of resin kits in 1:400 by Dolphin Models, and 1:350 by E.V.A. Models. Review sample courtesy of
  13. IJN Battleship Fuso Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Fusō was the lead ship of the two Fusō-class dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Launched in 1914 and commissioned in 1915, she initially patrolled off the coast of China, playing no part in World War I. In 1923, she assisted survivors of the Great Kantō earthquake. Fusō was modernized in 1930–1935 and again in 1937–1941, with improvements to her armour and propulsion machinery and a rebuilt superstructure in the pagoda mast style. With only 14-inch (356 mm) guns, she was outclassed by other Japanese battleships at the beginning of World War II, and played auxiliary roles for most of the war. Fusō was part of Vice-Admiral Shōji Nishimura's Southern Force at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. She was sunk in the early hours of 25 October 1944 by torpedoes and naval gunfire during the Battle of Surigao Strait. Some reports claimed that Fusō broke in half, and that both halves remained afloat and burning for an hour, but according to survivors' accounts, the ship sank after 40 minutes of flooding. Of the few dozen crewmen who escaped, only 10 survived to return to Japan. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Overview Design Armour Power Plant Mechanisms of fire control Radar Equipment Searchlights Aviation Upgrading Conclusion The rest of the eighty five pages are filled with the now well known style of beautifully drawn 3D renderings of every part of the ship. More time and effort seem to have been taken with this volume as there are a lot more detailed renders, including cutaways of the magazines, athwartships of No.2 and No.3 turrets, and of the whole ship horizontally. Naturally there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build, and having built the 1/350 Fujimi kit I wish I had had this book at the time. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with plus the lower hull including the propellers and rudder. The area where I had difficulty in getting right, the funnel and searchlight towers is very well detailed in the book and would have been most useful. As well as the ship renders, there are also close up drawings of the triple 25mm mountings, searchlights and each of the main turret styles For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a three view on one side as the ship was in 1944, in 1:350, with additional drawings of the fore and aft views also in 1:350, ships fixtures, such as turrets, funnels, searchlights, single, dual and triple 25mm mounts and radar, which are in a mixture of 1:200, 1:150 or 1:50 scales. Conclusion This is another superb book in the series and a great addition to any maritime modeller’s library. This series is a boon to any ship modeller and is turning into a magnificent collection of titles. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if building the Fujimi kits in 1:700 and 1:350. Having compared the renderings with my completed 1:350 kit, Fujimi have done a great job on getting it right, and the use of their etched detail sets was worth it. Review sample courtesy of
  14. SS – KampfGruppe Peiper 1943 – 1945 Kagero Publications Written by Massimiliano Afiero and published by Kagero publishing, this book tells the story of the military career of Joachim Peiper, one of the most valiant and decorated officers of the Waffen SS, told through the main battles and campaigns, which involved the units under his command, especially the armoured Kampfgruppen of the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler, starting from the fighting on the front at Kharkov in the Ukraine, between February and March 1943, passing through the fighting for the salient of Kursk, the intervention in Italy, the new campaign on the Ukrainian front between autumn and winter of 1943-44, fighting on the front of Normandy, the counter-offensive in the Ardennes, until the last fighting on the Hungarian front and in Austria. The analysis of the various battles told through the testimonies of the direct protagonists, the war reports of the period, the original documents, without forgetting the involvement in the war crimes committed by units under Peipers command. Not only is this book is filled with useful information on all the battles the Kampfgruppen was involved in, but each battle is illustrated with numerous maps, diagrams and very interesting photos, including all the different vehicles used, many of the officers from headquarters down, and the more humble troops on the front line. The real interesting photos for the modeller are, naturally the vehicles and there are plenty of unusual camouflage schemes and equipment seen on everything from a SdKfz 251 Half Track to a SdKfz 182 King Tiger. There are also superb scenes just asking to be built as a diorama, plus three pages of colour profiles. Conclusion If you’re into your German armoured units of WWII then this is a must have book, the text is well laid out, although there are some spelling mistakes scattered amongst the text. The period photos are superb, although some are a bit blurred, and some of the annotations don’t seem to describe the picture. But if you want an unusual diorama, or camouflage for your model collection then look no further. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Greek Armoured Cruiser Georgios Averof Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Georgios Averof is a modified Pisa-class armoured cruiser built in Italy for the Royal Hellenic Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. The ship served as the Greek flagship during most of the first half of the century. Although popularly known as a battleship in Greek, she is in fact an armoured cruiser the only ship of this type still in existence. The ship was initially ordered by the Italian Regia Marina, but budgetary constraints led Italy to offer it for sale to international customers. With the bequest of the wealthy benefactor George Averof as down payment, Greece acquired the ship in 1909. Launched in 1910, Averof arrived in Greece in September 1911. The most modern warship in the Aegean at the time, she served as the flagship of admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis in the First Balkan War, and played a major role in the establishment of Greek predominance over the Ottoman Navy and the incorporation of many Aegean islands to Greece. The ship continued to serve in World War I, the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, and the interwar period, receiving a modernization in France in 1925 to 1927. Following the German invasion of Greece in April 1941, Averof participated in the exodus of the Greek fleet to Egypt. Hopelessly obsolete and prone to mechanical breakdowns, she nevertheless spent the next three years as a convoy escort and guard ship in the Indian Ocean and at the Suez Canal. In October 1944, she carried the Greek government in exile back to liberated Athens, after the withdrawal of the German army. In 1952, she was decommissioned, before being moved to Poros, where she was berthed from 1956 to 1983. From 1984 until the present day, she has been reinstated on active duty as museum ship in the Naval Tradition Park in Faliro. After maintenance in late 2017, she achieved seaworthiness state once again, allowing the ship to sail (towed) accompanied by Greek frigate Kountouriotis (F-462) to Thessaloniki Greece where she received more than 130,000 visitors over her 53-day stay. This is one of the few books in this burgeoning series where you can actually go and visit the ship in question. Some might question the fact that she is called the oldest armoured cruiser in existence, and point to the USS Olympia, but the Olympia is actually classed as a protected cruiser rather than armoured. As with the other books in the series there is a potted history of the ship, covering six pages including the following sections:- Overview Design Ships Propulsion Protection Armament Career The rest of the fifty nine pages are filled with the beautifully rendered 3D drawings we have got know so well in this series, covering every part of the ships structure, weapons, boats and sundry equipment. The drawings are really clear and perfect for the maritime modeller to see all the useful details that could help make that masterpiece that we all strive for. This release does include drawings for below the waterline, unlike a lot of other books in the series, so perfect for those of us who build full hull. An A1 folded sheet of line drawings is also included and this contains 3 views of the ship overall, in 1:300 scale, while on the reverse there are bow and stern drawings in 1:300, plus numerous detail drawings of equipment in various scales between 1:50 and 1:100, giving more detail to the information hungry modeller. Of particular interest are the distinctive radio aerials with their spreaders Conclusion Following the now tried and tested formula that Kagero have made their own, this book is superbly produced and with the subject matter being one of the most good looking battleships, it will become a must have for any maritime modellers. It will be interesting to see if anyone will release a kit of this interesting and long lived ship, surely a company like Combrig will give it a go at some point. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Russian Battleship Marat Kagero Super Drawings in 3D In the interwar period the battleship "Marat" was considered a symbol of the naval power of the Soviet Union. She was the most-described and filmed ship of the Land of the Soviets. In her 40-year service, rich in events, she survived four wars, but only in one of them - the civil war - she used her main guns in an engagement with enemy warships. In other conflicts, she served as a monitor rather than a battleship, shelling mainly land targets and carrying out counter-battery fire. At the end, she fell victim of the destructive power of German dive bombers. From that moment, she was a battleship only on paper. Mutilated and devoid of propulsion, she was still biting at the Germans from her remaining guns, and after the war, young pupils of the maritime craft appeared on board. Though it sounds absurd, even her reconstruction as a battleship was considered. This misconceived idea was not fortunately realised and the wreck - because it became one in the final period of service - finally went for scrap. This latest release from Kagero flows the now familiar format, and quite thick for one of these titles, with quite a long section on the history of the ship, covering ten pages, including:- From Petropavlovsk to Marat Marat’s Modernisation From Marat to Petropavlovsk Another planned Modernisation Extraordinary Events World War Two 22 June 1941 The Last Years Of Service Listing of Marat’s Commanding Officers during World War Two The next fifty nine pages are taken up with the wonderfully rendered 3D drawings that this series has become known for. Although with this release quite a bit of the lower hull is also shown, particularly the strange shape of the bow, rudder and propellers. The renderings show every part of the ship both in wide angle and close up which show some amazing detail not seen in other publications. With the ship covered there are also numerous drawings of individual bits of equipment, including some fabulous drawings of the secondary turrets, primary and secondary AA weapons, and the ships steam pinnaces. The book also includes a single A1 sheet with five views of the ship in 1:250. On the reverse there are detailed drawings of the secondary armament turrets, rangefinders, 37mm AA guns, machine guns, main turrets and ships boats in scales ranging from 1:50 to 1:200. Conclusion As we’ve come to know what to expect from this series I can’t really say much more, other than if you’re a maritime fan you really should have them all in your reference library. For the modeller you have the superb Zvezda 1:350 kit which this title will be a great resource for your build.. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Building Trumpeters 1:16th JagdTiger AFV Modeller Publications I’m usually pretty sceptical about books that tell you how to build a particular model as it’s an individual hobby and the modeller should build their models as they wish or see fit. That said, having read through this book, Sam Dwyer hasn’t written it like that. He goes through the build from start to finish telling the reader how he’s built it step by step over 129 pages. The more interesting, and to me, useful sections, are where he’s showing how to make the kit more accurate, what materials he’s used and where he’s had some parts 3D printed or obtained resin parts. Sam has certainly put in a lot work in building this huge kit and the results are splendid. It shows that he has put in a lot of research and/or really knows his JagdTigers. After the build there is a thirty one page reference section with photograph of a preserved machine. Ok, while they say it’s preserved, it’s still rather dilapidated and while they would be good at having a go at extreme weathering it would have been nice to see photos of a machine that had had some restoration, like the one in the Tank Museum at Bovington, although the colour of the engine bay may be a bit dubious. IF you use the references in the book along with your own, the positions of equipment and their colours can be confirmed. The last two pages show the updates, correction sets and accessories you can buy for this kit, from AFV Modeller themselves, and very nice they are too, also new to this modeller. Conclusion Once I’d got over my scepticism, and read through this book, the more I got into it. Sam Dwyer certainly has modelling skills and he does a lovely job in building this awesome kit, and he writes in a straight forward, non-patronising way, which I find quite refreshing. If you have this kit and want to get the best out of it, you need this book. It will also be useful for those modellers who build in smaller scales and would like to add or modify the interior, or would just like to get the exterior right. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Junkers Ju-88 Kagero Monographs No 64 3D Edition Having reviewed the first two volumes on the Ju-88 HERE and HERE, I thought that this volume would cover other variants, it seems I was wrong, again. Whereas the first volume was mostly about the development and issuing of aircraft to squadrons, the second volume with the aircraft's participation from the phoney war, 3rd September 1939 up to the end of the fighting in France in June 1940. This volume deals with the development of the bomber and reconnaissance versions and their use in the Battle of Britain from 10th July to 30th September 1940. That said it is still a very good book, with lots of information on the actions in which the aircraft was used, losses and general info on the maintenance and servicing at the time. The text, which takes up seventy seven pages of the book, is accompanied by lots of period photographs from France and over Britain including those shot down whilst on missions over the UK. There are some idiosyncrasies in the photographs though, in that they are well out of chronological order, if the order of this series of books is anything to go by. There are photographs of Mistel aircraft, aircraft in Italy and North Africa, but these are not actually mentioned in the text. What is mentioned, and is very interesting, is the actual reports and interviews from the pilots about their missions. The rest of the book is filled with the fabulous 3D drawings that Kagero have become noted for, with some real close up detail of many of the aircraft equipment and fittings. It is these drawings that will probably be of most use to the modeller in helping get the most detail into a model, although the photographs can also help in working out aircraft codes, area of use and the dates in determining to model a particular aircraft. Conclusion The history of the Ju-88 is continued and expanded upon in this volume which, when accompanied with the photographs and 3D drawings makes this book another must have for the Luftwaffe historian and modeller alike.
  19. German Type XXI U-Boat Kagero Super Drawings in 3D One of the most influential designs in the history of the submarine, the Type XXI was to set standards until the introduction of the nuclear boat a decade later. Though both closed-cycle turbines and diesels had been introduced, both still needed development, so a stopgap high-power electric boat was produced, using mostly established technology. With the lower pressure hull packed with high power density cells, the Type XXIs could, for the first time, develop more power submerged than surfaced. Their main propulsion motors were supplemented by low power units for silent manoeuvring. The design was suggested at a conference in Paris in November 1942 as an alternative to the Walter turbine boats which were taking so long to develop, and by June 1943 the preliminary design work was complete. The first Type XXI was built in June 1944. Like that in the Type XVII, the pressure hull of the Type XXI was of ‘double-bubble’ cross section, though externally framed. It was prefabricated in eight sections at a variety of sites, being brought together for final assembly at the shipyard. The external framing increased volume and facilitated the addition of a hydro-dynamically clean outer skin. Construction was all-welded for a target of five boats per week in an ambitious programme to produce an eventual 1,500 units (U-2500 to U-4000). Most other submarine programmes were curtailed or cancelled to this end. The Type XXIs were designed to spend their full patrol time submerged, so the snort was used mainly to run diesels for battery recharge. Habitability was greatly improved, with air-conditioning and air-regeneration apparatus. The only guns were paired automatic weapons set into the forward and after profiles of the elongated fin. A combination of active and passive sonar was used to provide a full torpedo-firing solution without recourse to the periscope. Additional advantages of this type of U-boat were quick deep-diving capability, a fast and silent speed and rapid torpedo reloading. Two proposed but un-built variants, the Type XXIB and Type XXIC, would have increased the number of torpedo tubes from six to 12 and 18 respectively by the insertion of extra sections into the hull. Fortunately for the Allies, the Type XXI never became fully operational before the end of WW2 . Only one Type XXI U-Boat (U-2511) – of the total of 131 commissioned – began with the first operation one week before the German surrender. Several non-operational U-boats were sunk during the evacuation voyages from the ports in northern Germany, which were threatened by Allied troops, to Norway; all by aircraft and in home waters. This is the latest book in Kageros series in 3D format with the first seven pages describing the design, propulsion, armour, armament, and service. The rest of the book is filled with the highly detailed 3D renderings these books have become renowned for, covering every part of the hull, tower, armament, fixtures and fittings. With this title though, there is also a full set of renderings for the interior of the boat as well as separate pages showing the torpedoes, including their interiors, and engines. As usual the drawings are beautifully done with some excellent views for us modellers in showing items you wouldn’t normally notice, or even see. In total there are fifty three pages of renderings, giving a pretty comprehensive insight into the U-Boats shape and equipment. The book also comes with a fold out A2 sheet with multi views of the boat in a rather strange 1:150 and the more normal 1:350 scales on one side, while on the reverse there are line drawings of the interior sections of the boat, in no particular scale. Conclusion While the other books in the series have been superb, the inclusion of the interior renderings raises this book to another level. I’m not sure about the colours used and further research will be required, but I imagine they are pretty close and would be a perfect companion to those modellers building the Revell 1:144 kit with interior as well as the more normal kits of this revolutionary submarine. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Soviet ASW Cruiser Moskva Kagero Top Drawings The work on the design of future long-range active anti-aircraft and anti-submarine ship - as it was initially determined - was conducted by the Leningrad CKB-17 in close cooperation with OKB-938 led by N.I. Kamov. The author of the ship's design, which was given the number 1123 and the code "Kondor”, was A.S. Sawiczew, and from 1967 - A.W. Marinich. The main task of the ship was to search and destroy American nuclear submarines carrying "Polaris” ballistic missiles in the Antarctic Ocean and Barents Sea. The Moskva-class helicopter carriers were the first operational Soviet Navy aircraft carriers, called helicopter carriers by the Soviet Navy. The Soviet designation was Project 1123 Kondor. These ships were laid down at Nikolayev South (Shipyard No.444). The lead vessel was launched in 1965 and named Moskva; she entered commission two years later. Moskva was followed by Leningrad, which was commissioned in late 1968; there were no further vessels built, reportedly due to the poor handling of the ships in rough seas. Both were conventionally powered. The Moskvas were not true "aircraft carriers" in that they did not carry any fixed-wing aircraft; the air wing was composed entirely of helicopters. They were designed primarily as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, and her weapons and sensor suite was optimized against the nuclear submarine threat. Their strategic role was to defend the Soviet ballistic missile submarine bases against incursions by Western attack submarines, forming the flagships of an ASW task force. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Top Drawing series, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. The rest of the eighteen pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams of every part of the ship. Of most interest is the drawings of the internals of the hanger and missile magazines, which while not much use to most modellers could make for an interesting scratchbuild. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate. As well as the larger diagrams, all drawn to 1:200 scale, are smaller drawings giving accurate details on most of the ships weapons systems and radars in 1:100 scale. In addition to the booklet, there are two A2 plans. Sheet 1 is in full colour with top, profile and fore/aft views on one side, in a 1:400 scale on one side and similar line drawings on the reverse side. Strangely enough Sheet 2 has the same line drawings as sheet 1, but on the reverse are a pair of side view line drawings, the upper of which is full hull and shows the stowage for the helicopters, while the lower profile is annotated, describing the ships weapons systems, radars and sonar. Conclusion I’ve always liked the rather odd shape of the Moskvas and being the Soviets first real attempt at aviation at sea, they were of interest to a young Royal Navy engineer, as they appeared to be so heavily armed. While this book/booklet is not the thickest around, it does contain lots of useful information that a modeller can use, especially updating eh rather old Airfix 1:600 kit, building the Combrig 1:700 kit, or keeping it in the library patiently waiting for that 1:350 kit that will surely be produced by a major manufacturer. Review sample courtesy of
  21. IJN Destroyer Fubuki Kagero Super Drawings in 3D The IJN’s plans called for 24 Fubuki-class destroyers. These were produced in two groups of ten, the Special Type I and the Special Type II which were distinguished by several technical differences. Type A turret, while the Type II had the Type B turret. The last four ships that were to be produced featured so many changes from the original design that they were redesignated as the Akatsuki-class. Despite the advantages of the Fubuki-class, it was not without problems. The design was overweight from the outset, which caused serious stability issues. There were also concerns with the structural integrity of the design. On September 26, 1935, the IJN fleet ran into a typhoon at sea. Two Special Type destroyers lost their bows, three more suffered severe structural damage, and six others had hull damage. As a result, from November 1935 to 1938 all of the Fubuki-class were sent back to the shipyards for hull strengthening and weight reduction. A ballast keel and an additional 40 tons of ballast were added. To lighten the topside of the ship, whose weight was the partial source of instability, a number of measures were taken: the bridge was reduced in size, smoke stacks were shortened, the number of torpedo reloads reduced, and magazine storage for the main guns was reduced. The result of these efforts was that the displacement was increased to 2,090 tons and top speed reduced to 34 knots, but the stability concerns had successfully been addressed. During the Pacific War, the Fubuki saw extensive service. For example, the Shikinami, which was assigned to Destroyer Division 19, was responsible for finishing off the cruiser USS Houston at the Battle of Sunda Strait during early 1942, participated in the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal from November 12-15, 1942, survived the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in 1943, and was finally sunk by the submarine USS Growler on September 12, 1944. Another Fubuki-class, the Amagiri, was the ship responsible for sinking John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 on August 2, 1943. It was later sunk by a mine in the Makassar Strait on April 23, 1944. As the war progressed, surviving Fubuki were modified to increase their survivability. Anti-aircraft armament was increased first to 2 x 13mm twin mounts, then to 2 x 25mm triple mounts, then to even more 25mm triple mounts, with some destroyers apparently being armed with as many as fifteen triple 25mm mounts. Seven of the destroyers were also eventually fitted with No. 22 radars, but the first was not installed on the Yugiri until November 1943, long after the tide of the war had shifted in favour of the Allies. Eighteen of the class were sunk- six to Allied submarines, seven to aerial attack, three to Allied surface ships, and two to mines. Only one of the destroyers, the Ushio, survived the war (another destroyer, the Miyuki, was sunk in a collision in 1934). This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Overview Design, Propulsion and Armour Armaments Service Record Conclusion The rest of the ninety three pages are filled with the now well known style of beautifully drawn 3D renderings of every part of the ship. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate, and there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with plus the lower hull including the propellers and rudder. I particularly like the renderings of the torpedo launchers and the turrets and ships boats, plus the interior of the bridge with the paraphernalia contained therein. She certainly was a very good looking ship, even with the unbalanced main armament with one turret forward and two aft. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a three view on one side, unusually in 1:200, with additional drawings of the fore and aft views, ships fixtures, such as bridge, funnels, AA platforms and radar, most of which are in 1:100 or 1:50 scales. Conclusion This is another superb book in the series and a great addition to any maritime modeller’s library. This series is a boon to any ship modeller and is turning into a magnificent collection of titles. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if building the Tamiya, Pit-Road and Yamashita Hobby kits in 1:700. Review sample courtesy of
  22. IJN Heavy Cruiser Maya Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Maya was one of four Takao-class heavy cruisers, active in World War II with the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). These were the largest and most modern cruisers in the Japanese fleet, and were intended to form the backbone of a multipurpose long-range strike force. These ships were fast, powerful and heavily armed, with enough firepower to hold their own against any cruiser in any other navy in the world. Her sister ships were Takao, Atago and Chōkai. Following the defeat in the Guadalcanal campaign, at the beginning of 1943, the Navy Technical Department and The High Command of the Imperial Japanese Navy strived to increase the defensive potential of all their warships. Apart from standard refits of the majority of the Imperial Japanese Navy units, a plan was adopted, which called for reconstruction of two "Takao” class heavy cruisers into anti-aircraft units. Through a coincidence only the Maya underwent such conversion. On 22 October, in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Maya was assigned to Sentai-5 with sister ships Atago, Takao and Chōkai together with the battleships Yamato, Musashi and Nagato. At 05:33 on 23 October, during Battle of the Palawan Passage, Maya's sister-ships Atago and Takao were torpedoed by the submarine USS Darter. Atago sank in approximately 18 minutes. Twenty minutes later, submarine USS Dace fired six torpedoes at Maya, mistaking it for a Kongō-class battleship; Maya was struck by four torpedoes portside: one in the forward chain locker, another opposite No. 1 gun turret, a third in No. 7 boiler room and the last in the aft engine room. Powerful secondary explosions followed immediately, and by 06:00 Maya was dead in the water and listing heavily to port. She sank five minutes later, taking 336 officers and men to the bottom, including her captain Akishimo rescued 769 men, and transferred them to the battleship Musashi, which was sunk the following day; 143 of Maya's crewmen were lost with Musashi. Therefore, from the final crew of 1,105 crewmen, 479 were lost. She was removed from the navy list on 20 December 1944 This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, showing the cruiser in her anti-aircraft configuration. Like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Operational History Period before outbreak of war The War between December 1941 to July 1942 August 1942 to December 1942 January 1943 to July 1943 August 1943 to March 1944 April 1944 until sinking Operational Commanders Evaluation of Anti-Aircraft Cruiser conversion Authors Note Bibliography The rest of the eighty one pages are filled with the beautifully drawn 3D renderings we have come to expect from this series. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate, and there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with. There are also some good renderings of the lower hull, especially aft around the propellers and rudder. The fore and aft views really show the quite odd shape of the hull as it splays out from the waterline and the massive anti-torpedo bulges. I particularly like the renderings of some of the AA gun mountings with the crewmembers in place and in an action setting, which might come in handy for a super detailer modeller. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a five view on one side, in 1:350 drawings of the Mainmast, Bridge Tower, Forward Turrets bird’s eye view and a view down the starboard side, and Midships section showing the AA gun deck, in no particular scale. Conclusion This is a great addition to any maritime modeller’s collection and continues this superb series of books. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if building the beautiful Aoshima 1:350 scale kit, if you can get hold of one. Review sample courtesy of
  23. From Moscow to Stalingrad The Eastern Front, 1941 - 1942 Casemate Publications Written by Yves Buffetaut and published by Casemate themselves, in their illustrated series, this book looks at the crucial period after the Red Army's success at Moscow when Germany was preparing for all-out attack across the entire Russian front, which was to end with disaster at Stalingrad. The path from Moscow to Stalingrad was littered with successes and losses for both the Red Army and the Wehrmacht, with tensions remaining high and culminating in one of the harshest battles of the Second World War. Part of the Casemate Illustrated series, this volume outlines how it was that, less than a year after their defeat at Moscow, the German army had found a way to make the Soviet troops waver in their defence, with their persistence eventually leading to the Battle of Stalingrad. The successful expulsion of the German troops from Moscow in the winter of 1941 came at a cost for the Red Army. Weaknesses in the Soviet camp inspired the Wehrmacht, under Adolf Hitler's close supervision, to make preparations for offensives along the Eastern Front to push the Russians further and further back into their territory. With a complex set of new tactics and the crucial aid of the Luftwaffe, the German army began to formulate a deadly two-pronged attack on Stalingrad to reduce the city to rubble. Initially only on the periphery of operations, bit by bit German ambitions focused on Stalingrad. In the lead up to this, Timoshenko's failed attack on Kharkov followed by the Battle of Sebastopol in June 1942 prompted Operation Blue, the German campaign to advance east on their prized objective. The book contains numerous photographs of the ships, planes, tanks, trucks, and weaponry used by both sides in battle, alongside detailed maps and text outlining the constantly changing strategies of the armies as events unfolded. What is great to see, in a modelling point of view is the sheer number of types of vehicles used on the Eastern front. Some of the vehicles I hadn’t realised were even available at this point in the war, so has proved educational for this reviewer. Conclusion Casemate should be praised for publishing this series of books, as although they may not be of an immediate interest to the modeller, when you take a closer look at the photographs there are a host of ideas that could be used in some interesting dioramas or vignettes. There are also the modifications and markings that could make for some unusual and different builds. Review sample courtesy of
  24. German S-38 Schnellboot Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Identified by the British sometimes as an "E-boat" (Enemy boat), the German Schnellboot, or S-Boot, differed considerably from it's Royal Navy counterpart the MTB (Motor Torpedo Boat). The S-boat was built mainly from wood upon metal frames and received a round-bilged hull form. The hull was based on an advanced design principle of the time called the Lürssen effect. This was a design that reduced the wave-making resistance of the boat when at speed. In the case of the Schnellboots, this effect was provided by two small rudders mounted on each side of the main rudder and turned outboard. These rudders force the water under the hull outward, lifting the stern, thus reducing drag, and lowering the wake height, which “requires less energy, allowing the vessel to go faster.” The effect was discovered by the German shipbuilding company Lürssen Werft based in Bremen-Vegesack. The most famous of these Schnellboots was the S-38 version. Although the Kriegsmarine only produced in 100 boats of this type, it captured many ship-loving and modeller’s imagination with its sleek lines, torpedo armament and deadly rear mounted 4cm Bofors guns, it had a length of 35 meters and a displacement, full load, of over 100 tons. Thanks to its 12 cylinders Daimler Benz engines the S-38 was able to reach a speed of 39.5 knots. These Schnellboots were primarily used to patrol the Baltic Sea and the English Channel in order to intercept shipping heading for the English ports in the south and east. As such, they were up against Royal Navy and Commonwealth Motor Gun Boats (MGBs), Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs), Motor Launches, frigates and destroyers. They were also transferred in small numbers to the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea by river and land transport. This is the latest book in Kageros series in 3D format with the first seven pages describing the design, propulsion, armour, armament, and service. The rest of the book is filled with the highly detailed 3D renderings these books have become renowned for, covering every part of the main decks, superstructure, armament, fixtures and fittings. As usual the drawings are beautifully done with some excellent views for us modellers in showing items you wouldn’t normally notice, or even see. Although stated, as showing the S-38, the craft shown in the drawings is actually a S-38b with the Kalotte, (Skull Cap), armoured bridge surround, which gave the crew a certain amount of protection. There are some good comparison drawings showing the different weapons fitted to the S-38b and the S-100. In total there are sixty two pages of renderings, giving a pretty comprehensive insight into the boats shape and equipment. The book comes with a fold out A2 sheet with multi views of the boats in a rather strange 1:75 scale, as well as detail drawings of the various guns fitted, in 1:50 scale. Conclusion This is another great addition to the series. With the Revell 1:72 and Italeri’s magnificent 1:35 kits released, this book will be a real boon to modellers, and also those enthusiasts of these superb boats who fought their war in the narrow seas. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate Kagero TopDrawings The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate is, in my opinion one of the nicest looking Japanese fighters of WWII. Having built a number of kits, mainly 1:48 I hadn’t realised there were so many differences between the different variants. This, the latest book in their TopDrawing series, shows these differences in clear, well drawn diagrams, all in 1:48 scale, with additional details, such as weapons etc in 1:24 scale. There are 15 pages in total, with four pages in the centre of colour plates with side views of two aircraft per page. To the rear of the book there are two pages dedicated to showing the differences through shading and annotations, from the early Ki-84-013 to the last variant, the Ki-84 Tei. Also included with the book are a set of masks, for 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scale kits. There is also an A2 pull out sheet with side a d front views of the Ki-84 Ko and Hei on one side, plus top and bottom views on the other, all in 1:32 scale, plus another pullout sheet, this time in A3 showing top and bottom views of the Ki-84 Ko on one side and the Hei on the other, in 1:48 scale. Conclusion These are great little books for modellers, and while they aren’t exhaustive in their information, they do help show the differences throughout the production run. As with other books in the series, this one should be used along with other reference material to ensure the accuracy of your model. Review sample courtesy of
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