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  1. The Chaco War 1932-1935 Fighting in the Green Hell Latin America @ War No.20 ISBN : 9781913118730 Helion & Company via Casemate UK The Chaco War is considered one, if not the first modern conflict in South America. The Chaco War was fought between Paraguay and Bolivia between 1932 and 1935 for control over the Northern part of The Gran Chaco region which was thought to be rich in oil. It is attributed that the conflict was as a result of Royal Dutch Shell backing Paraguay, and Standard Oil backing Bolivia for the said oil rights. It was not helped by Argentina looking to import oil from here as well. The war was one the first in the region to use mechanised transport and tanks, however the regions arid terrain and lack of water caused issues with water cooled engines, and the dust caused its own mechanical issues including the jamming of machine guns on both sides. The lack of water also had problems with cavalry regiments forcing them to forgo their horses and fight as infantry. The book is 72 pages long with many black & white photographs used throughout from archives in Paraguay and Bolivia. There are nine colour profiles and 11 colour maps. The book considers the historical back ground to the conflict, This book considers the ground war only, Latin America @ War No.8 gives a lot more detail on the Air War and one of the first Aerial conflict in South America. Conclusion This book will give the reader a good understanding of the History of this little known conflict. Despite many books and articles over the years from Foreign historians this is the first book from a local author who has researched the conflict with extensive access to local personal and private archives and this shows. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. The Japanese Battleship Kongo 1944 Kagero TopDrawings No. 110 via Casemate UK ISBN : 9788366673236 The Kongo named for the 3,691 ft mountain in the Kawachi region of Osaka Prefecture, Kansai, Japan was already an old ship when WWII Broke out. She was built as a Battlecruiser and the lead ship of here Class, she was the last major Japanese warship to be built outside of Japan by Vickers in Barrow, being laid down in 1911 and commissioned in 1913. In 1929 the Japanese rebuilt her as a Battleship increasing her power, armour; and fitting catapult aircraft. The in 1944 the Japanese Navy again sent the ship for a major refit. This upgraded the fire control system, the addition of increased anti aircraft defences; and the fitting of Radar. After taking part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea she sailed to Brunei in late 1944. On leaving there on 20th November 1944 she was attacked and sunk by the US Submarine USS Sealion. The ship sank following detonation of forward magazine with a loss of 1250 lives including her Commanding Officer Rear Admiral Shimazaki. This new volume from Kagero gives us 22 pages of line drawings and a double sided set of plans slightly larger than A2 in size. The book and the plans show the ship as she was after the 1944 refit. Conclusion This is another good book in the series. The pullout sheet is also good to see. This is certainly a very useful book for all modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Panavia Tornado In Combat (9788366673175) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK In the 60s, European nations were separately researching a new generation of Fighter Bomber, to replace the ageing fleets of Canberras and V-Bombers in British service, and Starfighters in some of the European countries. Several single-nation projects were discarded along the way, and as their needs converged (at times an uneasy cooperation), the concept of a multi-national project took shape, eventually settling on the name Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) to be managed by a new company, Panavia. As is usual with these projects, there were some comings and goings of participants, with the final partners being the UK, Germany and Italy, in a 42.5/42.5/15% split respectively. Britain built the nose, cockpit and forward fuselage, plus the tail and aft fuselage, while the Germans made the central fuselage section and the Italians were responsible for the variable-geometry “swing-wings”. Compromises always have their downsides, and although the Tornado was a powerful, fast aircraft and a capable bomb-truck, it wasn’t as manoeuvrable as some, even in the “fighter” variant that Britain knew as the F.2 or F.3, which has a longer nose and fuselage inserts that give it a slightly different, more slender look. It first flew in 1973 from a German airfield with a British pilot, and carried on extensive testing with a large number of prototypes and pre-series aircraft taking part to allegedly speed up the process. In RAF service it was too new to take part in the Falkland conflict, leaving the creaky Vulcans to their last and most impressive missions at maximum range. They served valiantly with their respective operators through the various Middle Eastern conflicts, as well as in the Balkans, during the policing actions there. The Tornado’s service with the RAF ended after 40 years in 2019, to be replaced by the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is also replacing some of the Tornados still in service with other nations. This new book from Kagero Publishing is the fifth in their In-Combat series, this one from authors Salvador Mafé Huertas and Riccardo Niccoli. The book is soft bound with a card cover, and runs to 68 pages in a portrait-oriented form. The book initially concentrates on the research of the requirements for the type through the early stages in a discussion of the development that led to the Tornado, which is incidentally the same spelling for all nations. The systems incorporated into the three sub-types are also detailed, as are the uses of the aircraft in service with the several nations that have used it, without playing favourites to one or the other. The various chapters are laid out as follows: Introduction The Tornado IDS The Airframe The Powerplant The Avionics The Radars The Navigation System Weapons Delivery Self-Defence Systems Armament Tornado at War Middle East The Balkans Afghanistan Libya Operations against the Islamic State RAF Jets Strike Chemical Weapons Facility in Syria The End of the Tonka Tornado SEAD & ECR The Tornado ECR Luftwaffe Tornados Return from Counter IS Mission Given the scope of the book, it is a fairly detailed overview of the development of the aircraft, with copious colour photos of a good size with drawings, several pages of profiles, plans and cross-sectional drawings. In the latter half of the book, there are a lot of photos of the type in action, mostly at the beginning and end of missions as you’d expect, or on the ground in between times. As a bonus, you will find a glossy A4 print of the cover artwork in landscape, focusing extremely closely on the Tornado in the foreground, although it does cut out a little of the explosion in the background, which is a shame from my personal aesthetic point of view. Conclusion If you’re interested in the Tornado, Tonka of Fin, 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, although at times the text can be a little disjointed due to its (I suspect) translation into English from another language. Some spelling mistakes and incorrect choices of words have also crept in too, sadly. Don’t let that put you off though, as it’s still very much worth a read and a look. Highly recommended. At time of writing, this book is currently on discount with Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  4. Eastern Front Vol.1 Camouflage & Decals ISBN: 9788366673205 Kagero via Casemate UK This is the first of a new armour series from Kagero Publishing that consists profiles of various armour and softskins from the Eastern Front during WWII, drawing from both German and Russian forces. It is 40 pages and is in a card bound portrait format, and it is rammed with profiles, as you’d expect. In addition you get a set of decals in the three major armour scales of 1:72, 1:48 and 1:35, with tons of numbers in black and white, a bunch of crosses in various styles, some bird of prey motifs, and the name Rudy, which is from a popular fictional story. The quality of the profiles is up to Kagero’s usual standards, and includes various scrap diagrams where additional detail is necessary on the rear of the vehicle or on the front etc. Each profile has a caption in English and Polish, giving some information about the subject, inasmuch as there is available to the researchers and artists. At the front of the book is a single page that is split between an introduction to the series, and in the bottom half of the page is a large table that suggests a colour palette for the German vehicles in FS codes, Humbrol, Gunze, Pactra, Testors, Extracolor and Tamiya paint codes. Conclusion This is a niche series that will doubtless appeal to those that enjoy looking at and studying profiles of vehicles, and the decals that are included, whilst generic for the most part also include the Rudy decals (as seen above) that will appeal to an Eastern European market where the series is more well-known. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 Vol 1 Indian Military Intervention in East Pakistan Asia @ War No.18 ISBN : 9781913118631 Helion & Company via Casemate UK India and Pakistan have had a fractured relationship and many conflicts since the countries were partitioned post WWII. Partition was rushed by all sides with the former colonial no longer having the will or finances to guide a successful and conflict free partition. Both India & Pakistan were also impatient in wanting the British to leave. The whole affair was done in haste without real consideration to some of the finer points, including the large elephant left in the room of Kashmir. There have been no less that 5 major wars, a continuing insurgency and simmering rivalries to this day with both states possessing some from of Nuclear capacity. In partition Pakistan was divided into East & West Pakistan. Despite being "Pakistan" these two areas had little in common with each other apart from being predominately Muslim. West Pakistan was six time larger than the East, The West was the centre of political power , where as the East had the rich agricultural lands of the large delta and accounted for 75% of all foreign earnings. The West in Effect treated the East as a Colony to exploit much like the former colonial rulers had done. This lead the East to Declare independence. India saw helping East Pakistan as a means to both cement its status in the region and to shift the balance of power, plus im sure they liked to use it as a club to hit the old enemy with. Islamabad also miscalculated that it might receive either Chinese or American support against India, neither of which they received and in general the UN was pretty ambivalent to the whole affair. Originally the Indians supported the initial East Pakistan insurgency, however this lead to a full on invasion prompting Pakistani attacks on India. The Indians quickly over ran East Pakistan and only then did the USSR & USA force a ceasefire. Thus the State of Bangladesh was formed out of East Pakistan. The book is 74 pages long with many black & white photographs used throughout. There are five pages of colour profiles and one of colour maps. The book considers the historical back ground to the conflict, forces garrisoned in East Pakistan, The role of foreign powers, Air & Naval forces, India's initial support; and then the Indian Invasion. Conclusion This book will give the reader a good understanding of the History of conflict and how the State of Bangladesh came into being. It is by no means a comprehensive tome on this as its only 74 pages but it will give the reader a broad understanding of the region, the conflict, those fighting it; and the weapons they used. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Fallschirmjäger! Helion & Co. via Casemate UK Before WWI there was no such animal as the paratrooper, although it was considered briefly by the Americans but was rejected due to the lack of preparedness of any aspect of the mission, troops, technology or method of delivery. Under the circumstances it was little more than a pipe-dream, but you could also argue that it was some seriously advanced thinking by Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, he of B-25 fame. After WWI the static-line parachute was developed, and with the rapid progression of aviation technology, the idea became a reality, initially in a small way. With the rearmament of Germany after Hitler came to power, Göring had a rare good idea that the Luftwaffe could benefit from having a parachute division, which in German the parachute part is Fallschirm, while the Jäger element originates from the Prussian hunter regiments of yore. Their initial success at the outbreak of WWII made the Allies sit up and take notice, resulting in most countries establishing an equivalent group within their military structure. The members of the Fallschirmjäger were initially volunteers, and wore a distinctive brimless variant of the Stahlhelm worn by the Wehrmacht and SS soldiers. Their battle dress was also different, consisting of knee-length smock and voluminous trousers tucked into their boots. They were a respected foe, as they were well-trained and heavily indoctrinated, so after their usefulness as paratroopers waned, they became more of a special forces outfit that fought on the ground, and were called upon to provide support to struggling areas of the front. This book by Helion & Co is a collection of memoirs of survivors of the Fallschirmjäger, that have been gathered together by author Greg Way over a number of years. Greg is a self-confessed addict to their history and exploits, having served in a totally unrelated branch of the British military himself, cultivating his interest through correspondence with survivors of this dangerous branch of the German military via the internet and upon his own dedicated forum. It is a perfect-bound measuring 170x245mm in portrait form with card cover as you can see at the top of the page. Inside are 308 pages of glossy paper, the last of which is blank. It is divided into chapters based upon the experiences of one contributor per section, some of which are longer than others, depending on what they each have to say. Each soldier has seen action of varying types, which differs but has a common theme of initial success that is coupled with sadness over loss of their comrades, and eventually leads to more loss and eventual retreat as the conditions of the war turned against the Nazis, with the inevitable resignation to captivity or death. These brave guys were little more than boys when they took weapon in hand and offered to jump out of perfectly serviceable aircraft to carry out their orders. It is interesting to hear the story from the opposite side of the lines, and how they fought as individual fighters, made their way through the battlefield when they got separated from their units, and how often it was random chance that one man lived while another died, sometimes horribly. On this subject, there are some stories that might be hard to read and some photos that might be upsetting if you’re of a delicate nature. I wouldn’t say I was, but one photo in particular of a heap of dead people in a building was quite disturbing, so you have been warned. The sections of the book are broken down as follows: Foreward Preface Acknowledgements Fallschirmjäger Rank Structure Glossary of Terminology & Abbreviations Précis of the Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger operations and campaigns 1939-45 Introduction Part I Dr Kurt Erich Schulz Wolfram von Beck Rudolf Jackl Sebastian Krug Wilhelm “Willi” Schulte Freidrich “Fred” Wilhelm Kranefeld Helmut “Bolle” Bollmann Karl-Heinz “Charlie” Pollmann Kurt Engelmann Josef “Sepp” Jendryschik Bernd Bosshammer Carl Bayerlein Erwin Bauer Robert “Bob” Frettlöhr Rudolf Müller Volker Strutzer Part II Bernd Bosshammer Heinrich Gömpel Franz Rheza Afterword Bibiography Index This is a book that you get to read primarily, but there are plenty of photos interspersed with the text, often from the protagonist’s personal collection, including photos of friends they lost along the way and some that survived to take more photos together in their old age. Also, at the end of some of the stories there are notifications of the date of death of the contributor, as their stories have been collected over a number of years, some of them 20 years or more ago, and no-one’s getting any younger. Conclusion This is a very interesting book for anyone that is interested in WWII, regardless of your interest in the parachutes, which to me adds another intriguing aspect, as they floated into some interesting places at times. Of course they were on the losing side, and that becomes evident as their stories progress, with occasional incidents of joy in amongst the pain along the way to the end of the war. Very highly recommended. Currently out of stock after a discounted offer, but worth looking out for the next restock Review sample courtesy of
  7. Camouflage & Decals Messerschmitt Bf 109 A-F (9788366673212) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Messerschmitt Bf 109 is one of the iconic aircraft of WWII. It origins were from before WWII where it was first used in the Spanish Civil War by the German Air Force working on the side of the Spanish Fascists in what would prove to be training for WWII. The Bf 109 served through WWII going through many changes of the design including fighters and fighter bombers. The book is primarily colour profiles of the various different marks of the 109. There are 39 pages of profiles and a page listing model paints for the German RLM colours. These are listed in FS number, Humbrol, Gunze, Pactra, Aeromaster, Testors, Xtracolor and Lifecolor brands. As well as the Book there is an accompanying decal sheet. While the book contains the profiles there is no information accompanying the profiles as to the colours used on that aircraft. By Kagero's own admission in the preface the profiles used in the first 5 of these books have been previously published by them before. Future books will feature new material. Decals There is n the book a sheet of decals in both 1/72 & 1/48. The decals look well printed, glossy with minimal carrier film. I was surprised and disappointed to find out these only contained the national markings for Germany & Spain. I was expecting maybe a decal sheets to supply some of the markings to build a few of the aircraft in the profiles. As it is if you dont have these already in the spares box or decal stash then you will have to source these separately. Conclusion Sorry but a combination of recycled profiles along with a decal sheet only containing National Markings does not make me want to rush out for more of the same. Recommended only if you are a die hard 109 fan and must have this publication. I feel Kagero are riding on the coat tails of some excellent publications they have done in the past with this volume. Review sample courtesy of
  8. MiGs in the Middle East (9781913336363) Volume 1 Soviet Designed Combat Aircraft in Egypt, Iraq, and Syria 1955-57 Helion & Company via Casemate UK The 1950s as well as seeing an expansion of Jet Powered Aircraft saw the heightening of the cold war. All over the world countries were shifting into the spheres of influence of either the Western Powers of the Soviet Bloc. The Middle east was no exception. Even though post war counties such as Syria and Egypt relied on combat Aircraft from The RAF the soviets seized the anti Israeli sentiments to provide more modern combat aircraft to these states. The MiGs they were able to provide were unfortunately for the RAF superior to their then aircraft. The RAF having to rely on the US F--86 as a stop gap measure before more modern types came on stream. The book is 62 pages long and looks at the early years of the air forces from these countries. While the title of MiGs might grab the reader there is a great deal of history in the book looking at the different and varied types operated post war, before shifting to look at how MiG-15, 17's and later 19's were supplied to these countries. This first volume as well as the general history then switches to look at the MiGs, the units which operated them, the tactics used and the leaders in those air forces. We also look at how the aircraft were used in Conflicts with neighbours such as Israel and in conflicts with Britain, France, and other countries. As well as many exclusive black and white photos used throughout the book there are 8 pages of colour aircraft profiles and maps. Conclusion This is an excellent detailed book on the post war start of these Air Forces and the introduction of more modern Soviet Aircraft. The history is well worth a read and this book no doubt sets the reader up wanting the rest of the series which will follow. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Tsar Bomba (9781913336318) Live Testing of Soviet Nuclear Bombs, 1949-62 Helion & Co via Casemate UK After WWII, Soviet Russia was desperate to catch-up to their former Allies in the field of nuclear weapons, as Stalin’s paranoia and projection led him to believe that the US, UK or the newly formed NATO alliance were planning on using their newest and most devastating weapon upon their communist enemies, as that’s what he would have done given half a chance, after all. Using espionage to obtain any information that they could, they did their best to get on a par with the Allies, by any means necessary. They started small, mimicking the first Fatman sized bombs for proof of concept, and as they progressed their yields grew larger and the bombs became more compact and transportable. During the period between 1949 and 62, they detonated 214 warheads of increasing size, with the Tsar Bomba just one of the many tests, all of which were carried out in the open air, and many were part of a larger exercise that involved the ingress of unprotected soldiers and vehicles into contaminated areas soon after detonation, with horrendous consequences for some of them. This book is number 10 in the series Europe @ War from Helion, and details the period briefly described above, although it doesn’t concentrate solely on the Tsar Bomba as you might have otherwise thought. It goes through the whole process, beginning with the look-alike bombs and their reverse engineered Tu-4 carriage, which was little more than a carbon copy of three Boeing B-29 Superfortresses that landed intact in Soviet territory during WWII. Without the relatively advanced design of their copy, carrying their bombs aloft would have been a much more difficult affair, although these were eventually replaced by more advanced indigenous designs using jet or turboprop engines, such as the Tu-95 Bear. The book follows the timeline and mingles the bombs in with the bombers, in order to discuss their interoperation and success or failure in their assigned task. It is broken down as follows: Abbreviations Introduction Dropping the Big One Playing Nuclear War The Messenger of Death The Monster Bomb Storm Before the Calm Moscow’s Mace Afterword – We Are Still Here Appendices Bibliography Notes Acknowledgements About the Author The chapter about the “big one” is the most intriguing of course, detailing the process of choosing and adapting the Tu-95V for the task, and the trimming of both the size and weight of the bomb itself in order to make it a viable weapon. It was designed to yield a terrifying 100 megatons, but was fitted with lead tampers that reduced the yield to a little less scary 50 megatons that still blew a huge hole in the sky with a shockwave that almost shook the Bear and its chase plane out of the sky, devastating the surrounding area in the process. It is said that the detonation of that bomb “adjusted” the tilt of the earth’s axis 0.2o, which is a mind-boggling thought in itself and must have had consequences for us all, ignoring the amount of radiation and other pollutants that were tossed into the upper atmosphere. This is apparently the first English language book on the subject, which is written by Krzysztof Dabrowski and is perfect bound in a card cover, extending to 56 pages with plenty of photos and text to keep you busy. Some of the photos are unlikely to have been seen by many, as they have been lifted from documentaries and official films, but due to the nature of Soviet secrecy at the time, occasionally the photo quality isn’t up there with the best. That’s to be expected though, as is the amount of black & white photography thanks to the era in question. There are some good quality profiles of the various aircraft discussed in the book, plus profiles of the bombs themselves, and the typical dress of the bomber crews and the poor unfortunates that spent time in the radiation zones as part of the exercises. Conclusion A very interesting read that shows just how unconcerned with the welfare of their people and planet the super powers were/are. Highly recommended. Currently showing as out of stock due to popularity at Casemate UK, but it's bound to be back soon. Review sample courtesy of
  10. The Aircraft Carrier HMS Invincible Kagero TopDrawings No. 111 via Casemate UK ISBN : 9788366673267 HMS Invincible (R05) was the lead ship of her class. Laid down by Vickers at Barrow in 1973 and launched in 1977.; she was commissioned in 1980. In a tradition within the Royal Navy R05 was the sixth ship to bear the name with a history stretching back to the first ship a 74 Gun Ship of the line. She was in fact though Royal Navy prize captured from the French and originally named Invincible, no guesses where the HMS came from then! R05 was to be 16,000 tonnes displacement, 677 feet long with a beam of 90 feet at the waterline and a draught of 24 feet fully laden. 4 Rolls Royce Olympus engines would give a top speed of 28 knots, with a normal cruising speed of 18 knots. She was designed to carry 10 Sea King Helicopters and 8 Sea Harriers. Despite only serving for 2 years it was announced in early 1982 that the Australian Government had agreed to buy the vessel to replace HMAS Melbourne. However international events would intervene with the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands taking place in April 1982. HMS Invincible would sail with HMS Hermes as the capital ships of the task force to retake the islands. Despite various claims of damage and indeed of sinking; the carrier returned undamaged from the Falklands. After her return the ships close in weapons systems were supplemented with additional Phalanx & Oerlikon systems. A refit between 1986-89 would increase the vessels overall length allowing more hanger space to operate additional aircraft. Additional magazine space was also provided for the carriage of Sea Eagle missiles for the Harrier, and additional torpedoes for the Helicopters. The 20mm Phalanx systems were replaced by 30mm Goalkeeper systems. In 2000 additional modifications would also take place to allow the operation of RAF Harriers from the deck. One of the main noticeable differences was the removal of the Sea Dart System and its radar; along with an enlarged flight deck. In 2005 the vessel was made inactive in the sense it could be reactivated with 18 months notice to return to the fleet. However 5 years later the vessel was put up or disposal and struck off the register. With most of her systems gutted she was eventually sold for scrap and broken up in Turkey in 2011. Battle Honors or HMS Invincible were; St Vincent 1780, St Kitts 1782, Glorious First of June 1794,, Alexandria 1882, Heligoland 1914, Falkland Islands 1914, Jutland 1916, & The Falkland Islands 1982. In addition she served in operation Southern Watch over Iraq and in the Balkans. This new volume from Kagero gives us 28 pages of line drawings and two double sided set of plans slightly larger than A2 in size (one side of which is in full colour). The book and the plans show the ship as she was after the removal of the Sea Dart. Conclusion This is another good book in the series. The pullout sheets are also good to see. This is certainly a very useful book for all modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Vought F4U Corsair Kit Build #6 9788366673243 Kagero via Casemate UK The Corsair was designed as a carrier-based fighter that was powered by the immense grunt of the R2800 Double-Wasp engine by Pratt & Whitney, the same engine used by the Hellcat and B-29 bombers. The prop it carried was so large that it needed an anhedral on the inner-wing to clear the deck, and dihedral on the outer to compensate, giving it that familiar gull-wing shape from the front. During the design process the cockpit was moved further aft that also gave it the racy side profile, but also made deck-handling and landings a little difficult due to the overhang at the front, which led pilots to adopt a slightly crab-like approach until ready to trap-on, which afforded them a better view of the approach to the carrier. Despite it being one of the fastest piston-engined aircraft at the time, having a fast climb-rate and being agile in combat, it was not as popular with pilots as the more ordinary Hellcats, which had ruggedness on their side too. Nevertheless, it was a great fighter and capable bomber that was used both by the US, the British and some other countries well into the 50s, lingering in service until the 60s with the French. There were teething problems during development and into service, and weight was a consideration, leading to some squadrons that became land-based removing some of the carrier-specific equipment to give them a slight edge. The original canopy was heavily framed, and this was soon replaced by a blown Malcolm-style hood that reduced framing to a minimum, giving the pilot a better view that improved situational awareness in battle. The Book This is the sixth edition of a new range from Kagero, the descriptive Kit Build series, which doesn’t need much more explanation unless you don’t have a good grasp of the English language. It is printed in full colour in a card cover, which are sometimes referred to as a “bookazine” these days. The text is written in English on the left and Polish on the right, which translates to English on top, Polish on the bottom for most of the captions. It has 66 matt-finished pages within, and is bursting with colour on every one. There are three builds within the book, two of the 1:72 Tamiya F4U-1 Birdcage Corsair by Richard Kovalčík and Marcin Ciepierski, the other another Tamiya kit in 1:48 of the F4U-4 by Karoly Bera, the latter a repaint of an earlier build by the author. The first 1:72 Corsair is a Tamiya kit built as a care-worn and truly filthy airframe of VMF-213, which was flown by 1st Lieutenant Wilbur J Thomas, in a well-scuffed two-tone blue-grey over light grey scheme, with a few upgrades in the shape of Eduard PE and some scratch-building. 21 pages of step-by-step instructions, the various techniques employed to give the surface of the model the appearance of wear, explained in both words and pictures, showing just how to achieve very realistic wear effects. The second 1:72 kit is also Tamiya, but a little cleaner by a short head. The builder uses a Yahu instrument panel, a resin engine, and some scratch-building again. This build takes place over 16 pages, and depicts a less sun-bleached version of the same camouflage scheme used on the earlier build, with just a little wear on the inner wings and filth from the engine exhausts. The decals used depict the mount of Lieutenant Wilbur "Gus" Thomas nicknamed Gus's Gopher, from VMF-213 stationed at Guadalcanal air base in July 1943. The 1:48 Tamiya kit is a repaint as mentioned earlier, re-depicted as a worn and faded airframe that has been in the sunny climes of the Pacific Theatre, affecting the tri-tonal dark blue, mid-blue and white camouflage. This one undergoes a full riveting, after which the primary focus it on the painting of course, which takes several steps including severe chipping around the leading edge of the inner wing panel. The underside is similarly horribly dirty, with splashed and dribbled fuel streaks everywhere. This one is depicted as Big Hog, but all the photos I could find online had this as an F4U-1, which confused me. I’m confused. All three models are built to a very high standard with variable amounts of aftermarket and scratch-building used to further improve the detail of the models. Each build finishes with a number of pages devoted to high quality photos of the completed models, some of which are extreme close-ups. The final 4 pages are devoted to side and top/underside profiles of various US airframes, and as a little bonus, an A4 print of the cover art without the lettering etc. is included for your delight and possible framing. Conclusion As long as you’re willing to spend some time and energy on making and painting your models, this book should give any modeller with a little experience a guide to a raft of new techniques to try or adapt to their way of doing things. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Camouflage & Decals Japanese Fighters (9788366673229) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Japanese produced some excellent fighters in WWII however their production was never able to keep up with demand, even more so once the US Started the strategic bombing of Japan. The book is primarily colour profiles of the various different aircraft used.. There are 40 pages of profiles and a page listing model paints for the original colours. These are listed in FS number, Humbrol, Gunze, Pactra, Aeromaster, Testors, Xtracolor and Lifecolor brands. As well as the Book there is an accompanying decal sheet. While the book contains the profiles there is no information accompanying the profiles as to the colours used on that aircraft. By Kagero's own admission in the preface the profiles used in the first 5 of these books have been previously published by them before. Future books will feature new material. Decals There is n the book a sheet of decals in both 1/72 & 1/48. The decals look well printed, glossy with minimal carrier film. I was surprised and disappointed to find out these only contained the national markings. I was expecting maybe a decal sheets to supply some of the markings to build a few of the aircraft in the profiles. As it is if you dont have these already in the spares box or decal stash then you will have to source these separately. Conclusion Sorry but a combination of recycled profiles along with a decal sheet only containing National Markings does not make me want to rush out for more of the same. Recommended only if you are a die hard fan and must have this publication. I feel Kagero are riding on the coat tails of some excellent publications they have done in the past with this volume. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Grumman F6F Hellcat Kit Build #3 9788366148949 Kagero via Casemate UK The Hellcat was designed as a replacement to the earlier Wildcat, and although they bear a distinct familial resemblance, they are completely different aircraft with no commonality of parts to speak of. It was the preeminent US Naval fighter in the Pacific Theatre, having an R2800 Double-Wasp engine pulling her along by the propeller and a ruggedness that many a pilot was grateful of after getting in the sights of a Japanese Zero. She was also a good gun platform, agile in the air, and easier to land on the deck than the Corsair it fought alongside. It was widely deployed by the US, and in British service it was initially known as the Gannet (why?), but reverted to the Hellcat name soon after for simplicity, with over a thousand in service with the FAA until the end of the war. In American hands there were many pilots that became aces thanks to the skill of the pilots and the quality of their rides, achieving incredible kill ratios against the Zero that remained respectable against later Japanese designs, accounting for roughly half the US kills in the Pacific Theatre. The Hellcat was also a capable ground-attack aircraft, which was demonstrated in support of the US ground-troops during the hard-fought Island-Hopping campaign that eventually led them to Japanese homeland islands. After the war America withdrew the type from front-line service soon after peace broke-out, but retained it as Air National Guard (ANG) and used it as a disposable drone aircraft, carrying a 2,000lb bomb to targets in Korea while under external control. In the short-term it was replaced by the Bearcat that was faster due to an uprated version of the same R2800 engine, being more manoeuvrable and therefore more dangerous, but ultimately destined to have a relatively short life in US service thanks to the burgeoning jet-powered revolution. The Book This is the third edition of a new range from Kagero, the descriptive Kit Build series, which doesn’t need much more explanation unless you don’t readily understand English. It is printed in full colour in a card cover, which are sometimes referred to as a “bookazine” these days. The text is written in English on the left and Polish on the right, which translates to English on top, Polish on the bottom for most of the captions. It has 58 matt-finished pages within, and is bursting with colour on every one. There are two builds within the book, one of the 1:72 Eduard F6F-3 by Robert Wąsik, the other in 1:48 of the Hellcat Mk.1 by Robert Skałbania, the latter in British service. The 1:72 Hellcat is built as a care-worn airframe of VF-15, who took part in the Marianas Turkey Shoot, operating from USS Essex, in a well-scuffed tri-tonal Semi-Gloss Dark Blue and Intermediate Blue over Insignia White scheme. Over 25 pages of step-by-step instructions, the various techniques employed to give the surface of the aircraft the appearance of wear, explained in both words and pictures, showing just how to achieve very realistic effects. The 1:48 Eduard kit is depicted as a Royal Navy FAA airframe with moderate wear and a little bit of fading thanks to the sunny climes of the Pacific Theatre. This one has a stack of aftermarket thrown at it from a mix of providers, including Eduard, Aires and Master, adding a resin engine that has some of the cowling panels removed to show off the detail. Both models are built to a very high standard with variable amounts of aftermarket and scratch-building used to further improve the detail of the models. Each build finishes with a number of pages devoted to high quality photos of the completed models, some of which are extreme close-ups. The final 11 pages are devoted to side and wing profiles of various US airframes, and as a little bonus, a set of vinyl US stars are included for your use. Conclusion As long as you mix in some talent to go with your kit, this book should give any modeller with a little experience a raft of new techniques to try or adapt to their way of doing things. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. South African Armoured Vehicles (9781913336257) A History of Innovation and Excellence Africa @ War No.49 Helion & Company via Casemate UK Three major points affected the design of South African Armoured vehicles. The long distances in country and low force density need a highly mobile fleet of vehicles, this coupled with the types of border conflicts with the heavy use of mines were major factors to consider. The third major factor in the design of these vehicles was that following 1977 due to the apartheid regime South Africa was cut off from most major sources of external arms. This necessitated they research and develop their own armoured vehicles. The results of this turned out to be some of the most robust vehicles produced anywhere for their time. Some of these principles in relation to mine & IED resistant vehicles would then be needed by the west for conflicts in Iraq & Afghanistan. The book is 96 pages long and covers the Eland, Buffel, Ratel, Casspir, Rhino, Bateleur, Offifant, Rooikat, Mamba; and Badger vehicles. There are over 100 black and white photos throughout the book, with 12 pages of colour profiles with specifications, plus 4 pages of colour profiles in the centre of the book. Overall this offers a general history of the development and use of these vehicles without going into things in minute detail. Conclusion This is a good book looking at these unique armoured vehicles. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Operation Danube (9781913336295) Europe @ War No.7 Helion & Company via Casemate UK On the 20th of October 1968 hundreds of thousands of Warsaw Pact troops supported by armoured vehicles and aircraft invaded Czechoslovakia in what was the largest military operation in Europe since the end of WWII. In Early 1968 following the election of Alexander Dubček there was an attempt to grant individual rights to the people of Czechoslovakia along with an attempt to partially decentralise parts of the Economy and government. This became known as the Prague Spring. Needless to say these reforms did not go down very well with the Soviets. Over 200,000 troops from the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary would invade the country supported by the very latest tanks and aircraft. In order to identify these aircraft had two red stripes on the fuselage and the tanks a large white stripe up the middle from the front and sides. East German troops were not used due to implications following the German invasion in WWII, with Romania, Yugoslavia, and Albania refusing to take part. Despite calls from Alexander Dubček for the people not to resist there was sporadic resistance throughout. The book is 72 pages long and considers the background to the invasion, and the invasion itself. It looks at both the ground invasion and its airborne counterpart. Detailed orders of battle for the forces taking part are given along with many black & white photos. There are eight colour pages in the centre with vehicle & aircraft profiles. Overall this offers a detailed in-depth account of this operation which marked a turning point in the cold war, and changed things in central Europe for a long time. Things only changing with the velvet revolution in 1989 to which Dubček lent his support, he was against the dissolution of Czechoslovakia which eventually came about. Conclusion This is a good book on an important event in European History. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Air War on the Eastern Front (9781612009087) Casemate Publishers via Casemate UK Hitler was overwhelmed with hubris by the time the push west through Belgium and France had ended, and went full-tilt into opening up an Eastern Front with Soviet Russia in contravention of their non-aggression pact and against the advice of his generals. It proved conclusively that you can’t trust the word of a psychopath, but Operation Barbarossa was remarkably successful initially, as it seemed to have caught Stalin (another crazy person) off-guard, and for a while he was difficult to contact as he withdrew in a funk. When he eventually came out of hiding, he was able to mobilise the immense weight of Soviet forces, despite having gutted the leadership with frequent and deadly purges during the preceding years. The Nazis came perilously close to the capital Moscow before the Soviet Juggernaut turned them around, but huge losses were suffered in the air and on the ground in the process. The majority of the VVS (Soviet Air Force) that were in range were destroyed on the ground by the initial Luftwaffe raids, with over 60 airfields devastated and swiftly over-run by the unexpected Blitzkrieg tactics employed by the Germans. This new book from Casemate’s own publishing house 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 publisher at the rear. It contains 128 pages of quality thin glossy paper, much of which is printed in black and white, with a number of pages in colour, including profiles and a few fascinating colour photos from the time. The book follows the timeline of the campaign and then gives information about the key aircraft in the German and Soviet Air Forces, including the Lend/Lease aircraft given to the Russians by the Allies, with opinions from the pilots and their comparative merits in the captions as well as some of the aforementioned profiles for each type. The book is laid out as follows: Contents Timeline of Events Prelude to the Great Patriotic War The Red Air Force The Luftwaffe Operation Barbarossa Soviet Counteroffensives Fall of the Fatherland Aftermath Further Reading Index The photos are of the usual high quality, with a huge number of destroyed Soviet aircraft initially, plus some slightly grisly pictures of dead airmen in the snow, but as we progress through the book the weighting shifts toward the destruction of the Luftwaffe by grim attrition both of experienced pilots and their aircraft, which all became worn out and the latter also became short of fuel. A short but poignant profile of a female Soviet pilot who flew against the Luftwaffe and sadly died in 1943 is given toward the end, and this is printed on a sombre blue background, as are some of the other profile pages of aircraft and squadrons throughout. Conclusion This is a great visual synopsis of the invasion and retreat from Soviet Russia by the Nazis, and while there are other more detailed books out there (some of which are mentioned in the “Further Reading” section), it makes for an interesting summary from an aviation perspective, which is exactly its intention. It's interesting to see how the Luftwaffe were defeated both by the resurgence of the Soviet Air Force (and army) and the lack of understanding of the situation by Göring and the Führer back in Berlin. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Operation Bagration The Soviet Destruction of German Army Group Centre, 1944 Casemate Publishing Operation Bagration was the codename for the immense operation by the Soviet army that sealed the fate of the German forces that were already in retreat after the failure of Barbarossa when the might of the Soviet forces woke up to the danger in the nick of time. It exacted a heavy price from both sides, with almost half a million dead and a further 300 Germans falling into captivity, from which the majority wouldn’t return. It began in June 1944 with the mobilisation of 1.2m Soviet troops and armour, and ended with the demolition of the German forces and their removal from all parts Byelorussia, with the Soviet Juggernaut only stopping due to the ever-extending supply lines reaching their limits. This book by Ian Baxter from Casemate Publishing arrives in a stiff card cover with folded fly-leaf and 128 pages of glossy paper inside. It is a balanced book of text and photos, many of which are unlikely to have been seen by most of us, documenting the rout of the ailing German Central Army throughout the campaign, unable to reverse their fortunes even after the appointment of Hitler’s favourite trouble-shooter General Model. It begins with a table of contents as follows: 06 Timeline of Events 08 Prelude to Disaster 11 German Forces 24 Soviet Forces 30 The Eve of Battle 42 Operation Bagration begins: June 23-28th, 1944 64 Fighting for Survival: June 29th/July 16th, 1944 85 Operations in the North: July 7-13th, 1944 96 Operations in the Centre and the South: July 14-26th, 1944 111 Soviet Triumph 121 Aftermath 126 Further Reading 127 Index The photos are of excellent quality for the most part, with a few showing their age but that’s down to the performance of the cameras of the day, as well as the size of the original article. In between the sections are a number of colourful sections showing the uniforms, weapons and equipment carried by the various protagonists, from German Machine-Gunners to female Soviet Snipers. The various force lists show the huge disparity in numbers between the Germans and Soviets, a situation that grew worse as the campaign progressed. As well as the staged photos of the generals of both sides, there are a number of pictures that are more candid in nature, showing troops in action, at rest and doing the boring stuff in between the terrifying parts, such as digging trenches, travelling and pushing vehicles out of muddy fields. There’s a lot of diorama inspiration within the pages, in addition to the text and the captions to the photos. Conclusion The highlights for me were some of the detail photos showing hand-applied mud as camo on a half-track, a close-up shot of some Zimmerit on the side of a Panther, and my personal favourite was a nebelwerfer being towed by an Sd.Kfz.10, then in the process of firing, where you can actually see the blurred outline of the rocket leaving the tube. At time of writing, there’s a discount on the title from the link below. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Sherman - The M4 Tank in WWII Casemate Illustrated Special ISBN : 9781612007397 The Sherman, its hard to think of a more iconic allied tank of WWII. There were plenty of different tanks out there but the M4 Medium Tank was the most numerous. It was used in all theaters of WWII by all the allied nations. While the Sherman may have been out gunned by the heavier Axis Armour the sheer force of numbers combined with the way it was deployed and supported won the day. This book from Casemate in their Illustrated Special range is just slightly smaller than A4 in size, hard back with 240 pages. The book is illustrated throughout with black and white photos, with some colour photos, plates & drawings towards the back of the book. The book looks all aspects of the Sherman in service, all the tank variants, and other uses,; along with post war use by other nations. Full contents of this expanded Casemate Illustrated Special are; Origins Production The Chassis Turrets Armament & Ammunition Crew Evolution for the Sherman Logistics, Supply and Backup Numbering and Markings Unit Composition & Organisation The Success of the Sherman Sherman since 1945 Conclusion This is a quality publication looking at this most important of Tanks in WWII. All aspectrs of the tank, its development, use and support are considered. There are great photos throughout which will be of interest to the modeller and WWII buff alike. Very Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. History Of The Turan Medium & Heavy Tanks in WWII (9788366148956) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK While the Turan was a Hungarian tank of WWII it stemmed from a Czechoslovak design. Back before the war in 1937 the Skoda factory produced a prototype medium tank based on its earlier LT vz. 35 project. Construction of this was never finished. After Germany annexed Czechoslovakia, these prototypes were finished under the new designation of T-21, which in turn was a predecessor of a new prototype; the T-22. Two of the latter type were given to Hungary in 1941. The Hungarian engineers decided to replace the original gun with their own 40mm gun for both economic and military reasons. The 40mm gun was Hungary's main anti tank gun at the time and could fire the same ammunition as the 40mm bofors. A total of 285 Turan I, II and II tanks were produced. Following combat operations the Hungarian Army concluded the 40mm gun was insufficient and the later batch of tanks on order were changed to a 75mm gun. These were later designated Heavy tanks The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 80 pages, with 3 pages of colour photos and 4 colour profiles in the centre. The book is lavishly supplied with black & white photographs throughout, and there are eight pages of line drawings and technical information. As well as details of the tank itself the book looks at the use of the tanks with the Hungarian Army Conclusion This is a great book on a little known armoured vehicle of WII. As well as technical details on the Tanks the many photos along with technical details and colour profiles make it much more of an all round publication which will sit well with the modellers and also people interested in the history if the vehicle. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. TopDrawings 101 Junkers Ju.88G (9788366148642) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Junkers Ju.88 was a jack-of-all-trades aircraft in service with the German Luftwaffe during WWII, with its origins in the mid-30s and a steady trail of improvements to the airframe that kept it in service during the whole of WWII, although they were always casting around for replacements and ways to create a successor that would provide a quantum leap in performance and load-carrying capacity. A search that was mostly fruitless and never achieved any particularly impressive improvements. By the time the G-series came on the scene, the changes had been substantial, including a new, streamlined fuselage for the night fighter role that removed the gondola under the fuselage and made other changes to suit its new job. Up until that time every variant had been based upon the original A-series fuselage, so this was considered a major change. The engines were upgraded too, and the tail fin was enlarged for enhanced stability. The reduced weight was countered somewhat by the addition of radar gear in the nose and fuselage, which varied through sub-variants, with the external differences quite marked in some. It was a G-6 that famously landed in the UK in error, which gave the boffins their first look at the latest German radar equipment. Oops! The last G-series to see service was the G-7, which had high altitude engines and a new radar fitment, and some were fitted with the deadly Schräge Musik upward firing cannons that could devastate a bomber, the crew of which would have no clue what was happening until it was too late. We have kits of many variants of the 88 in all major scales, with many manufacturers getting in on the act, as German subjects like the Ju.88 are always favourites with modellers, it seems. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and a separate A2 sheet printed on both sides with drawings in 1:32 and another slightly smaller sheet in 1:48 of sub-variants of the aircraft. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 15 pages, and the rear cover devoted to additional colour profiles of two G-1s. After the introduction the first half of the plans show the early G-1 and later G-6 variants in 1:72. Following this are the colour profiles with four pages of profiles of G-1s & G-6s wearing some interesting and varied camo schemes with copious scribble pattern applied to some, with multiple layers visible on the airframe on the centre pages. After the break there is another set of plans for various G-6 variants with some unusual noses and differing radar antennae in 1:72, showing the differences between the types and the head-on drawings plainly show the streamlined fuselage on this model. Four pages at the rear indicate the differences between variants in grey on side profiles in 1:96, some of which are full, while others are partial in order to fit them all in. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show the fuselage behind the canopy where there were many variations of the access hatches across the main sub-variants. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate large-scale plans quite useful, especially if you model in 1:32 or have a stain on the wall that could be hidden by posting the plans over it to enjoy. Review sample courtesy of
  21. TopDrawings 97 – Sturmgeschütz III (9788366148895) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK Based on the Panzer III, the StuG III had its turret removed, was refitted with a casemate and a high velocity gun that had limited traverse within the hull. This meant that the vehicle had to roughly align itself with the target, fine-tuning it with the gun’s roughly 15oc traverse. This marked it out as being ideal as a tank destroyer that lay in wait for its targets, although it was originally intended to provide support for infantry, aided by the comparatively low silhouette of the turretless design. It was effective in its job and fought all the way to the end of WWII, although it was notionally replaced by the StuG IV that was based upon the heavier Panzer IV. We have kits in scales from 1:72 through 1:35 from many of the main manufacturers, all the way up to the 1:16 giant that you can get in Remote Control (R/C) form (I forget the brand), which explains the different scales used in the plans throughout the book. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals, plans or masks targeted to the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a double-sided A3 sheet of folded loose-leaf plans in 1:16. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 15 pages, with the rear cover devoted to two profiles of a couple of Ausf.Gs in very different camouflage. The first page gives a written introduction, then launches straight into the plans that show the vehicle from the Ausf.A through to the Fs and Gs, after which there are eight profiles of all types except the A, with a wide range of schemes, fitments and equipment. After the colourful break we’re back to plans again, this time in 1:48 scale from all angles, and again in 1:72, showing each mark in each scale. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the additional large sheet perfect for poring over on the lounge floor or hanging on the wall. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. Paradise Afire Volume 3 The Sri Lankan War 1990-1994 ISBN : 9781912390342 Helion & Company via Casemate UK While Sri Lanka is indeed a tropical paradise, it is also one of those areas that seemed to be in the news for a very long tome due to its long running internal conflicts. In 1971 the country was in political turmoil when the JVP (Jatiya Vimukthi Peramuna) a Sinhalese militant group tried to snatch power. The government at this time appealed for help and Pakistan airlifted troops and military equipment to help. The Pakistani forces took over external defence allowing the local forces to perform internal duties. At the same time India sent Naval Forces to block routes to Colombo, with some 150 Indian troops sent to guard the airport there. Due to initial Indian delays Pakistani forces were entrenched, plus the Indians were less than enthusiastic about the Tamil issue. This help from Pakistan lead to them supporting Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971. Further internal conflict would follow in Sri Lanka, however like many things the influence and agendas of other nations would have a great bearing on this small nation. India supported the Tamils from the 60s through to the 1980 (which in History the British had brought to the then Ceylon as workers). The Tamils built up support and following the riots in "Black July" 1983 a major struggle would begin. Indian intervention this time would be needed to turn the tide against the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). India troops would leave in 1990 and at the same time the Tamil National Army faced total defeat. leaving the LTTE (The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) as the main Tamil Force. The Sri Lankan forces in this period had though developed into proper armed forces. Conflict would continue until a ceasefire was brokered with the help of international politicians which came into effect on 8th Jan 1995. However this peace would only last a few short months before the war returned. The book looks at all aspects of the air war as well as the conflict in general. It is A4 softcover in format with 64 pages. Black and white photographs feature throughout the text. There are 2 pages of aircraft profiles, three of AFVs, along with other photos, maps and profiles. Conclusion This book should provide readers with a understanding of the military operations in these 4 years of this civil war, Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. US Army Ambulances & Medical Vehicles in WWII Casemate Illustrated ISBN : 9781612008653 Ambulances might not be the most glamorous or well know military vehicles, bit you can be sure of one thing, if you need one you will be surely glad when it turns up. the US in WWII develped an unparalled Medical infrastructure to ensue the best care and survivability of its combatants. Originally using civilian ambulances, troops in the field often made their own conversions in order to transport their wounded comrades; some would become official vehicles while others would not. This book from Casemate in their Illustrated Special range is just slightly smaller than A4 in size, hard back with 160 pages. The book is illustrated throughout with black and white photos, with some colour plates & drawings towards the back of the book. The book looks all types of ambulances and other vehicles adopted for medical use such as mobile labs, and even mobile dentists. As well as the vehicles them selves the book considers vehicle markings, vehicles co-opted for other use, and those used by the American Red Cross. In an interesting twist to lend lease it would appear that the UK supplied medical vehicles back to the US of British origin and those supplied from US Stocks. Conclusion This is a quality publication looking at this important part of WWII There are great photos throughout which will be of interest to the modeller and WWII buff alike. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. TopDrawings #99 Panzerkampfwagen VI Ausf.B Tiger II (9788366148703) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK Hitler's obsession with "bigger is better" is well understood, and that coupled with his constant interference in things he knew little about hampered their attempts to take over Europe. The Tiger tank and its even larger sibling the King Tiger or Tiger II were both part of that escalating size battle, and even before the Tiger design was completed the original drive-train that was used in both tanks was under too much strain that would result in many abandoned or scuttled Tigers and Tiger IIs on the battlefield due to mechanical breakdowns. When either tank wasn’t broken however, they were a terrible foe for the Allies with the Tiger II having almost impregnable sloped frontal armour and a powerful 88mm cannon that could out-range almost every tank on the battlefield. It played havoc with the poor Shermans until the British 17-pounder was fitted to the Firefly, but the Sherman's thin armour was still no match for it and they had to use a tactic of sending several Shermans to try to outflank them and penetrate their thinner side and rear armour. Thanks to a complex design that was never fully streamlined, they weren't able to put Tigers or Tiger IIs into the field in sufficient numbers to halt the tide of defeat, with a small number of the beasts prominently displayed in propaganda films to terrorise the enemy, and very few reaching the frontline. Overall, it could be argued that the Panther was a more successful design than either Tiger when every aspect was taken into account, but they were the most feared on the battlefield despite their shortcomings. Most manufacturers with AFV kits in their range have offerings of this iron beast in all the main scales, as other people's King Tigers don't make money for them, and it's still an amazingly popular subject today as my stash in 1:35 will attest. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals, loose-leaf plans or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get an A3 sheet of double-sided isometric drawings of Porsche and Henschel turreted King Tigers from various angles. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover with 22 pages, and the rear cover devoted to additional profiles of two tanks in interesting Dunkelgelb-based late war schemes. The first half of the plans begin with the Henschel turreted production machines, then the more complex Porsche turreted tanks that had the curved sides and tubular commander’s cupola side panel. The Porsche turrets were dropped after the simpler Henschel design was implemented, which leads to them sometimes being referred to as “Early”. After this the colour profiles show eight vehicles in differing ’44 dark yellow-based schemes, most wearing the mine-resistant Zimmerit coating that was initially applied from the factory, and includes a mix of Porsche and Henschel turrets. After the break there is another set of plans that focuses on the turrets both inside and out, then the complex wheel arrangement that also plagued the Tiger I, but without rubber tyres to reduce reliance of the scarce rubber of earlier designs. There are also cross-sectional drawings of the turret, detailed scrap drawings of the various aspects of the hull, as well as a detailed view of the running gear from below, showing the orientation of the interleaved wheels. The larger drawings are in 1:35 scale, but some are printed in 1:48 and 1:72 for convenience, and there are numerous front and rear views as well as some overhead and the aforementioned view from below to give a better look at the King Tiger's form. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the loose drawings a pleasant addition. Review sample courtesy of
  25. TopDrawings 100 Nakajima B5N Kate B5N1, B5N2 (9788366148635) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Nakajima B5N was a torpedo bomber nicknamed “Kate” by the Allies to ease identification by crews with simple, familiar names that were easier to pronounce. It was an interwar design that first flew in 1937, and saw service in the Day of Infamy at Pearl Harbour that brought the US into WWII, as well as some other major battles later in the war, despite its increasing obsolescence in the rapidly developing battle-space of WWII. It soldiered on until the end of the war due to the delay of its successor, the B6N which saw little service due to the deteriorating circumstances toward the end of the war in the Pacific. It was a three-crew monoplane with folding wingtips for stowage on an aircraft carrier, which was its main operating base. The mechanism that folded the tips was so unreliable that it was eventually replaced by a manual version, a truly retrograde step that showed something about the engineering situation in Japan at that time. By the time of Pearl Harbour, the B5N2 was the current model, with the B5N1 involved in the earlier war with China where its shortcomings were first discovered, leading to the B6N’s commencement in a search for higher speed and greater range. We have kits in all scales down to 1:350 for your carrier models, with many manufacturers getting in on the act in all the major scales, showing that it's a popular subject along with the usual brace of Zeroes. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and a separate A2 sheet printed on both sides with drawings in 1:32 and another A3 sheet in 1:72 of sub-variants of the aircraft. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 20 pages, and the rear cover is devoted to additional profiles of two B5N2s. After the introduction the first half of the plans show the initial B5N1 in 1:72. Following this are the colour profiles with four pages of profiles of B5N2s wearing some interesting and varied camo schemes with copious scribble pattern applied to the sides of some. After the break there is another set of plans for the B5N1 and B5N2s in 1:48, showing the differences between the two types and exhibiting clearly the streamlined cowling of the later model. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show the aircraft from front and rear, scrap diagrams for weapons, profiles with weapons slung under, and cross-sectional drawings of the fuselage and wings. There are also drawings of the engines used on the Kate, and some more detailed drawings of the torpedoes and bombs that were carried by the type. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate large-scale plans quite useful, especially if you model in 1:32 and 1:72 or have a couple of stains on the wall that could be hidden by posting the plans over it to enjoy. Review sample courtesy of
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