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  1. TopDrawings #88 – M16 Half-Track (ISBN: 9788366148758) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The M16 Half Track Multiple Gun Motor Carriage was usually known by the easier and shorter name M16 Half-Track, derived from the M3 Half-track and fitted with a quartet of heavy-barreled M2 Browning .50cal machine guns, the same type that were fitted to Allied fighters and bombers of the day. The quad mount was nicknamed the meat-chopper for obvious reasons later in its career as it became used as ground support rather than Anti-Aircraft when the German Luftwaffe ran out of aircraft, then after when the speed of jet-powered aircraft made accurate targeting a very chancy business. They served in WWII in substantial numbers as mobile air-defence units with over 3,000 new build and conversions seeing the battlefield, and after WWII they soldiered on to the early days of Vietnam as ground support. We have kits in scales from 1:72 through 1:35 from Tamiya and Dragon, all the way up to the 1:16 giant from Trumpeter, 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 or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get two double-sided A2 sheets of large folded loose-leaf plans in 1:16 and 1:35, plus another double-sided A3 sheet of drawings of the major parts. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Czech 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 24 pages, with the rear cover devoted to profiles of an M16 in Olive Drab, although it seems a little light, verging on yellow. The first page gives a written introduction, then launches straight into the plans that show the vehicle from each corner from the outside, with drawings of equipment and small parts taking up any white space. After this the interior compartments are drawn from various angles with the quad gun mount missing. The quad mount is then detailed over three pages along with the .50cals and the ammo boxes. Then the bodywork is stripped away and many aspects of the chassis, the White power pack, axles, track unit and gearbox are laid bare for us to see. The last four pages show many views of the vehicle with and without bodywork in 1:72 and 1:48 from all angles. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show pioneer tools, stowage, equipment, wheels, driver controls, and the White 160AX 6-cylinder engine. 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 sheets perfect for poring over on the dining room table or hanging on the wall. Highly recommended. At time of writing this book is available at a discounted price, making an even more tempting target! Review sample courtesy of
  2. TopDrawings 87 – Sukhoi Su-24 (9788366148741) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK What became the Su-24 Fencer began as a fixed-wing attempt at creating a short-takeoff all-weather bomber, similar to the tasks that were originally envisaged for the American F-111, but without the variable-geometry wings that were expected to bring potentially insurmountable issues and complexity. This resulted in a rather angular “artists impression” of the aircraft that eventually saw service, but with the entry of the F-111 into US use, they realised that swing-wings weren’t as problematic as they had thought, so it was back to the drawing board for the engineers at Sukhoi. The second prototype flew with the new wings, and despite some fairly costly crashes, they developed the airframe into the Su-24M, which was comparable in performance to its US competitor. It benefitted from one of the first digital war-fighting systems, as well as a capable terrain avoidance system that allowed them to fly at low and very low altitudes to evade radar of their enemies, which required fitting of the K-36D zero-zero ejection seat for emergency egress. Later variants made improvements to the airframe as well as to its weapon-carrying capabilities, and a glass cockpit with modern avionics was fitted to the reminder of their on-strength airframes that are still flying (not literally right this second) at time of writing. We have kits even in the smaller scales from a few manufacturers due to the appealing look of this monster even outside of the former Soviet Union, with modern toolings from Trumpeter in 1:72 and 1:48, with perhaps 1:32 lagging behind a little. 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 or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a set of loose 1:48 plans for the M and M2 variants. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Czech 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, with the rear cover devoted to additional profiles of an MR and M airframe. The first half of the plans show the variants from the origin of the mature airframe, the M, and the later M2 (Fencer D). After this the colour profiles are printed on four pages in colour, augmented by the aforementioned two on the rear cover. After the break there is another set of plans of the MR (Fencer E), The MP and finally the MK (Fencer F). The final three pages show black and white detail photos of an airframe that will be very useful to modellers. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show cross-sections of the infrared threat detector dome on the spine, nose cone and pitot probe changes, landing gear arrangement, sensor and pylon placement, and examples of it loaded with weapons. 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 pull-out plans tempting to put on the walls. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Imperial Japanese Navy Type B1 Submarine I-15 (1939) & I-37 (1943) Kagero Super Drawings in 3D No.73 via Casemate uK The Type B1 Submarine were the first of the Type B Cruiser submarines built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. They were intended to be long range boats with a range of 14000 nautical miles. They had 6 forward 533mm torpedo tubes with 17 torpedoes being carried. They had a 14cm Deck gun, and unusually would carry a float plane for scouting. The hanger was faired into the conning tower and the aircraft would be catapulted from the forward deck. 20 submarines of the class were built. Later on in WWII some of the boats would have the hanger and catapult removed to replace it with a second deck gun. Submarines I-36 & I-37 had their hangers removed in order that they could carry Kaiten manned suicide torpedoes. Neither I-15 or I-37 survived the war. I-15 was sunk by the US Destroyer USS McCalla of San Cristobol in 1942, and I-37 was sunks by US Destroyers USS Conklin & USS McCoy Reynolds of Leyte in 1944. This is the latest book in Kagero Publishing’s superb series of Super Drawings in 3D. As with the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. The rest of the 65 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. There are a lot of close up renders of most of the equipment fitted, and the Seaplane carried by I-15. As is the norm with this series, Kagero have included B2 fold out sheets. The first features line drawings of both submarines, the second features deck guns, torpedoes and the seaplane. Conclusion If you love Japanese submarines and like to model them as accurately as possible then this book is most definitely for you. Highly recommended, Review sample courtesy of
  4. The Biafran Army 1967 - 70 Build up and downfall of the secessionist military Africa @ War No.47 ISBN : 9781911628637 Helion & Company via Casemate UK The Biafran War, or more rightly the Nigerian Civil war was a civil war between the secessionist state of Biafra and the Nigerian Government. It is most remembered as the cause of the famine which became the first such disaster of its type to be televised. This was another conflict Bourne out of the decolonisation of Africa by the Western Powers, in Nigeria it was the British who were the former rulers. The southern state of Biafra felt they could not be ruled by the Northern Dominated Government, throw into this mix a coup, counter coup, and persecution of minorities and a civil war was bound to come. The fighting lasted until 1970 with the UK, and strangely USSR supporting Nigeria, and France & Israel mainly supporting Biafra. In the end the direct fighting led to over 100,000 causalities, but the blockade by Nigerian Forces lead to the starvation of over 2 million civilians. Much has been said about Air Operations in the region but the Army has been overlooked. This book as well as looking at the air power looks at the Army & Naval forces. The book is A4 Soft cover and 80 pages long. It is illustrated throughout by maps and many rare black and white photos many of which have not been published before. There are 5 pages of colour profiles, and 2 pages of colour photos in the centre of the book. This book is the first to really consider the build up, training, composition, equipment and combat operations of the Biafran armed forces during this time. Conclusion This book will give the reader a good understanding of the History of this bloody civil war and all it entailed. Review sample courtesy of
  5. At The Forward Edge of Battle A history of the Pakistan Armoured Corps 1938-2016 Vol 2 ISBN : 9781912866335 Helion & Company via Casemate UK The Pakistan Armoured Corps grew out of the Indian Army after the partition of the country following WWII. The book looks at their history from the mechanisation of the Corps in 1938 from the Indian Cavalry, through their often overlooked service in WWII, through partition to the service of today. Volume one which we reviewed here looked at the early years of the Corps. This volume concentrates on the War of 1965, and the re-equipment afterwards. This leads onto the war of 1971 and the Corps expansion after that. Also in this volume are overseas deployments, how the Corps is administered, trained; and a look at their people and culture. The books author Major General Syed Ali Hamid brings his 50 years of Service with the Pakistani Army to the table along with links to the past through his father Maj Gen Syed Shahid Hamid, who was commissioned from Sandhurst into the cavalry of British India in 1933. He was one of the pioneers of the Pakistan Army. The Pakistan Armoured Corps uses a unique mix of Eastern and Western bloc equipment, and there are some excellent picture of this in the book. The book is A4 Soft cover and 136 pages long. It is illustrated throughout by maps and many black and white photos many of which have not been published before. There are 15 pages of colour equipment profiles and unit markings as well Conclusion This book will give the reader a good understanding of the History of Pakistani Armoured Corps and there role in the conflicts they have fought in. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. The German Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen Kagero TopDrawings No. 86 via Casemate UK ISBN : 9788366148734 The Prinz Eugen was the third ship of the Admiral Hipper Class of German WWII Heavy Cruisers. While allegedly designed to meet the terms of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement at 10000 tons she was in fact over 16000 tons. With a length of 207m, a beam of 21.7 and a draught of 7.2m she was a formidable cruiser armed with eight 20.3cm guns in four turrets. In addition to these there were 12 x 10.5cm, 12 x 37mm guns, and 8 x 20mm guns. A pair of 533mm torpedo tubes were fitted. Three Ar 196 aircraft were also carried, Laid down in 1936, she was launched in 1938 and commissioned in August 1940 after a slight delay due to damage suffered in an RAF raid. In May of 1941 along with the Bismarck they transited through the Denmark Straights shadowed by Royal Navy Vessels HMS Suffolk & Norfolk. The RN had sent HMS Hood and HMS Price of Wales out to intercept the ships and they met on the 24th May. At 0600 HMS Hood was hit by a Salvo from Bismarck and exploded. Bismarck would then be sunk on 27th May and Prinz Eugen made for Brest for repairs, She would then take part in the "Channel Dash" before going on to serve in the Baltic. She was one of a few large German vessels to survive the war, and was awarded to the US as a war prize., while the US did not really want her, the alternative was the USSR which they did not want even more. As the USS Prinz Eugen it was found increasingly difficult to keep her operational once the German crew were repatriated. She was towed to the Pacific and used in Atomic Bob testing where she survived two explosions. After being decommissioned in 1946 she capsized and sank at Kwajalein Atoll. In 2018 the USN removed all the fuel oil from the wreck as it was starting to leak. The USN Museum still holds the ships bell while one propeller was salvaged and is in place at the Laboe Naval Memorial in Germany, 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 27 pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams of almost every piece of equipment on the ship. Unusually for this series there aren’t any drawings of the hull, the largest section being covered is the superstructure. The main reason for the book is the double sided A2 foldout sheet, with line drawings scrap view of the ship on the other side. Conclusion This is another good book in the series. The pullout sheet is also wonderful to see. This is certainly a very useful book for all modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. BMW R75 Escaping from the Falaise Pocket ISBN: 9780993564666 AFV Modeller via Casemate UK This book is an education for us mere mortal modellers as to what can be achieved with massive amounts of skill and ingenuity. The theme is to recreate a picture from the closing days of WWII that depicted four German soldiers riding a heavily laden BMW R75 motorcycle and sidecar in an attempt to escape through the gap left by the enclosing Allied forces that were to create the Falaise Pocket, encircling a large number of Axis forces after the Allies broke out from the Normandy beachhead and moved through France toward Germany and ultimately victory. The author, Robert Doepp is an award-winning modeller, and this is evident on every page of the book, so be prepared to spend most of your time with your jaw dropped wide open, drooling gently in awe of the skills demonstrated here. I know some modellers are discouraged by exceptional modelling, but if you treat this book as a level of skill to aspire to by making little improvements to every successive model you make, you’ll soon be making progress. It is a comprehensive book that runs to 111 genuine pages with a blank one at the end for obvious reasons, and is perfect bound in a matt-finished card cover. It is broken down into chapters as follows: Introduction Construction Painting Figures Figure Painting Base Wartime Restored Gallery It begins with some history of the author, and covers some of the events that both inspired and led up to the germination of this project in Robert’s motorcycle-loving mind. There are some gorgeous photographs of previous projects, plus a few shots of the finished model R75 against the photo that it is based upon. It also discusses the base kit for the bike, which is a rather old 1:9 kit from ESCI/Revell that brought many additional tasks along with it in order to make the model more accurate. The work on display is truly staggering, from the genuine spoked wheels to the individually cut and laminated cooling vanes on the engine, it offers everyone a masterclass on how to improve their own models, and at the very least lodge some ideas in the deepest recesses of your mind that will help you one day when you have a scratch building or repair issue with one of your models. The painting of the bike is almost as amazing as the construction, showing how much thought has been put into it, and how the model was broken down into subassemblies during the build to enable painting and weathering to proceed smoothly. The figures are all built up using armatures that are custom made by the author, and at 1:9 scale they’re fairly large. The basic shapes are determined then fleshed out with tubular shapes and extremities. How to sculpt faces is just one of the useful techniques discussed. Robert is clearly highly skilled as a sculptor, which is evidenced by the sheer volume of detail down to the stitching of the material sculpted into each figure. They are each individually dressed to match their photo, and custom parts are made up from scratch, even down to the small differences between the standard stahlhelm and the Fallschirmjäger pudding basin, with one of the crew wearing a hybrid that must have been specifically tooled to meet the requirements of its wearer for unknown reasons. The figures are painted in great detail both in the book and for the project, with attention paid to achieving a realistic camouflage pattern by using references of the real thing to guide you. Face painting is also studied, and with that the sub-assembled figures are put into position. An interlude shows the construction of the base, which has a muddy road bordered by a double line of cobbles as textural relief. The completed model is placed on the base, after a section devoted to some very interesting pictures of various bikes during WWII, a gallery of the finished model is shown to round things off. Conclusion Robert Doepp is most definitely one of the few genius modellers that excel beyond all imagination, and is an inspiration to us all. The book is full of lavish photography and detailed explanations of the techniques used, so even if we can absorb a fraction of what’s there, we should benefit immensely. Highly recommended. At time of writing, this volume is on offer at Casemate, and you can visit by clicking below Review sample courtesy of
  8. The Bulgarian Air Force in the Second World War ISBN : 9781912390649 Helion & Company via Casemate UK While there has been much written about the Luftwaffe in WWII, not much is out there concerning their other Allies apart from the Italians. The Bulgarians fit into the category of probably the least well known; this book will hopefully redress the balance some what. The book looks at initially at operations at home, and then in the Balkans. The later part of the book looks at the period when war came to Bulgaria both from the Allied bombing campaign and the advancing Russians. The book then looks at what happened when Bulgaria changed sides , withdrew from Yugoslavia, and began operations against the Luftwaffe. Following this Bulgaria would fall under the Soviet sphere and would reform and reequip along Soviet lines. Conclusion This book will give the reader an understanding of the Bulgarian Air Force in WWII and the period at the end. It is illustrated throughout with many previously unseen black & white photographs. There are eight pages of specially commissioned colour aircraft profiles at the centre of the book. In all is it 135 pages long and A4 softcover in format. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. David Parker’s Crew School (9780993564673) AFV Modeller via Casemate UK Building and painting AFVs is a subject often covered in books on modelling, but figures and their integration with a model or diorama isn’t all that frequent. This book is one such tome, and covers the process of painting existing figures of many scales to adapting them to better suit your model, and then taking it a step further to build your own figures using just resin heads that are available and an armature - plus some sculpting medium of course. It is a comprehensive book that runs to 112 genuine pages and is perfect bound in a matt-finished card cover. It is broken down into chapters as follows: Introduction Basic Face Facts Uniform Approach Strike a Pose Switching for Effect Creating Creases Factory Fresh Armed and Dangerous Holt, Who Goes There? One Step Beyond Working with Mannequins Communication Breakdown Panther Personnel Charm Offensive Shell Slinger Ardennes Advance Appendix It begins with some painting techniques to give your models additional depth and quality by improving your skills in “lighting” your figures by painting them with highlights and shadows, including how best to depict camouflaged clothing and adding translucent shadows without obliterating the shape of the camouflage swatches. The basics of painting faces is explored too, showing how to create realistic shading and how depict eyes without using whites and making them look like escapees from a Marty Feldman film – we’ve all done it. It also shows additional techniques that can be useful for larger scale figures and busts. After describing the importance of posing your figures on and around your model, there is a section on simple changes you can make to better fit your figures to the task in hand, switching parts and re-building changes with armatures and putty. This of course requires a basic understanding of how fabrics move with the human body, which is the next step in the discussion, showing how creases form in various poses using pictures to illustrate the effects further. It further shows the kind of tools that you will need in order to consider sculpting your own fabrics, figure parts and so forth. More radical alteration of figures is shown through the next chapters, including repurposing figures from a different genre or country by adding details to correctly tie them into the desired theme. When you’re comfortable with altering figures, it’s the logical next step to create your own, and here a very clever approach to ease your progress is brought into play. Mannequins. David has had 3D mannequins printed to use as a basis for his figure sculpts, and having now seen them, they’re a rather impressive way to get consistent anatomical proportions for your figures, and they would probably sell well if they aren’t available already somewhere (which they don't seem to be). Some awesome sculpting follows, with many tips and tricks of the figure sculptor exposed to assist us novices, taking us from the basic pose using an armature and resin head, through fleshing out (pun!), clothing, buttons, badges and insignia, as well as describing which types of modelling materials are useful for certain tasks. More tricks and techniques follow along with plenty of painting hints, culminating in an impressive figure build for a 1:16 Schwimmwagen crew, taking inspiration from an actual picture taken during the war. The appendix at the rear of the book lists the tools and materials that are suitable for figure work, and which ones work best in certain circumstances, reinforcing the general theme of the book. The very last page shows a few shots of the projects just to round off the tome. Conclusion I’m a little terrified of figures, even though I used to paint Warhammer 40K in my 20s. This book really assists with the various techniques and would be a help to most figure builders/makers, save for those few genius modellers that excel beyond all imagination. Highly recommended. At time of writing, this volume is on offer at Casemate, and you can visit by clicking below Review sample courtesy of
  10. Kursk, 1943 Last German Offensive in the East ISBN : 9781612007076 Casemate Illustrated - Casemate UK There is no doubt the Battle for Kursk was the largest Tank Battle of WWII, and to this date the largest tank battle in the world. With 6000 tanks, 2 million men and 4000 aircraft it was truly monumental. The Germans launched operation Citadel in the Sumner of 1943 in the hope of trapping the Soviet Army in the Kursk Salient to end their Summer offensive that year. Depleted in terms of man power and equipment the Germans hoped to reply in their panzer forces to enable this. However the Russians were aware of the operation partly through the help of British Intelligence and built formidable defences in the area. This was the first time a German offensive was stopped before it could break through and the battle quickly degenerated into a battle of attrition. The Germans would loose a large quantity of Men & Materials at Kursk which they were never ale to recover from, never again did the German Army go on the offensive in the East. This book in the Casemate Illustrated series tells the story of this dramatic battle using rare and unpublished photographs, maps, and highly detailed artwork profiles of the tanks and vehicles involved Conclusion If you're interested in the war in the last hurrah of the Germany Army on the western front and how/where the Germans counteroffensive failed this is a good read. There are plenty of photos and profiles for the modeller. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. The Russian Guided Missile Cruiser Varyag Kagero Top Drawings No. 81 via Casemate UK ISBN : 9788366148505 The Russian Guided Missile Cruiser Varyag was the third ship built in the Slava Class of guided missile cruisers for the then Soviet Navy. These are 186m long, with a beam of 20.8m and a draft of 8.4m. Overall displacement is 11490 tons with a top speed of 32 knots. She was launched in 1983 and commissioned in 1989. The vessel is heavily armed with 16 SS-N-12 Sandbox supersonic cruise missiles and one forward turret with a pair of 130mm guns. An impressive defensive suite comprises of 8x8 SA-6 Grumble, 2 x 20 SA-4 Geko, and 6 30mm Close in Weapons systems. Défense for submarines is provided by 2 Smerch 2 mortars and 10 533mm torpedo tubes, Usually 1 Ka25 or Ka27 helicopter is carried. She is the shape of a classic cold War Russian Naval vessel with the missile tubes arranged along the side of the vessel. 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 20 pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams of almost every piece of equipment on the ship. Unusually for this series there aren’t any drawings of the hull, the largest section being covered is the superstructure. The main reson for the book are the the two double sided A2 foldout sheets, the first of which has a three view line drawing of the complete ship in 2018 on one side, the other side containing similar views, but in full colour. The second sheet also contains side profiles of the vessel as she was in 1997. The other side line drawings of the hull and view listing all the major equipment. Conclusion This is another good book in the series. The pullout sheets are also wonderful to see. This is certainly a very useful book for all modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. The Russian Skoryi Class Destroyer Kagero Top Drawings No. 82 via Casemate UK ISBN : 9788366148512 The Skoryi Class destroyers look like classic destroyers, they are sleek with high bows, twin turrets fore and aft with torpedo tubes amidships. They were the first post war destroyers built for the Soviet Navy, with an impressive 70 being built from 1949 to 1953. Twin enclosed turrets fore and aft contained twin 130mm guns. AA armament was one twin 85mm gun and 7 single 37mm guns. 2 banks of 5 533mm torpedo tubes were carried. The class were modernised in the late 50s with new AA guns, radars and sonars. One bank of torpedo tubes was also removed to provide extra accommodation. 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 20 pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams of almost every piece of equipment on the ship. Unusually for this series there aren’t any drawings of the hull, the largest section being covered is the superstructure. The main reason for the book are the the two double sided A2 foldout sheets, the first of which has a three view line drawing of the complete ship on one side, the other side containing smaller scrap views. . The second sheet contains 3 colour side views of three of the class, The opposite side of sheet 2 contains 3d perspective views as well as additional detail views. Conclusion This is another good book in the series. The pullout sheets are also wonderful to see. This is certainly a very useful book for all modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Air Wars Between Ecuador & Peru Vol 1 The July 1941 War Latin America @ War No.12 ISBN : 9781911628675 Helion & Company via Casemate UK There have been wars / border conflicts between Ecuador and Peru for a long time around whether Ecuador's territory extended beyond the Andes mountain range to the Amazon river, including the Amazonian basin. As early as 1829 Peru was fighting over this. There had been numerous conflicts in the late 1800s not helped by a civil war in Ecuador. Despite treaties tensions simmered between the two countries into the 20th Century with another treaty in 1936. This did not last long with tensions and skirmishes in 1938 followed by a Coup in Ecuador the same year. In January 1941, alleging that the Ecuadorians had been staging incursions and even occupations of the Peruvian territory, the Peruvian president, ordered the formation of the North Grouping, a military unit in charge of the Northern Operational Theatre. This would then lead to war in July of 1941 with both sides claiming the other had started it. This would be the first of three wars between the protagonists. The book is A4 Soft cover and 88 pages long. It is illustrated throughout by maps and many black and white photos many of which have not been published before. There are 8 pages of colour equipment profiles and maps at the centre. Due to the nature of the ground in the region a lot of the often bitter combat took place in the air, or with air support. The author has done extensive research into both countries archives and has produced a detailed work without any normal bias. As well as the combat it looks into the equipment & training of the forces and the back ground to the conflict. Conclusion This book will give the reader a good understanding of the History of this conflict between two seemingly similar neighbours. Again the @ War series brings us an an incisive look at a conflict often ignored by the west after all we were a bit busy with WWII at the time. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. At The Forward Edge of Battle A history of the Pakistan Armoured Corps 1938-2016 Vol 1 Asia @ War No.9 ISBN : 9781911628071 Helion & Company via Casemate UK The Pakistan Armoured Corps grew out of the Indian Army after the partition of the country following WWII. The book looks at their history from the mechanisation of the Corps in 1938 from the Indian Cavalry, through their often overlooked service in WWII, through partition to the service of today. This volume looks at the Early history and WWII, the pre-independence officer Corps, Partition, equipment upto 1965, and the expansion which took place until 1971. The books author Major General Syed Ali Hamid brings his 50 years of Service with the Pakistani Army to the table along with links to the past through his father Maj Gen Syed Shahid Hamid, who was commissioned from Sandhurst into the cavalry of British India in 1933. He was one of the pioneers of the Pakistan Army. The book is A4 Soft cover and 88 pages long. It is illustrated throughout by maps and many black and white photos many of which have not been published before. There are 8 pages of colour equipment profiles and unit markings as well tables and maps. Conclusion This book will give the reader a good understanding of the History of Pakistani Armoured Corps and there role in the conflicts they have fought in. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. TopDrawings No.80 Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (9788366148499) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Ki-61 was the only mass produced Japanese fighter to use a liquid cooled inline V engine of WWII. Initially Allied pilots reported it as a Bf 109, or Macchi C202. Kawasaki developed the fighter for the Japanese Army around its licence built Daimler Benz DB 601a engine. Armament was 2 20mm cannon and 2 12.7mm machine guns. We have new and old kits for the Ki-61 with the new Tamiya ones being very good. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, 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 devoted to additional profiles of two G-2s and a loose A3 sheet printed on both sides with overhead plans mentioned above. The first half of the plans show the aircraft, then there are a series of colour profiles. 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, Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. War of Intervention in Angola Volume 2: Angolan & Cuban Forces at War 1976-83 ISBN : 9781911628651 Helion & Company via Casemate UK It would seem depressing that throughout the 1970s and beyond that there was some kind of war in Angola. In 1975 the decades long war seemed was still short of any conclusion This was not helped by the fact there were three rebel movements fighting for supremacy with South Africa, America, Zaire, Cuba, and the Soviet Union being involved as well. The South African intervention in Angola, and the Cuban involvement are perhaps the most well known, however the CIA were actively trying to destabilise the country, in part to recoup some prestige following the events in Vietnam. Volume 1 which we reviewed here concentrated on the lesser known period of the final stages of withdrawal by the Portuguese Colonial forces, the build up of the three insurgent forces; and the initial intervention by Cuban forces in the region. Now in volume 2 we look at how the civil war looked decided. The MPLA had established itself in power supported by a large number of Cuban forces, with its opposition split and in disarray; however the war continued to drag on. The MPLA did not defeat UNITA in Southern Angola and then they faced an internal Coup which resulted in a blood letting. Many members were tortured or killed, while others defected to the opposition. The Soviets took advantage of this to increase their presence, and led the South African Forces to resume supporting UNITA and launch further attacks. The book looks at the forces on both sides of the conflict, some history of the region and how the main battles were fought. This volume is A4 soft back in format and 80 pages. There are over 100 rare black and white photographs throughout with 6 main colour maps, and 18 colour profiles. Conclusion This book should provide readers with a more complete understanding of the of the later conflict in Angola. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Iraqi Mirages The Dassault Mirage Family in service with Iraq 1981-1988 Middle East @ War No.17 ISBN : 9781912866342 Helion & Company via Casemate UK The Dassault Mirage F.1 has been a successful point defence fighter and attack aircraft for over thirty years. It was developed initially as a private venture by Dassault as a replacement to their ageing Mirage III fighters. It is a single-engined, single-seat fighter aircraft with a high-mounted delta wing and capability of reaching mach 2.2 in short order. Power was provided by a single SNECMA Atar turbojet providing about 7 tonnes-force (69 kN; 15,000 lbf) of thrust. Dassault soon found an eager customer in the shape of the French Armée de l'air, who bought various versions over the years starting on 1974. The French retired the Mirage F.1 in 2014. The EQ was the version for Iraq, these were modified for longer range. Some aircraft for Iraq were reconfigured from general aircraft to dedicated attack aircraft with increased payloads and additional ECM gear. The Iraqi aircraft were capable of carrying the potent Exocet missile. This book looks at all aspects of the use of the F.1 by Iraq. The aircraft itself, training, weapons and tactics used by the Iraqi military. The war with Iran and the use of the aircraft is looked at in detail as this was the major conflict the aircraft took part in. Also considered in the book are the 5 Super-Etendards leased to Iraq due to delays in F.1 deliveries. Also mentioned is the use of a modified Dassault Falcon 50 Business jet for reconnaissance and later anti shipping duties. The radar and ire control system from an F.1 was fitted to the Falcon, a complete F.1 cockpit was fitted in the left hand side of the air-frame and hard points added for Exocet missiles. This aircraft was then responsible for the mistaken attack on the USS Snark in 1987. The book is A4 softback and 88 pages long. It is illustrated throughout with black and white photos, and maps. There are 6 pages of colour aircraft profiles, and a further 2 colour pages of pictures and maps. Conclusion This book will give the reader a good understanding of the use of the F.1 buy the Iraqi Air Force during this time. Highly Recommended for fans of the F.1, or Middle eastern conflicts, Review sample courtesy of
  18. The Falaise Pocket - Normandy August 1944 ISBN : 9781612007274 Casemate Illustrated - Casemate UK There is no doubt the Battle for Normandy was worse in some cases than the allies expected, though by August 1944 while the Germany Army was still managing to hold back the Allies there was some turmoil in its ranks, and the cost of the defence was great in resources that they just could not replace., it was not helped by the fact that the allies had all but gained air superiority over the battlefield. German Army Group B was unable to contain the allies with the Americans advancing South & East, while at the same time the Canadians & British were advancing South. Field Marshal von Kluge was refused permission to withdraw by Hitler, instead he was ordered to counter attack. This only made the situation for the Germans worse, in fact they became enveloped by the Allied advance. Montgommery saw what was happening and ordered the allied armies to converge on Falaise, which they did surrounding 50,000 German troops. While many of these troops would escape, many would not and the losses of equipment was a massive blow to the Germans as they just could not replace it. This book in the Casemate Illustrated series combines text, pictures, and maps to bring us the Allied Assault, and the Germans defence. The book goes into details of the planning, and execution from different commanders on both sides. There are profiles of the tanks, vehicles and aircraft which took part. The book is A5 in format, 120 pages long and contains many contemporary photographs. Conclusion If you're interested in the war in the last hurrah of the Germany Army on the western front and how/where the Germans counteroffensive failed this is a good read. There are plenty of photos and profiles for the modeller. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. The Trieste Crisis 1953 The first cold war confrontation in Europe ISBN : 9781912866342 Helion & Company via Casemate UK The City of Trieste and the area surrounding it stands on the border between what was Yugoslavia and Italy. Like other areas in the region lines drawn on maps were felt not to recognise the ethnic divisions of the area. Tito's forces raced to occupy the area at the end of WWII, as did the allies with the two forces meeting in the city on May 2nd 1945. Tito tired or order the Allies to withdraw, however under political pressure they did not. An agreement was signed in Belgrade to divide the territory around Trieste up. This was followed by the setting up of the Free Territory Of Trieste in 1947 following talks in Paris. The Yugoslavs accepted this but did not want to give up their "rights" to the area. The area was seen as the dividing line between the democratic West and the Communist East. Things were though to go downhill. The West was seen to take a less pro Italian stance for a more neutral one, at a time of less than stable Italian Politics. This lead in 1953 to the Crisis where by increasing deployments of troop and equipment from both sides were deployed to the area. The provides a detailed account of the forces from the allied, and Yugoslav armies deployed at this time which looked like an actual war would happen. Much of this has been under reported with the source material only becoming available recently. Conclusion This book will give the reader an understanding of this first real flashpoint of the cold war in Europe. It is A4 softcover and 72 pages long with black & white photographs throughout. There are also 8 colour pages with equipment profiles, and maps. The Europe @ War series looks to be an exciting new series from Helion and Company if this first title is anything to go by. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Hispano Aviación Ha-1112 Buchón - Monographs #67 (9788366148338) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Messerschmitt Bf.109 saw extensive service in Spain during their civil war during the 30s, and served the Reich throughout WWII with continuous upgrades improving it as time went by. Toward the end of the war, Spanish engineers worked on creating a variant of the airframe that could be made using available materials and taking advantage of improvements made since its original debut. Hispano Aviación developed the airframe with an indigenous engine replacing the DB605 from the Bf.109G-2 that resulted in various changes to its nose profile, which was changed again when the Ha-1112 was developed with an improved engine and 12.7mm machine guns as armament. In the early 50s the Spanish authorities negotiated a deal with Rolls Royce to use Merlins, which again changed the nose but brought its well-known advantages to the aircraft. It soldiered on for 20 years after WWII, with a number of the later models famously used in the film The Battle of Britain, doubling for Bf.109s and even Hurricanes in the background. The Book This is number 67 in the Monographs series from Kagero, with English used exclusively throughout. It is perfect-bound in a card cover and 80 pages in colour and black & white. It is written by Eduardo Manuel Gil Martínez. The first 58 pages are text interspersed with many pictures and their accompanying captions, with the remainder a pictorial section, mostly in colour, some of which is contemporary other current. The last 5 pages plus the rear cover are devoted to some handsome side profiles of various airframes. The chapters break down as follows: Introduction Spanish Aviation after the Spanish Civil War Spain during World War 2 Spanish fighter force post WW2 Looking for engines Ha 1109 manufacturing continues The Buchón is born Sidi Ifni and Sahara Return to the action of the Wing 7 Buchones A star has (sic) born: The actor Buchón The Buchón today Spanish made Bf.109G-2 derivatives technical info Bf.109G-2 technical info Bf.109J (HA-1109 J1L) technical info HA-1112K1L or C.4J technical info HA-1112M1L or C.4K technical info HA-1110K1L or C.4J technical info HA-1112M4L or C.4K technical info Buchón's camouflage and markings Annexes Hispano Aviación Spanish made Bf.109G-2 derivatives production Spanish Air Force ranks and equivalences Bibliography Photo library Colour profiles (5 pages plus rear cover) There is a substantial amount of text in the first part of the book which gives a lot of detail on the development, entry into service with its subsequent sub-variants. The photographs are of great interest to anyone with a historical bent, and coupled with the captions there will be plenty of reading time after which you'll be a bit of an instant expert on the type, and ready for the pictorial section to the rear that gives some real world shots including the 2-seat oddity that is the M.4L Conclusion A lot of folks are fond of the Buchón because of its part in the Battle of Britain movie along with the Spanish built CASA 2.111 doing a very good impression of Heinkel He.111s. It is a good one-stop-shop if you would like to get to know your crush better, and broaden your knowledge a little bit in the process. Review sample courtesy of
  21. The Japanese Battleship Hyuga Kagero Super Drawings in 3D No.71 The Hyuga was the second and last Ise-class battleship built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. This class of vessel was an improvement of the previous Fuso class. The hull was extended by 3m and the armour of the magazines and central command areas was changed. The layout of the turrets was changed to allow the boilers to be placed closer to the bow and the funnels to be moved closer to each other. Even though ordered in 1912 the ship was not completed until 1918 so she took no part in WWI. She did support Japanese forces during the Siberian Intervention in the Russian Civil war. Then in the late 1920s and again in the 1930 she was partially modernised with improvements being made in the armour and armour and propulsion before playing a small art in the Second Sino Japaneses War. By the start of WWII the ship was considered obsolete, however following the loss of the IJN's aircraft carriers during the battle of Midway she was partially converted to a sea plane carrier by removing the aft turrets and installing a flight deck. She continued to serve in WWII until being sunk by American airstrikes in July 1945. Post war the wreck was raised and scrapped. This is the latest book in Kagero Publishing’s superb series of Super Drawings in 3D. As with the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Overview Design / Structure Propulsion Armament Armour Service Conclusion The rest of the 79 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. There are a lot of close up renders of most of the equipment fitted, such as the turrets, ships boats, funnels, Kawasaki 37K2 seaplanes, and main turrets; as well as the longer view, showing how this design differed from all other battleships. As is the norm with this series, Kagero have included a double sided B2 fold out sheet with a three view on one side, unusually in 1:350, with additional drawings of the ships fixtures, such as casemates, main directors, torpedo tubes, ships boats and radar, in either 1:50, 1:100, 1:150 or 1:350 scales. It would be a nice extra if these books had a pull out profile of the whole vessel in colour, however this one does have a 3 fold A-4 colour pull out as well at the centre. Conclusion If you love Japaneses battleships and like to model them as accurately as possible then this book is most definitely for you. Highly recommended, Review sample courtesy of
  22. COMBAT - South Africa At War along the Angolan Frontier ISBN : 9781911628736 Helion & Company via Casemate UK It would seem depressing that throughout the 1970s and beyond that there was some kind of war in Angola. In 1975 the decades long war seemed was still short of any conclusion This was not helped by the fact there were three rebel movements fighting for supremacy with South Africa, America, Zaire, Cuba, and the Soviet Union being involved as well. The South African intervention in Angola, and the Cuban involvement are perhaps the most well known, however the CIA were actively trying to destabilise the country, in part to recoup some prestige following the event in Vietnam. This book from renowned author AJ Venter looks at South Africa's 23 year border war on the Angolan Frontier. With regard to combat operations it considers how well the South Africans with relatively light armoured vehicles were able to engage and defeat Soviet tanks; and South Africa's development of the Centurion MBT into the Olifant. The book also looks at the extensive air war with the use of such diverse aircraft as the Dakotas in the gunship role to the Blackburn ir Buccaneer for attacks. The extensive helicopter operations in support of ground troops also features heavily. A new look is taken at all the enemies ranged against the South Africans at this point in their history. As well as these areas with the help of other authors and specialists the book considers the then secret South African Nuclear programme, and the co-operation with Israel to acquire Medium range ICBMs. Other areas also looked at by the others contributors include the cover communications war which stretched across the continent into the Indian Ocean. Other chapters range from looking at specific operations, to a look at the main weapons used at the time from the RPG-7 to the Hind Helicopter. The book is A5 in size with 344 pages. Contained inside are 232 black & white photos, 4 pages of maps, and 39 colour photos. Conclusion This book should provide readers with a more complete understanding of the South African units in the war with Angola, and their campaign there. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. Nicaragua 1961-1990 Vol.2 Contra War - Latin America @ War No.15 ISBN : 9781911628217 Helion & Company via Casemate UK Nicaragua is another one of the countries of Latin America which in modern times has been ravaged with internal conflict. Following the US Invasion in 1915 the country became to be a Dictatorship run by the Somoza Family, If they were not in power directly then they were the power Brokers. Anastasio Somoza Garcia would become President in 1937 when he removed the then President. He was nominally succeeded in 1947 however he then lead a coup to retain power. He was then fatally shot by the Poet Rigoberto López Pérez in 1956, only to be replaced by his son! Following a Marxist led insurgency the Sandinista Government would be established in 1979, however by this time the country had been ravaged by war, and natural disasters. This book now looks at the period following 1979. Given the state of the country and its economy at this point the new government introduced a number o wide ranging reforms and what amounted to a cultural revolution. However in the background the US were worried about another seemingly Cuban backed government in the region and thus began to support the creation of a new counterrevolutionary force which would become known as the "Contras". This new in effect civil war in which both sides would be supported by outside groups would rage through the country until the late 1980s. The Sandinistas would start to gain the upper hand, then in 1984 the US Congress would cease aid to the Contras. The same year fresh elections would also boost the Sandinista side. The US would try repeatedly to support the Contras but to no avail with the whole Arms to Iran and funding for the Contras coming under great scrutiny. The period 1988 to 1990 would lead to peace talks, while the government was successful on the battlefield the economy was in ruin compounded by a major Hurricane hitting in 1988 with a drought the year later. Following peace talks there were elections in 1989 and a difficult demobilisation of forces. The period of time following this has not been easy for the country with large scale demonstrations as late as 2018, however the country has remained free of conflict. Conclusion This book will give the reader an understanding of this conflict in Nicaragua. It is A4 softcover and 71 pages long with black & white illustrations throughout. There are also 8 colour pages with equipment profiles and maps. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. TopDrawings 75 Panzerkampfwagen VI (9788366148406) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK Hitler's obsession with "bigger is better" is well documented, and that coupled with his constant interference in things he knew little about hampered their attempts to take over Europe. The Tiger tank was part of that size battle, and even before the design was completed the original drive-train was under too much strain that would result in many abandoned or scuttled Tigers on the battlefield due to mechanical breakdowns. When it worked however it was a terrible foe for the Allies with almost impregnable frontal armour and a powerful 88mm cannon that could out-range almost every tank on the field. It played havoc with the poor Shermans until the British 17 pounder was fitted to make the Firefly variant, but the Sherman's thin armour was still no match for it so they were still difficult to kill. Thanks to a complex production that was never fully streamlined they weren't able to put Tigers in the field in sufficient numbers to reverse the tide of defeat, with a small number of the beasts usually embedded in a squadron of Panzer IVs to take on the harder targets. Overall the Panther was a more successful design when every aspect was taken into account, but the Tiger was the most feared on the battlefield despite its shortcomings. Most major and some minor manufacturers have kits of this iron beast in all the prevalent AFV scales, as other people's Tigers don't make money for them, and it's still an amazingly popular subject today. 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 or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a handsome A4 print of a damaged Tiger with a thrown track in light woodland, looking as if it has recently been abandoned by the surviving crew after taking a round to the mantlet. There is also a double-sided A4 set of plans in 1:48 showing the tank from the side in various configurations. 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 devoted to additional profiles of two tanks that fought in the desert of North Africa, including the famous 131 that was captured and now resides at Bovington in full running condition. The first half of the plans begin with the prototypes, a number of which were devoid of turrets during testing of the running gear. Also included at the beginning are two plans of the unsuccessful Porsche candidate that famously caught fire as it was being shown to Hitler on his birthday. Other turreted prototypes are included, then the early serial production units before streamlining and simplification was attempted. The last profiles show a desertised design with angled exhaust covers and narrow fenders that was unknown to me until today, which is interesting. After this the colour profiles with eight vehicles in differing schemes, plus smaller scrap paintings of noteworthy detail that can't be seen from the side. After the break there is another set of plans beginning with a view from the underside showing which wheels were removed for rail transport because un-modified the Tiger was too wide to travel through some rail tunnels due to the huge number of wheels needed to reduce ground-pressure to an acceptable level. 1:35 scale is used throughout the book, 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 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, and the bonus print an excellent addition to any wall, or in my case cabinet door in the workshop. Review sample courtesy of
  25. TopDrawings 76 Bf.109F (9788366148413) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Messerschmitt BF 109 was certainly the most numerous, and probably the best known of all the aircraft used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Almost 34,000 examples were produced between 1937 and 1945, and the type saw active service in every theatre in which German armed forces were engaged. Powered initially by the relatively low powered Junkers Jumo engine and later by various iterations of the more powerful Daimler Benz DB600 series of inverted V-12 engines, the later variants of the BF 109 could achieve speeds of up to 400 mph. In comparison with the E, or ‘Emil’, the F or 'Friedrich' featured a more powerful version of the DB601 engine, as well as a host of aerodynamic improvements such as a more rounded cowling, enlarged spinner, smaller, lightweight propeller and redesigned supercharger intake. The F2 was armed with 1 × 15mm MG 151 cannon and 2 × 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns, with the F-4 and F-6 carrying on the improvement until the Gustavs took over. We have kits in almost every scale, some old, some new such as the superb Eduard kits in 1:48 with most major and some minor manufacturers getting in on the act, as other people's 109s don't make money for them, and it's a super popular subject. 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 or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a handsome A4 print of a yellow-nosed (ahem) bad-lad passing a Spitfire going in the opposite direction. 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 28 pages, and the rear cover is devoted to additional profiles of two F-4 tropicals in suitable camo. The first half of the plans begin with the variant's prototype, the vanilla F-1, the F-2 and its sub-variants, then the F-4 with the last page dealing with the fuselage profiles. After this the colour profile with four view profiles of an F-2 at the centre, book-ended with another F-2 and three F-4s, plus the previously mentioned F-4 Trops on the rear cover. After the break there is another set of plans continuing the wide variety of F-4 sub-variants, with some head/tail-on and fuselage scrap diagrams into the bargain. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show the cannons underwing gondola-mounted and internal, plus the various munitions with their pylons and even the instrument panel. 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, and the bonus print an excellent addition to any wall. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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