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  1. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Kagero TopDrawings 50 One of the latest books in their TopDrawing series, this fifteen page softback is filled with line drawings and a selection of colour plates. Concentrating on the D-25, D-27, D-30 and D-40 models each drawing is annotated, describing the differences between each model, although admittedly some of the differences, particularly when comparing drawings on the same page are difficult to this untrained eye to make out. The line drawings are very nicely done though, and show all the access panels, panel lines and other details. All the line drawings and colour plates are in 1:48, with the exception of the drawings of the engine, instrument panels and weapons, some of which are in 1:24 scale. The book also comes with an A3 pull out showing the upper and lower views of a D-25 on one side and a D-30 on the other. A nice addition is the small mask sheet to be used with 1:48 scale models. Conclusion This is a very nice, well laid out book. As with other books in the series, this one should be used along with other reference material to ensure the accuracy of your model. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Brewster F2A Buffalo Kagero TopDrawings ISBN : 9788365437730 This softback book, in their TopDrawing series, is great little book for the Buffalo enthusiast. Consisting of twenty pages, this is very similar to the 3D Drawing series but without the range of colourful renderings, this book is filled with line drawings. This actually makes it easier to see what’s what as you’re not distracted by the colour schemes, although in the centre of the book there are five colour plates of the aircraft in various colour schemes viewed the port side only. Each line drawing is very nicely done, concentrating on each variant of the aircraft and their operators, so you, have US Navy, British, Finnish and Dutch East Indies. All the line drawings are in 1:48, whereas the colour plates are more 1:32. The book also comes with a very nice A4 colour poster of an F2A-3 in flight. Conclusion If you use this book in combination with the other references then you should be able to produce a fine and accurate Buffalo, no matter which version you choose. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Armour Camouflage & Markings of the British Expeditionary Force France 1939-1940 Model Centrum Progres Early in the 1940 campaign in France and Flanders, the British Expeditionary Force, along with the Belgian army and the best French divisions, were encircled north of the Somme. Futile attempts were made to break the encirclement. One such attempt was made by the 1st Army Tank Brigade, launched south of the town of Arras. The appearance of these Infantry Tanks stunned the German commander, who did not realize how few tanks there actually were, which caused the Germans to slow their advance, thus buying valuable time for the Dunkirk evacuation. The only British tanks north of the Somme capable of fighting other tanks were the Infantry Tanks of the 1st Army Tank Brigade. The Brigade had only two of its three Battalions and only one Battalion with its full complement of the larger A12. This latest book from Model Centrum Progres is Part 1 of Armour Camouflage & Markings of the British Expeditionary Force, France 1939-1940, and examines the tanks of the 1st Army Tank Brigade. For security reasons, photography by British soldiers was strictly forbidden but encouraged on the German side. Therefore, most of the 157 photos in the book were taken by the Germans and depict captured, broken or destroyed vehicles. The book also contains seven pages of colour plates showing the different types, The Vickers light tank, the A11 and A12, their camouflage and markings. There is also brief description of the three types of tanks used, and the movements of the Brigade during the campaign are also covered. Each photo is accompanied by corresponding annotations which point out the differences in the three types of A11, the modifications made specifically to the A12s and other information, such as the vehicle's location and tank crew. There is a page showing the tank markings and flags that an Army tank battalion would have used and a list of tanks known to have served with the 4th and 7th Tanks Battalions’. Conclusion Model Centrum Progres books, such as this one, have a great way of telling a story of the real going’s on during war. There style of text is clear and informative, while the photos, are nicely reproduced, yet give a sense of loss as well as showing the courage that the men who fought in these tanks must have had. It also makes you wonder what the Generals were thinking when sending these tanks into battle in the way they did, having learnt nothing from the Great War. The information contained in this book are perfect for the military modeller and should be a must have in their library. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Famous Airplanes - Fokker D.VII. Kaiser's best fighter by Tomasz J. Kowalski, Szymon Grzywocz , Damian Majsak. ISBN : 9788365437679 Kagero via Casemate UK The Fokker D.VII is a very popular subject among modellers of Great War aviation. Not only was it one of the very best fighters of the war, it also wore a large variety of very colourful finishes. The available models cover all major scales, from 1:144, 1:72, 1:48, to the outstanding 1:32 kits from Wingnut Wings. This A4 sized softback book from Kagero has dual text in English/Polish text, and Chapter 1 starts with an interesting history covering the design, development, and introduction to service of the D.VII. It goes on to outline it's combat history, and subsequent post war use. All this is supported with contemporary black & white photographs, and some excellent 1:72 three view drawings showing the differences between the Mercedes and BMW powered versions, plus some frontal drawings of early, mid, and late production engine cowling & exhaust arrangements. At the back of the book are some superb full colour cutaway drawings showing the cockpit, guns, and engine, plus some Ronny Bar profiles. All of which makes for a very useful one-stop reference work. The outstanding parts of this publication though, are chapters 2 and 3, which cover step by step build of the Wingnut Wings kit. Chapter 2 is by Damian Majsak, who builds kit 32011 Fokker D.VII (Fok), in Gotthard Sachsenberg's black and yellow checkered scheme. Damian's build is 'straight from the box' showing how to get the best from the kit, with an emphasis on the complex 'front end' construction of the interior tubular structure. This forms the cockpit/engine area, and step by step photographs show how it all goes together, along with the colours. I wish I had had this available when I built my first one, as I got it slightly wrong and had to redo it. The painting & decalling stages are shown in some detail, it is always useful to see how it is done in sub assemblies. Finally, the finished model is set on a simple base with some Kagero resin figures. In Chapter 3 Szymon Grzywocz builds kit 32030 Fokker D.VII (OAW) in Wilhelm Leutsch's blue & yellow machine, with a large dragon painted on the side. The work on the engine is outstanding, and the section on applying aftermarket (Aviatic) lozenge decals to the wings is very informative. Szymon has incorporated many enhancements on his model, like engine spark plugs & wiring, open hatches, removed fuel cap, ammo belt being loaded, to name a few. All of which are very inspiring. To top it all off he has set it on a neat little diorama base featuring a couple of mechanics refueling the aircraft. Conclusion. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book as much as this one. It strikes a perfect balance between telling the story of the Fokker D.VII, and showing how to get the best out of the Wingnut Wings kit. The supporting illustrations, drawings, and photographs are well chosen, with 50+ contemporary black & white pictures, some of which were new to me. Best of all are the photographic sequences of the two builds, offering information and inspiration in equal measure. If you are interested in modelling the D.VII, particularly the Wingnut Wings kit, then this is just the book for you. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. IJN Aircraft Carrier Battleship Ise Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Ise (whose name comes from an ancient Japanese province on Honshu, now part of Mie Prefecture) was the lead ship of the two-vessel Ise-class battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which saw combat service during the Pacific War. Ise was laid down as battleship 5 at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries shipyard in Kobe on 10 May 1915, launched on 12 November 1916, completed on 15 December 1917, and assigned to the Kure Naval District. Completed too late for service in World War I, in the early 1920s, Ise patrolled off the Siberia coast and in northern waters in support of Japan's Siberian Intervention against the Bolshevik Red Army. From the mid-1920s through the late 1930s, Ise patrolled mostly off of the China coast. On 12 April 1922, she hosted a delegation which included Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, and the future Lord Mountbatten. Ise-class battleships were fascinating ships and their story began in 1906 with the completion of HMS Dreadnought. The appearance of the all-big-gun turbine-powered Dreadnought rendered all existing battleships obsolete overnight, and in response the rest of the world's navies initiated massive construction programs. The world's major navies had gained an insurmountable lead in the number of dreadnoughts in service or under construction. Recognising the futility of trying to compete in sheer numbers, the Japanese Navy adopted a quality before quantity approach, building fewer ships each of much greater capability than foreign designs. In 1911 the Japanese government passed the Emergency Naval Expansion bill which authorised the building of four battlecruisers and one battleship. The battleship was to be designed and built in Japan; this ship became the Fuso. There were a number of foreign designs to take into consideration when it came time to decide the main armament for the new ships. Britain Royal Navy's Orion class was armed with the 13.5in gun; US Wyoming class with 12-12in guns and the succeeding New York class with 10-14in weapons. Japan decided to leap over the competition and fit the new ships with the 14in gun, so the Fuso-class would carry 12-14in. Armament was not the only area where the Japanese battleship was intended to be superior to foreign designs: it was also to be at least 2 knots faster. Fuso was laid down on 11 March 1912 and she was the first battleship built in Japan using Japanese manufactured materials and weapons. Three sister ships were authorised, one of them laid down in November 1913, but financial difficulties prevented the laying down of the next two ships until 1915, which allowed time for some design improvements. The forecastle deck was shortened, the amidships turrets were grouped together and placed aft of the second funnel and the hull length was increased by 10ft to give more machinery space. The changes resulted in the two ships becoming known as the "Improved Fuso” or Ise class. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications in the first seven pages. This includes the following:- Overview Design, Propulsion, and Armour Armaments Service Conclusion The rest of the eighty one pages are filled with 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. It’s good to see the lower hull being rendered too in this release, with good drawings of the propellers and rudder. I particularly like the renderings of the ships boats, which will be of particular interest to modellers, as these are rarely clearly represented in instructions etc. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a three view on one side, in 1:350 and head on and stern drawings in 1:250, along with additional drawings of the ships boats, 5” AA mountings, Type 96 single and triple 23mm mountings, searchlights and main turrets on the reverse. Conclusion With the Fujimi 1:350 still available as is the 1:700 kit from Hasegawa this is an essential book to have in the library should you wish to build a super detailed model for this very interesting ship. The book is so well produced, that it would also be of great value for those interested in Japanese warships or naval warfare in general. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Topdrawings 47 - Renault FT & M1917 ISBN : 9788365437648 Kagero via Casemate UK The Renualt FT can be seen as the worlds first modern Tank with features such as the Turret, rear mounted engine, and forward crew compartment that we still see today. Over 3000 units were produced towards the end of WWI by the French and in the US under the designation M1917. Many tanks which were then in reserve were borught into serivce at the start of WWII with examples captured and used by the Germans. The Russian T-18 was a derrirative of the FT as the Russian re-built and copied a number of FT which served with the White Russian forces in their civil war. This book is not a reference book on the tank per-say, but a collection of plans and colour profiles designed to help the modeller. Unlike the aircraft books there are no scale rules on the pages. In the centre of the book is an A-3 double sided pull out plan as well. As an extra there is a set of mask for the marking seen on the profiles, no scale is mentioned but they look 1/35. All text is in English & Polish. Conclusion If you're interested in these aircraft and intend to model a few of this Tank then its worth investing in one of these publications. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. USS Massachusetts Kagero Top Drawings 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. There is also a page dedicated to the specifications and technical data for the ship and its armament. The rest of the twenty five pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams 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. Amongst the larger diagrams are smaller sketches giving further details on some of the ships hardware and fittings. The scales for the diagrams within the book vary from 1:50 to 1:200. While the actual hull and most of the superstructure isn’t included in the book itself, other than bow and stern profiles and a side view identifying the main parts of the ship, they are included on the two A2 sheets included with the book. The three view of the ship is in 1:400 scale, as is the full colour guide on the reverse. The second sheet contains more detailed diagrams of the ships structure, weapons and decks in 1:200 scale. Conclusion This is yet another brilliant book in this series from Kagero. The wealth of detail shown is a real boon to the maritime modeller, as is the superb clarity of the drawings. There are several models of the ship on the market, if you have one in the stash, you will need this book to make the most of the build. Review sample courtesy of
  8. IJN Super Carrier Shinano Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Originally designed and laid down as the third of the Yamato class super-battleships in 1940 construction was put on hold in 1941 as Japan prepared for war. With the loss of the four fleet carriers of Carrier Divisions 1 and 2 it was decided to change plans and finish Shinano as a fleet carrier. In doing so she became the largest carrier in the world. Before completion it was decided to move her from Yokosuka to Kure to escape possible allied bombing for final fitting out. The overseer of the build, Admiral Fukuda argued against the move as the watertight doors, amongst other items below decks hadn’t all been fitted. The request for a delay in moving was overruled and she departed for Kure in November 1944. Only three hours out of port she was spotted by USS Archerfish and after a short cat and mouse chase, the Archerfish finally got into a firing position and launched six torpedoes. Four of the six hit causing much flooding and a list to the starboard side. Even with counter flooding and other damage control the list continued to increase, until, finally, the Captain gave the command to abandon ship. She capsized just over seven hours after being hit, with the loss of over half her crew of 2500 men. No matter how many of this series Kagero releases they have kept the standard very high. This particular publication on the Japanese super carrier not only provides a superb history of the ship, one which I knew only a little, if anything about before reviewing this book. If she had been completely fitted out and made operational, she would have surpassed anything afloat up until the super carriers of the Forrestal class. The drawings in this book show her as she would have been when operational and with a air wing. Even though she was quite advanced for her time, particularly for the Japanese navy, she still had some unusual quirks in her armament, such as the unguided rockets, similar to those that the Royal Navy fitted to major warships at the beginning of the war, and which were soon removed as being of not much use. As with the previous books, there is an introduction which, in this case doesn’t contain separate sections, but a narrative of the ships construction, intended use, not just as a carrier, but as a logistics supply ship for smaller carriers, and, naturally her loss. The rest of the eighty two pages are filled with the beautifully rendered 3D drawings we have got know so well in this series, covering every part of the ships structure, weapons, boats and sundry equipment. The drawings are really clear and perfect for the maritime modeller to see all the useful details that could help make that masterpiece that we all strive for. This release does include drawings for below the waterline, unlike a lot of other books in the series, so perfect for those of us who build full hull. An A2 folded sheet of line drawings is also included and this contains 3 views of the ship overall, in 1:400 scale, while on the reverse there are bow and stern drawings, also in 1:400, plus three detailed drawings of the island unscaled. It’s unusual to have the drawings in 1:400, as the scale that Hasegawa have recently released their latest incarnation of the Shinano is 1:450. Conclusion In keeping the format the same throughout this series, the reader knows exactly what they are going to get from Kagero. A book that provides the best 3D drawings and a sheet of excellent plans that are so informative for the modeller, that they can make the most of the models they are building and fit them with the greatest amount of detail that is shown within these pages. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Sd.Kfz.161 Panzer IV Ausf H/J Kagero Top Drawings The Panzer IV was the mainstay of the Wehrmacht tank forces for much of WWII and was in production throughout the war. Over 9000 were built, in ten major versions and numerous sub-marques and specialised variants. The Ausf.H was the most numerous version produced, with a total of 3775 built, due mainly to the slightly simplified construction. The Ausf.J was the last main production model and was further simplified to improve the mass production of the type. 2970 of this model were produced by the end of the war, out of a planned 5000. This latest title in their Topdrawing series, Kagero has given the modeller and historian a mine of visual information on the Panzer IV Ausf.H and Ausf.J. Consisting of thirty one pages, this is very similar to the 3D Drawing series but without the range of colourful renderings, this book is filled with line drawings. This actually makes it easier to see what’s what as you’re not distracted by the colour schemes, although to the end of the book there are eight pages of colour side views, with the variations of colour schemes used on the H and J models. Each line drawing is beautifully done. Each page has three of four views of the tanks, including the underside of the hull, various equipment states, such as Schürzen and its attachment points, aerial positions, wheel types, exhaust systems, and cupola types. Included with the book is an A1 sheet with line drawings of the Ausf.J version on both sides, covering all angles of the tank in 1:16 scale. Shame there isn’t a similar sheet with the Ausf.H on it though. There is also a sheet of masks for the crosses, catering for the different styles, and a selection of tank unit identity numbers Conclusion This is a great book, and one that aficionados’ of the Panzer IV must have in their collection. For the modellers that have one of Trumpeters big 1:16 kits then this book will also be a very useful reference for getting all those details just right. Review sample courtesy of
  10. Lend-Lease And Soviet Aviation In The Second World War ISBN : 9781911512264 Helion and Company via Casemate UK During WWII a huge ammount of material and arms was delivered to the Soviet Union, the value of this equipement has been long debated though its been shown that the depletion of German assets fighting on the Eastern front did no doubt help the Allied push into France and Germany. Through no doubt a great deal of research the author has not only made a an investigation into how these deliveries did in fact help the allied cause. The book considers the equipment, how it was delivered and how it was adapted by the Russians for use in their own challenging climate. The use by them, and mastering of equipment the western allies thought ill suited to their own operations is investigated; one of the more well known ones is the P-39. Not well liked by allied Air Forces but extremely well liked by Russian Pilots in the ground attack role. Included are detailed combat assessments prepared by the Soviets with their views on the allied equipment supplied. Aircraft considered in detail are; Hawker Hurricane Supermarine Spitfire Curtiss P-40 Kitty hawk Hawker Typhoon Bell P-39 Air Cobra Bell P-63 Kingcobra Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Short Stirling Curtiss O052 Owl Douglas A-20 Boston North American P-51 Mustang Vougt OS2U Kingfisher Curtiss C-46 Commando de Havilland Mosquito North American B-25 Mitchell Amstrong Withworth Albemarle Handley Page Hampden Dougals C-47 Skytrain Consolidated PBY Catalina North American AT-6 Texan In addition to the official deliveries of aircraft the book looks at those which arrived by accident. The text is supported by nearly 700 photographs, 100 colour aircraft profiles, plus maps and charts. Conclusion It is evident that a great deal of research has gone into this book. It really does give a proper attempt to assess the impact of deliveries of these aircraft to the Soviets. If you're interested in these aircraft in Soviet service, and this part of WWII in particular then its well worth investing in this publication. Very Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. RM Vittorio Veneto Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Battleship Vittorio Veneto was one of the three Italian Littorio class battleships operating in the Second World War. She was one of the most modern and powerful battleships of her times. She was designed by General Umberto Pugliese and engineer Francesco Mazzullo. She was the first battleship to exceed the limit of 35,000 tons of displacement imposed in the Washington Naval Treaty. The keel of the Vittorio Veneto battleship was laid down by the Italian shipbuilder "Cantieri Riuniti dell'Adriatico”, in Trieste, on 28th October 1934. She was launched on July 1937 and began her service in the Italian Fleet (Regia Marina) by August 1940. She was named in honour of the Italian victory at Vittorio Veneto in the First World War and she had three sister ships: Littorio, Roma and Impero (the last one was never completed). She was armed with a main battery of nine 381mm guns in three triple turrets. She was able to reach the speed of 30 knots (56 Km/h). With their ever increasing series of books in the 3D format, Kagero never fails to deliver. This particular publication on the Italian battleship not only provides a superb history of the ship, one which I knew only a little, if anything about before reviewing this book. She seems to have a slightly more active life than her sisters, but still it was a bit short on the actual battle being joined with the Royal Navy. It seemed the Italians were quite timid when it came to action against the British Battleships and most missions either failed to find the convoys they were looking for, or were aborted, the only really battle she was involved with became the famous Battle of Matapan, in which her three escorting cruisers and two destroyers were sunk, whilst Vittorio Veneto was damaged by a torpedo. The sections in the introduction are:- Overview Design Armour Propulsion Security systems Underwater protection Armament Conning tower Service Conclusion The rest of the eighty two pages are filled with the beautifully rendered 3D drawings we have got know so well in this series, covering every part of the ships structure, weapons, boats and sundry equipment. The drawings are really clear and perfect for the maritime modeller to see all the useful details that could help make that masterpiece that we all strive for. This release does include drawings for below the waterline, unlike a lot of other books in the series, so perfect for those of us who build full hull. An A2 folded sheet of line drawings is also included and this contains 3 views of the ship overall, in 1:350 scale, while on the reverse there are bow and stern drawings in 1:350, plus numerous detail drawings of equipment in various scales between 1:50 and 1:200, giving more detail to the information hungry modeller. Conclusion Following the now tried and tested formula that Kagero have made their own, this book is superbly produced and with the subject matter being one of the most good looking battleships, it will become a must have for any maritime modellers. With the imminent release of the Vittorio Veneto in 1:350, by Trumpeter, this book couldn’t have been released at a better time. Review sample courtesy of
  12. IJN Super Battleship Musashi Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Musashi, the second of two Yamato-class battleships, shared the honor with lead ship Yamato as the largest battleship ever constructed in naval history. During construction of the codenamed Battleship Number 2, special floating cranes of 150 and 350 metric ton capacities were purposely built at Number 2 slipway for this project. Utmost secrecy was maintained during her construction; the entire length of the ship was camouflaged by rope against aerial photography, and urban legend had it that the roofing had consumed the entire supply of rope in Japan. The cover-up was so successful that the Americans were unaware of the construction even though the United States consulate office was essentially just across the bay. The Russians, however, almost discovered it by accident. On 20 May 1938, six Russian-manned TB-3 bombers with Chinese markings flew over Fukuoka, Nagasaki, and Sasebo to drop propaganda leaflets and to take pictures; Battleship Number 2 was actually photographed, but the photograph, even after the Americans reviewed it, did not arouse the alarm that the world's largest battleship should have had. Battleship Number 2 was launched on 1 Nov 1940 in a secret ceremony attended only by a few top naval officials. As soon as she was put into the water, Kasuga Maru (later to be converted to the escort carrier Taiyo) was towed to block Battleship Number 2 from view. She spent the following 18 months fitting out. On 15 Sep 1941, she was under the command of the chief equipping officer Captain Kaoru Arima. On 5 Aug 1942, she was commissioned as the Battleship Musashi, and Arima remained on board as her commanding officer, who would be promoted to the rank of rear admiral shortly after the commissioning. Her commissioning was three months behind schedule due to last-minute requirements for additional communications gear. After post-shakedown fitting out at Kure, Musashi sailed for Truk in the Caroline Islands on 18 Jan 1943 where she was named Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto's flagship; this assignment was the reason why the additional communications gear was required during fitting out. She officially became Yamamoto's flagship on 11 Feb 1943, relieving her sister ship, Yamato. On 23 Apr 1943, ashes of Yamamoto, who was struck down by US Army Air Corps fighters several days prior, were secretly brought aboard via a flying boat. Two days later, Admiral Mineichi Koga came aboard under the pretence of an inspection to take over command of the Combined Fleet. On 17 May 1943, Musashi arrived at Yokosuka in response to the Americans' operations in the Aleutian Islands; the voyage also brought home Yamamoto's ashes. Upon return to Japan, Captain, later Rear Admiral on 1 Nov 1943, Keizo Komura was given command of the ship after Arima was transferred to the Etajima Naval Academy. After a day of preparations in Yokosuka on 23 Jun 1943, Musashi hosted Emperor Showa and his staff on an inspection on 24 Jun 1943. Between 1 and 8 Jul 1943, at Kure, four Type 22 fire control radars were installed on the bridge. Between 5 Aug 1943 and 10 Feb 1944, Musashi remained mostly in port at Truk; the only sortie she embarked upon was the Oct 1943 movement to Brown Island, Eniwetok Atoll, and Marshall Islands in response to a possible American invasion of Wake Island and raids against the Gilbert Islands. On 7 Dec 1943, Captain Bunji Asakura assumed command after Komura was transferred to the Third Fleet. Between 15 and 24 Feb 1944, Musashi was used as a transport to carry one Army battalion, one Special Naval Landing Force battalion, munitions, fuel, and vehicles from Yokosuka to the Palau Islands; en route, the task force encountered a typhoon, and as a result most of the deck load of munitions was lost. The task force arrived at Palau Islands on 29 Feb. On 28 Mar 1944, Admiral Koga moved his flag to land, relieving Musashi of flagship status; this was done due to air raid threats. She departed Palau Islands under the cover of darkness on 29 Mar 1944, but was discovered by American submarine USS Tunny, which damaged her port bow with one of six torpedoes fired at 1744. The hit tore a 19-foot diameter hole, causing minor flooding and killing seven men. Fearful of a follow-up air raid, Musashi continued to sail for Japan at a reduced speed, reaching Kure on 3 Apr. While being repaired at Kure, she was also refitted with heavier anti-aircraft defences, replacing six of her large 155-mm secondary guns with a large quantity of 25-mm anti-aircraft guns. At this time, her anti-aircraft weaponry included 35x3x25-mm guns and 25x1x25mm guns. In May 1944, Asakura was promoted to the rank of rear admiral. On 10 Jun, Asakura took Musashi on Operation Kon aimed at relieving Biak off New Guinea, which was abandoned shortly after due to the American invasion of the Mariana Islands. On 18 Jul 1944, Musashi arrived at Lingga near Singapore and joined the Mobile Fleet. On 12 Aug 1944, Captain Toshihira Inoguchi was given command of Musashi. Like his predecessors, Inoguchi was promoted to the rank of rear admiral after the assignment. In Sep, Inoguchi ordered Musashi painted a dark colour; the paint might have been Royal Navy in origin. On 18 Oct, her deck was blackened with soot. The camouflaging attempts were all made because of the upcoming Operation Sho-Go which resulted in the naval battles in the area of Leyte Gulf. On 18 Oct, Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita engaged in Operation Sho-Go by taking a powerful surface fleet that included both of the Yamato-class battleships. The fleet sailed into the Sibuyan Sea west of Leyte of the Philippine Islands, aiming to hit the vulnerable American transports on the other side of the island. At 0810 on 24 Oct 1944, an aircraft from carrier USS Intrepid spotted the fleet. By 1018, Musashi's lookouts reported about 30 incoming hostile aircraft. At 1027, the battle began. By chance, most American aircraft focused on Musashi, whose guns fired in combat for the first time. Because the air cover was inadequate, the Japanese ships were left to fend for themselves. Musashi's anti-aircraft weapons helped setting up an intense umbrella of flak above the fleet, while her 18-in guns fired into the water to make huge geysers aimed at knocking down American torpedo bombers. Without adequate air cover, however, powerful Musashi was, she was helpless against multiple waves of attacking aircraft. After the final attack ended at 1530, she suffered hits by twenty torpedoes, seventeen bombs, and eighteen near misses. Efforts to correct the worsening list failed, and Inoguchi gave the order to "standby to abandon ship" at 1915; by this time, the list was at 15 degrees. Immediately after this order, Inoguchi retired to his cabin with the intention to go down with the ship; he was never seen again. At 1930, the list to port reached 30 degrees, and abandon ship order was given. At 1936, Musashi capsized and sank. 1,023 lives aboard Musashi were lost on that day. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Design Armour Armament Fire Control and Sensor Aircraft Launching Service The rest of the seventy five 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. I particularly like the renderings of the huge bridge structure and the myriad of AA turrets. Considering the size of the ship she was of a surprisingly clean design, I guess because any superfluous top hamper and fittings would have been damaged by the huge blast of the main guns. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a three view on one side, unusually in 1:400, with additional drawings of the ships fittings, such as the light AA weapons, main and secondary turrets, ships crane, main rangefinders and searchlights, in scales ranging from 1:50 to 1:200 plus bow and stern views in 1:350. Conclusion This is another superb book in the series and a great addition to any maritime modeller’s library. This series is a boon to any ship modeller and is turning into a magnificent collection of titles. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if building the beautiful Tamiya 1:350 scale kit. Review sample courtesy of
  13. SMS Battleship Posen Kagero Super Drawings in 3D The last ship of the first class of German “Dreadnought” battleships was Ersatz Baden/Posen. The keel for Posen was laid on 11 June 1907 at the Germania Dockyard in Kiel and launching followed on 12 December 1908. The President of the Prussian province of Posen, von Waldow, gave the christening speech and the christening was performed by Fürstin (Princess) Johanna von Radolin. Posen was named after the Prussian Province from 1772 to 1919, and today is known as Poznan province in Poland. On 28 April 1910 Posen was transferred from her construction yard to Kiel Imperial Dockyard and on 31 May was commissioned for the first time. The first pre-trials began on 18 July 1910. The ship sailed during most of the First World War, in the North Sea. The main battle she was in was the Battle of Jutland where she hit another German ship which then sank. The ship served with her three sister ships for the majority of World War I. She saw extensive service in the North Sea, where she took part in several fleet sorties. These culminated in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May – 1 June 1916, where Posen was heavily engaged in night-fighting against British light forces. In the confusion, the ship accidentally rammed the light cruiser SMS Elbing, which suffered serious damage and was scuttled later in the night. The ship also conducted several deployments to the Baltic Sea against the Russian Navy. In the first of these, Posen supported a German naval assault in the Battle of the Gulf of Riga. The ship was sent back to the Baltic in 1918 to support the White Finns in the Finnish Civil War. At the end of the war, Posen remained in Germany while the majority of the fleet was interned in Scapa Flow. In 1919, following the scuttling of the German fleet in Scapa Flow, she was ceded to the British as a replacement for the ships that had been sunk. She was then sent to ship-breakers in the Netherlands and scrapped in 1922. This latest release from Kagero flows the now familiar format, but has to be one of the thickest titles released so far, with quite a long section on the history of the ship, covering fifteen pages, including:- The construction outline General characteristics of the hull Armour Armament Machinery and propulsion Fire control Operational history The next sixty six pages are taken up with the wonderfully rendered 3D drawings that this series has become known for. Although with this release quite a bit of the lower hull is also shown which is a bonus particularly the torpedo tubes, rudder and propellers. The renderings show every part of the ship both in wide angle and close up which show some amazing detail not seen in other publications. With the ship covered there are also numerous drawings of individual bits of equipment, including some fabulous drawings of the main turrets, their mechanisms and ammunition. Other equipment included in this section is the secondary armament, ships aircraft, engines, boats, and rangefinders. The book also includes a single A1 sheet with a side view of the ship in 1:350 below a similar view, but opened up showing the entire interior. On the reverse there are twenty seven cross sections from stern to bow. Conclusion As we’ve come to know what to expect from this series I can’t really say much more, other than if you’re a maritime fan you really should have them all in your reference library. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Marine Corps Tank Battles in Vietnam ISBN : 9781612005327 Casemate UK The US Marine Corps is fairly unique in that where ever they operate they generally rely on their own Air Power and own support elements including heavy armour, today operating the M1 Abrams in this role. Vietnam would seem a strange place for tank battles with its mix of jungle and paddy fields but the USMC tankers would serve with distinction. Vietnam was a war like no other, it had historical aspects, political aspects, and moral aspects. It was the first war to be shown almost live on television beamed into peoples houses on a nightly basis. From a history point of view units frustratingly kept incomplete records unlike other wars. We think of this as the air war with hueys dropping in troops accompanied by fast jet air strikes, with B-52s carpet bombing the countryside. Tanks though were used surprisingly a lot in Vietnam, though the tankers themselves were often frustrated that hard won lessons of tank/infantry cooperation learned in Korea and WWII were overlooked by their senior commanders. While they often worked in familiar roles; Vietnam also placed tanks, guarding outposts, in convoy protection, road blocks, and working in villages. Despite the challenges of a war which had no real front lines and was often more brutal in its fighting, while being hampered by Senior Commanders & politicians the tankers of the USMC fought in the Sand Dunes, paddy fields, villages, jungles, mountains, and historic towns of Vietnam with distinction. The book is divided up into 7 chapters; Two Thousand year of war (History of Vietnam) 1965: Taking Measure 1966: The NVA moves South 1967: A growing momentum 1968: Crisis and Decision 1969: On the Ropes 1970/75 : Withdrawal and Final Spasms This book is a reprint in an A5 softbound format by with 293 pages with one section of black & White photographs. The author Oscar Gilbert is an ex Marine himself and winner of the 2016 General Grenne award for outstanding non fiction for his book on USMC Tanks on Tarawa (Also available through Casemate). This book really is also a companion to the Marine Corps Tanks Battles in Korea we reviewed here. Conclusion If you're interested in The Vietnam War, Tanks, or the US Marine Corps, this is an interesting book on an interesting subject that should give you some hours of entertainment, and remain on hand as a reference for the modeller or historian. Luckily Vietnam has not been as forgotten as some other wars, however the role of the USMC tankers has largely been ignored; not so now. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Marine Corps Tank Battles in Korea ISBN : 9781612005317 Casemate UK The US Marine Corps is fairly unique in that where ever they operate they generally rely on their own Air Power and own support elements including heavy armour, today operating the M1 Abrams in this role. Korea would seem a strange place for tank battles with its mix of mountains and paddy fields but the USMC tankers would servce with distinction. In Korea initially the US Marine tankers were thrown into defending the Pusan perimeter. He hastily formed tank crews were put in new M26 tanks through which they only fired 4 main rounds rounds in training. However as in a many things it came down to the me more than the equipment. Most if not all of the officers and senior NCOs were WWII veterans, both active duty and reserves. Indeed the leader of the Pusan defence 2nd Lt Sweet was a former enlisted man, wounded at Pearl Harbour and then a veteran in Tanks at Guam and Iwo Jima. Newly qualified members while not veterans were inspired by these men and the traditions of the Corps. For the USMC tankers the war in Korea became defined by three phases; To kill enemy tanks in the defence of Pusan. To stage the amphibious landing at Inchon. Laterly to provide support and mobile artillery of the infantry. The book covers these and other areas of the war in eight major chapters. Repeating History: The unexpected war. One Company's War: The Defence of Pusan The Master Stroke : Inchon & Seoul The Lowest Circle of Hell: The Chosin Reservoir Encirlement Deliverance: The Chosin Reservoir Beakout Lives for real estate : Offensives & counteroffensives 1951-52 Backs to the River - Jamestown Line 1952-53 Warriors Depart: Armistace & Withdrawl. This book is a reprint in an A5 softbound format by with 293 pages with two section of black & White photographs. The author Oscar Gilbert is an ex Marine himself and winner of the 2016 General Grenne award for outstanding non fiction for his book on USMC Tanks on Tarawa (Also available through Casemate) Conclusion If you're interested in The Korean War, Tanks, or the US Marine Corps, this is an interesting book on an interesting subject that should give you some hours of entertainment, and remain on hand as a reference for the modeller or historian. Korea has for too long been called the forgotten war, and these USMC tankers probably forgotten more than most. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Air Combat During Arab-Israeli Wars ISBN : 9788365437495 Kagero via Casemate UK The state of Israel was forged through conflict and seems to have been in a constant state of conflict with its neighbours ever since. This books looks at these conflicts through the use of Air Power which has no doubt helped considerably since the days of buying old WWII fighters to the new aircraft supplied by their major ally the USA. The book is softbound a little less than A4 size with 104 pages. It is illustrated throughout by many photographs and colour plates of the aircraft involved. Te first half of the book concentrates on on the beginnings of aviation in what was then Palestine and the develops from there including Air Combat in 1948, Development of the Israeli Air Force, Testing of Captured MiGs, and he relationship between Israel and Poland. Before the War LOT was instrumental in providing air services to the then Palestine. In addition Poland supplied aircraft to Israel in 1948. In latter years Polish aircraft have taken part in jont exercises in Israel, and Israeli F-15s have visited Poland where they flew over Auschwitz. It has since emerged that in 1997 the Polish "lent" 3 MiG-29s to the Israeli Air Force Test centre for evaluation due these aircraft being used by counties around Israel. The second part of the book concentrates on air combat since 1956 including; The Suez Crisis The Six Day War The Yom Kippur War Bekaa Valley (1982) Conclusion If you're interested in these conflicts, this is an interesting book on an interesting subject that should give you some hours of entertainment, and remain on hand as a reference for the modeller or historian. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. The Iran-Iraq War Volume 1: The Battle For Khuzestan, September 1980-May 1982 by E.R. Hooton, Tom Cooper, Farzin Nadimi, published by Helion and Company On 16th January 1979, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran for good, thus cementing the revolution that had sought to topple his failing regime and paving the way for foundation of the Islamic Republic of Iran under the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Fearing the destablising effect of the Iranian Revolution on Iraq, Saddam Hussian made the decison to invade Iran, sparking the longest uninterrupted conventional conflict of the twentieth century. Although not etched on the conscience of the west to the extent of other conflicts of the preiod, the Iran-Iraq War was nevertheless one of the most important conflicts of the time. Apart from the significant loss of life and impact on civilians in the region, it was also an important stepping stone on the path to fundementalist Islamic terrorism. This book, the first in a series of four, has been painstakingly compiled by authors with impressive credentials when it comes to defence matters in the Middle East. This volume examines the background to the conflict and the early years, leading up to the ferocious Battle of Khorramshahr in May 1982. The book sets out the political, social and military apects of the early years of confict in a clear and engaging way. The text is thoughtful and insightful throughout, leaving the reader with a good understanding of the origins and history of the conflict, as well as the early engagements. While the book is not aimed directly at the modeller, it nevertheless contains a huge amount of valuable information for those interested in the hardware deployed in the conflict. Middle Eastern conflicts of the twentieth century typically featured a fascinating mixture of NATO and Warsaw Pact military hardware, a legacy of the imperial past clashing with the post-war reality of the rise of Soviet influence and power. The book is rich in illustrative material, containing 120 photographs and 15 illustrations within its 112 pages. Plenty of information about the military inventories of the two sides is provided, alongside photographs and descriptions of locally modified armoured fighting vehicles. Conclusion This book is a valuable addition to the Middle East War series and deserves a place in the collection of anyone interested in the military conflicts of the region. Modellers will be rewarded with a valuable visual reference, as well as an inspiring read which will have you poking around in your stash, looking for a suitable kit to build from the conflict. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. British Cruiser Tank A9 & A10 Armor PhotoHistory #5 A9 - The pilot model was ready in 1936, under the designation of A9E1. The A9 was a mix of commercial parts (like the AEC bus engine for the production series) and some already used on the Light Mk.III, as well as some innovations. It was the first to use a fully hydraulically-powered traverse turret, (a Nash & Thompson system already in use on the Wellington bomber). The turret was center-mounted. It also had a system of two bogies with three road wheels of unequal size, to help reduce the number of parts while saving on maintenance costs on the long run. However, this would prove a poor design choice. The hull was made of bolted plates, because it was easier to engineer flat ones. The armour was limited to 14 mm (0.55 in) only, in order to keep the power-to-weight ratio high enough for a good cruising speed. The steering brakes were mounted outside of the rear sprockets to help cooling. There was also an auxiliary engine used to charge the batteries and drive a ventilator, cooling the fighting compartment. A10 - Although fast (24.9 mph/40 km/h), the first Cruiser lacked protection, with just 14 mm (0.55 in) on the turret mantlet and nose glacis. The triple turret system made it complicated to build, and this feature, once in favour in the interwar, was seen as obsolete by 1940. The A10 was studied by John Carden in 1934, following a specification for a 1 inch (25.4 mm) armoured tank, while its speed could be slightly lower. The A9 plans were subsequently modified into the A10. Both were strikingly similar, but the two frontal turrets were eliminated and replaced by a lighter armoured box, armed with a single .303 (7.62 mm) machine gun. The biggest change was the armour, raised up to 30 mm (1.18 in) on the nose and mantlet, and 14 mm (0.55 in) elsewhere, while the bottom, rear plate and rooftop were just 6 mm (0.24 in) thick. The engine was unchanged (AEC Type A179 6-cylinder petrol, 150 hp), resulting in an added weight of 2.3 tons, and a top speed reduced in effect to just 26 km/h (16.1 mph), compared to the 40 km/h (25 mph) of the Mk.I, barely more than infantry pace on rough terrain. A total of 175 were delivered, from July to December 1939, by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, Metropolitan-Cammell and Vickers, entering service early in 1940. This softcover book contains eighty eight pages of information, photographs, diagrams and colour profiles. The first 25 pages cover the history of the design and development that went into these tanks, including some fabulous period photographs of the vehicles. The photo album section, fills the centre 39 pages have photos that cover every theatre that these tanks were used in, including Europe, North Africa, and` Greece and also on exercises and training within the UK. The descriptive text that accompanies each set of photographs includes, where possible, the vehicles serial number, unit, information on the gun mounting and even the vehicles name. Some of the more interesting photographs are those of the tanks being transported, whether under their own steam, by rail or Scammell TRMU30 with its TRCU30 trailer The final 30 pages contain six pages of line side views, all in 1:35 scale show each variant including very useful information on distinguishing the differences not only of the profile. There then follows eight pages of equipment drawings, including items such as the lower hull to equipment fittings and even the driver’s seat. Finally, there are ten pages of two and three view colour plates which show clearly the colour schemes used, the various regiments and unit markings and their positioning. These plates are also annotated, describing where and when the particular tank was used and their final fate. Conclusion This is another fabulous book in the series, which is not only very interesting for a historians point of view, but for those modellers who are interested in these vehicles. It would make a great resource and companion piece to the modeller when building one of the 1:72 Plastic Soldier or Early War Miniatures kits that are available. Review sample courtesy of
  19. The 1st US Infantry Division Histoire et Collections The 1st Infantry Division was established in 1917 to participate in the fighting in France and faced the major German offensives of 1918. During the Second World War, it effected its first assault landing in North Africa in 1942. Then followed the invasion of Sicily, D-Day in Normandy, the battle of the Bulge and the conquest of the Reich, as far as Czechoslovakia; Their history is covered in 96 pages which include the following chapters:- Birth of division Stateside training North Africa The invasion of Sicily Normandy and the liberation of France Belgium and Germany The Battle of the Bulge To Czechoslovakia ad Victory in Europe The occupation of Germany and the Cold War The “Big Red One” in movies From Vietnam to the Gulf Big Red One Division senior officers and heroes. The book is packed full with period photographs, right from the first formation of the division; including some colour ones form the Normandy beaches. Rather than concentrate on the equipment, the majority of the photographs are of the actual men of the division which is a good thing in my opinion. Each chapter is very well written and covers all the main detail of what the division had to endure, but being succinct, and to the point, rather than flowery as in some books. This book is mostly about the photographs and these really convey what the men had to go through, whether through the training, trench warfare, more training then the battles from Omaha Beach right through to the last battles in Czechoslovakia. For the modeller there are some great scenes that could be reproduced in diorama or vignette form, showing the conditions the division fought in, from North Africa through France and into Germany. There is also a wealth of information on the units assigned to the division and their associated insignia, and several pages dedicated to their heroes, the winners of the Congressional Medal Of Honor. Conclusion While there are not that many pages to it, this book is a great insight into the men of the 1st Division through their photographs and annotations, as well as the division as a whole from inception to the present day. If you’re interested in unit history then this book is a must have, and would be great in a collection. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Armoured Hussars Images of the 1st Polish Armoured Division 1939 - 47 Helion and Company This new book published by Helion and Company and written by Janusz Jarzembowski is a pictorial history of the unit from 1939 to 1947. The books one hundred and forty seven pages are packed full of period photographs, documents and diagrams. Each photograph is well captioned, usually including some background to the photo as well as detailing what they show. These photographs were collected by the authors Father during his time with the Polish Army and were stored in albums, until interest in the almost forgotten division and it’s commanding officer, General Stanislaw Maczek, caused the author to revisit the archive in order to provide a narrative for the division and his Fathers memory. The introduction describes how the Division fought, in its various guises from the very first days of the war against both Germany and Russia all the way to the fall of the Reich, until the unit was finally disbanded in 1947. Many of these brave men decided not to return to their homeland, due to the rise of Communism and set up home in Great Britain, where the Polish Resettlement Corp was established for the final demobilisation and disbanding took place in 1949. The collapse of communism in in Eastern Europe in1989 finally enabled the survivors of the 1st Polish Armoured Division to receive the recognition of their exploits from their homeland, and return home. This is their tribute. Conclusion This is a very special book, and a fitting tribute to the men of the 1st Polish Armoured Division. The photographs are not only interesting historically, but to see the faces of the men who did the fighting is quite poignant. From a modellers view point there is plenty of useful information on the vehicles used, the clothing and the environment that could be put to good use in a diorama. There’s even something for the aircraft modellers, as there are quite a few photographs from abandoned airfields, showing the wrecked aircraft and airfield equipment. Review sample courtesy of
  21. SMS Battleship Baden Kagero Super Drawings in 3D SMS Baden[ was a Bayern-class dreadnought battleship of the German Imperial Navy built during World War I. Launched in October 1915 and completed in March 1917, she was the last battleship completed for use in the war; two of her sisters—Sachsen and Württemberg—were incomplete when the war ended. The ship mounted eight 38-centimeter (15 in) guns in four twin turrets, displaced 32,200 metric tons (31,700 long tons; 35,500 short tons) at full combat load, and had a top speed of 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph). Along with her sister Bayern, Baden was the largest and most powerfully armed battleship built by the Imperial Navy. Upon commissioning into the High Seas Fleet, Baden was made the fleet flagship, replacing Friedrich der Grosse. Baden saw little action during her short career; the only major sortie in April 1918 ended without any combat. Following the German collapse in November 1918, Baden was interned with the majority of the High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow by the British Royal Navy. On 21 June 1919, Rear Admiral Ludwig von Reuter ordered the scuttling of the fleet. However, British sailors in the harbour managed to board Baden and beach her to prevent her sinking. The ship was refloated, thoroughly examined, and eventually sunk in extensive gunnery testing by the Royal Navy in 1921. The Baden design was actually used as the basis for the later Bismarck and Tirpitz. This latest release from Kagero flows the now familiar format, with a short history of the ship, covering eleven pages, including:- The construction outline General characteristics of the hull Armour Machinery and propulsion Armament Fire control Ships oats and other equipment Complement SMS Baden Commanders Operational history The next fifty seven pages are taken up with the wonderfully rendered 3D drawings that this series has become known for. Although with this release quite a bit of the lower hull is also shown which is a bonus particularly the torpedo tubes, rudder and propellers. The renderings show every part of the ship both in wide angle and close up which show some amazing detail not seen in other publications. The last ten pages contain more 3D renderings that have been produced in real 3D. Kagero have kindly included a pair of 3D glasses to view these pictures and whilst it is a little gimmicky they do work rather well, with the guns and equipment standing out of the page. Conclusion As we’ve come to know what to expect from this series I can’t really say much more, other than if you’re a maritime fan you really should have them all in your reference library. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. M48 Patton Ampersand Group via Casemate ISBN: 9780986112768 This new title by David Doyle from the publishing arm of Hobbylink Japan concerns the M48 Patton, the third tank to bear the name of General Patton, who was of the opinion that the medium tank was the way to go, and was in part responsible for delay in the Pershing heavy tank at the end of WWII. The book's tag line is "A visual history of the US Army's mid-20th century battle tank", which gives a big clue to what you'll find inside. If you've read my review of the Panzer I book from the same author and publisher (here), you'll know what to expect in terms of formatting and quality. Inside the sturdy card binding are 128 pages on glossy stock in a landscape A4(ish) format, with over 250 illustrations, some of which are contemporary, others from preserved examples in museums. Again, the format is a very short introduction, followed by the aforementioned photos, which have been helpfully broken down between the following variants: T48 Prototype M48 M48A1 M48A2/C M48A3 M67A1 M48A5 Because the Patton served for a considerable part of the last century, there are plenty of colour pictures, and a great many from preserved examples that have exceptional clarity. As well as discussing the exterior of the vehicle, there are a substantial number of photos of the interior in full colour that would be of great interest to anyone planning on detailing the interior of their model. Conclusion If you're interested in armour, armour modelling or both, this book will provide you with plenty of information both from the photos and the clear, verbose captions that accompany every one. A must have for your reference library. Review sample courtesy of
  23. IJNS Aircraft Carrier Taiho Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Taihō (meaning Great Phoenix), was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Possessing heavy belt armour and featuring an armoured flight deck (a first for any Japanese aircraft carrier), she represented a major departure in Japanese aircraft carrier design and was expected to not only survive multiple bomb, torpedo, or shell hits, but also continue fighting effectively afterwards. Built by Kawasaki at Kobe, she was laid down on 10 July 1941, launched almost two years later on 7 April 1943 and finally commissioned on 7 March 1944. Taihō was formally commissioned on 7 March 1944. Following several weeks of service trials in Japan's Inland Sea, she was deployed to Singapore, arriving there on 5 April. Taihō was then moved to Lingga Roads, a naval anchorage off Sumatra, where she joined veteran carriers Shōkaku and Zuikaku in the First Carrier Division, First Mobile Force. All three carriers engaged in working up new air groups by practicing launch and recovery operations and acting as targets for mock aerial attacks staged from Singapore airfields by their own planes. On 15 April, Vice-Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa officially transferred his flag from Shōkaku to Taihō to take advantage of the carrier's extensive command facilities. Shortly thereafter, the First Mobile Force departed Lingga and arrived on 14 May at Tawi-Tawi off Borneo, where the fleet could directly refuel with unrefined Tarakan Island crude oil and await execution of the planned Kantai Kessen ("decisive battle") known as Operation A-GO. When American carrier strikes against the Marianas indicated an invasion of Saipan was imminent, the Japanese Combined Fleet staff initiated Operation A-GO on 11 June. Taihō and the rest of Ozawa's First Mobile Force departed Tawi-Tawi on 13 June, threading their way through the Philippine Islands and setting course for Saipan to attack American carrier forces operating in the vicinity. On 19 June 1944, Taihō was one of nine Japanese aircraft carriers involved in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. At 07:45 that morning, she was turned into the wind to launch her contribution (16 Zeros, 17 Judy’s and nine Jill’s) to Ozawa's second attack wave. As Taihō's planes circled overhead to form up, American submarine USS Albacore, which had spotted Ozawa's carriers earlier that morning, reached an ideal attack position and fired a spread of six torpedoes at the carrier. One of Taihō's strike pilots, Warrant Officer Sakio Komatsu, saw the torpedo wakes, broke formation and deliberately crashed his aircraft into the path of one torpedo; the weapon detonated short of its target and four of the remaining five missed. The sixth torpedo, however, found its mark and the resulting explosion holed the carrier's hull on the starboard side, just ahead of the island. The impact also fractured the aviation fuel tanks and jammed the forward elevator between the flight deck and upper hangar deck. With the ship down 5 ft (1.5 m) by the bows due to flooding, the forward elevator pit filled with a mixture of seawater, fuel oil and aviation gasoline. Taiho's captain marginally reduced her speed by a knot and a half to slow the ingress of seawater into the hull where the torpedo had struck. As no fires had started, Vice-Admiral Ozawa ordered that the open elevator well be planked over by a flight deck damage control party in order to allow resumption of normal flight operations. By 09:20, using wooden benches and tables from the petty officers' and sailors' mess rooms, this task was completed. Ozawa proceeded to launch two more waves of aircraft. Meanwhile, leaking aviation gasoline accumulating in the forward elevator pit began vaporising and soon permeated the upper and lower hangar decks. The danger this posed to the ship was readily apparent to the damage control crews but, whether through inadequate training, lack of practice (only three months had passed since the ship's commissioning) or general incompetence, their response to it proved fatally ineffectual. Efforts to pump out the damaged elevator well were bungled and no one thought to try to cover the increasingly lethal mixture with foam from the hangar's fire suppression system. Because Taihō's hangars were completely enclosed, mechanical ventilation was the only means of exhausting fouled air and replacing it with fresh. Ventilation duct gates were opened on either side of hangar sections No. 1 and No. 2 and, for a time, the carrier's aft elevator was lowered to try to increase the draught. But even this failed to have any appreciable effect and, in any case, air operations were resumed about noon, requiring the elevator to be periodically raised as aircraft were brought up to the flight deck. In desperation, damage control parties used hammers to smash out the glass in the ship's portholes. Taihō's chief damage control officer eventually ordered the ship's general ventilation system switched to full capacity and, where possible, all doors and hatches opened to try to rid the ship of fumes. Unfortunately, this simply resulted in saturation of areas previously unexposed to the vapours and increased the chances of accidental or spontaneous ignition. About 14:30 that afternoon, 6½ hours after the initial torpedo hit, Taihō was jolted by a severe explosion. A senior staff officer on the bridge saw the flight deck heave up. The sides blew out. Taihō dropped out of formation and began to settle in the water, clearly doomed. Though Admiral Ozawa wanted to go down with the ship, his staff prevailed on him to survive and to transfer his flag to the cruiser Haguro. Taking the Emperor's portrait, Ozawa transferred to Haguro by destroyer. After he left, Taihō was torn by a second thunderous explosion and sank stern first at 16:28, taking 1,650 officers and men out of a complement of 2,150 down with her. The titles in this series from Kagero are being released thick and fast. This is the 39th title in the Super Drawings in 3D, and another superb reference book for modellers. Continuing with the tried and tested format, but due to the short nature of the ships career there are only four pages of information, yet covering items such as:- The Hull Propulsion Armour The Hanger Conning Tower Armament Aircraft Radars In Service These are followed by ninety pages of the beautifully rendered drawings we have come to expect, covering all external areas of the ship, and although rather a plain ship in comparison with some of the other titles in this series there is a lot of detail provided, such as the retracting searchlights and their covers on the flightdeck edges. Something I didn’t know the ship had. Each rendering has brief annotations which give useful insights as to what the areas are and the subtle details included. There are no detailed 3D drawings of the ships equipment or aircraft, which is a bit of a shame, but you can get most of the detail from the main renderings. The drawings of the quarterdeck and the boat hangers are probably the most interesting part of the ship, just a shame that the aircraft hangers themselves haven’t been included in the drawings, probably due to the lack of accurate material available on this design. The centre pages are taken up with two full width views from the starboard bow and aft quarter and with a pair of side views of the island area showing the camouflage she most likely wore when she was sunk. Unlike the previously reviewed book on the HMS Warspite, this edition does include an A1 sheet of line drawings of the ship, with a three view on one side in 1:400 scale and slightly angled views on the reverse which aren’t to any particular scale. The fore and aft views on this side, however, are also to 1:400. Conclusion This book is certainly a lot thicker than the other titles reviewed here and if you have a set of optivisors then the detail contained therein can be put to good use if you’re building either the Tamiya or Fujimi 1:700 kits available. I just hope that Fujimi release an example in my preferred 1:350 scale one day. As with the others in the series, this book could form part of a superb library of 3D drawings that any maritime modeller will be proud of. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. HMS Warspite 1914-1919 Kagero Super Drawings in 3D HMS Warspite was a Queen Elizabeth-class battleship built for the Royal Navy during the early 1910s. Other than the Battle of Jutland, and the inconclusive action of 19 August, her service during World War 1 generally consisted of routine patrols and training in the North Sea. Warspite, the sixth warship of the Royal Navy to carry the name, was laid down on 21 October 1912 at Devonport Royal Dockyard, launched on 26 November 1913, and completed in April 1915 under the command of Captain Edward Phillpotts. Warspite joined the 2nd Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet following a number of acceptance trials, including gunnery trials, which saw Churchill present when she fired her 15 inch (381 mm) guns. Churchill was suitably impressed with their accuracy and power. In late 1915, Warspite was grounded in the River Forth causing some damage to her hull; she had been led by her escorting destroyers down the small ships channel. After undergoing repairs for two months at Rosyth and Jarrow, she rejoined the Grand Fleet, this time as part of the newly formed 5th Battle Squadron which had been created for Queen Elizabeth-class ships. In early December, Warspite was involved in another incident when, during an exercise, she collided with her sister-ship Barham, which caused considerable damage to Warspite's bow. She made it back to Scapa Flow and from there to Devonport for more repair work, rejoining the fleet on Christmas Eve 1915. Having escaped the trap the 5th Battle Squadron headed north, exchanging fire with both Hipper's battlecruiser force and the leading elements of Scheer's battleships, damaging Markgraf. When the squadron turned to join the Grand Fleet the damage from a shell hitting the port-wing engine room caused Warspite's steering to jam as she attempted to avoid her sister-ships Valiant and Malaya. Captain Phillpotts decided to maintain course, in effect circling, rather than come to a halt and reverse. This decision exposed Warspite and made her a tempting target; she was hit 13 times, but inadvertently diverted attention from the armoured cruiser Warrior, which had been critically damaged whilst attacking the leading elements of the German fleet. This action gained her the admiration of Warrior's surviving crew, who believed that Warspite's movement had been intentional. The crew regained control of Warspite after two full circles. Their efforts to end the circular motion placed her on a course which took her towards the German fleet. The rangefinders and the transmission station were non-functional and only "A" turret could fire, albeit under local control with 12 salvos falling short of their target. Sub Lieutenant Herbert Annesley Packer was subsequently promoted for his command of "A" turret. Rather than continue, Warspite was stopped for ten minutes so the crew could make repairs. They succeeded in correcting the problem, but the ship would be plagued with steering irregularities for the rest of her naval career. As the light faded the Grand Fleet crossed ahead of the German battle line and opened fire, forcing the High Seas Fleet to retreat and allowing Warspite to slip away. Warspite was holed 150 times during the battle, and had 14 killed and 16 wounded; among the latter warrant officer Walter Yeo, who became one of the first men to receive facial reconstruction via plastic surgery. Although she had been extensively damaged, Warspite could still raise steam and was ordered back to Rosyth during the evening of 31 May by Rear-Admiral Hugh Evan-Thomas, commander of the 5th Battle Squadron. Whilst travelling across the North Sea the ship came under attack from a German U-boat. The U-boat fired three torpedoes, all of which missed their target. Warspite later attempted to ram a surfaced U-boat. She signalled ahead for escorts and a squadron of torpedo boats came out to meet her. They were too slow to screen her effectively, but there were no more encounters with German vessels and she reached Rosyth safely on the morning of 1 June, where it took two months to repair the damage. Upon the completion of her repairs, Warspite rejoined the 5th Battle Squadron. Further misfortune struck soon afterwards, when she collided with Valiant after a night-shooting exercise, necessitating more repair work at Rosyth. Captain Philpotts avoided reprimand on this occasion, but was moved to a shore-based job as Naval Assistant to the new First Sea Lord, Admiral Jellicoe. He was replaced by Captain de Bartolome in December 1916. In June 1917, Warspite collided with a destroyer, but did not require major repairs. In the following month, Warspite was rocked at her moorings in Scapa Flow when Vanguard, a St. Vincent-class battleship, exploded with the loss of hundreds of her crew when an ammunition magazine detonated. Early in April 1918 she joined the Grand Fleet in a fruitless pursuit of the German High Seas Fleet which had been hunting for a convoy near Norway. In 1918, Warspite had to spend four months being repaired after a boiler room caught fire. Captain Hubert Lynes relieved Captain de Bartolome and on 21 November he took Warspite out to escort the German High Seas Fleet into internment at Scapa Flow following the signing of the Armistice. This is the latest book of Kageros 3D Drawings, and the 38th in the series, which is building up nicely into a superb single point of reference for maritime modellers. Following the now familiar format, but with only four pages of text giving the information on the design of the ship and its operational service; these are followed by seventy three pages of beautifully rendered drawings covering all external areas of the ship, and it is these drawings that set this series above others as the show much more detail than any period photograph can show, or that shown on 2D plans. Each rendering has brief annotations which give useful insights as to what the areas are and the subtle details included. The last nine pages contain drawings of individual items, such as the main turrets, secondary and tertiary armament, ships boats, (ranging from the 50ft steam pinnace right down to the 15ft dinghy), torpedoes, and the various calibres of shells she carried. Unfortunately this title doesn’t come with any line drawings or plans, unlike most of the series. Conclusion This is another great addition to the series and will be very useful if you’re building the Trumpeter 1:700 kit, although it will be just as useful for any other scales. It’ll certainly be a nice addition to any maritime library, especially those with family connections to this great ship as I do. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  25. The Story of Revell - Vol I 1950 to 1986 Histoire & Collections - Casemate Publishing Revell is without doubt one of the major players in model kits world wide, and has been so for a while. How many of us know just how long though? It would seem the origins of the company go back as far as 1941 when an electrical engineer, Lewis Glaser, founded a toys distribution firm: the "Precision Specialities". This company would later become the Revell we know in the 1950s. This book medium format paperback, 80 pages long by author Jean-Christophe Carbonel spans Revell USA until 1986. The book has photos of various model kits produced over the years, and historical events. It is interesting to see the development of box art over the years. Included is the use of Penthouse pets to introduce the 1974 Revell line up in the UK, imagine the outcry if they tried that today! It also seems re-boxing other manufactures kits is not new, and this is covered in the book as well. Conclusion Whether it is to do some research, or more likely for a trip down memory lane; modellers will like this book. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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