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  1. Henschel Hs 129 B-2 (vol.6 of the Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics) by Horia Stoica, Dan Antoniu and Vasile Radu I want to present to people here another volume that appeared in the "Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics" series, of which I have previously reviewed the titles dedicated to the Hawker Hurricane, Bf 109 E and Bloch M.B. 210. This one is dedicated to the Romanian career of the Henschel Hs 129 B-2 and, like previous titles in this series it is bilingual, with the text split between Romanian and English, and, as the series name suggests, tells its story mostly through photographs accompanied by commentary and relatively short sections of text. Following the heavy losses suffered by the Romanian Airforce during the battle of Stalingrad a program was started to get it back to strength using "new" German aircraft. One of these types was the Henshchel Hs 129 B-2. The planes received were actually used and only reconditioned by the Germans before delivery to Romania. The 8th Fighter Group was designated for conversion and it became the 8th Assault Group (Squadrons 41, 42 and 60). A first lot of 40 machines started to arrive on 11 May and the first series of pilots finished conversion training on 1 June 1943. The planes were basically German property and were to be replaced when lost. Records from 16 June 1943 to 23 August 1944 show a number of 241 machines used by the three squadrons of the Group. In addition to these, more were captured from the Germans starting with 23 August 1943 and pressed into service. The pilots of the 8th Group were experienced fighter pilots and before converting to Hs 129 B-2 they had achieved numerous aerial victories on I.A.R. 80 and 81 and Bf 109E. They also scored several more on the Henschel, fighting on both the Eastern and Western Fronts and were also involved in several dramatic landings in the first line, under fire, to save downed comrades. The Hs 129 B-2 was finally retired in 1949. Given the large number of Henschels that served with the Romanian Airforce, the book is not structured on a plane by plane chapter like other books in this series, but follows its service before and after August 1944, on the two Fronts it fought on. In addition to these two sections, there is also a chapter dedicated to the personnel of the Group. Close to the end of the book, a two pages chart details the status of the Hs 129 B-2 aircraft on 5.10.1943 detailing the "current" state of each plane number and its werk nr.. In a change from other titles in this series which featured large numbers of photos of various documents, this one has only two. The rest of the pictures (102 in all) depict the machines in Romanian service and their personnel. There are no colour photos of the aircraft, nor any profiles or illustrations, but, in addition to the many black and white photographs, some very useful information for modellers can be found, such as the number serials used for each Sqadron and the propeller spinner colour (red, yellow or blue) specific to each of them. I think this is another well chosen aircraft for this series that shades more light on a rather neglected subject and it should be useful to both modellers and people interested in aviation history. Nowadays, the books from this series seem to be available more widely for non Romanian buyers ( I saw them on aviationmegastore for example), but for anyone interested, I will note that the series has a facebook page, where you could also try to get in touch with one of the authors, Horia Stoica. That`s how I bought my copy and for the avoidance of any doubt I`ll note that I payed the full price advertised at that time. I`m told that a new title in this series is well underway and while I don`t know its subject yet I`m looking forward to it being announced. I`ll end with a few more shots to better illustrate the content of the book.
  2. Bloch M.B. 210 (vol.3 of the Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics) by Horia Stoica, Dan Antoniu and Vasile Radu I`d like to bring to the attention of folks here a book on a rather niche subject: the career of the French Bloch M.B.210 bomber in the Romanian Air Force. It is part of the series "Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics", just like the titles dedicated to the Hurricane and Bf 109E which I have reviewed here before. Just as for the others, I have payed for my own copy of this book. The text is bilingual (Romanian and English) with every page being split between the two languages. Largely, this is an album that brings together many photos of the M.B.210 that I haven`t seen before, accompanied by commentary and chunks of text describing how the bomber came to be, how it was acquired by Romania and its service thereafter. Romania ordered 24 machines, but it only received and operated 10 which were flown in starting on the 3rd of May 1938. In Romania they equipped the 82nd Squadron which served on the Eastern front in 1941, executing bombing missions and even managing to down several enemy aircraft. In 1942 they were retired from the front and used for training and in 1944, the 3 remaining machines were designated for heavy transport. They were retired from service in 1946. Giving the small number of the machines that served with the Romanian Airforce (numbered from 1 to 10), the book is mainly structured, both in text and photos, to deal with each individual aircraft in order, which is handy for anyone wanting to model a particular machine. The sections of several aircraft also contain reports by crewmembers describing bombing missions and the downing of enemy fighters. The final chapter (a page worth of text) is a recollection made by a 18th Squadron (IAR-37) observer describing, from the ground of the airfield the two squadrons shared, the first day of the war of the Bloch M.B. 210. There are 62 black and white photos of aircraft and crew and 37 colour photos of various documents and newspaper articles of the time describing anything from missions to accidents. Unfortunately for non-Romanian readers, the actual text of these documents is not translated into English. Instead, each photo is accompanied by a brief description of its content. As far as the photos of the aircraft are concerned there are interesting things to note here, such as the use of the MG 15 machinegun instead of the 7.5mm MAC machinegun that was standard on the French machines and the two colours upperside camouflage (exactly which colours is a matter of debate between Romanian modellers). There are no colour photos of the aircraft, nor any profiles like there are in the Messerschmitt Bf 109E volume. All in all, this is a very useful book for aviation history enthusiasts and modellers alike. Here are a few more shots to get a better idea of what is included:
  3. Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3/E-4/E-7 (vol.4 of the Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics) by Horia Stoica and Vasile Radu I`d like to point out - to those that haven`t found it yet - the publication of another title in the Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics series, this time dedicated to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 E in Romanian service. Much like the Hurricane title that I have reviewed here: https://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/235031176-hawker-hurricane-voli-of-the-illustrated-history-of-romanian-aeronautics/ this volume is also largelly an album, but with more text devoted to the subject and, this time, accompanied by several colour profiles. The book is bilingual (in Romanian and English). Romania bought its first Messerschmitt Bf 109E at the end of 1939 and the various versions (E-3, E-4 and E-7) served from 1940 until the end of the war. In total, there were 69 machines so, unlike the Hurricane volume which was structured around each individual aircraft (of which there were only 15), this title has its chapters arranged chronologically (Before June 1941; June 1941 - September 1944; After August 1944), followed by chapters dedicated to the pilots and their personal emblems and one of various details (guns, gunsight, control sticks and several shots from repair shops). Towards the end of the book there are 3 tables (one listing the Romanian ranks and corresponding English equivalents, another of all aircraft numbers and their respective Werk Nr and the third, dedicated to the 6 machines modified into E-4 after August 1943). These are followed by a recollection by Lieutenant Ioan Galea describing a mission from May 1944 against a large formation of American B-17 bombers and their accompanying Lightnings, while flying the BF 109 E-7 no.65. The Romanian text of this section is spread on five and a half pages, but unfortunately, it is not translated. Instead, there is a brief (less than half a page) description of it in English. All in all, there are 160 pages with - by my count - 75 black and white photos showing the aircraft, pilots and technicians, 3 priceless contemporary color photos of the Emil in Romanian service (that stir lively debates on Romanian modelling forums regarding the yellow paint used), 38 colour photos of various documents (the text of these is mostly in Romanian and is not translated, but there is an English caption explaining their contents) and 3 colour photos depicting a contemporaneous drawing of the famous 7th Fighter Group`s Donald Duck emblem, the text on that photo`s back and the original drawing on which the emblem was based. There are also 5 colour profiles plus top and bottom views of a Romanian 109 E by Teodor Liviu Morosanu (you might be familiar with his work from the Romanian Fighter Colors 1941-1945 title published by MMP). In conclusion, this is a very useful book for anyone wanting to model the Bf 109E and get a sense of its service in the Romanian Airforce. The series has a facebook page (noted in my review of the Hurricane title) where you could try to get in touch with one of the authors (Horia Stoica), but I see it`s available from various international sites and scale model shops so there`s no longer a need to give any directions of where it can be acquired from. To be clear, I bought mine a couple of years ago at an airshow and paid full price for it. I should note that, in the meantime, two more titles have appeared in this series, dedicated to the Henschel HS-129 B-2 and the Bloch M.B.210 in Romanian service. I`ll end with a couple exemplificative shots of the Messerschmitt volume:
  4. Messerschmitt Bf 109: The Yugoslav Story (Volume I) by Boris Ciglić with Dragan Savić, Milan Micevski & Predrag Miladinović I was surprised to find this awesome book recently as I was searching for more information to make a Yugoslav Bf 109E-3a model. Anyone who has tried to research the subject of the Yugoslav World War 2 aviation in particular and the story of the 1941 Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in general will know just how limited the offer is in the English language. Since both the aircraft in question and this chapter of World War 2 history were very interesting to me I bought the book, enjoyed reading it and I thought it merits a detailed review. The book can be found on its author`s site and from a technical point of view it is very competently described there so I will just post the links and then focus on my own impressions. The web page dedicated to the book: http://wingsofserbia.com/category/messerschmit-bf-109-the-yugoslav-story/ And, from the same site, a pdf file with sample pages: http://wingsofserbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Messerschmitt-Bf-109-The-Yugoslav-Story-Sample-Pages.pdf At the very first glance I thought this is a history of the Bf 109E in Yugoslav service, but it soon became apparent that it is much more than that. First of all, the subject of the book is actually the Bf 109 in all its versions that served in the skies of Yugoslavia and this means that while the early Emils of the VVKJ (Vazduhoplovstvo vojske Kraljevine Jugoslavije - Royal Yugoslav Air Force) get great coverage, their counterparts in the Luftwaffe also feature prominently, from the Emils of the April 1941 to the Gustavs that battled the Allied raids on Central and Eastern Europe later in the war. A second consequence of this focus on the 109 is that the narrative follows it in all its actions and encounters with other plane types and this very much covers the air war over Yugoslavia. As such, aircraft like the Yugoslav IK-2 and IK-3 get their fair amount of coverage, including personal battle recollections from some of their pilots and photographs to go with that. And this brings me to another strength of the book. Surely, the book is a history of the aircraft`s service and as in any such title you`ll get a long string of paragraphs dealing with various missions, some more noteworthy than others, but in this case such entries are abundantly accompanied by quotes from contemporary witnesses and the range of their backgrounds is impressive. For the first two chapters you can read the recollections of both Yugoslavs and Germans, both aircrews and civilians. This makes the history all the more interesting and authentic and - somewhat rare for an aviation title - the book manages to be quite moving. From the memories of the fighter pilots who managed to score hits to those that went through the drama of being shot down (yet lucky enough to survive); from the cockpit of the Yugoslav E-3a fighter pilot the perspective changes to that of the Ju-88A observer being chased by it; from the civilian or military man observing from the ground the consequences of the dogfights taking place above to the grim and uneasy recollections of the German Emil pilots who escorted the bombers that attacked Belgrade on the morning of 6 April 1941, leaving up to 3000 civilians dead. The third chapter spices things up even further with quotes from German, Italian, Romanian, Hungarian, RAF, RNAF, RCAF, South African and USAF pilots and even from the Partisans. One has to applaud the effort that went into collecting and merging the information from so many different sources. As it might have become apparent from their names (see the table of contents on the book`s page) the first chapter deals with the acquisition and service of the Yugoslav Emils up to the war of April 1941, the second chapter presents the invasion of Yugoslavia and the third chapter deals with its aftermath and subsequent Allied raids. Along the way, the general historical situation is discussed, but this is kept to the minimum that is necessary to place the subject of the book in the larger context. The text is generally arranged to chronologically present the operational record of the Messerschmitts, intermingled with the battle accounts mentioned above and supported heavily with photographs on almost every page. The photographs are very well placed as they are always relevant to the text. If you read about some plane crashing on landing or being brought down in action you`ll see a photo of the aftermath close by. Most of the photographs depict the 109s, but many other aircraft (more often than not as wrecks) are shown as well. Another thing I appreciated is that for many of the events you`ll find the perspective of both sides and then also an attempt by the author to reconcile their claims with the actual surviving records. At this point I have to say though that the reader would have benefited from a good map showing the location of all the airfields mentioned in the text. At the very beginning of the book there is a black and white map, but it focuses on the partition of Yugoslavia by the conquering Axis powers. The book also caters to the modeller, with a fourth (and final) chapter dealing with the colours and markings of the aircraft and there`s also a series of profiles at the end of the book (see bellow). The colours and markings of both the Yugoslav and German machines (both Emils and Gustavs) are covered, but not in an exhaustive, plane by plane manner. Obviously, this is not the main point of the book. So, the current limitations in our knowledge on this subject are discussed, the general rules are noted, the known exceptions mentioned and a few photographs are used to illustrate the observations of the text. The section on the German aircraft is interesting, with a subject that is rich in its diversity (and there are some colourful schemes that modellers will probably like to replicate), but what I was primarily interested in was the section discussing the Yugoslav Emils. Here, from a modelling point of view, I would have liked a more detailed discussion regarding the colours that would have involved the reader in the train of thoughts that reached those conclusions. Did they result from the observation of surviving fragments, photographs, factory documents, survivor`s testimonies? The text mentions that the upper surfaces were in RLM 70, that the underside was RLM 65, that the front cover of the air intakes remained in natural duralumin and so on, but this seems surprisingly uniform. For example, the air intakes may very well have been left natural metal in many cases, but the only colour photograph seems to show them painted blue for the first handful of aircraft delivered. I would have liked to read more on these matters. Nevertheless, for the aviation history enthusiast this chapter will be more than enough to help create a picture of the planes that made this story and even for the modeller it is still a rich source of information. The book continues with a series of eight very interesting annexes covering the subjects of the Yugoslav 109E-3a production numbers (W.Nr and Yugoslav corresponding number where available), the roster of Yugoslav Emils and IK-3 units in the defence of Belgrade on 6 April 1941, the VVkJ fighter claims for the April war, the combat log of the Yugoslav 6.LP for the April war, the Luftflotte 4 order of battle on the 5th of April 1941 and the known claims and losses of the German 109s from 1941 to 1945. There is also an annex that tries to approximate the Yugoslav aviation ranks (the text of the book uses the Yugoslav terms) to the ranks of the Luftwaffe, USAAF, RAF, VVS and Regia Aeronautica. At this point there is a little treat in the form of a page with four color photographs of 109s in Yugoslavia. Three of these are German Emils and Gustavs, but the fourth is a very nice photo showing the first five Yugoslav Emils, on 15 August 1939, at Regensburg, prior to their flight to Zemun. After the many black and white photos of the period you can finally have a better picture of what the Yugoslav machines looked like in colours. And this serves as a very nice passage to the final section of the book: the colour profiles. There are 35 aircraft profiles in this section and two more on the back cover. All are planes that flew over Yugoslavia, namely thirteen Yugoslav Bf 109E-3a (two of them with provisional German markings), twelve German Bf 109E-1/4/7 and twelve German Bf 109G-3/4/6. Many of the German profiles are accompanied by their unit`s emblems. Unfortunately, the artwork does not include any top/bottom views of the aircraft which means that modellers will need to supplement this with other resources. On the bright side, Lift Here! of Serbia has decal sheets for some of the 109s profiled in this book - both Yugoslav and German - and their instructions should help the modellers fill the gap. On the inner back cover we learn that there should be a second volume to this story covering the 109 in the service of the Croat Air force Legion in the Luftwaffe, the Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia, Bulgarian Air Force over Yugoslavia, the machines captured by the Partisans and the aircraft of the post-war Yugoslav Air Force. I`m looking forward to it! Now, I`m not a fan of the "Highly recommended!" slogan, but really, I can only recommend this book highly.
  5. Hawker Hurricane (vol.I of the Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics) by Horia Stoica and Vasile Radu I bought this recently published book and since it is a bilingual edition (text in English and Romanian) and the Hawker Hurricane is one of my favorite aircraft I thought I would do a review here. This is supposed to be the first number in a - hopefully - long series of titles devoted to aircraft in Romanian service so I guess it would be important for it to do well. The book is very much an album with its 88 pages devoted to showing the Hawker Hurricane in Romanian colours through 135 photos. It does not contain colour profiles or scale drawings. The text is kept to a minimum which means usually a commentary for each photo, a two pages (four pages actually, but they are split between the two languages) Preface which briefly describes the Romanian acquisition of the Hurricane and its service as part of the famous 53rd Squadron (it gave the first three aces of the Royal Romanian Air Force in WW2) and a Finale with a page worth of text. There is also a Glossary at the end providing the English translation to various Romanian terms and ranks. As far as the text is concerned I have one minor complaint regarding the fact that it starts so close to the binding and this makes it a bit difficult to read the words close to that. Most of the photos depict the aircraft, with some of them dedicated to the personnel and some showing documents (many are reports detailing various incidents). One minus here for a non-Romanian reader is that while the commentaries that accompany the documents` photos are available in English too, so you can get the main idea, the actual text of the document is not translated. Technically, the book is colour printed (which shows in the case of the documents), but the photographs of the planes and crews are all black and white. That said, the photographs chosen for this book are very clear, in my opinion, many are new to me (which makes sense given the claim of "previously unpublished photos" on the RB site - see bellow) and even for those that could be found online I think the detail quality included in this book is superior. As a modeller I found them most useful (among other things to see that my recently finished Hurricane model has an incorrect extra band on the propeller). The book itself is helpfully structured along the aircraft numbers of which Romania had a total of fifteen, conveniently numbered from no.1 to no.15. The first 12 of these were of the late Mk.I type (with metal wings) bought directly from Britain with the other 3 being Yugoslav built (early type with fabric wings), captured by the Germans in 1941 and sold to Romania. Each of the first twelve - British made - machines has its own short section showing photos of the aircraft in question, the men who flew it, documents where available and occasionally, photos of non identified aircraft to portray something relevant to the section. An exception to this is the no 10 for which there are no photos available as it crashed shortly after arriving in Romania resulting in the death of the pilot (Cpt. Av. Drăgănescu Gheorghe) and the destruction of the aircraft. The three ex Yugoslav planes are all presented at the end of the book with photos showing individually only the no 15 and no 14 (the single picture showing it in an original post-maintenance camouflage). The Romanian Hurricanes went from the neutrality markings to the Axis identification elements and some to post maintenance paint-jobs so in this respect there are various differences not just between them but also for each aircraft, depending on the period. This means that for a modeller it is quite convenient to have a photographic resource structured by plane number and I have to say that, overall, I personally liked this book. Based on the text from the back cover one of the following numbers will be devoted to the Bristol Blenheim in Romanian service so here`s hoping! From what I read at the end of the book, Radu Brînzan (of RB Productions and author of "Vânător - Romanian hunter: The I.A.R.80 and I.A.R.81 in Ultimate Detail") was responsible for the English translation and indeed, the book is available on his site: http://www.radubstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=118&products_id=719&zenid=b8b477f645e6d6133b44d94a1b8486d5 Incidentally, RB Productions has recently released a decal sheet for the Romanian Hurricanes in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scales. The author of this Hawker Hurricane volume is on facebook and the series (Illustrated History of Romanian Aviation) has its own page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1285649678148929/ so one could also try to buy or inquire about the book that way.
  6. Bristol Blenheim: The Yugoslav Story Operational Record 1937-1958 by Aleksandar M. Ognjević I keep being pleasantly surprised when it comes to books on the subject of aircraft that flew for, against and simply over Yugoslavia during the Second World War. After buying the Messerschmitt Bf 109: The Yugoslav Story I came across a book in a very similar format, but by a different author and from a different publisher, dedicated to the history of the Bristol Blenheim in Yugoslavia (for avoidance of any doubt I want to say that I have payed full price for my copy of the book, including the rather expensive Serbian Post that amounted to some 40% of the book`s cost). And the news keep getting better as this book`s author, Mr. Aleksandar M. Ognjević, has also been working on a title dedicated to the Hawkers (Hurricanes, Hinds and Furies) in Yugoslavia and this book is just months away from publication. Can`t wait! To the Blenheims now... The book is available from the publisher/author and you can also find a technical presentation there and some sample pages: http://bristol-blenheim.leadenskybooks.com/ One small note: opening the presentation pdf file on the above address I`ve noticed that the photographs in that sample are rather murky, but the ones from the actual book are actually very clear. Table of contents I found the book quite conveniently organized. The first chapter recounts such things as the Yugoslav acquisition and production of the Blenheim, complete with the savory adventures of the Yugoslav crews sent across the already at war Europe to bring home the lot of British produced aircraft. This chapter is also supported by three tables: one detailing the Blenheim types that entered Yugoslav service (complete with respective dates, numbers and serial numbers) as well as the prototypes and abandoned projects, a second listing both the British and Yugoslav serial numbers of the twenty British produced machines and a third table being a complete list of the Blenheims in Yugoslav service that mentions the units in which they served and - in many cases - also their fate. The second chapter is dedicated to the April war and is divided into three sections, each following the history of the three major units that flew the Blenheim: the 1st and 8th Bomber Wings (Bombarderski puk - BP) and the 11th Independent Long Range Reconnaissance Group (SGDI). This means some episodes are recounted more than once - but from different perspectives - as some of the aircraft and units intermingled in time, but I liked this approach. I was left with a very clear image of the aircraft disposition and of which unit did what throughout the war. This was also helped by two useful maps showing not only relevant locations in Yugoslavia, but also the exact disposition of the Blenheim units at the start of the April war. The text of these chapters (and throughout the book) is well supported by the recollections of contemporaries (mostly the air crews) and is accompanied by a large number of photographs. In fact I think there is at least one photograph on each page, depicting both aircraft and crews. Among the latter, there are many portrait type photos of the airmen in uniform so that after you read their stories and memories you`ll be able to put a face on these. In this sense, the book lives up to its goal of keeping their memory alive. The following chapters are dedicated to the other operators of the Blenheim over Yugoslavia (the RAF, Independent State of Croatia and Partisans) and to those countries that operated former Yugoslav aircraft (Hungary, Romania and Finland). The chapter on the Royal Air Force is once again organized according to the squadrons that operated the Blenheim (both Mk.I and Mk.IV) and recounts their adventures to the extent that they took place over Yugoslavia or encountered Yugoslav aircraft (including the one that transported the Yugoslav king to Greece). The chapter dedicated to the Croatian Blenheims is reasonably long and it includes a three pages operational diary of the Rajlovac Airport between 27.04.1942 and 24.06.1943, but the chapters on Romania and Hungary are brief enough as they only tell the story of the one Blenheim that defected to Hungary and the three Blenheims sold by the Germans to Romania. So too are the following two chapters dealing with the Finnish acquisition from Germany of B-4 (Mk.IV) parts and their assembly in Finland and the sole ex-Croatian (ex-Yugoslav) machine captured by the Partisans. The next chapter is a discussion of the camouflage and markings of the Bristol Blenheim in Yugoslav service, with some notes on the machines taken over by the Independent State of Croatia, the ones sold to Romania and the Hungary defector. Though brief (one page worth of text) it is very informative: from the evolution of the styles of serial numbers to the one of the national insignia to the actual paint-jobs. The text ends with a glossary, a list of comparative ranks of the VVKJ (Royal Yugoslav Air Force), ZNDH (Air Force of the Independent State of Croatia), Luftwaffe and VJA (Air Force of the Yugoslav Army) and finally a substantial bibliography. Now, for all scale modellers interested in this subject, comes the exiting part: the Colour Plates section. It contains 24 profiles that depict thirteen Blenheims Mk.I - both Ikarus and Filton/Avro built - in Royal Yugoslav service, three of the RAF machines in Greece (two Blenheims Mk.I and one Blenheim Mk.IV), the single Hungarian - ex-Yugoslav - Blenheim Mk.I, one Croatian (Independent State of Croatia) Blenheim Mk.I, one Romanian - ex-Yugoslav - Blenheim Mk.I, the Partisan captured Blenheim Mk.I in two different camouflage styles, two Finnish Blenheims Mk.IV (one from the war period and another from 1955) and one profile of the sole, unlicensed, B-4 version in Yugoslav service (similar to the official Mk.IV). In addition there are three top views of Blenheims Mk.I (two Yugoslav and one ex-Yugoslav with Hungarian markings) and one bottom view of a Yugoslav Mk.I machine. These are very helpful for modellers given the somewhat complex pattern of the upper-side three-colours Yugoslav camouflage scheme. Each artwork is accompanied by a short description of the aircraft in question and taken together they highlight all the specific elements (from colours to stencils to certain modifications) that modellers will need to take into consideration when deciding how to build a certain machine. As mentioned, the Yugoslav camouflage schemes are quite colourful and should make eye catching models. The back cover is not wasted either. It depicts two RAF Blenheims (an Mk.I and an Mk.IV) in Greece, a close in on the cabin of the Mk.I machine showing its emblem and another view with the front of a modified Mk.I in Yugoslav service which highlights the modification of the windscreen to support a frontal machine-gun. In the end I`m gonna pull another "highly recommended" from my hat. Great book!
  7. IAR-POTEZ 25 by Dan Antoniu and George Cicoș This booklet (of 66 pages) was released as a supplement to the Romanian magazine Modelist, but it is being sold separately. I got mine a few years ago at an airshow, but I see it is still being sold on the site of the magazine. As I`ve said, it is not a recent release, being published in 2009, but I have been asked questions about its subject on this forum before and with the upcoming release by Azur-FRROM of a 1/72 scale kit of the Potez XXV (decal options for the Romanian air force seem likely) I thought it would be beneficial to do a review of this little book here as it was designed especially for modellers and the text is both in English and Romanian. You can find the book here: http://www.revista-modelist.ro/Suplimente-Revista.php and in this .pdf file from the same site you can see a couple of shots with the contents: http://www.revista-modelist.ro/documents/PrezentareIARPotez25.pdf The main body of the book starts at page 6 and ends on page 64. The short text is split between the two languages, on each page, but still manages to bring the aviation enthusiast and modeller quite a few bits of interesting information. The book begins with a Forward where it manages to trip on the second phrase of the English text. Aviation enthusiasts will be surprised to read that aircraft construction in Romania started on 20 November 2009, but a glance at the Romanian text on the left half of the page will show that the year was actually 1909. But, we fall so you can learn to pick ourselves up and that is what the book does from this point on. Moving on from the Forward, the book is broadly split into two parts, the first one describing the license acquisition of the Potez 25 by Romania, the creation of the IAR Brașov factory, the production of the IAR Potez 25 and its entry into service. The various Romanian improvements to the aircraft are also briefly discussed, including the adoption of the DC (Dublă Comandă - Double Command) version for training. This is followed by a short discussion of the creation of the IAR 37 reconnaissance aircraft starting from the adaptation of the Potez 25. This first section is supported by 41 (by my count) black and white photographs. A few of them show the IAR factory and the dignitaries present at its inauguration, but the rest are dedicated to the IAR Potez 25 aircraft and are a great source of information for modellers. There are photographs showing the assembling process, several photographs of engines, a close-up of the rudder so you can see in detail the inscriptions there, photographs of aircraft tipped over that show the detail of the underside of the plane, several shots that close in on some elements (like the machine guns or the camouflage smoke generators) and of course, plenty of photographs with the Potez 25 in active service. Three photographs show the cockpit (displaying the pilot`s cockpit and bombardier`s station) and they have the various visible elements numbered and named in the accompanying commentary. The book also contains a series of eight (by my count) photographs with contemporary drawings from the plane`s technical manual detailing various parts and aspects (like the landing gear) but these are presented without a commentary and the few words on them (in Romanian, naturally) are not translated. At this point in the book there is a section with 10 colour profiles of the aircraft in 1/72 scale plus a view from above and one from bellow in 1/100 scale, all made by the late Teodor Liviu Moroșanu (readers of MMP publications will be familiar with some of his excellent artwork from several titles, including "Romanian Fighter Colours 1941-1945"). These are followed by a page of line drawings showing profiles of the A2/B2 (reconnaissance/bomber) and the DC (trainer) versions, a front view of the aircraft and one from the above. No scale is mentioned for these. The second part of the book is dedicated to the Little Entente and Poland aerial military contest that took place in 1928. The participating teams (from Romania, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Poland) included seven Potez 25 aircraft and the text is accompanied by 23 back and white photographs depicting the event. Placed throughout the book there are three page sized tables, one being a detailed sheet of the technical specifications of the aircraft, another a list with the dates when each IAR Brașov produced Potez 25 entered service and the third is a list with the participants in the Little Entente and Poland aerial military contest of 1928. Overall, I think this is a very good reference material for anyone interested in the Romanian produced Potez 25.
  8. Illustrated History of Romanian Aeronautics 1909 - 1948 by Dan Antoniu This title was published in 2014 and allegedly as a limited edition, but it seems it can still be found as I`ve recently bought mine new in a local modelling store. It is one of those titles from small/independent publishers that don`t appear in major online stores like amazon. Every so often, I see people here asking about this or that less known aircraft or operator and the information - when is not given by one poster to another - is not easy to find in mainstream aviation books and, in their turn, niche subject books are themselves not easy to come across. Since this is a bilingual edition, with text in Romanian and English, I thought that doing a review here might be a good thing. Maybe it helps a few people find an useful book and in turn generate more interest for subjects that aren`t otherwise often covered. Apart from this, as I`ve said, I payed for my own copy of the book and I have no connection to its authors, publishers or anyone selling it. The book is written by Dan Antoniu and translated into English by Radu Brînzan (of RB Productions and author of the book "Vânător - Romanian Hunter: The I.A.R.80 and I.A.R.81 in Ultimate Detail"). It is the result of Mr. Antoniu`s research of the national archives and his efforts to corroborate all the data found there, which as he notes, can sometimes be confusing (for example, the number of ordered aircraft was not always the same with the number of aircraft that were delivered and there`s an entire discussion to be had when it comes to the planes delivered by Germany in the later stages of World War 2). The book is quite large (A4 format) and good looking with its colour hardcover showing - on both front and back - photographs of Romanian aircraft. The quality of the paper and the clarity of the photographs is also good. It lists 268 pages and 434 photographs, all black-and-white. When you first open it you may have the impression that you`ve got an album, but I think a better way to view it is as a chronologically arranged encyclopedia. It does have photographs on each page of the main section, but the point of the book is actually to list, by the order in which they first entered Romanian service all the planes from the very beginnings up to 1948. And I do mean all the planes that however briefly entered Romanian service. This includes the one offs of the early years of aviation, prototypes, privately purchased planes that were later requisitioned by the military and even captured aircraft. For example, the B-24 Liberator that was brought down during Operation Tidal Wave, repaired with parts from the other downed Liberators, painted with Romanian markings and made fly-worthy does have its own page. The text starts with a 2 pages (all text in the book is split between English and Romanian) Forward section, followed by a 6 pages chapter titled "Brief History of the evolution of aeronautics in Romania 1909 - 1948". Then, the main section begins at page 20 and ends on page 237. As said, this is arranged chronologically depending on when a certain aircraft version entered service, with small notes marking the start of each year. As a rule, each plane is allocated a page consisting of two photographs - arranged top and bottom - and a text section in the middle, split between the two languages. The text is not a commentary for the specific photographs on that page but on the aircraft type depicted there. It will generally mention the complete name of the plane, the engine it used, the date when it entered service (usually mentioning the separate stages where there were batches of the same aircraft type procured at different times), the operators, the date when it was taken out of service and a few other bits of relevant information depending on the subject. Sub-versions of a certain aircraft type tend to have their own sections. For example the Bf 109E-3 has one page and the Bf 109E-7 has another. Likewise, there are separate entries for the PZL P.11a, PZL P.11b, PZL P.11c and PZL P.11f. In regards to the number of photos per plane there are some exceptions. A handful of aircraft only have one photo each and a few aircraft (the IAR 80, JRS 79B and Bf 109Ga-6) have more than the customary two. Concerning the text in Romanian it is a pity that the proofreading did not catch the considerable number of typos that went to printing, but this is not a problem for the English reader as Mr. Brînzan seems to have done a great job on the translation and the English section of the text seems faultless (notwithstanding the title of the very first chapter being spelled "Forevord"). The book ends with an Index (which is very useful if you want to go straight to a certain aircraft since in the book they are arranged chronologically, not alphabetically), a Glossary of the Romanian terms used in the English text (things like the names of institutions), a very interesting (for those who are into these things) annex listing the manufacturer`s serial numbers and the registrations of aircraft in service that have been identified and a selective bibliography. All in all, I am happy that I bought this book and for the price I payed - 80 lei, which at the current conversion rate means a little over 17 Euro or 15 sterling pounds - I think it was good value for money. As a conclusion, if you`re wondering whether a certain aircraft that you know about ever sported Romanian markings, when it entered service, in what numbers, when it was retired and how it looked in its service then this book is the very first place to check. And, I suppose, it could also be a very fine source of inspiration for modelling some rare subjects that you might never have considered otherwise. I`ll end with a few more shots showing the back-cover and a couple of pages:
  9. Adler Gegen England (Eagle against England) The Luftwaffe's Air Campaign against the British Isles 1941-1945 Book by AirFile Adler Gegen England (Eagles against England) is the story of the Luftwaffe's attempts to subdue England; following their unsuccessful attempts to control the skies by destroying the RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. The story highlights how the Luftwaffe changed their tactics; to a concerted effort to bomb the industries, import and distribution networks, including the domestic infrastructure of Britain. Considered to be a major factor in the failure of this strategy was the choice of twin-engine tactical bombers for the Luftwaffe's sorties; as opposed to the allied forces heavy four-engine strategic bombing campaign. The strategy was further exacerbated by the constant changing of target types without following through on any advantages gained before the switches. The Book This book is laid out in AirFile's typical standard of soft cover A4 portrait style. Contained with the 72 pages is a compendium of historical text which is nicely interspersed with full colour profile and plan drawings of Luftwaffe aircraft camouflage and markings, plus the occasional archive photograph from the war period. The sequencing of the German air force's strategic air plans are broken down into chronological chapters within the book and cover the major phases over the Luftwaffe's four year bombing campaign as follows: The Blitz - September 1940 to December 1941 The Baedeker Blitz - 23 April to 3 May and 31 May to 6 June 1942 High and Low Raiders - Ju86 high flyers and Fw190 "tip and run" raiders 1942-1943 Intruders and night fighters - 1941 to 1944 The air attacks in 1943 and 1944 - including "Unternehmen Steinbock" Anti-shipping and maritime operations - 1941-1944 Air-launched V1 missiles, jet bombers over the UK and the Nachtjagd's last fling 1944-1945 The book starts with a comprehensive narrative about how Germany planned to take the offensive to Britain; how medium bombers were favoured over heavy bombers and how it was proposed that the Luftwaffe should support Germany's U-boat offensive. The section on the Blitz, probably the most well known period of Germany's strategic forays, covers the period up to December 1941 and within this section are colour profile drawings of Dornier Do.172 and Do.217's, Heinkel He.111 medium bombers. There are over ninety-five full colour drawings in single side-profile colour arrangement throughout the book. Each drawing depicts a specific aircraft as it was on a certain date/period.some have the aircraft's nose art drawn alongside in greater relief which is a real boon for the modelling enthusiast. Another eleven pages have 4-view profile and plan colour images, each depicting a single aircraft and includes a full narrative of historical relevance. In addition there are thirty eight black and white archive images which provide photographic evidence of the types of aircraft deployed and their markings. Also described is Germany's anti shipping and maritime operations and depicts such aircraft as the Arado and He.115 floatplanes, Fw200 Condors; including their operations with guided bombs/missiles against allied shipping. Conclusion This is another nicely compiled book by Neil Robinson and the illustrations from Peter Scott's library really do enhance the narrative with beautifully visualised images of the aircraft concerned throughout Germany's attempts to subdue Britain into defeat and surrender. Some of the enclosed photographs had not been seen by me before and I found them extremely interesting; it just goes to show what can be achieved through in-depth researching of a subject. For me, this was a pleasure to read as I had not seen so much about Germany's strategic air campaign detailed so well in one, easy to read, book before. I would happily recommend this book to anyone planning to make models of German bombers; or anyone wanting to see what types of aircraft were used and their markings. Review sample courtesy of Kindly mention Britmodeller.com to the supplier when making enquiries or orders
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