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  1. TopDrawings 89 British Fighter Aircraft S.E.5a ISBN: 9788366148765 Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The S.E.5 stood for Scout Experimental 5, and was developed at around the same time as the Sopwith Camel, with similar performance, but some minor issues with the Hispano Suiza engine that put a crimp in production initially, with less than a hundred made before the improvements made resulted in the S.E.5a. It was a fast aircraft, and although it couldn’t turn quite as quickly as some, its stability made it a good platform from which to fire with accurate results from a skilled operator. It quickly gained favour with pilots and officials alike, and over 5,000 were made once the engine problem was resolved, with many powered by the Wolseley Viper and plenty of Aces achieving their tallies in S.E.5a airframes. A few US squadrons were also equipped with them by the end of the war, at which point the type was quickly retired from service with only one example of the more streamlined S.E.5b having been made. We have kits in almost every scale from 1:144 upwards, some old, some new with many major and some minor manufacturers getting in on the act, showing that it's still a popular subject over 100 years later. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and separate A4 sheets printed on both sides with drawings of various aspects of the aircraft. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 20 pages, and the rear cover devoted to additional profiles of two S.E.5as in radically different schemes. After the introduction, the first half of the plans show the S.E.5 then S.E.5a aircraft from every angle in 1:48 with smaller detail drawings in 1:24. After this are the colour profiles with four pages of profiles wearing some interesting camo schemes, including one captured by the post-Czarist Bolsheiviks in 1920. After the break are more plans, including a number of minor variants with twin trainer cockpit openings and one with a single seat and a partial canopy over the front of the area. At the end are profile drawings of civilian variants, then two pages of detail pictures of the real thing. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show cross-sections, equipment layout such as the cockpit, armament, engine and prop. The loose sheets contain three more profiles of various airframes on one side, with the remaining three sides full of drawings that show the internal wooden structure of the wings, fuselage and tail, plus detail of the instrument panel. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the loose pages handy if you wanted to strip away some of the fabric of your model to show the inner workings and wooden structure. Review sample courtesy of
  2. TopDrawings #93 Panzer III (9788366148857) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Panzer III at the time it was developed was envisaged as the main medium tank for the German forces. At the time most other tanks were light and mainly thought of as infantry support vehicles. Initially they tank was to mount a 50mm gun, but the 37mm Pak 36 was chose to standardise with the infantry. This was to prove inadequate and so they were upgraded to a 50mm gun. Again this proved to be lacking and the 7.5cm gun was added in later versions. The Panzer III was used in just about every major campaign by the German forces. Unlike some of its more famous heavier brothers the tank was reliable and durable. However by 1945 they had largely been relegated away from the front line, an in a lot of cases the chassis converted to StuG III Assault guns. The book is written in English on the left of the page with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 24 pages,. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show equipment layout; as well as the sometime small differences between Marks. There are two A3 double-sided sheets of plans showing profiles and top views. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate scale plans quite useful. Currently (at time of writing) on offer at a discounted price from Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  3. Ikarus IK-2 Monographs Special Edition in 3D ISBN: 9788366148628 Kagero via Casemate UK The IK-2, which I didn’t know a thing about until I had read the book, was the first native Yugoslavian designed and built aircraft, made by two dedicated engineers that weren’t being appreciated by their employers, so they decided to go it alone after work hours and created their own company, as well as the design that resulted in the IK-2. Initially they focused on a design called the IK-L1, which evolved substantially into the IK-02, which first flew in 1935. It became a high-wing monoplane with a Hispano-Suiza engine generating a little over 800hp and a 20mm cannon running straight through the centreline and exiting through the prop. By the time it reached limited production it was outclassed, and by the time the Nazis invaded they fought bravely but briefly, with some of the undamaged airframes being sold to Croatia's then puppet state as trainers or communications aircraft until they eventually went to the scrapyard. This goes a long way to explain why there are no extant airframes, and little in the way of documentation or photographs of the type available today. The Book This is #13 in the Monographs Special Edition in 3D series, and it of course covers the Ikarus IK-2 in great detail, providing information that hasn’t been seen before, and correcting many errors in the accepted understanding of this rare type. It is hard bound and extends to 198 pages plus a blank sheet at the start and end, so it's a weighty tome. It was written by Aleksandar M Ognjević and Branislav J Mirkov, the latter also being responsible for the lavish 3D artwork. In addition to the plans in the book, there are two loose sheets of double-sided A2 sheets of plans in 1:32, devoted to the first prototype and the production series. Introduction About Ikarus AD Ikarus IK-2 The First Prototype IK-1L The Second Prototype IK-02 The IK-2 Series Production Service before the 1941 war The 1941 April war In Croatian service Conclusion Camouflage, Markings and Inscriptions IK-2 Technical Information Cockpit Engine Fuel System Ignition System Lubrication System Coolant System Hydraulic System Compressed Air System Fuselage Wings Ailerons Flaps Horizontal Stabiliser Vertical Stabiliser Rudder Landing Gear Oxygen System Electrical System Lighting System Light Monitoring Instruments Radio Weapons Appendices i Weapons technical data ii Abbreviations iii Air Force rank comparison iv VVKJ unit structure v VG structure on 6 April 1941 vi Ikarus IK-2 individual airplane history as known so far vii Ikarus IK-2 technical Data viii Technical data comparison of the Ikarus IK-2 against two most modern Royal Yugoslavian Army Air Force fighters ix Geographical locations with coordinates Bibliography Acknowledgements The first 56 pages are a mixture of text and pictures, detailing the beginning of the company, its design goals and how it went about achieving them, as well as the history of the aircraft as you’d imagine. After that comes 25 sides of plans in 1:48 and 1:72, which have been religiously researched from all available sources and should represent the most accurate plans out there due to the fastidious nature of their interest, using fresh research as their baseline rather than trusting the common “understanding” that has been passed down through the years. Following on are 117 pages of 3D computer renderings that take you deep into the heart of the machine, peeling it away like layers of an onion. The detail shown here is extremely impressive and would be an absolute boon for the modeller with an eye for it that perhaps wants to strip away some of the skin to reveal what's underneath. This will be especially of interest to anyone with the few kits that are available in 1:72 and 1:48 from Azur Ffrom, CMK and Aeropoxy. Conclusion The IK-2 is an unusual aircraft, and perhaps not well known because of its relatively short service and the fact that only 12 production aircraft were ever built. Well worth a read for the history of it, even if you never expect to be able to lay your hands on a kit. At time of writing, this title is on substantial discount at UK Distributors, Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  4. TopDrawings #92 Medium Tank M3 Lee / Grant (9788366148796) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK In the years before WWII America realised that they were lagging behind in respect of armour, a fact that became especially clear when Germany came out from under the Versailles treaty to show off and then use their new tanks and Blitzkrieg tactics. The M3 Lee was conceived in 1940 as a medium tank carrying a powerful 75mm gun, partly for manning by their own crews, but also because Britain had requested a large number of tanks to make good their losses from Dunkirk. The Lee was a decent tank but suffered from a high silhouette and limited traverse of the sponson-mounted 75mm gun, but was still widely used. In British service it was known as the Lee if it was fitted with the original American turret, or the Grant when using the lower-profiled British specification turrets. The Grant eschewed the mini-turret on the commander's cupola that resulted in a reduction in height and a minor simplification of construction and maintenance for very little loss in flexibility, due to the coaxially mounted Browning machine gun in the turret. It was used primarily in Africa and the Pacific theatres where the 2nd line equipment seemed to be fielded (for the most part) by the enemy, and against the Japanese who were far behind with their tank designs and tactics. The book ideals with the the M3A1, M3A2, M3A4 and M3A5. It is written in English on the left of the page with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 28 pages,. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show equipment layout; as well as the sometime small differences between Marks, here is also one A3 double sided sheet of profiles and top views. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate scale plans quite useful. Currently (at time of writing) on offer at a discounted price from Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  5. TopDrawings #91 Jagdpanther (9788366148772) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Jadgpanther (Hunting Panther) was developed mid war as the third attempt at mounting the very successful Pak 43 88 mm gun into a self propelled chassis for anti tank purposes as opposed to being a tank. The panther chassis was extended up to bring about a turretless vehicle that had 60mm armour on the sides and 80 to100m at the front. The gun was mounted centrally and able to traverse 20 degrees to each side, Due to the design the vehicle actually had a better power to weight ratio than the panther and suffered less from mechanical breakdowns. A total of 415 were built over two variants. In service they served with heavy antitank units mainly on the eastern front though some were seen on the western front. Post war after the British captured the factory they produced nine vehicles which were then shipped back to the UK for evaluation. One of these is currently on display at the Bovington Tank Museum. The book is written in English on the left of the page with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 34 pages,. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show equipment layout; as well as the sometime small differences between Marks. There is one double sided A2 pull out plan. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate large scale plans quite useful. Currently (at time of writing) on offer at a discounted price from Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  6. TopDrawings #94 Gloster Gladiator (9788366148864) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Gladiator was the last biplane fighter used by the RAF due to the introduction of more modern monoplanes. The Gladiator was designed in response to an Air Ministry requirements for an aircraft capable of 250mph armed with at least four machines guns. Gloster decided that rather than developing a brand new fighter they could capitalise on their Gauntlet design. This modified design would dispense with a pair of interplane struts to reduce drag and follow a wing design developed by Hawkers. The "new" aircraft would use the 700 hp Bristol Mercury engine. The prototype flew in 1934, with the first production aircraft being delivered in 1937. The Gladiator was probably the pinnacle of biplane design with its streamlining, closed cockpit and heavier armament. The Mk II would be powered by a Bristol Mercury VIIIA engine. The Sea Gladiator was developed for the Fleet Air Arm, it featured the 3 blade propeller, arrestor hook, and onboard dingy stowage. They operated from HMS Glorious, Furious, and Eagle; as well as airfields including at Malta, While the RAF ordered 180 aircraft the biplane design was really at the end of its life with more modern types being introduced. The type saw service in France in 1940, and on the home front in the Orkneys. Overseas they were used in Norway and most famously in the defence of Malta. Here these aircraft managed to defend the Island against superior Italian forces. Gladiators also saw service in North and East Africa as well as in Greece and the Middle East. Gladiators would also see combat service in Belgium, China and lastly Finland. By 1941 the aircraft had been retired from front line service, though continued to serve in communications and weather research roles. We have great kits of the Gladiator available in all scales with the new 1/32 Kits from ICM being very welcome. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and separate A2 sheets printed on both sides with drawings of various versions of the aircraft. This new publication covers the Mark I, I Tropical, II, II Meteo, Sea Gladiator and J-8. The book is written in English on the left of the page with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 20 pages, and the rear cover is devoted to additional profiles of an RAF Machine. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show equipment layout such as the cockpit, landing gear, engines and props; as well as the sometime small differences between Marks/ Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate large scale plans quite useful. Currently (at time of writing) on offer at a discounted price from Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  7. Grumman F-14 Tomcat - Kit Build #1 ISBN: 9788366148567 Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK There are a lot of modellers that have a soft spot for the F-14 Tomcat, and with a raft of new tooling having been released over the last few years, we’re spoiled for choice. Anyone that has watched Top Gun (it’s best not to listen to the dialogue) will also have a soft spot for them, and probably Goose too. In case it had escaped you, the Tomcat was a fleet carrier fighter of immense proportions, with all the Cold War trimmings including twin engines and fins, variable geometry wings, and lots of hard-points to store weapons on. It first deployed at the beginning of the 70s, stopping briefly to become a movie star in the 80s, and flying on until retirement in 2006, much to the disgust of many a Tomcat fan, who couldn’t quite come to terms with the loss. The US aircraft that weren’t earmarked for museums were destroyed along with their spares to ensure that those nasty Iranian F-14s wouldn’t get hold of them to keep their ageing Tomcats flying, which they still seem to be anyway. The Book This is the first edition of a new series from Kagero, the descriptive Kit Build series, which doesn’t need much more explanation unless you don’t speak or read English. In which case, how did you get this far? It is printed in full colour in a card cover, which are often referred to as a “bookazine” these days. It has 66 matt-finished pages within, and is bursting with colour on every one, ignoring the fact that the Tomcat was a grey jet. There are two builds within the book, one of the 1:48 Tamiya F-14D by Adrian Wolnicki, the other in 1:72 of the Fine Molds F-14A by Robert Skałbania, the latter not being a grey jet at all. The 1:48 Tamiya Tomcat is built as a care-worn airframe of VF-101 Grim Reapers, who were at NAS Oceana in 2004 when it wore this scheme with red-tipped black fins with their eponymous emblem in white holding his scythe above his hooded head. Over 23 pages of step-by-step instructions, the various techniques employed to give the surface of the aircraft the appearance of wear, plus a few trips through the anti-corrosion “barn” are explained in words and pictures, showing just how to achieve very realistic effects. The 1:72 Fine Molds kit is depicted as an earlier F-14A in service at NSAWC (Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center(sic)) at Fallon Nevada, wearing a rather unusual three-tone sand/green/brown camouflage over a grey underside, with matching loviz markings in opposing colours used in the scheme. Both models are built to a very high standard with small amounts of aftermarket and scratch-building used to further improve the detail of the models. If you’re one of those weirdos that counts pages in reviews and can’t get them to add up in this review, the majority of the missing pages are used to show off the finished models in high definition, demonstrating the finish you can achieve with some hard work and at least 30ml of talent. The final 6 pages are devoted to side profiles of various airframes over the years, as well as two pages devoted to the aircraft that can be built using the decals supplied with the book(azine). Markings Markings in a book? It’s a decal sheet included with the book that allows you to portray an F-14A BuNo. 160678, No.207, VF-111 Sundowners, USS Carl Vinson, November 1982. The sheet is printed in 1:72 and 1:48 scale, and the printers are Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion As long as you order a 30ml bottle of “talent” to go with your Tomcat, this book should give any modeller with a little experience a raft of techniques to try or adapt to their way of doing things. At time of writing this title is on discount from casemate, with a healthy £5 off the usual price. Review sample courtesy of
  8. TopColors #41 Beutepanzer (9788366148550) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK While many nations captured equipment in WWII the German Army were well know for re-using the large amount for equipment they captured in WWII from all of those they fought. Beutepanzer is the German for a captured armoured vehicle. Many of these served in combat roles often with foreign armour being used by German reconnaissance units. Equipment which could not be reused was kept in order to provide spare for those returned to use. The book is written in English on the left of the page with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 18 pages, and the rear cover is devoted to an additional profile of an Su-85. An addition to the book is a decal sheet featuring the captured markings; these are in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/35. There is no printer mentioned for the deals but they look to be good quality, with minmal carrier film, with solid whites, and no problems. Conclusion This is an interesting look at captured vehicles used by the Germany Army, the decl sheet is a good touch for those wanting to model one of these. Recommended. Currently (at time of writing) on offer at a discounted price from Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  9. Hawker Siddeley (BAe), McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing Harrier AV-8S/TAV-8S & AV-8B/B+/TAV-8B - Monographs #70 (9788366148833) In the Spanish Navy Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Harrier began life in the 50s as the Hawker Siddeley Kestrel, which was the proof of concept that led to the Harrier with the collaboration of McDonnel Douglas, working together to create the first GR.1 and AV-8 that was put into service with the RAF and the US Marines respectively, with subsequent upgrades eventually leading to the Harrier II and AV-8B with composite materials, an improved Pegasus engine and avionics, although it is renowned for having one of the highest pilot workloads in aviation, especially during hover. From the 1980s the Spanish Navy began taking on AV-8Bs from McDonnell Douglas’ factories in the US, with a total of 12 forming the day attack squadron and another tranche of the AV-8B+ with the night attack capability, plus a two-seat trainer aircraft that made them self-sufficient in the training of new pilots alongside simulators. The Book This is number 70 in the Monographs 3D edition from Kagero, with English used throughout. It is perfect-bound in a card cover and 138 pages in colour and black & white, and is written by Salvador Mafé Huertas. The book is packed with text interspersed with many pictures and their accompanying captions, mostly in colour, most of which is contemporary and some current. The last 7 pages plus the rear cover are devoted to some general arrangement drawings and a page of handsome side profiles of various airframes, with more on the rear colour. The chapters break down as follows: Acknowledgements The Origins First Generation Harriers in the Spanish Navy Landing at Gibraltar Royal Thai Navy AV-8S and TAV-8S Harriers Novena Escuadrilla, second generation Harriers Upgrading the Legacy Harriers Rover Constant Updates Upgrading the USMC Harriers The Two-Seat TAV-8B Air-to-Air combat with the “Radar” (AV-8B Plus) Air-Air Gunnery Exercise Carrier Pilot Training in Spain Third Plan Green Deck Night Vision Goggles Vertical Landing on Aircraft Carriers Anonymous Professionals: Maintenance of the Harrier Preventative Maintenance Phases Private Industry Commissions and Deployment Spanish Harriers in the Royal International Air Tattoo 2019 The best show in the world General Arrangement Drawings (6 pages) Side Profiles (1 page plus back cover) There is a substantial amount of text in the book which gives a lot of detail on the development, entry into service with its various sub-variants. The photographs are of great interest to anyone with a historical bent, and coupled with the captions there will be plenty of reading time after which you'll be a bit of an instant expert on the type in Spanish service, and ready to build some lesser seen Harriers. There are even a few pages devoted to the performance of the Spanish Harriers at RIAT in 2019, which will have been an absolute treat for the British contingent in the audience, who have been starved of Harrier displays for a long time now. Conclusion There has been a lot written on the subject of the Harrier, but perhaps not that much on the aircraft’s Spanish service, which this book does much to rectify. It is full to the brim of excellent photos, informative captions and text that will provide hours of entertainment for the reader, then serve as reference material for your builds. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. TopDrawings #95 Fairey Swordfish (9788366148871) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Swordfish began life in the early 30s as a speculative development by Fairey that was later re-designed to fit a 1933 specification that added the torpedo bomber role to its previous remit of spotter ‘plane. After many changes and tests that resulted in the loss of at least one airframe, an order was given for around 70 airframes, with production transferring to Blackburn as war become inevitable. The airframe was essentially outdated by outbreak of war, but improvements gave it longer legs, more power in what became known as the Swordfish I. The II added radar and hardpoints under the wings for rockets, the III adding a more capable radar, and the IV with an enclosed cockpit used as a trainer by the Canadians. the Stringbag outlived the Albacore that was intended to replace it with over 2,000 made, and was instead supplanted by the Barracuda, which kept it within the Fairey family. It saw substantial action in the torpedo bomber role, some more famously than others, and often suffered heavy losses due to in part to the task it was assigned, as well as its relatively slow speed, but it invariably got the job done and is credited with delivering the torpedo to the Bismark that disabled its rudder and allowed the British fleet to catch and subsequently destroyed it. It was well-loved then and is still a welcome performer at airshows, especially when the still-airborne crew stand and salute in tribute to its brave pilots and crew during the war. We have kits in almost every scale from 1:144 upwards, some old, some new with some major and minor manufacturers having releases in their arsneal, showing that it's a popular niche subject. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and separate A2 sheets printed on both sides with drawings of various versions of the aircraft. The book is written in English on the left of the page with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 20 pages, and the rear cover is devoted to additional profiles of two Swordfish Is. After the introduction the first half of the plans show the Mark I from every angle with wings folded and deployed ready for flight. After this are the colour profiles with four pages of profiles of Mark Is and IIs wearing some interesting camo schemes, including one of the Bismark attackers. After the break there is another set of plans for the II and III, including many scrap diagrams of equipment, warloads, as well as fuselage cross-sectional shapes. The lesser known Seaplane version and Mark.IV with its bubble canopy are shown toward the end, and cross-sections of the wing ribs are given on the last page. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show equipment layout such as the cockpit, landing gear, engine and prop Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate large scale plans quite useful, especially if you model in 1:48 or have a large stain on the wall that could be beautified by posting the plans over it to enjoy. Currently (at time of writing) on offer at a discounted price from Casemate UK Review sample courtesy of
  11. Focke Wulf Fw.190A/S/F/G - Monographs Special Edition #12 ISBN: 9788366148727 Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK Focke-Wulf’s Fw.190 was initially designed as a replacement for the ageing Bf.109, which was thought to be approaching the end of its development potential. They managed to squeeze yet more performance for the old 109 though, and they often fought side-by-side in the defence of the Reich until the very end. The British were shocked by its first appearance, as at that time the Spitfire had the edge over the 109, so when they were outclassed by the new, diminutive fighter it spurred the Spitfire’s evolution in that endless game of leapfrog that war begets. The 190 went through many alterations and improvements too, until its airframe diverged so far from the original that it was renamed after its designed Kurt Tank, as the Ta.152. The Book This is number 12 in the Monographs Special Editions from Kagero, with English used throughout. It is hardcover bound and contains 264 pages in colour and black & white, plus two sheets purposely blank. It is written by Krzysztof Janowicz, with many of the photos sourced from private collections that are noted in brackets in the captions. The first 210 pages are text interspersed with many pictures and their accompanying captions, followed by a few pages of statistics in tables. The remainder is filled with drawings with a substantial number of 1:48 scale plans, and the last 8 pages plus another 8 near the centre are devoted to some handsome side profiles of various airframes. The chapters break down as follows: Introduction FW.190A-1 Fw.190A-2 Fw.190A-3 Fw.190A-4 Fw.190A-5 Fw.190A-6 Fw.190A-7 Fw.190A-8 Fw.190A-9 Fw.190F Fw.190F-1 & F-2 Fw.190F-3 Fw.190F-8 Fw.190F-9 Fw.190G Fw.190G-1 Fw.190G-2 Fw.190G-3 Fw.190G-8 Fw.190S Painting & Markings Operations in Western Europe Operations in Africa, the South & North of Europe Ostfront Profiles The Fighter of Many Faces Africa & Sicily All Straks’s Men “Fire Brigade” on the Eastern Front Re-organisation Jack of all Trades Hills, Mountains & Monte Cassino To Stop the Red Bear From Normandy to the Rhine Defeat in the East The Hungarian Ally Hunting by Night Over the Atlantic Mistel Evaluation of the Fw.190 Endnotes Bibliography Plans Profiles There is a substantial amount of text throughout the book which gives a lot of detail on the development, entry into service, combat experience and its various sub-variants. The photographs are of great interest to anyone with a historical bent, and coupled with the captions there will be plenty of reading time after which you'll be a bit of an instant expert on the type, and ready for the plans, which are in 1:48. In addition, there are three loose sheets, one A3 sheet in 1:48 showing an A3 with an A-8/R8 over the page. The other two sheets are on A2 in 1:32 showing an A-5 and A-5tp on one page, and an A-8 on the other. They’re all printed on both sides for maximum information of course. Conclusion The diminutive and combative Butcher Bird is a firm favourite amongst us aircraft enthusiasts, and this book has an absolute wealth of information within its hard cover, that can’t help but broaden your knowledge in the process. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Imperial Japanese Navy Type B1 Submarine I-15 (1939) & I-37 (1943) Kagero Super Drawings in 3D No.73 via Casemate uK The Type B1 Submarine were the first of the Type B Cruiser submarines built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. They were intended to be long range boats with a range of 14000 nautical miles. They had 6 forward 533mm torpedo tubes with 17 torpedoes being carried. They had a 14cm Deck gun, and unusually would carry a float plane for scouting. The hanger was faired into the conning tower and the aircraft would be catapulted from the forward deck. 20 submarines of the class were built. Later on in WWII some of the boats would have the hanger and catapult removed to replace it with a second deck gun. Submarines I-36 & I-37 had their hangers removed in order that they could carry Kaiten manned suicide torpedoes. Neither I-15 or I-37 survived the war. I-15 was sunk by the US Destroyer USS McCalla of San Cristobol in 1942, and I-37 was sunks by US Destroyers USS Conklin & USS McCoy Reynolds of Leyte in 1944. This is the latest book in Kagero Publishing’s superb series of Super Drawings in 3D. As with the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. The rest of the 65 pages are filled with the now well known style of beautifully drawn 3D renderings of every part of the ship. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate, and there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with plus the lower hull including the propellers and rudder. There are a lot of close up renders of most of the equipment fitted, and the Seaplane carried by I-15. As is the norm with this series, Kagero have included B2 fold out sheets. The first features line drawings of both submarines, the second features deck guns, torpedoes and the seaplane. Conclusion If you love Japanese submarines and like to model them as accurately as possible then this book is most definitely for you. Highly recommended, Review sample courtesy of
  13. The German Heavy Cruiser Prinz Eugen Kagero TopDrawings No. 86 via Casemate UK ISBN : 9788366148734 The Prinz Eugen was the third ship of the Admiral Hipper Class of German WWII Heavy Cruisers. While allegedly designed to meet the terms of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement at 10000 tons she was in fact over 16000 tons. With a length of 207m, a beam of 21.7 and a draught of 7.2m she was a formidable cruiser armed with eight 20.3cm guns in four turrets. In addition to these there were 12 x 10.5cm, 12 x 37mm guns, and 8 x 20mm guns. A pair of 533mm torpedo tubes were fitted. Three Ar 196 aircraft were also carried, Laid down in 1936, she was launched in 1938 and commissioned in August 1940 after a slight delay due to damage suffered in an RAF raid. In May of 1941 along with the Bismarck they transited through the Denmark Straights shadowed by Royal Navy Vessels HMS Suffolk & Norfolk. The RN had sent HMS Hood and HMS Price of Wales out to intercept the ships and they met on the 24th May. At 0600 HMS Hood was hit by a Salvo from Bismarck and exploded. Bismarck would then be sunk on 27th May and Prinz Eugen made for Brest for repairs, She would then take part in the "Channel Dash" before going on to serve in the Baltic. She was one of a few large German vessels to survive the war, and was awarded to the US as a war prize., while the US did not really want her, the alternative was the USSR which they did not want even more. As the USS Prinz Eugen it was found increasingly difficult to keep her operational once the German crew were repatriated. She was towed to the Pacific and used in Atomic Bob testing where she survived two explosions. After being decommissioned in 1946 she capsized and sank at Kwajalein Atoll. In 2018 the USN removed all the fuel oil from the wreck as it was starting to leak. The USN Museum still holds the ships bell while one propeller was salvaged and is in place at the Laboe Naval Memorial in Germany, This is the latest book from Kagero in their Top Drawing series, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. The rest of the 27 pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams of almost every piece of equipment on the ship. Unusually for this series there aren’t any drawings of the hull, the largest section being covered is the superstructure. The main reason for the book is the double sided A2 foldout sheet, with line drawings scrap view of the ship on the other side. Conclusion This is another good book in the series. The pullout sheet is also wonderful to see. This is certainly a very useful book for all modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. The Russian Guided Missile Cruiser Varyag Kagero Top Drawings No. 81 via Casemate UK ISBN : 9788366148505 The Russian Guided Missile Cruiser Varyag was the third ship built in the Slava Class of guided missile cruisers for the then Soviet Navy. These are 186m long, with a beam of 20.8m and a draft of 8.4m. Overall displacement is 11490 tons with a top speed of 32 knots. She was launched in 1983 and commissioned in 1989. The vessel is heavily armed with 16 SS-N-12 Sandbox supersonic cruise missiles and one forward turret with a pair of 130mm guns. An impressive defensive suite comprises of 8x8 SA-6 Grumble, 2 x 20 SA-4 Geko, and 6 30mm Close in Weapons systems. Défense for submarines is provided by 2 Smerch 2 mortars and 10 533mm torpedo tubes, Usually 1 Ka25 or Ka27 helicopter is carried. She is the shape of a classic cold War Russian Naval vessel with the missile tubes arranged along the side of the vessel. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Top Drawing series, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. The rest of the 20 pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams of almost every piece of equipment on the ship. Unusually for this series there aren’t any drawings of the hull, the largest section being covered is the superstructure. The main reson for the book are the the two double sided A2 foldout sheets, the first of which has a three view line drawing of the complete ship in 2018 on one side, the other side containing similar views, but in full colour. The second sheet also contains side profiles of the vessel as she was in 1997. The other side line drawings of the hull and view listing all the major equipment. Conclusion This is another good book in the series. The pullout sheets are also wonderful to see. This is certainly a very useful book for all modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. The Russian Skoryi Class Destroyer Kagero Top Drawings No. 82 via Casemate UK ISBN : 9788366148512 The Skoryi Class destroyers look like classic destroyers, they are sleek with high bows, twin turrets fore and aft with torpedo tubes amidships. They were the first post war destroyers built for the Soviet Navy, with an impressive 70 being built from 1949 to 1953. Twin enclosed turrets fore and aft contained twin 130mm guns. AA armament was one twin 85mm gun and 7 single 37mm guns. 2 banks of 5 533mm torpedo tubes were carried. The class were modernised in the late 50s with new AA guns, radars and sonars. One bank of torpedo tubes was also removed to provide extra accommodation. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Top Drawing series, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. The rest of the 20 pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams of almost every piece of equipment on the ship. Unusually for this series there aren’t any drawings of the hull, the largest section being covered is the superstructure. The main reason for the book are the the two double sided A2 foldout sheets, the first of which has a three view line drawing of the complete ship on one side, the other side containing smaller scrap views. . The second sheet contains 3 colour side views of three of the class, The opposite side of sheet 2 contains 3d perspective views as well as additional detail views. Conclusion This is another good book in the series. The pullout sheets are also wonderful to see. This is certainly a very useful book for all modellers. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. TopDrawings No.80 Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (9788366148499) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Ki-61 was the only mass produced Japanese fighter to use a liquid cooled inline V engine of WWII. Initially Allied pilots reported it as a Bf 109, or Macchi C202. Kawasaki developed the fighter for the Japanese Army around its licence built Daimler Benz DB 601a engine. Armament was 2 20mm cannon and 2 12.7mm machine guns. We have new and old kits for the Ki-61 with the new Tamiya ones being very good. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 20 pages, and the rear cover devoted to additional profiles of two G-2s and a loose A3 sheet printed on both sides with overhead plans mentioned above. The first half of the plans show the aircraft, then there are a series of colour profiles. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Hispano Aviación Ha-1112 Buchón - Monographs #67 (9788366148338) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Messerschmitt Bf.109 saw extensive service in Spain during their civil war during the 30s, and served the Reich throughout WWII with continuous upgrades improving it as time went by. Toward the end of the war, Spanish engineers worked on creating a variant of the airframe that could be made using available materials and taking advantage of improvements made since its original debut. Hispano Aviación developed the airframe with an indigenous engine replacing the DB605 from the Bf.109G-2 that resulted in various changes to its nose profile, which was changed again when the Ha-1112 was developed with an improved engine and 12.7mm machine guns as armament. In the early 50s the Spanish authorities negotiated a deal with Rolls Royce to use Merlins, which again changed the nose but brought its well-known advantages to the aircraft. It soldiered on for 20 years after WWII, with a number of the later models famously used in the film The Battle of Britain, doubling for Bf.109s and even Hurricanes in the background. The Book This is number 67 in the Monographs series from Kagero, with English used exclusively throughout. It is perfect-bound in a card cover and 80 pages in colour and black & white. It is written by Eduardo Manuel Gil Martínez. The first 58 pages are text interspersed with many pictures and their accompanying captions, with the remainder a pictorial section, mostly in colour, some of which is contemporary other current. The last 5 pages plus the rear cover are devoted to some handsome side profiles of various airframes. The chapters break down as follows: Introduction Spanish Aviation after the Spanish Civil War Spain during World War 2 Spanish fighter force post WW2 Looking for engines Ha 1109 manufacturing continues The Buchón is born Sidi Ifni and Sahara Return to the action of the Wing 7 Buchones A star has (sic) born: The actor Buchón The Buchón today Spanish made Bf.109G-2 derivatives technical info Bf.109G-2 technical info Bf.109J (HA-1109 J1L) technical info HA-1112K1L or C.4J technical info HA-1112M1L or C.4K technical info HA-1110K1L or C.4J technical info HA-1112M4L or C.4K technical info Buchón's camouflage and markings Annexes Hispano Aviación Spanish made Bf.109G-2 derivatives production Spanish Air Force ranks and equivalences Bibliography Photo library Colour profiles (5 pages plus rear cover) There is a substantial amount of text in the first part of the book which gives a lot of detail on the development, entry into service with its subsequent sub-variants. The photographs are of great interest to anyone with a historical bent, and coupled with the captions there will be plenty of reading time after which you'll be a bit of an instant expert on the type, and ready for the pictorial section to the rear that gives some real world shots including the 2-seat oddity that is the M.4L Conclusion A lot of folks are fond of the Buchón because of its part in the Battle of Britain movie along with the Spanish built CASA 2.111 doing a very good impression of Heinkel He.111s. It is a good one-stop-shop if you would like to get to know your crush better, and broaden your knowledge a little bit in the process. Review sample courtesy of
  18. TopDrawings 75 Panzerkampfwagen VI (9788366148406) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK Hitler's obsession with "bigger is better" is well documented, and that coupled with his constant interference in things he knew little about hampered their attempts to take over Europe. The Tiger tank was part of that size battle, and even before the design was completed the original drive-train was under too much strain that would result in many abandoned or scuttled Tigers on the battlefield due to mechanical breakdowns. When it worked however it was a terrible foe for the Allies with almost impregnable frontal armour and a powerful 88mm cannon that could out-range almost every tank on the field. It played havoc with the poor Shermans until the British 17 pounder was fitted to make the Firefly variant, but the Sherman's thin armour was still no match for it so they were still difficult to kill. Thanks to a complex production that was never fully streamlined they weren't able to put Tigers in the field in sufficient numbers to reverse the tide of defeat, with a small number of the beasts usually embedded in a squadron of Panzer IVs to take on the harder targets. Overall the Panther was a more successful design when every aspect was taken into account, but the Tiger was the most feared on the battlefield despite its shortcomings. Most major and some minor manufacturers have kits of this iron beast in all the prevalent AFV scales, as other people's Tigers don't make money for them, and it's still an amazingly popular subject today. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a handsome A4 print of a damaged Tiger with a thrown track in light woodland, looking as if it has recently been abandoned by the surviving crew after taking a round to the mantlet. There is also a double-sided A4 set of plans in 1:48 showing the tank from the side in various configurations. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 20 pages, and the rear cover devoted to additional profiles of two tanks that fought in the desert of North Africa, including the famous 131 that was captured and now resides at Bovington in full running condition. The first half of the plans begin with the prototypes, a number of which were devoid of turrets during testing of the running gear. Also included at the beginning are two plans of the unsuccessful Porsche candidate that famously caught fire as it was being shown to Hitler on his birthday. Other turreted prototypes are included, then the early serial production units before streamlining and simplification was attempted. The last profiles show a desertised design with angled exhaust covers and narrow fenders that was unknown to me until today, which is interesting. After this the colour profiles with eight vehicles in differing schemes, plus smaller scrap paintings of noteworthy detail that can't be seen from the side. After the break there is another set of plans beginning with a view from the underside showing which wheels were removed for rail transport because un-modified the Tiger was too wide to travel through some rail tunnels due to the huge number of wheels needed to reduce ground-pressure to an acceptable level. 1:35 scale is used throughout the book, and there are numerous front and rear views as well as some overhead and the aforementioned view from below to give a better look at the Tiger's form. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, and the bonus print an excellent addition to any wall, or in my case cabinet door in the workshop. Review sample courtesy of
  19. TopDrawings 76 Bf.109F (9788366148413) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Messerschmitt BF 109 was certainly the most numerous, and probably the best known of all the aircraft used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. Almost 34,000 examples were produced between 1937 and 1945, and the type saw active service in every theatre in which German armed forces were engaged. Powered initially by the relatively low powered Junkers Jumo engine and later by various iterations of the more powerful Daimler Benz DB600 series of inverted V-12 engines, the later variants of the BF 109 could achieve speeds of up to 400 mph. In comparison with the E, or ‘Emil’, the F or 'Friedrich' featured a more powerful version of the DB601 engine, as well as a host of aerodynamic improvements such as a more rounded cowling, enlarged spinner, smaller, lightweight propeller and redesigned supercharger intake. The F2 was armed with 1 × 15mm MG 151 cannon and 2 × 7.92mm MG 17 machine guns, with the F-4 and F-6 carrying on the improvement until the Gustavs took over. We have kits in almost every scale, some old, some new such as the superb Eduard kits in 1:48 with most major and some minor manufacturers getting in on the act, as other people's 109s don't make money for them, and it's a super popular subject. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a handsome A4 print of a yellow-nosed (ahem) bad-lad passing a Spitfire going in the opposite direction. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 28 pages, and the rear cover is devoted to additional profiles of two F-4 tropicals in suitable camo. The first half of the plans begin with the variant's prototype, the vanilla F-1, the F-2 and its sub-variants, then the F-4 with the last page dealing with the fuselage profiles. After this the colour profile with four view profiles of an F-2 at the centre, book-ended with another F-2 and three F-4s, plus the previously mentioned F-4 Trops on the rear cover. After the break there is another set of plans continuing the wide variety of F-4 sub-variants, with some head/tail-on and fuselage scrap diagrams into the bargain. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show the cannons underwing gondola-mounted and internal, plus the various munitions with their pylons and even the instrument panel. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, and the bonus print an excellent addition to any wall. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. TopDrawings 78 Junkers Ju.88C (9788366148444) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Ju-88 was designed as a schnellbomber in the mid-30s, and at the time it was faster than current fighter designs, so it was predicted that it could infiltrate, bomb and escape without being intercepted. That was the theory anyway. By the time WWII began in the west, fighters had caught up with the previously untouchable speed of the 88, and it needed escorting to protect it from its Merlin equipped opponents. It turned out to be a jack of all trades however, and was as competent as a night fighter, dive bomber or doing reconnaissance as it was bombing Britain. They even popped a big gun on the nose and sent it against tanks and bombers, with variable success. The C series aircraft were supposed to be primarily heavily armed fighters or ground attack, fitted with a collection of extra guns in a metal nose. Once Allied bombers started appearing over Germany however, they were quickly retasked with night fighter duties, in which they found their ultimate role. The specification retained the gondola under the nose, but this was often removed in the field to reduce weight and increase top speed, all of which gave them an edge over an unmodified airframe. After design was completed, the C-4 was the first to enter production, with 120 made, split between new builds and conversions of the A-5 on which they were based. With the addition of radar the C-6 took over from the C-4, and with a solid nose and radar "whiskers" it was found to be a capable night fighter. The C-6b was fitted with either FuG 202 Lichtenstein BC or later a FuG 212 Lichtenstein C-1 radar, and was replaced later by the 6C that also sported the deadly Schräge-muzik upward firing 20mm cannons. We have kits in almost every scale from 1:144 upwards, some old, some new such as the ICM kits in 1:48 with most major and some minor manufacturers getting in on the act, as other people's Ju.88s don't make money for them, and it's a popular subject (especially with me). The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a sheet of folded A3 plans printed on both sides with overhead views of various airframes including partials of the gondola area in 1:72, plus a larger A2 sheet also printed on both sides with side and overhead drawings and cross-sections in 1:48 along the length of the fuselage and wings. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Polish on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 24 pages, and the rear cover devoted to additional profiles of a C-2 and C-6. The first half of the plans show the variants from the C-1 to C-6 including the gondola-free C-5 that has a much sleeker look, especially from the front. After this the colour profile with four views are book-ended with contemporary photographs and a C-6 profile, plus the additional C-6 profile and a C-2 on the rear cover. After the break there is another set of plans continuing the C-6 sub-variants such as the night fighters, with some head/tail-on and fuselage scrap diagrams into the bargain. The final five pages show side profiles with the changes between the variants visible, showing the subtle changes and a thimble-nose fitted to a C-6. Throughout the book, there are numerous smaller diagrams that show the nose section without the wing and engine nacelles blocking the view, just the wing root stub visible. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that enjoys comparing their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the separate large scale plans quite useful, especially if you model in 1:48 or have a large blemish on a wall that could be beautified by posting the plans over it to enjoy every time you pass. Review sample courtesy of
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