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  1. Rogožarski IK-3 Monographs Special Edition in 3D ISBN : 9788365437808 Kagero via Casemate UK By the mid 1930s it was evident that the monoplane designs of the time were going to supersede the current biplanes. This was evident to the then Yugoslav Forces. The Rogožarski IK3 was to be low wing monoplane designed by Ljubomir Ilić, Kosta Sivčev and Slobodan Zrnić as a successor to the high winged Ikarus IK-2. The main armament was to be a hub firing 20mm cannon augmented by two fuselage mounted & synchronised Machine Guns. Due to delays only 6 aircraft were operational by the time German Forces invaded in 1941 out of a planned 48. 2 Aircraft survived the invasion and were destined for the puppet Independent State Of Croatia, however due to subterfuge by the resistance the Germans were fooled into scrapping these. The IK-3 design would later form the basis of the post war Ikarus S-49 following the 1948 Tito/Stalin split. This book from Kagero has 182 pages, 194 colour profiles, 130 archival photos, 28 modelling plans, and a fold out A2 double sided set of plans. The 3D drawings are especially detailed. Conclusion This is very much a complete look at largely forgotten Rogožarski IK3. The aircraft was a good one but produced too late, and in too few a number to make any difference. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. TopDrawings 57 – Messerschmitt Bf.110 Vol.1 (9788365437990) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Messerschmitt Bf.110 was a pre-war design for a heavy fighter, but stayed on as one of the most common sights over BoB era WWII Britain and beyond, soldiering on to the end of the war, especially on the Eastern front despite its shortcomings. We have kits in all scales for example from Airfix in 1:72, older Revell and newer Eduard kits in 1:48, and the older Dragon kit in 1:32. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a set of pre-cut vinyl canopy masks for the Eduard kit in 1:72 and 1:48 scales. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Czech on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 28 pages, but in addition you get a sheet of loose A2 plans printed on both sides in 1:48 of the B C and D series as well as lots of wings and fuselage cross-sections and a couple of scrap drawings showing additional details. The first half of the bound plans show the variants up to the mid C range, The four pages of profiles show three notable C-1, C-2 and C-4 airframes, plus an additional D-0 and D-1 on the back cover. The plans continue with D-1, D-2 and D-3 variants with scrap diagrams for other equipment fits, with the final three pages showing the evolution of the aircraft through D-3, with differences marked out in grey and captions discussing the nature of the changes. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that likes to compare their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, also for those with a terrible memory for variations between types, with the masks a useful bonus if you happen to model in those scales. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Russian Battleship Marat Kagero Super Drawings in 3D In the interwar period the battleship "Marat" was considered a symbol of the naval power of the Soviet Union. She was the most-described and filmed ship of the Land of the Soviets. In her 40-year service, rich in events, she survived four wars, but only in one of them - the civil war - she used her main guns in an engagement with enemy warships. In other conflicts, she served as a monitor rather than a battleship, shelling mainly land targets and carrying out counter-battery fire. At the end, she fell victim of the destructive power of German dive bombers. From that moment, she was a battleship only on paper. Mutilated and devoid of propulsion, she was still biting at the Germans from her remaining guns, and after the war, young pupils of the maritime craft appeared on board. Though it sounds absurd, even her reconstruction as a battleship was considered. This misconceived idea was not fortunately realised and the wreck - because it became one in the final period of service - finally went for scrap. This latest release from Kagero flows the now familiar format, and quite thick for one of these titles, with quite a long section on the history of the ship, covering ten pages, including:- From Petropavlovsk to Marat Marat’s Modernisation From Marat to Petropavlovsk Another planned Modernisation Extraordinary Events World War Two 22 June 1941 The Last Years Of Service Listing of Marat’s Commanding Officers during World War Two The next fifty nine pages are taken up with the wonderfully rendered 3D drawings that this series has become known for. Although with this release quite a bit of the lower hull is also shown, particularly the strange shape of the bow, rudder and propellers. The renderings show every part of the ship both in wide angle and close up which show some amazing detail not seen in other publications. With the ship covered there are also numerous drawings of individual bits of equipment, including some fabulous drawings of the secondary turrets, primary and secondary AA weapons, and the ships steam pinnaces. The book also includes a single A1 sheet with five views of the ship in 1:250. On the reverse there are detailed drawings of the secondary armament turrets, rangefinders, 37mm AA guns, machine guns, main turrets and ships boats in scales ranging from 1:50 to 1:200. Conclusion As we’ve come to know what to expect from this series I can’t really say much more, other than if you’re a maritime fan you really should have them all in your reference library. For the modeller you have the superb Zvezda 1:350 kit which this title will be a great resource for your build.. Review sample courtesy of
  4. TopDrawings 56 - Heinkel He.111 Vol.1 (9788365437969) Kagero Publishing via Casemate UK The Heinkel He.111 was one of the most common sights over BoB era WWII Britain, and it remains popular with modellers today. We have kits in all scales for example from Airfix in 1:72, through the new ICM kits in 1:48, and the older 1:32 kits from Revell. The TopDrawings series majors on scale plans, which is the main thrust, but also includes a little background information, some pertinent profiles, and often a bonus of decals or masks targeted at the subject matter in hand. With this edition, you get a set of canopy masks for the Airfix kit in 1:72, and a 1:48 set of balkenkreuz markings worn on the wings and fuselage of most German bombers. The book is written in English on the left of the page, with Czech on the right, which translates to top and bottom for the captions to the various drawings within. The book itself is bound in a card cover and has 24 pages, although three at the rear are devoted to advertising the rest of the Kagero range, but in addition you get three sheets of loose A3 plans printed on both sides in 1:48 and 1:72 of the B and F series as well as the more familiar P series with the glazed nose replacing the stepped nose originally fitted to the early aircraft. The first half of the bound plans show the variants up to the G-3 "Augsburg" passenger aircraft, which I hadn't previously been aware of. The four pages of profiles show three notable P airframes, plus an overhead plan on the third page, after which the plans begin again with detail diagrams of various points of interest on the airframe. The final section of the plans shows the evolution of the aircraft through gestation and its early years up to the P-4, with differences marked out in grey and captions discussing the nature of the changes. Another profile of a well-known P-2 airframe is printed on the back cover for good measure. Conclusion These books are essential for the modeller that likes to compare their models against scale plans, and wants them to be as accurate as possible, with the masks a useful bonus if you happen to model in those scales. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. The Habsburgs' Wings 1914 Vol 1 ISBN : 9788365437792 Kagero & Company via Casemate UK When we think of the Air War of WWI we initially think of The Squadrons of The Royal Flying Corps in battles with the Jastas of Imperial German Flying Corps over the trenches of the Western Front; of the Air Craft of The Royal Naval Air Service operating against the Marineflieger. WWI through was just as the name suggest a World War and the Air War was carried on in many different places. One such forgotten front in aviation terms was the Eastern front, and in particular the Balkans. This book aims to re-address this by looking at Austro-Hungarian Aviation in the Great War. Volume 1 will look at the first Campaigns of WWII. The Book looks at The Birth of the Austro-Hungarian Air Force, and the Order of Battle of military aviation of Austro-Hungary in 1914. It is A5 Hardback in format with 154 pages. There are many black and white photographs of the period along with some colour ones of paintings and the present day geography. Conclusion This publication brings the untold story of early Austro-Hungarian Air operations to light, something which many of us probably have never even heard of. The text is well written and there are plenty of photographs in the book many of which have probably never been seen before. Highly recommended to the WWI fan, and fans of the early days of aviation alike. We await with interest to see what Vol 2 brings. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Guerrilla Nightmare Luftwaffe Stukas at War Against Tito's Partisans in Yugoslavia 1941-1945 ISBN : 9788365437785 Kagero & Company via Casemate UK The Ju-87 Stuka was conceived as a dive bomber in the early 1930s and proved itself in the Spanish Civil war, then later in the Blitzkrieg in Western Europe. However the Battle of Britain would show that the aircraft was vulnerable to the more modern fighters of that time. As such it was moved to areas when the Luftwaffe had less or no aerial opposition. One of these such areas was the Balkans. The Germans were fighting a bitter campaign against Tito in the area, and for lightly armed partisan fighters with no air cover and only light AA the aircraft was truly a nightmare. The aircraft was accurate in delivery of its bomb load and due to its ruggedness could literally be based any where, typically operating from improvised airfields. Despite Allied air operations over the Balkans the Stuka was used right up until the end of hostilities, with one aircraft even being captured and used by the partisans against the Germans. The book looks at all aspects of the operation of Stukas over the Balkans from Supporting ground operations, anti-shipping duties, basing of units; and even towing of Parachute unit gliders. The book is A4 Hardback and 149 pages long. It is illustrated throughout with black and white photographs. At the back are ten pages of colour plates showing profiles of the aircraft involved. Conclusion This publication brings the story of Stuka in one of the lesser remembered fronts of WWII into the fore. The research shows through and we have a book which is well written, plus loaded with photographs which brings the text to life. Highly recommended to the WWII history buff and the aviation modeller alike. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Junkers Ju-88 Kagero Monographs No 64 3D Edition Having reviewed the first two volumes on the Ju-88 HERE and HERE, I thought that this volume would cover other variants, it seems I was wrong, again. Whereas the first volume was mostly about the development and issuing of aircraft to squadrons, the second volume with the aircraft's participation from the phoney war, 3rd September 1939 up to the end of the fighting in France in June 1940. This volume deals with the development of the bomber and reconnaissance versions and their use in the Battle of Britain from 10th July to 30th September 1940. That said it is still a very good book, with lots of information on the actions in which the aircraft was used, losses and general info on the maintenance and servicing at the time. The text, which takes up seventy seven pages of the book, is accompanied by lots of period photographs from France and over Britain including those shot down whilst on missions over the UK. There are some idiosyncrasies in the photographs though, in that they are well out of chronological order, if the order of this series of books is anything to go by. There are photographs of Mistel aircraft, aircraft in Italy and North Africa, but these are not actually mentioned in the text. What is mentioned, and is very interesting, is the actual reports and interviews from the pilots about their missions. The rest of the book is filled with the fabulous 3D drawings that Kagero have become noted for, with some real close up detail of many of the aircraft equipment and fittings. It is these drawings that will probably be of most use to the modeller in helping get the most detail into a model, although the photographs can also help in working out aircraft codes, area of use and the dates in determining to model a particular aircraft. Conclusion The history of the Ju-88 is continued and expanded upon in this volume which, when accompanied with the photographs and 3D drawings makes this book another must have for the Luftwaffe historian and modeller alike.
  8. German Type XXI U-Boat Kagero Super Drawings in 3D One of the most influential designs in the history of the submarine, the Type XXI was to set standards until the introduction of the nuclear boat a decade later. Though both closed-cycle turbines and diesels had been introduced, both still needed development, so a stopgap high-power electric boat was produced, using mostly established technology. With the lower pressure hull packed with high power density cells, the Type XXIs could, for the first time, develop more power submerged than surfaced. Their main propulsion motors were supplemented by low power units for silent manoeuvring. The design was suggested at a conference in Paris in November 1942 as an alternative to the Walter turbine boats which were taking so long to develop, and by June 1943 the preliminary design work was complete. The first Type XXI was built in June 1944. Like that in the Type XVII, the pressure hull of the Type XXI was of ‘double-bubble’ cross section, though externally framed. It was prefabricated in eight sections at a variety of sites, being brought together for final assembly at the shipyard. The external framing increased volume and facilitated the addition of a hydro-dynamically clean outer skin. Construction was all-welded for a target of five boats per week in an ambitious programme to produce an eventual 1,500 units (U-2500 to U-4000). Most other submarine programmes were curtailed or cancelled to this end. The Type XXIs were designed to spend their full patrol time submerged, so the snort was used mainly to run diesels for battery recharge. Habitability was greatly improved, with air-conditioning and air-regeneration apparatus. The only guns were paired automatic weapons set into the forward and after profiles of the elongated fin. A combination of active and passive sonar was used to provide a full torpedo-firing solution without recourse to the periscope. Additional advantages of this type of U-boat were quick deep-diving capability, a fast and silent speed and rapid torpedo reloading. Two proposed but un-built variants, the Type XXIB and Type XXIC, would have increased the number of torpedo tubes from six to 12 and 18 respectively by the insertion of extra sections into the hull. Fortunately for the Allies, the Type XXI never became fully operational before the end of WW2 . Only one Type XXI U-Boat (U-2511) – of the total of 131 commissioned – began with the first operation one week before the German surrender. Several non-operational U-boats were sunk during the evacuation voyages from the ports in northern Germany, which were threatened by Allied troops, to Norway; all by aircraft and in home waters. This is the latest book in Kageros series in 3D format with the first seven pages describing the design, propulsion, armour, armament, and service. The rest of the book is filled with the highly detailed 3D renderings these books have become renowned for, covering every part of the hull, tower, armament, fixtures and fittings. With this title though, there is also a full set of renderings for the interior of the boat as well as separate pages showing the torpedoes, including their interiors, and engines. As usual the drawings are beautifully done with some excellent views for us modellers in showing items you wouldn’t normally notice, or even see. In total there are fifty three pages of renderings, giving a pretty comprehensive insight into the U-Boats shape and equipment. The book also comes with a fold out A2 sheet with multi views of the boat in a rather strange 1:150 and the more normal 1:350 scales on one side, while on the reverse there are line drawings of the interior sections of the boat, in no particular scale. Conclusion While the other books in the series have been superb, the inclusion of the interior renderings raises this book to another level. I’m not sure about the colours used and further research will be required, but I imagine they are pretty close and would be a perfect companion to those modellers building the Revell 1:144 kit with interior as well as the more normal kits of this revolutionary submarine. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Soviet ASW Cruiser Moskva Kagero Top Drawings The work on the design of future long-range active anti-aircraft and anti-submarine ship - as it was initially determined - was conducted by the Leningrad CKB-17 in close cooperation with OKB-938 led by N.I. Kamov. The author of the ship's design, which was given the number 1123 and the code "Kondor”, was A.S. Sawiczew, and from 1967 - A.W. Marinich. The main task of the ship was to search and destroy American nuclear submarines carrying "Polaris” ballistic missiles in the Antarctic Ocean and Barents Sea. The Moskva-class helicopter carriers were the first operational Soviet Navy aircraft carriers, called helicopter carriers by the Soviet Navy. The Soviet designation was Project 1123 Kondor. These ships were laid down at Nikolayev South (Shipyard No.444). The lead vessel was launched in 1965 and named Moskva; she entered commission two years later. Moskva was followed by Leningrad, which was commissioned in late 1968; there were no further vessels built, reportedly due to the poor handling of the ships in rough seas. Both were conventionally powered. The Moskvas were not true "aircraft carriers" in that they did not carry any fixed-wing aircraft; the air wing was composed entirely of helicopters. They were designed primarily as anti-submarine warfare (ASW) vessels, and her weapons and sensor suite was optimized against the nuclear submarine threat. Their strategic role was to defend the Soviet ballistic missile submarine bases against incursions by Western attack submarines, forming the flagships of an ASW task force. 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 eighteen pages are filled with beautifully drawn diagrams of every part of the ship. Of most interest is the drawings of the internals of the hanger and missile magazines, which while not much use to most modellers could make for an interesting scratchbuild. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate. As well as the larger diagrams, all drawn to 1:200 scale, are smaller drawings giving accurate details on most of the ships weapons systems and radars in 1:100 scale. In addition to the booklet, there are two A2 plans. Sheet 1 is in full colour with top, profile and fore/aft views on one side, in a 1:400 scale on one side and similar line drawings on the reverse side. Strangely enough Sheet 2 has the same line drawings as sheet 1, but on the reverse are a pair of side view line drawings, the upper of which is full hull and shows the stowage for the helicopters, while the lower profile is annotated, describing the ships weapons systems, radars and sonar. Conclusion I’ve always liked the rather odd shape of the Moskvas and being the Soviets first real attempt at aviation at sea, they were of interest to a young Royal Navy engineer, as they appeared to be so heavily armed. While this book/booklet is not the thickest around, it does contain lots of useful information that a modeller can use, especially updating eh rather old Airfix 1:600 kit, building the Combrig 1:700 kit, or keeping it in the library patiently waiting for that 1:350 kit that will surely be produced by a major manufacturer. Review sample courtesy of
  10. IJN Destroyer Fubuki Kagero Super Drawings in 3D The IJN’s plans called for 24 Fubuki-class destroyers. These were produced in two groups of ten, the Special Type I and the Special Type II which were distinguished by several technical differences. Type A turret, while the Type II had the Type B turret. The last four ships that were to be produced featured so many changes from the original design that they were redesignated as the Akatsuki-class. Despite the advantages of the Fubuki-class, it was not without problems. The design was overweight from the outset, which caused serious stability issues. There were also concerns with the structural integrity of the design. On September 26, 1935, the IJN fleet ran into a typhoon at sea. Two Special Type destroyers lost their bows, three more suffered severe structural damage, and six others had hull damage. As a result, from November 1935 to 1938 all of the Fubuki-class were sent back to the shipyards for hull strengthening and weight reduction. A ballast keel and an additional 40 tons of ballast were added. To lighten the topside of the ship, whose weight was the partial source of instability, a number of measures were taken: the bridge was reduced in size, smoke stacks were shortened, the number of torpedo reloads reduced, and magazine storage for the main guns was reduced. The result of these efforts was that the displacement was increased to 2,090 tons and top speed reduced to 34 knots, but the stability concerns had successfully been addressed. During the Pacific War, the Fubuki saw extensive service. For example, the Shikinami, which was assigned to Destroyer Division 19, was responsible for finishing off the cruiser USS Houston at the Battle of Sunda Strait during early 1942, participated in the Second Naval Battle of Guadalcanal from November 12-15, 1942, survived the Battle of the Bismarck Sea in 1943, and was finally sunk by the submarine USS Growler on September 12, 1944. Another Fubuki-class, the Amagiri, was the ship responsible for sinking John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 on August 2, 1943. It was later sunk by a mine in the Makassar Strait on April 23, 1944. As the war progressed, surviving Fubuki were modified to increase their survivability. Anti-aircraft armament was increased first to 2 x 13mm twin mounts, then to 2 x 25mm triple mounts, then to even more 25mm triple mounts, with some destroyers apparently being armed with as many as fifteen triple 25mm mounts. Seven of the destroyers were also eventually fitted with No. 22 radars, but the first was not installed on the Yugiri until November 1943, long after the tide of the war had shifted in favour of the Allies. Eighteen of the class were sunk- six to Allied submarines, seven to aerial attack, three to Allied surface ships, and two to mines. Only one of the destroyers, the Ushio, survived the war (another destroyer, the Miyuki, was sunk in a collision in 1934). This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Overview Design, Propulsion and Armour Armaments Service Record Conclusion The rest of the ninety three 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. I particularly like the renderings of the torpedo launchers and the turrets and ships boats, plus the interior of the bridge with the paraphernalia contained therein. She certainly was a very good looking ship, even with the unbalanced main armament with one turret forward and two aft. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a three view on one side, unusually in 1:200, with additional drawings of the fore and aft views, ships fixtures, such as bridge, funnels, AA platforms and radar, most of which are in 1:100 or 1:50 scales. Conclusion This is another superb book in the series and a great addition to any maritime modeller’s library. This series is a boon to any ship modeller and is turning into a magnificent collection of titles. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if building the Tamiya, Pit-Road and Yamashita Hobby kits in 1:700. Review sample courtesy of
  11. IJN Heavy Cruiser Maya Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Maya was one of four Takao-class heavy cruisers, active in World War II with the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). These were the largest and most modern cruisers in the Japanese fleet, and were intended to form the backbone of a multipurpose long-range strike force. These ships were fast, powerful and heavily armed, with enough firepower to hold their own against any cruiser in any other navy in the world. Her sister ships were Takao, Atago and Chōkai. Following the defeat in the Guadalcanal campaign, at the beginning of 1943, the Navy Technical Department and The High Command of the Imperial Japanese Navy strived to increase the defensive potential of all their warships. Apart from standard refits of the majority of the Imperial Japanese Navy units, a plan was adopted, which called for reconstruction of two "Takao” class heavy cruisers into anti-aircraft units. Through a coincidence only the Maya underwent such conversion. On 22 October, in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, Maya was assigned to Sentai-5 with sister ships Atago, Takao and Chōkai together with the battleships Yamato, Musashi and Nagato. At 05:33 on 23 October, during Battle of the Palawan Passage, Maya's sister-ships Atago and Takao were torpedoed by the submarine USS Darter. Atago sank in approximately 18 minutes. Twenty minutes later, submarine USS Dace fired six torpedoes at Maya, mistaking it for a Kongō-class battleship; Maya was struck by four torpedoes portside: one in the forward chain locker, another opposite No. 1 gun turret, a third in No. 7 boiler room and the last in the aft engine room. Powerful secondary explosions followed immediately, and by 06:00 Maya was dead in the water and listing heavily to port. She sank five minutes later, taking 336 officers and men to the bottom, including her captain Akishimo rescued 769 men, and transferred them to the battleship Musashi, which was sunk the following day; 143 of Maya's crewmen were lost with Musashi. Therefore, from the final crew of 1,105 crewmen, 479 were lost. She was removed from the navy list on 20 December 1944 This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, showing the cruiser in her anti-aircraft configuration. Like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Operational History Period before outbreak of war The War between December 1941 to July 1942 August 1942 to December 1942 January 1943 to July 1943 August 1943 to March 1944 April 1944 until sinking Operational Commanders Evaluation of Anti-Aircraft Cruiser conversion Authors Note Bibliography The rest of the eighty one pages are filled with the beautifully drawn 3D renderings we have come to expect from this series. 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. There are also some good renderings of the lower hull, especially aft around the propellers and rudder. The fore and aft views really show the quite odd shape of the hull as it splays out from the waterline and the massive anti-torpedo bulges. I particularly like the renderings of some of the AA gun mountings with the crewmembers in place and in an action setting, which might come in handy for a super detailer modeller. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a five view on one side, in 1:350 drawings of the Mainmast, Bridge Tower, Forward Turrets bird’s eye view and a view down the starboard side, and Midships section showing the AA gun deck, in no particular scale. Conclusion This is a great addition to any maritime modeller’s collection and continues this superb series of books. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if building the beautiful Aoshima 1:350 scale kit, if you can get hold of one. Review sample courtesy of
  12. IJN Destroyer Shimakaze Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Shimakaze was a one-off super-destroyer built for the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. She was armed with six 5 inch dual-purpose guns and conventional anti-aircraft and anti-submarine weaponry. More importantly, she was the only Japanese destroyer to be armed with 15 torpedo tubes, each capable of firing the deadly 24 in Type 93 "Long Lance" torpedo. The ship was a test bed for an enormously powerful, high-temperature; high-pressure steam turbine that was able to develop 79,240 shp, this made her one of the fastest destroyers in the world: her designed speed was 39 kn but on trials she made 40.9 kn. Ordered in 1939 under the 4th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme, Shimakaze was laid down in Maizuru Naval Arsenal in August 1941 and completed on 10 May 1943. Japan had intended to lay down 16 similar destroyers, with long-term plans the 5th Naval Armaments Supplement Programme for a total of 32 to equip four destroyer squadrons, but a lack of industrial capacity prevented them from being built. In June 1943, Shimakaze participated in the evacuation of Japanese troops from Kiska Island towards the end of the Aleutian Islands campaign. She was present in June 1944 at the Battle of the Philippine Sea. In October 1944, the destroyer was present at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, although she played no role in the battle except for picking up survivors from the sunken battleship Musashi. While serving as the flagship of Destroyer Squadron 2 under the command of Rear Admiral Mikio Hayakawa, she was attacked and sunk by American aircraft from Task Force 38 on 11 November 1944 during the Battle of Ormoc Bay. Shimakaze was discovered by a Paul Allen-led expedition aboard RV Petrel in Ormoc Bay on December 1st, 2017. She was a mangled wreck but the three quintuple torpedo tube launchers confirmed her identity. Photographs from the wreck also debunked the assertion that she had one of her turrets removed in an early 1944 refit This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- History Description Armament Operational history Wreck The rest of the seventy five pages are filled with the now well known style of beautifully drawn 3D renderings of every part of the ship. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate, and there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with plus the lower hull including the propellers and rudder. I particularly like the renderings of the torpedo launchers and the larger scale drawings of the light AA weaponry and ships boats, plus the interior of the bridge with the paraphernalia contained therein. She certainly was a very good looking ship, even with the unbalanced main armament with one turret forward and two aft. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a five view on one side, unusually in 1:200, with additional drawings of the ships fixtures, such as bridge, funnels, AA platforms and radar, all to no particular scale. Conclusion This is another superb book in the series and a great addition to any maritime modeller’s library. This series is a boon to any ship modeller and is turning into a magnificent collection of titles. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if building the beautiful Hasegawa or Fujimi 1:350 scale kits or the Tamiya and Pit Road kits in 1:700. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Vought F4U Corsair Kagero TopDrawings One of the latest books in their TopDrawing series, this fifteen page softback is filled with line drawings and a selection of colour plates. Concentrating on the XF4U-1, F4U-1, F4U-1A and F4U-2 models each drawing is annotated, describing the differences between each model, although admittedly some of the differences, particularly when comparing drawings on the same page are difficult to this untrained eye to make out. The line drawings are very nicely done though, and show all the access panels, panel lines and other details. All the line drawings and colour plates are in 1:48, with the exception of the drawings of the engine, instrument panels and weapons, some of which are in 1:24 and 1:32 scales. The book also comes with an A3 pull out showing the upper and lower views of a F4U-1 and 1A on one side and a F4U-2 on the other. A nice addition is the small mask sheet to be used with 1:72 and 1:48 scale models. Conclusion This is a very nice, well laid out book. As with other books in the series, this one should be used along with other reference material to ensure the accuracy of your model. Review sample courtesy of
  14. German S-38 Schnellboot Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Identified by the British sometimes as an "E-boat" (Enemy boat), the German Schnellboot, or S-Boot, differed considerably from it's Royal Navy counterpart the MTB (Motor Torpedo Boat). The S-boat was built mainly from wood upon metal frames and received a round-bilged hull form. The hull was based on an advanced design principle of the time called the Lürssen effect. This was a design that reduced the wave-making resistance of the boat when at speed. In the case of the Schnellboots, this effect was provided by two small rudders mounted on each side of the main rudder and turned outboard. These rudders force the water under the hull outward, lifting the stern, thus reducing drag, and lowering the wake height, which “requires less energy, allowing the vessel to go faster.” The effect was discovered by the German shipbuilding company Lürssen Werft based in Bremen-Vegesack. The most famous of these Schnellboots was the S-38 version. Although the Kriegsmarine only produced in 100 boats of this type, it captured many ship-loving and modeller’s imagination with its sleek lines, torpedo armament and deadly rear mounted 4cm Bofors guns, it had a length of 35 meters and a displacement, full load, of over 100 tons. Thanks to its 12 cylinders Daimler Benz engines the S-38 was able to reach a speed of 39.5 knots. These Schnellboots were primarily used to patrol the Baltic Sea and the English Channel in order to intercept shipping heading for the English ports in the south and east. As such, they were up against Royal Navy and Commonwealth Motor Gun Boats (MGBs), Motor Torpedo Boats (MTBs), Motor Launches, frigates and destroyers. They were also transferred in small numbers to the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea by river and land transport. This is the latest book in Kageros series in 3D format with the first seven pages describing the design, propulsion, armour, armament, and service. The rest of the book is filled with the highly detailed 3D renderings these books have become renowned for, covering every part of the main decks, superstructure, armament, fixtures and fittings. As usual the drawings are beautifully done with some excellent views for us modellers in showing items you wouldn’t normally notice, or even see. Although stated, as showing the S-38, the craft shown in the drawings is actually a S-38b with the Kalotte, (Skull Cap), armoured bridge surround, which gave the crew a certain amount of protection. There are some good comparison drawings showing the different weapons fitted to the S-38b and the S-100. In total there are sixty two pages of renderings, giving a pretty comprehensive insight into the boats shape and equipment. The book comes with a fold out A2 sheet with multi views of the boats in a rather strange 1:75 scale, as well as detail drawings of the various guns fitted, in 1:50 scale. Conclusion This is another great addition to the series. With the Revell 1:72 and Italeri’s magnificent 1:35 kits released, this book will be a real boon to modellers, and also those enthusiasts of these superb boats who fought their war in the narrow seas. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (1943-45) The Aviation of the Italian Social Republic ISBN : 9788365437709 Kagero via Casemate UK While there has been much written about the Luftwaffe in WWII, not much is out there concerning their other Allies, even the Italians. This book concentrates on the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana (ANR) which was the Air Force still under the control of Mussolini after the 1943 Armistice. As at the same time there was the Italian Co-belligerent Air Force, or Aviazione Cobelligerante Italiana who flew for the Allies. Its worth pointing out that the ANR amd ACI never met each other in combat. The early part of the book gives a look at the origins of the ANR, the ANR Fighter Groups and their aircraft. As well as using Italian aircraft the ANR were supplied with Bf 109G-6s from the Luftwaffe. The book then looks at Torpedo bomber, and conventional bomber units of the ANR, as well as the transport arm, and other units. Lesser know subjects such as their rank structure and unit markings are also included towards the end of the book. Conclusion If you're interested in the lesser known Air Forces, or the WWII Axis, this is an interesting book that should give you some hours of entertainment, and remain on hand as a reference for the modeller or historian. This is now the third of the "Library of Armed Conflicts" books I have reviewed and it is turning out to be a good series. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate Kagero TopDrawings The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate is, in my opinion one of the nicest looking Japanese fighters of WWII. Having built a number of kits, mainly 1:48 I hadn’t realised there were so many differences between the different variants. This, the latest book in their TopDrawing series, shows these differences in clear, well drawn diagrams, all in 1:48 scale, with additional details, such as weapons etc in 1:24 scale. There are 15 pages in total, with four pages in the centre of colour plates with side views of two aircraft per page. To the rear of the book there are two pages dedicated to showing the differences through shading and annotations, from the early Ki-84-013 to the last variant, the Ki-84 Tei. Also included with the book are a set of masks, for 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scale kits. There is also an A2 pull out sheet with side a d front views of the Ki-84 Ko and Hei on one side, plus top and bottom views on the other, all in 1:32 scale, plus another pullout sheet, this time in A3 showing top and bottom views of the Ki-84 Ko on one side and the Hei on the other, in 1:48 scale. Conclusion These are great little books for modellers, and while they aren’t exhaustive in their information, they do help show the differences throughout the production run. As with other books in the series, this one should be used along with other reference material to ensure the accuracy of your model. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Republic P-47 Thunderbolt Kagero TopDrawings One of the latest books in their TopDrawing series, this fifteen page softback is filled with line drawings and a selection of colour plates. Concentrating on the D-25, D-27, D-30 and D-40 models each drawing is annotated, describing the differences between each model, although admittedly some of the differences, particularly when comparing drawings on the same page are difficult to this untrained eye to make out. The line drawings are very nicely done though, and show all the access panels, panel lines and other details. All the line drawings and colour plates are in 1:48, with the exception of the drawings of the engine, instrument panels and weapons, some of which are in 1:24 scale. The book also comes with an A3 pull out showing the upper and lower views of a D-25 on one side and a D-30 on the other. A nice addition is the small mask sheet to be used with 1:48 scale models. Conclusion This is a very nice, well laid out book. As with other books in the series, this one should be used along with other reference material to ensure the accuracy of your model. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Brewster F2A Buffalo Kagero TopDrawings ISBN : 9788365437730 This softback book, in their TopDrawing series, is great little book for the Buffalo enthusiast. Consisting of twenty pages, this is very similar to the 3D Drawing series but without the range of colourful renderings, this book is filled with line drawings. This actually makes it easier to see what’s what as you’re not distracted by the colour schemes, although in the centre of the book there are five colour plates of the aircraft in various colour schemes viewed the port side only. Each line drawing is very nicely done, concentrating on each variant of the aircraft and their operators, so you, have US Navy, British, Finnish and Dutch East Indies. All the line drawings are in 1:48, whereas the colour plates are more 1:32. The book also comes with a very nice A4 colour poster of an F2A-3 in flight. Conclusion If you use this book in combination with the other references then you should be able to produce a fine and accurate Buffalo, no matter which version you choose. Review sample courtesy of
  19. Topdrawings 48 - Grumman F4F Wildcat ISBN : 9788365437631 Kagero via Casemate UK The Grumman F4F Wildcat (or Martlet in British Service) was a carrier bourne fighter developed in the 1930 from the Grumman FF Biplane. The FF was the first US Naval aircraft to have retractable landing gear with the wheels still visible even when retratacted and this carried over to the F4F. The USN offically adopted the type in 1941 as the Wildcat though they had been in service since 1940 with the Royal Navy. This book is not a reference book on the Wildcat per-say, but a collection of plans and colour profiles designed to help the modeller all the plans are in 1.48 with a 1/24th scale rule on the pages as well. In the centre of the book is an A2 double sided pull out plan in 1/32nd scale as well. As an extra there is one set of 1:48 masks, and one of 1:72 in the book. All text is in English & Polish. Conclusion If you're interested in these aircraft and intend to model a few of an individual aircraft then its worth investing in one of these publications. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Hungarian Armoured Forces in WWII Photosniper 26 ISBN : 9788365437655 Kagero via Casemate UK Hungary was caught at the end of WWI on the wrong side and was treated harshly by the Allies. Under the 1920 treaty of Trianon they lost nearly half their population and more than 60% of their territory to hostile boarding nations. Which is the reason the joined the Axis forces in WWII, however it would seem they chose the wrong side again! The book looks at Hungarian armed forces between the wars, and then in WWII through the various campaigns they fought in. There is a wealth of black & white photos of the forces in action and details of equipment they used, most of it indigenous to the country. This indigenous Armour is also examined in the book. The book also examines foreign vehicles in Hungarian Service, and Hungarian Markings & Camouflage. There are 11 pages of line drawings/plans of the Hungarian equipment located towards the end of the book along 6 pages of colour photos, and 9 pages of colour profiles. This volume is A4 soft back in format and an 131 pages. Conclusion This book should provide readers with a better understanding of the Armoured forces of Hungary and they equipment they used. The wealth of photographs, together with drawings and colour plates will be of great use to the modeller, and of great interest to anyone studying one of the seemingly less well known Axis powers. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Famous Airplanes - Fokker D.VII. Kaiser's best fighter by Tomasz J. Kowalski, Szymon Grzywocz , Damian Majsak. ISBN : 9788365437679 Kagero via Casemate UK The Fokker D.VII is a very popular subject among modellers of Great War aviation. Not only was it one of the very best fighters of the war, it also wore a large variety of very colourful finishes. The available models cover all major scales, from 1:144, 1:72, 1:48, to the outstanding 1:32 kits from Wingnut Wings. This A4 sized softback book from Kagero has dual text in English/Polish text, and Chapter 1 starts with an interesting history covering the design, development, and introduction to service of the D.VII. It goes on to outline it's combat history, and subsequent post war use. All this is supported with contemporary black & white photographs, and some excellent 1:72 three view drawings showing the differences between the Mercedes and BMW powered versions, plus some frontal drawings of early, mid, and late production engine cowling & exhaust arrangements. At the back of the book are some superb full colour cutaway drawings showing the cockpit, guns, and engine, plus some Ronny Bar profiles. All of which makes for a very useful one-stop reference work. The outstanding parts of this publication though, are chapters 2 and 3, which cover step by step build of the Wingnut Wings kit. Chapter 2 is by Damian Majsak, who builds kit 32011 Fokker D.VII (Fok), in Gotthard Sachsenberg's black and yellow checkered scheme. Damian's build is 'straight from the box' showing how to get the best from the kit, with an emphasis on the complex 'front end' construction of the interior tubular structure. This forms the cockpit/engine area, and step by step photographs show how it all goes together, along with the colours. I wish I had had this available when I built my first one, as I got it slightly wrong and had to redo it. The painting & decalling stages are shown in some detail, it is always useful to see how it is done in sub assemblies. Finally, the finished model is set on a simple base with some Kagero resin figures. In Chapter 3 Szymon Grzywocz builds kit 32030 Fokker D.VII (OAW) in Wilhelm Leutsch's blue & yellow machine, with a large dragon painted on the side. The work on the engine is outstanding, and the section on applying aftermarket (Aviatic) lozenge decals to the wings is very informative. Szymon has incorporated many enhancements on his model, like engine spark plugs & wiring, open hatches, removed fuel cap, ammo belt being loaded, to name a few. All of which are very inspiring. To top it all off he has set it on a neat little diorama base featuring a couple of mechanics refueling the aircraft. Conclusion. It has been a while since I enjoyed a book as much as this one. It strikes a perfect balance between telling the story of the Fokker D.VII, and showing how to get the best out of the Wingnut Wings kit. The supporting illustrations, drawings, and photographs are well chosen, with 50+ contemporary black & white pictures, some of which were new to me. Best of all are the photographic sequences of the two builds, offering information and inspiration in equal measure. If you are interested in modelling the D.VII, particularly the Wingnut Wings kit, then this is just the book for you. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. German Destroyer Z37 Kagero Super Drawings in 3D The Z37 was a Type 1936A destroyer built for the Kriegsmarine, (German Navy), during World War II. Completed in 1942, the ship spent most of her brief career deployed in France. She participated in the Battle of the Bay of Biscay at the end of 1943 before she was accidentally rammed by the destroyer Z32 in early 1944. Towed back to port, the Kriegsmarine decided that she was too badly damaged to repair and disarmed her hulk. Decommissioned later that year, she was scuttled by her crew before being scrapped by the French in 1949. This latest book in the Super Drawings in 3D series from Kagero, is actually the 55th in the series, which is becoming THE single point of reference for maritime modellers. Following the now familiar format the first five pages contain text describing the design of the ship, its propulsion, armour, armament, its operational service and a conclusion. There follows seventy six pages of beautifully rendered drawings covering all external areas of the ship, a lot of which shows up details that you couldn’t get from period photographs of plans. Each rendering has brief annotations which give useful insights as to what the areas are and the subtle details included. A while ago Kagero stated that they weren’t going to include plans with these books and were going to sell them rolled up so that buyers could mount them in frames. It’s great to see that they have changed their minds on this, as the plans are just as useful as the renderings in the book. One side of the single A2 sheet contains three views of the ship in 1:200 scale, while on the opposite side plans of the ship from fore and aft, plus diagrams of the main armament, torpedo tubes and ships boats in 1:100, main rangefinder, searchlights and AA weaponry in 1:50, all very useful to the super detailer. Conclusion This is another superb addition to the series and will be very useful if you’re building any of the multitude of kits in 1:350 and 1:700 available today. With this book by your side you should be able to really go to town with the detailing, producing your museum quality models. Review sample courtesy of
  23. HMS Royal Oak Kagero TopDrawings This softback book, in their Topdrawing series is a mine of information for the maritime modeller. Although only consisting of eighteen pages this is very similar to the 3D Drawing series but without the range of colourful renderings, this book is filled with line drawings. This actually makes it easier to see what’s what as you’re not distracted by the colour schemes. Each line drawing is very nicely done, concentrating on different sections of the ship. Interspersed between the larger drawings there are numerous smaller diagrams of individual pieces of equipment, such as the turrets, winches, ships boats, rangefinders, aircraft and ships cranes. The drawings on the secondary and tertiary armament are particularly detailed, for those modellers who wish to take their detailing to the nth degree. It should be noted that the drawings are from two separate time periods, 1917 and 1939. Included with the book are two A1 sheets, one with line drawings of the ship from 1937 in 1:350 scale, (hopefully Trumpeter or Merit International will oblige us with a kit in this scale soon), on the other side there is are three side views showing the differences of the ship in 1917, 1919 and 1937. The second sheet has colour renderings of the starboard side and from above as of 1937. On the other side is a cross section drawing showing the major internals of the ship, as well as a couple of drawings of the secondary armament deck. Conclusion This is another very useful book for modellers and historians alike. Whilst there are a number of 1:700 scale kits about, from the likes of ROS Op, and WSW, there aren’t any kits in 1:350. Although, in this day and age you can never say never, when it comes to manufacturers release schedule. Very highly recommended Review sample courtesy of
  24. IJN Aircraft Carrier Battleship Ise Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Ise (whose name comes from an ancient Japanese province on Honshu, now part of Mie Prefecture) was the lead ship of the two-vessel Ise-class battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, which saw combat service during the Pacific War. Ise was laid down as battleship 5 at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries shipyard in Kobe on 10 May 1915, launched on 12 November 1916, completed on 15 December 1917, and assigned to the Kure Naval District. Completed too late for service in World War I, in the early 1920s, Ise patrolled off the Siberia coast and in northern waters in support of Japan's Siberian Intervention against the Bolshevik Red Army. From the mid-1920s through the late 1930s, Ise patrolled mostly off of the China coast. On 12 April 1922, she hosted a delegation which included Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, and the future Lord Mountbatten. Ise-class battleships were fascinating ships and their story began in 1906 with the completion of HMS Dreadnought. The appearance of the all-big-gun turbine-powered Dreadnought rendered all existing battleships obsolete overnight, and in response the rest of the world's navies initiated massive construction programs. The world's major navies had gained an insurmountable lead in the number of dreadnoughts in service or under construction. Recognising the futility of trying to compete in sheer numbers, the Japanese Navy adopted a quality before quantity approach, building fewer ships each of much greater capability than foreign designs. In 1911 the Japanese government passed the Emergency Naval Expansion bill which authorised the building of four battlecruisers and one battleship. The battleship was to be designed and built in Japan; this ship became the Fuso. There were a number of foreign designs to take into consideration when it came time to decide the main armament for the new ships. Britain Royal Navy's Orion class was armed with the 13.5in gun; US Wyoming class with 12-12in guns and the succeeding New York class with 10-14in weapons. Japan decided to leap over the competition and fit the new ships with the 14in gun, so the Fuso-class would carry 12-14in. Armament was not the only area where the Japanese battleship was intended to be superior to foreign designs: it was also to be at least 2 knots faster. Fuso was laid down on 11 March 1912 and she was the first battleship built in Japan using Japanese manufactured materials and weapons. Three sister ships were authorised, one of them laid down in November 1913, but financial difficulties prevented the laying down of the next two ships until 1915, which allowed time for some design improvements. The forecastle deck was shortened, the amidships turrets were grouped together and placed aft of the second funnel and the hull length was increased by 10ft to give more machinery space. The changes resulted in the two ships becoming known as the "Improved Fuso” or Ise class. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications in the first seven pages. This includes the following:- Overview Design, Propulsion, and Armour Armaments Service Conclusion The rest of the eighty one pages are filled with beautifully drawn 3D renderings of every part of the ship. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate, and there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with. It’s good to see the lower hull being rendered too in this release, with good drawings of the propellers and rudder. I particularly like the renderings of the ships boats, which will be of particular interest to modellers, as these are rarely clearly represented in instructions etc. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a three view on one side, in 1:350 and head on and stern drawings in 1:250, along with additional drawings of the ships boats, 5” AA mountings, Type 96 single and triple 23mm mountings, searchlights and main turrets on the reverse. Conclusion With the Fujimi 1:350 still available as is the 1:700 kit from Hasegawa this is an essential book to have in the library should you wish to build a super detailed model for this very interesting ship. The book is so well produced, that it would also be of great value for those interested in Japanese warships or naval warfare in general. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Topdrawings 47 - Renault FT & M1917 ISBN : 9788365437648 Kagero via Casemate UK The Renualt FT can be seen as the worlds first modern Tank with features such as the Turret, rear mounted engine, and forward crew compartment that we still see today. Over 3000 units were produced towards the end of WWI by the French and in the US under the designation M1917. Many tanks which were then in reserve were borught into serivce at the start of WWII with examples captured and used by the Germans. The Russian T-18 was a derrirative of the FT as the Russian re-built and copied a number of FT which served with the White Russian forces in their civil war. This book is not a reference book on the tank per-say, but a collection of plans and colour profiles designed to help the modeller. Unlike the aircraft books there are no scale rules on the pages. In the centre of the book is an A-3 double sided pull out plan as well. As an extra there is a set of mask for the marking seen on the profiles, no scale is mentioned but they look 1/35. All text is in English & Polish. Conclusion If you're interested in these aircraft and intend to model a few of this Tank then its worth investing in one of these publications. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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