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Found 21 results

  1. The Westland Whirlwind – Airframe Album #4 (9781912932221) A Detailed Guide to the RAF’s Twin-Engine Fighter Valiant Wings Publishing The new Special Hobby Whirlwind kit in 1:32 has sparked renewed interest in this under-utilised aircraft that looks like it goes fast and means business, but due to the lack of development capacity at the time, relegated it to an aviation history dead-end. This book has been enhanced and updated to hit the market at just the right time, the original having been released a surprising seven years ago – a fact that blew my mind. The book is written by Richard A Franks, a man with prolific output who must have a gigantic reference library, with the strapline "A Detailed Guide to the RAF's Twin-Engined Fighter" carried over. It has 96 pages (excluding covers) of glossy paper in a soft-backed perfect bound portrait format, an increase of 16 pages over the original edition, whilst retaining its portrait A4 format. Inside the front cover is the following index: Technical Description Detailed coverage of constructions and equipment Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs Production Concise history of each airframe built Big-Scale Whirlwind Build of the all-new 1:32 scale Whirlwind Mk.I from Special Hobby by Steve A Evans Appendices I Kit list II Accessory & Decal List III Bibliography 1:48 Scale Plans A preface and introduction to the Whirlwind takes up the first pages, with the next section at 30 pages covering the technical description with tons of photos. Evolution takes up 14 pages (no change, as there have been no new versions, unsurprisingly), with 17 pages taken up with camouflage and markings as per the previous edition. The next section is 9 pages long and is allocated to the production with a variable number of lines of text for each one, depending on how interesting its history was, which is possible due to the low number of airframes that were made. The new Big-Scale Whirlwind section has Steve A Evans building Special Hobby’s kit from the box, adding just some old Eduard Sutton Harnesses to the pilot’s seat, and of course a heap of talent plus some paint and glue, coming in at 7 pages. The end result is of course excellent, and the kind of model we all aspire to. There are three pages devoted to the appendices, and as they are time critical, they have been kept compact, rather than padding out the back of the book. The plans at the rear of the book are in 1:48, which is my favourite scale and will be very useful for anyone trying to build the Trumpeter kit in that scale that came out around the time of the first edition. That’s not a perfect kit, but it’s probably the best one we're likely to get for a while, given the paucity of alternatives. The text of the rest of the book is closely spaced around the numerous photos, diagrams and drawings that are everywhere without being hard to read or appearing cluttered. The aforementioned pictures are of high quality and will be of great interest to the modeller as well as the amateur historian, or just anyone interested in aviation in general and the Whirlwind in particular. The colour profiles in section four are by Richard J Caruana, and are of high quality, accompanied by notes appropriate to each airframe depicted, helping the reader to gain insight into the subject matter. Conclusion This a yet another very accessible book for the modeller or interested reader, and serves up even larger quantities of information, some of which hasn't been available on the web, as well as a build of the new Special Hobby kit. The Whirlwind has been long overlooked in the history of British early WWII fighters, and it is a welcome sight to see that being remedied in kit form over the last few years, and while no kits are perfect, they’re certainly welcome, as is the re-print of this expanded book. Well worth a read, and great reference material. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  2. Heinkel He.219 ‘Uhu’ Airframe Album #1 A Detailed Guide to the Luftwaffe’s Ultimate Nightfighter Valiant Wings Publishing The He.219 was an attempt by the Germans to turn the tide of war in the air against the Allies, who were devastating the Reich homeland with huge 1,000 bomber raids on a nightly basis courtesy of the RAF, and by day by the USAAF. The project had been initiated as early as 1940, but due to protracted delays caused in part by the RLM, who considered the designs to be too technically advanced, the project was delayed until 1942 when its progression was delayed again when the engines selected for the type ran into problems. It first saw service in 1943 with claims of exceptional performance made by the pilots and officials. Claims that weren’t backed up by losses from the Allies records after the war, which was further confirmed by Eric Brown’s summation of the aircraft as underpowered and slow to get to altitude. Despite instructions to drop the project and stop production of any more airframes, Heinkel carried on regardless but couldn’t manufacture enough to slow down the destruction of their infrastructure, which was a vicious circle that reduced production even further. Improvements, fixes and engine changes gave the aircraft some additional power, but by the end of the war there were many variants left on the drawing board, and in usual German WWII style, they diluted their effort rather than concentrate on ironing out the basic aircraft’s issues. This is the second edition of the title written by Richard A Franks, and is a perfect-bound volume in portrait form, which has been expanded from 98 to 144 pages if you ignore the counting of the front cover as two pages. It is now filled with even more information and photographs, drawings and accompanying explanatory text and captions, broken down into an introduction and four chapters with four short appendices. After the introduction to the type, it moves on to a technical description of the aircraft, which is broken down into sub-sections, and accompanied by an even larger host of photos and drawings. The second chapter covers the development, both actual and projected from the drawing board, of the aircraft from initial V1 prototype through to production aircraft and proposed versions all to the way up to the He.419, a high-altitude fighter, probably designed with the high-flying B-29 as a potential target. It is easy to see here that the sheer number of variants that were being posited resulted in a division of effort that saw the project delayed even further. Chapter three deals with painting and markings of the type, with profiles of known airframes, and photos of the sole survivor, which is currently undergoing renovation and restoration at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C. in the USA, as well as the other war prizes that weren't so lucky and ended their days as scrap. Camouflage and Markings are always difficult to resolve categorically due to the rarity of colour photographs of anything in WWII, but deduction, official documents and best guesses from photos are pretty much all we have. There are pages of discussion and example photographs followed by drawings of the markings and stencil locations. Chapter 4 contains builds of the aircraft in 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32, using the Dragon, Tamiya and Zoukei Mura kits as their base respectively. The previous build of the Revell 1:32 kit has been omitted, possibly because it isn’t as accurate in shape as the ZM kit in the same scale. Sadly, the big He.219 is only a short section with photo, advertising the Airframe Constructor #2 volume that was released some while back and covered the build in extreme detail. The final five pages are taken up with appendices, and cover available kits, aftermarket accessories, decals and finally a bibliography. Conclusion The extension of this volume has increased its appeal immensely, and the mixture of text, drawings, photos and other information really makes for an interesting read/look. The 219 is a personal favourite of mine too, even though it didn’t perform as well as its appearance indicated. Lots of content to keep you coming back for more, even if you don’t have my terrible memory. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. The Henschel Hs.129 - Airframe Album 17 A Detailed Guide to The Luftwaffe’s Panzerjäger ISBN: 9781912932139 Valiant Wings Publishing The RLM set out a requirement for a ground attack aircraft in the late 30s, based upon their experiences in Spain as the Condor Legion. Only four companies were approached, and of those only Henschel and Focke Wulf’s designs were considered appropriate for continuation. The latter’s design was based upon the Fw.189 airframe, removing the crew gondola and replacing it with a simple single-seat cockpit with heavy armour to protect the pilot from the incoming rounds from his prey. Both designs were to use the same underpowered engine, but once they tried to fly the Henschel Hs.129 they realised that it was a very real problem, when one airframe basically flew into the ground despite the best efforts of the pilot. The Fw.189 derivative was side-lined but not cancelled yet, and the Hs.129 received a pair of more competent Gnome-Rhone radial engines that provided an extra couple of hundred horse power each, and were manufactured in France in clockwise and anti-clockwise pairs to remove the torque-induced issues that plagued other twin-engined aircraft. The pilot sat in a tough steel cab that was initially highly claustrophobic, but was enlarged a little with a new canopy that allowed more of the instrumentation to be inside the cockpit and within view of the pilot, which is pretty important, on balance. To protect the pilot from incoming rounds, the windscreen panel was a hefty 75mm thick and could deflect or absorb most rounds that they expected to be fired at them during an attack. It was initially fitted with a pair of 20mm MG151s, and a pair of 7.92mm MG17s or 13mm MG131s, to be joined by a 30mm Mk.101 cannon in a pod beneath the fuselage, but this soon became ineffective against the more modern, heavily armoured T-34s, so was replaced by a 7.5cm Pak40 after dabbling with a 5cm and a 37mm Bordkanone. The Book The seventeenth volume of the popular and interesting Airframe Album series by Richard A Franks details this angular ground attacker, its versions, dead-ends and some of the projected variants that didn’t reach service. It spans 130 pages and is perfect bound in an A4(ish) portrait format. If you are familiar with the series you will know what to expect, with the book broken down into sections, as follows: i. Introduction A brief narrative history of the development and operational use of the Hs.129 by the Luftwaffe, as well as those used by other Axis nations 1. Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment 2. Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants 3. Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs 4. Models Builds of the 1:48nd scale Hasegawa, 1:32 Zoukei Mura by Steve A Evans, and a 1:72 Revell kit by Libor Jekl Appendices I Hs.129 Kit List II Hs.129 Accessories, Decals & Masks List III Bibliography 1:72 scale plans As usual with Valiant's books, the pictures are both high quality and some are unusual, with lots of "behind the scenes" shots of production, testing and in-service airframes as well as the desolate captured aircraft that were over-run and clambered over by the Allies. I always find the 3D Isometrics very interesting to quickly discern the differences between variants, especially as I have the memory of a goldfish. My favourites are the Bordkanone equipped aircraft that were introduced when the 30mm shells started pinging ineffectively off their foes. The semi-automatic vertical rocket launcher variant was an ingenious design, which I’m guessing wasn’t very successful as it’s the first time I’m hearing of it. There are a host of drawings, official photos and diagrams to whet your appetite for detailing too, and the author has gone to great lengths to include many, many of them to help educate and entertain. There are a few colour photos of preserved engines on stands in museums, and even a contemporary colour shot of a captured airframe that was transported back to America, repainted (sadly for the colour aficionados) and given a HUGE tail code that even my mum could read without glasses. There are a few pictures of a British captive aircraft too, looking incongruous with roundels on the wings and fuselage. Conclusion Valiant Wings publish a good book about interesting subjects, and this is one that piqued mine right away, as I’m a big fan of the Hs.129, and I know that I say that quite a bit, but I mean it. I built the old Airfix kit as a kid, and thought that the big gun under the nose was awesome – until I snapped off the barrel of course. If you're a modeller, aviation buff or even just interested in engineering, this will make an interesting read, which you'll come back to again when you need it for references. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. The Blohm & Voss Bv.141 – Airframe Detail No.1 (Second Edition) ISBN: 9781912932191 Valiant Wings Publishing The Bv.141 was perhaps one of the weirdest looking aircraft of WWII that almost made it to production, with its asymmetric design, large wings, fuselage nacelle reminiscent of an Fw.189, and the fact that much of its development and history has been lost in the confusion that reigned at the fall of the third Reich. In 1937 the RLM (Luftwaffe High Command) issued a request for proposals for a single-engined reconnaissance aircraft with a three-man crew. The initial concept by Richard Vogt, chief designer for Blohm & Voss, was a conventional layout with the cockpit behind the engine. However, this provided a limited field of view, leading him to come up with possibly the most radical WWII aircraft design ever. The crew cabin was moved onto the starboard wing, resulting in an asymmetrical configuration which looked as if it would be unstable and uncontrollable even if it could get off the ground. However, the RLM saw the potential and authorised the construction of three prototypes. The first BV141A took to the air on 25th February 1938 and proved to be surprisingly easy to handle. Vogt redesigned the cockpit to improve the field of view before the second prototype was built. This machine was lost when it crash-landed following an undercarriage problem. Nevertheless, the RLM gave its approval for further aircraft to be built. Along the way the plane got a more powerful engine, an asymmetric tailplane that improved the rear gunner’s field of fire, and a change of designation to BV141B. Then the project was suddenly cancelled for purely logistical reasons, which probably had something to do with the more conventional Fw.189 and Focke Wulf’s influence in the RLM. The engine used in later models was the same one fitted to the Do217 and the Fw190, and the factory where these engines were built found itself unable to meet the demand after it was bombed by the RAF. Understandably, the RLM felt that the war effort would be better served by bombers and fighters rather than reconnaissance aircraft, and the Bv.141 was consigned to history without ever seeing active service. Its role was filled by the Fw-189, even though it did not meet the initial request for a single-engined machine. Records show that twenty aircraft were built before the plug was pulled, but none survived the war. This book, by author Richard A Franks, with profiles and plans by Richard J Caruana and example model produced by Steve A Evans is perfect-bound as usual and consists of 66 pages within a card jacket, printed on glossy paper stock throughout. It is the Second Edition of course, and is three pages longer than the original edition, as a little more information has clearly been dug up in the interim. in the Airframe Detail series that concentrates more on the aircraft in question, with just a short section to the rear with an example build plus all the Bv.141 based aftermarket you can lay your hands on at time of writing, which covers only a page, as it’s not a mainstream subject with only 20 airframes having existed, and none of them seeing official service. Notes in the corner of the first page tells us that almost all known pictures, drawings and diagrams still extant of this aircraft have been included in the book, and this is evident from the sheer quantity, some of which are surprisingly good, and some necessarily small and grainy because, well, that's all we have, although someone is still bound to be looking. The book is broken down into sections as follows: Introduction 1. Technical Description Detailed coverage of the construction and equipment 2. Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs 3. Building a Bv.141 A quick build of the new 1:48 kit from Hobby Boss by Steve A Evans Appendices I Bv.141 Kit, Accessory, & Decal List II Bibiography Inside there are lots of photographs, many diagrams and a smattering of colour profiles, the pictures being in black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day. The diagrams include some reference to the Fw.189, as some of their fittings were similar if not identical due to their shared intended task. The profiles show the few variants and crew nacelle designs, which varied immensely during development. The level of detail given within the pages is perfect for the modeller, and will be of use to anyone from novice to super-detailer, with some of the contemporary photos showing how the aircraft morphed during development, with a few photos showing them in repair and maintenance at the airfields where they were undergoing testing. Steve Evans' build of the excellent and solitary 1:48 Hobby Boss kit shows what can be done to the model, and results in a lovely example that anyone would be proud to have in their cabinet, with an incredibly detailed and subtle variation in the overall RLM02 scheme that it is wearing. From a modelling standpoint there is isn’t all that much of scope for building and painting of many different schemes, but some of the photos show well how the airframes weathered during testing. There’s also a little what-iffery you could engage in, and there the world is your salt-water bivalve mollusc Conclusion Another renewal of an excellent book from Valiant, and a left-field, interesting one personally, as I have a fondness for the weirdness that is the Bv.141, as well as a one of the HB kits in the stash with some Eduard goodies. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Airframe & Miniature #1 - Messerschmitt Me.262 2nd Edition A Complete Guide to the Luftwaffe’s First Jet Fighter Valiant Wings Publishing The Me.262 Schwalbe, Swallow in English was the first operational jet in the world, and would have been a real problem for the Allies if it hadn't been for delays in production due to the interference from on high that seems to have plagued development of almost every military project since time began. It has captivated modellers and aviation enthusiasts ever since, possibly because of the shark-like profile, possibly because of the potential it showed that was exploited post-war by the victors in their own designs. Whatever it was, that has resulted in plenty of kits for us modellers, and quite a number of books to match. This title, the first of Valiant's Airframe & Miniature range has been thoroughly augmented, adapted and re-released in this new Second Edition to include a big chunk of new information. It is also a good excuse to re-print and offer the opportunity to acquire it to anyone that missed it first time around. It is aimed at the modeller, but has plenty of content to tempt the pure aviation enthusiast too. It has been penned by Richard A Franks, a name familiar to a great number of modellers, and is packed with text, information, profiles and pictures. Although broken down by Airframe and Miniature sections, the two parts are further split into chapters in their own right, as follows: Airframe Chapters Evolution: The V Series Testing: The S Series Productions: The A Series The B & C Series & Drawing Board Projects Camouflage & Markings and Colour Profiles Miniature Chapters Messerschmitt Me.262 Kits Building a Selection Building a Collection In detail: The Me 262A/B plus the Avia S.92/CS.92 Forward fuselage & cannon armament Cockpit & canopy Mid & aft fuselage Tail Wings Engines & nacelles Undercarriage Ordnance, drop tanks & sighting Radio, radar & camera Miscellaneous Appendices I Me.262 Kit List (inc. Avia S.92/CS.92) II Me.262 Accessory & Mask list (inc. Avia S.92/CS.92) III Me.262 Decals List (inc. Avia S.92/CS.92) IV Bibliography 1:48 Scale Plans Fold-out I’ve been hunting high and low for my original first edition, but can’t find it, which is weird given how besotted with the 262 I am. I suspect it’s probably lurking there laughing at me, and will turn up as soon as the need is passed – probably under my pillow. It does however prevent me from doing a comparison, so we’ll treat this as a fresh review, rather than a comparison. One thing I can attest to is that the volume has been expanded to a substantially larger 208 pages, and has been fitted at the rear with a set of fold-out plans that consist of four full-size sheets that are printed with 1:48 plans of many variants and aspects of the airframe, plus a few photos and contemporary diagrams on two of the pages. This effectively gives us an additional eight sides of content. The airframe section covers the 262 from inception to the end of production and testing of new variants (and beyond) as the factories were destroyed or over-run by the advancing allies. The drawing board section is of particular interest, as it shows the projected evolution of the aircraft that would have taken it beyond all recognition from the Schwalbe that we all know so well. Even some of the projects that were tested are somewhat odd looking, such as the 1a/U4 equipped with a 50mm cannon (a favourite of mine) for attacking the bomber streams, and the 2a/U2 fast bomber with prone bomb aimer's position in the nose. The HG III will also be of interest to anyone like myself that’s waiting for the Amusing Hobby kit in 1:48. The narrative shifts to the modeller's point of view in the second part of the book, with chapter 6 covering the major kits available in various scales. Immediately after are builds of some of the excellent kits out there, including a 1:72 262B-1a/U1 from Airfix, a 1:48 HobbyBoss A-2a/U2 with clear nose, 1:32 Revell B-1/U-1 Nightfighter for the larger scale modeller, and two pages of single photos of other available kits with brief comments and summaries. Chapter 8 details all the variants in isometric drawings that existed both in physical form or on drawing boards, and suggests suitable kits as either a starting point for conversion where necessary, or if available, the actual variant in each of the three major scales. Differences are pointed out as the airframe evolves, and a shaded drawing of each one is given to illustrate the look of them all. This is my favourite part of any Valiant Wings book, and this section is long due to the many projects and variants the 262 went through. The In Detail chapter begins with some overall shots of preserved airframes in museums across the world, and goes on to cover the intricacies of the airframe using colour and black & white photos accompanied by verbose captions that point out the relevant aspects that are an essential from a modeller's point of view, even down to the RATO pods and their mounting lugs under the fuselage. The closing pages are given over to appendices that cover a list of kits, detail sets, conversions, decals and books on the 262 at time of print, including those that have come and gone. Of course, these few pages will become outdated very quickly, but a few pages out of 208 isn't exactly much as a proportion of the whole. The eight sides of plans are captive to the rear cover, and fold out to show you the 1:48 plans and other drawings. Conclusion This book is even more crammed with information in the second edition, and will be as good a read as a reference book, so is recommended to anyone with an interest in the Schwalbe, and well-worth the asking price. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. The Hawker Hurricane – Airframe & Miniature #16 ISBN: 9781912932122 Valiant Wings Publishing The Hurricane was the lesser-known stablemate of the Supermarine Spitfire, the plainer (in some people’s opinion) sister that didn’t get the limelight like its slightly younger, slightly faster and slightly sleeker colleague in the battle against the marauding hordes of Luftwaffe bombers that were intent on the destruction of our cities, airfields and infrastructure before, during and after the famous Battle of Britain. Often, the Spits kept the faster and more agile escorts such as the Bf.109s and later the Fw.190s busy, while the Hurricanes went after the slower bombers where their slight speed deficit wasn’t such an issue against the lumbering heavies. The Hurricane was also a sturdy aircraft thanks to its stronger, more traditional airframe construction and its fabric aft fuselage that was easier to repair than the all-metal Spitfire. It didn't get the love that the Spitfire gets from the public and press, but anyone that knows the full story knows that Britain would have been equally stuffed without either of them. The Book The book is perfect-bound with 272 pages on glossy paper, tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is black and white due to that being the dominant film format of the day. It is of course written by Richard A Franks, with profiles by Richard J Caruana, isometric drawings by Juraj Jankkovic and models by Libor Jekl and Steve A Evans. If you're familiar with the series, you'll know that the tome is broken down into the Airframe section that deals with the 1:1 real thing, and the miniature section that covers the scale models and has a number of builds, plus a host of photographic detail that will be of great help to the modeller. Airframe Chapters 1. Evolution – Prototype & Mk.I 2. Evolution – Mk.II to Mk.V 3. Sea Hurricane & Canadian Production 3. Reconnaissance (PR & TacR), Prototypes & Projects 4. Camouflage & Markings and Colour Profiles Miniature Chapters 5. Hurricane Kits 6. Building a Selection 7. Building a Collection 8. In Detail: The Hawker Hurricane Engine, Cowlings & Propeller Cockpit & Canopy Mid & Aft Fuselage Tail Wings & Control Surfaces Undercarriage & Arrestor Hook Armament Radio, Radar, Cameras & Misc. Electrical Access Panels & Miscellaneous Appendices I. Kit List II. Accessories & Mask List III. Decals IV. Bibliography A concertina sheets of 1:48 Scale plans captive in the rear cover (equivalent to 8 pages printed on both sides) The scale plans are nicely thought out, and fold out sideways with the left-hand edge captive to the inside cover, and the isometric drawings by Juraj Jankovic that pick out the differences between variants and sub-variants are a dream for anyone like me that struggles to remember the details that separate the marks. As usual with the photographs in these titles, they're excellent for the most part, and as good as they can be for the occasional slightly grainy one that is all that remains of this or that variant. Afterall, there's only so much that modern photo editing software can do. The builds by Libor Jekl and Steve A. Evans are all first-rate too, with two in 1:72, one Arma one Airfix, two other completed Arma kits in summary, one Hasegawa kit in 1:48, and one Sea Hurricane by Fly Models in 1:32, all of which wouldn't look out of place on competition tables at the highest level. Conclusion This book is brimming with interest and information, with something for everyone – the modeller, the aviation enthusiast or history buff. My personal favourite parts are the variant isometrics as previously mentioned, but there is so much to enjoy and it’s all good. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. The Messerschmitt Me.410 Hornisse - Airframe Album 16 A Detailed Guide to The Last Zerstörer (inc. Me.210 & Me.310) ISBN 9781912932139 Valiant Wings Publishing The Me.410 had a long and tortured history, beginning life as the Me.210 that was supposed to be a replacement for the ageing Bf.110 in the Zerstörer role, but the initial design suffered from some serious aerodynamic issues that made it an utter pig to fly as well as dangerous, with later improvements leading to the Me.310 that was still unfavourably rated due to the lack of effectiveness of the changes, forcing a more drastic set of re-designs that were given another new name to distance it from its abysmal ancestors. Thus the Me.410 came out of the dog house and was considered worthy of production, despite it still being far from flawless even with new slatted wings, extended fuselage and more powerful twin DB603A engines. It was an interesting design, and incorporated new developments, such as the side-mounted barbettes that could pivot out from the fuselage under remote control of the rear crew-member, and automated leading-edge slats. Because of the delays while the potentially lethal aerodynamic characteristics and other kinks were ironed out, the aircraft didn’t see service until 1943, despite development beginning in 1939, which was a long gestation during wartime. It was used as a fighter and night bomber, having internal storage for some munitions, but as the design had improved the space became insufficient, so shackles were added to the wings to carry four more small diameter bombs. As usual with German WWII aircraft, so many variants were planned that the engineering effort was spread too thin, although over a thousand airframes were made by the end of the war. There were cannon armed variants, one fitted with a 50mm Bordkanone, and even an option for carriage of a torpedo. The Book The sixteenth volume of the popular and interesting Airframe Album series by Richard A Franks details this attractive-looking heavy fighter, its versions, dead-ends and dangerous issues. It spans 162 pages and is perfect bound in an A4(ish) portrait format. If you are familiar with the series you will know what to expect, with the book broken down into sections, as follows: i. Introduction A brief narrative history of the development and operational use of the Me.210 and Me.410 by the Luftwaffe, as well as those used by other Axis nations. 1. Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment 2. Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants 3. Projected Development of the Me.410 A series of period diagrams to show how the development of the Me.410 was envisaged in the May 1944 report by Messerschmitt 4. Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs 5. Model A build of the 1:48nd scale Me.410B-2/U4 from Meng by Steve A Evans. Appendices I Me.210/Me.410 Kit List II Me.210/Me.410 Accessory, Mask & Decal List III Bibliography As usual with Valiant's books, the pictures are both high quality and unusual, with lots of "behind the scenes" shots of production, testing and their ultimate capture by the Allies, plus plenty more pictures of the sole museum example in Europe (Cosford to be precise) – one of only two left in the world - for those needing reference pictures. I always find the 3D Isometrics very interesting to quickly view the differences between variants, especially as I have the memory of a goldfish. My favourite picture is of the Bordkanone equipped aircraft propped up on what look like breeze blocks during weapons testing. Very Heath Robinson. I also didn’t know about the plans for the revised canopy and the mounting of a larger 75mm BK in the D variant. Conclusion Valiant Wings publish a good book about interesting subjects, and this is one that tweaked my interest right away, as I’m a big fan of the 410. If you're a modeller, aviation buff or even just interested in engineering, this will make an interesting read, which you'll come back to again when you need it for references. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  8. The Westland Lysander – Airframe Detail #9 ISBN: 9781912932030 Valiant Wings Publishing Westland’s Lysander is a well-known and well-loved aircraft, having played an important part in the war, delivering and collecting British and foreign spies into occupied territory throughout WWII, usually at night and without escort. often the missions were successful, but they ran the risk of being intercepted by Night Fighters or landing in a compromised field that could result in death or capture for the crew as well as their passengers. Its design arose from a requirement for a cooperation and reconnaissance/spotter aircraft to replace an old biplane design by the name of Hector, and after a short competition the Westland design was chosen due to some happy coincidences and advanced features that were engineered into the airframe but might not have been well used in the other roles that the Lysander was originally required to carry out. Fortunately, the capabilities of the Westland design that gave it a 65mph stall-speed and a very short take-off and landing run won through and it entered service in 1938 just in time for war. Due to its low speed it was easy meat during daylight hours, and was quickly withdrawn from spotting duties after Dunkirk, but found other uses with the Special Operations "spooks". For self-defence the aircraft carried a machine gun (sometimes twin) in the rear position, and had the ability to carry two more in the roomy aerodynamic spats that covered much of the landing gear. It could also be fitted with a pair of winglets for small bombs or message dropping work, but the Mercury engine could only just manage a little over 200mph at height, so stealth was important over enemy lines, which necessitated night operations. It remained in service with the British until after WWII, and some were converted to Target Tugs, while others were used to assist in air sea rescue duties. The Mk.III was the last major variant from which additional sub-variants were created, including the twin rear guns, or an additional fuel tank between the landing gear for long-range operations. We'll ignore the Wendover beach-straffer experiment here, and if you haven't yet seen it, prepare yourself for a feast for the eyes. The Book This book, by prolific author Richard A Franks, with profiles and plans by Richard J Caruana and example model made by Libor Jekl is perfect-bound as usual and consists of 114 pages within a card jacket, printed on glossy paper stock throughout. It is number 9 in the Airframe Detail series that concentrates more on the aircraft in question, with just a short section to the rear with an example build of the very recent kit in 1:72 from Dora Wings models, which we reviewed recently here. The book is broken down into sections as follows: Introduction 1 Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment 2 Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs 3 Little Lizzie A build of the 1:72 scale Mk.III(SD) from Dora Wings by Libor Jekl Appendices i Lysander kits ii Lysander accessory & mask list iii Bibilography iv Lysander Squadrons Despite the Lizzie appearing to be somewhat outdated for the time with fixed gear and a greenhouse canopy, she was technically impressive with automated slats, slotted flaps, adjustable incidence elevators and some high-strength alloys used to reinforce the join between the landing gear, fuselage and wings. There are a number of extant airframes still, some of which are in flyable condition at home and abroad, so there are tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, many contemporary in black and white, but many more in colour from preserved examples. The profiles are found in the 2nd section of the book, and show a number of profiles of various airframes along with photographic evidence and finished with a page of diagrams displaying the stencils and markings locations for the type. The sheer level of detail giving within the pages is perfect for the modeller, and will be of use to anyone from novice to super-detailer, with some of the photos and drawings showing the interior, subassembly layout, the instrument panel and other fine details that could improve your build, many of which I haven’t seen before, especially the repair and maintenance photos of the preserved airframes that should give anyone wishing to show off the interior excellent references. Libor Jekl's build of the new Dora Wings kit shows what can be done with the 1:72 model, and results in a lovely example that anyone would be pleased to have in their collection. From a modelling standpoint there is a little scope for building and painting one in 1:144 with the Fox One Design Studio kit in resin, and in plastic 1:72 from Dora, Airfix and Frog (there have been many reboxing of the Frog styrene), or in 1:48 from Gavia (Eduard reboxings are available) and in 1:32 we have the aging Matchbox/Revell kit. Conclusion Another Excellent volume from Valiant, and an interesting one as usual, showcasing this well-loved and under-appreciated aircraft that did much for the success of the Allies that is sadly difficult to quantify accurately, and some of its exploits remained unsung long after the war. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. The Grumman F6F Hellcat – Airframe & Miniature #15 ISBN: 9781912932115 Valiant Wings Publishing The Book The book is perfect-bound with 224 pages on glossy paper, tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is going to be black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day. It is of course written by Richard A Franks, with profiles by Richard J Caruana, isometric drawings by Wojciech Sankowski and models by a group of fine modellers. If you're familiar with the series, you'll know that the pages are broken down into the Airframe section that deals with the 1:1 real thing, and the miniature section that covers the scale models and has a number of builds, plus a host of photographic detail that will be of great help to the modeller. The breakdown in more detail is as follows: Airframe Chapters 1. Protoypes 2. Production 3. Reconnaissance, Night-Fighters, Drones, Test Airframes & Projects 4. Camouflage & Markings and Colour Profiles Miniature Chapters 5. Hellcat Kits 6. Building a Selection 7. Building a Collection 8. In Detail: The Hellcat Engine, Cowlings & Propeller Cockpit & Canopy Mid & Aft Fuselage Tail Wings & Control Surfaces Undercarriage & Arrestor Hook Armament Electrical Equipment Appendices I. Hellcat Kits II. Hellcat Accessories III. Hellcat Decals & Masks IV. Bibliography A concertina sheets of 1:48 Scale plans captive in the rear cover (equivalent to 8 pages printed on both sides) The scale plans are nicely thought out, and fold out sideways with the left-hand edge captive to the inside cover, and the isometric drawings by Wojciech Sankowski that pick out the differences between variants and sub-variants are a dream for anyone like me that struggles to remember the details that separate the marks. As usual with the photographs in these titles, they're excellent for the most part, and as good as they can be for the occasional slightly grainy one that is all that remains of this or that variant. Afterall, there's only so much that modern photo editing software can do. The builds by Libor Jekl, John Wilkes and Steve A. Evans are all first-rate too, with two in 1:72, one in 1:48, one in 1:32 and one of the immense 1:24 Airfix kit, all of which wouldn't look out of place on competition tables at the highest level. Conclusion This book is brimming with interest and information, with something for everyone – the modeller, the aviation enthusiast or history buff. My personal favourite parts are the variant isometrics as previously mentioned, but there is so much to enjoy and it’s all good. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  10. The Junkers Ju.87 Stuka – Airframe & Miniature #14 Valiant Wings Publishing The Stuka was infamous during WWII for its indiscriminate dive-bombing attacks on civilians, as well as military targets, equipped with sirens called Jericho Trumpets to instil fear in their prey, a noise that is still being used as sound effects for any diving or crashing aircraft in movies. It was a pre-war design that was perfectly suitable for its task and performed well during the Spanish Civil War and conquest of Europe thanks to its almost vertical dive profile, the terrifying sirens and automatic dive-recovery system, but showed its weaknesses once they began to attack the British Isles, where they encountered faster Spitfires and Hurricanes. This resulted in horrible losses of highly trained Stuka pilots, and thereafter they were deployed with a substantial escort of fighters such as the Bf.109 or Bf.110, which itself needed escorting before too long. Various improvements were made to the airframe after the prototype period, resulting in the B, with subsequent changes taking them up to the G and beyond, including change of role turning it into a ground-attack aircraft armed with cannons. Its flexibility kept it in the Nazi inventory longer than its relatively low speed warranted, and it fitted into various niches where speed wasn’t so much of an issue, but when the tide of war turned against them, production was scaled back. Production eventually ceased allowing the factory to concentrate on other types until it was destroyed in 1944. The remaining airframes soldiered on as they dwindled away to the end of the war. The Book The book is perfect-bound with 240 pages on glossy paper, tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day. It is of course written by Richard A Franks, with profiles by Richard J Caruana, isometric drawings by Jurej Jankovic and models by a group of fine modellers. If you're familiar with the series, you'll know that the pages are broken down into the Airframe section that deals with the 1:1 real thing, and the miniature section that covers the scale models and has a number of builds, plus a host of photographic detail that will be of great help to the modeller. The chapter breakdown in more detail is as follows: Airframe Chapters 1. Evolution – Prototypes & Ju.87A Series 2. Evolution – Ju.87B & R Series 3. Evolution – Ju.87D & G Series 4. Evolution – Ju.87C, E, F, H & Ju.187 5. Camouflage & Markings and Colour Profiles Miniature Chapters 6. Ju.87 Kits 7. Building a Selection 8. Building a Collection 9. In Detail: The Ju.87 Fuselage Engine Oil, Fuel, Coolant & Hydraulic Systems Wings Tail Undercarriage Armament Electrical Equipment Miscellaneous Equipment Appendices I. Ju.87 Kits II. Ju.87 Accessories and Mask List III. Ju.87 Decals IV. Bibliography Two concertina sheets of 1:48 Scale plans captive in the rear cover (equivalent to 8 pages printed on both sides) The scale plans are nicely thought out, and fold out sideways with the left-hand edge captive to the inside cover, and the isometric drawings by Jurej Jankovic that pick out the differences between variants and sub-variants are a dream for anyone like me that struggles to remember the details that separate the marks. As usual with the photographs in these titles, they're excellent for the most part, and as good as they can be for the occasional slightly grainy one that is all that remains of this or that variant. Afterall, there's only so much that modern photo editing software can do. The builds by Libor Jekl and Steve A. Evans are all first-rate too, with three in 1:72, two in 1:48 and one in 1:32, all of which wouldn't look out of place on competition tables at the highest level. Conclusion This book is brimming with interest and information, with something for everyone – the modeller, the aviation enthusiast or history buff. My personal favourite parts are the variant isometrics as previously mentioned, but there is so much to enjoy and it’s all good. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. Airframe Detail #8 – Horten Ho.IX/Ho.229 ISBN: 9781912932108 Valiant Wings Publishing After WWI Germany was prevented from having much of any form of military, including aircraft. This led to a lot of glider flying in the period before the Nazi regime was ready to ignore the Versailles Treaty openly, and the Horten brothers were master glider builders, having a keen interest in the flying wing format that began a line of designs that improved the gliding experience by removing the drag associated with a traditional fuselage and tail plane assemblies, with the pilot buried within an all-wing structure and control provided by pop-out drag rudders and spoilers. After WWII began the brothers joined up to fight for their country, but when the RLM made a request in 1943 for a new fighter design with jet power, the remaining brother Walter (Wolfram was killed in 1940) began designing what was to become the Ho.229, with two jet engines buried in the leading edge of the wing either side of the cockpit and exhausting over the pointed trailing edge of the wing. Using mainly non-strategic materials and recycled parts for the landing gear (Bf.109 main, and crashed He.177 for nose), it was in prototype stage by the end of 1944, when it flew as a glider. By February of 1945 it was test flown under its own power, a crash later killing one of the test pilots, then when the Gothaer Waggonfabrik (Gotha) factory was overrun by the Allies, the V3 airframe was scooped up by the US forces and taken back to America for study. Due to much neglect over the years the airframe is now in a sorry state of repair, with delaminated surface panels and a great deal of corrosion, plus a rather grim and inauthentic paint scheme that was applied by the Americans for reasons best known to themselves, probably propaganda. This book, by prolific author Richard A Franks, with profiles and plans by Richard J Caruana and example model produced by Libor Jekl is perfect-bound as usual and consists of 66 pages within a card jacket, printed on glossy paper stock throughout. It is number 8 in the Airframe Detail series that concentrates more on the aircraft in question, with just a short section to the rear with an example build of the relatively recent kit in 1:72 from Zoukei-Mura models, which seems to have escaped my notice. The book is broken down into sections as follows: Introduction 1 Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment 2 Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs 3 Small Scale Horten A build of the 1:72 scale Ho.229 kit from the recent combined 1:144 & 1:72 set from Zoukei-Mura by Libor Jekl Appendices i Ho.IX/Ho.229 kits ii Ho.IX/Ho.229 accessory & mask list iii Bibilography Despite there being only one airframe that survived the war in an embarrassing state, there are tons of photographs, diagrams and profiles, many of which are contemporary in black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day, but with some colour photos from later periods. The profiles are found in the 2nd section of the book, and show a number of what-if schemes of various nations for your consideration. The sheer level of detail giving within the pages is perfect for the modeller, and will be of use to anyone from novice to super-detailer, with some of the photos and drawings showing the interior, subassembly layout, the instrument panel and other fine details that could improve your build, many of which I haven’t seen before. Libor Jekl's build of the new ZM kit shows what can be done to the 1:72 model, and results in a lovely example that anyone would be pleased to have in their collection. From a modelling standpoint there is scope for building and painting one of the other smaller scale such as the 1:144 Brengun, 1:72 ZM or Revell, or in 1:48 ZM or Dragon and ZM's highly detailed kit in 1:32 . Conclusion Another Excellent volume from Valiant, and an interesting one especially for those like myself that are interested in the experimental airframes that the Germans were working on at the close of WWII. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Airframe & Miniature 3 Fw.190 Early Series (Radial Engined) and 7 Fw.190D & Ta.152 Update Editions A Complete Guide To The Luftwaffe's Famous Fighter Valiant Wings Publishing The Fw.190 was first developed as a replacement for ageing Bf.109 and to counter the British Spitfire, but it ended up serving alongside its Messerschmitt stablemate. When first encountered by the Spitfires it gave them quite a shock with its different flight characteristics and more nimble flight envelope, spurring on development of the Spitfire in a continual game of leapfrog throughout the war. Its design was to mate the most powerful engine they had to the lightest possible airframe, which resulted in the diminutive 190 with its blunt nose and wide tracked undercarriage that gave it better ground handling characteristics than its nose-over prone brethren. This is the welcome re-release of a series of two books, the second of which covered the genesis of the 190 through to the end of the war with later redesigns up until the end of production, the first covering the later 190D or Dora with inline engine that gained the nickname of Langnase or long nose due to the changes wrought on the shape by the different engine type. It also covers the re-designed Ta.152 which was to be the high altitude variant that saw very little service due to the deteriorating state of the war at the time. They also cover the oddities, which will be of interest to anyone that is interested in the almost or what-if possibilities of this versatile airframe. Both books are perfect bound in a card jacket and printed on glossy paper with spot colour throughout. The author for each one is the prolific Richard A Franks, with Richard J Caruana providing the colour profiles as usual with this interesting series, plus Jacek Jackiewicz who is responsible for the isometric and the plans. Attached to the rear of each volume are a set of plans that will be of great use to any modeller that likes to compare and contrast their plastic replicas with profiles and plans. The plans in #7 are thicker and have additional pictures and diagrams of airframe parts in addition to the 1:48 airframe plans. Airframe & Miniature 3, Fw.190D & Ta.152 – ISBN: 9781912932078 Consisting of 176 pages, it details the development of the 190D from prototypes, initial production and the introduction to combat with changes made from there. The major redesign of the Fw,190D that changed name to Ta.152 (designed by Kurt Tank) takes up a good portion of the text and photos, as there were a number of series planned, with more that were on the drawing board at the end of the war. Airframe Chapters Evolution – Fw.190D The Fw.190D series The Ta.152C series The Ta.152H series Projects and drawing board designs Camouflage & markings Stencils Colour Profiles Miniature Chapters Fw.190D & Ta.152 kits Building a selection Building a collection In detail: The Fw.190 & Ta.152 Appendices Fw.190D & Ta.152 kit list Fw.190D & Ta.152 accessories list Fw.190D & Ta.152 decal list Bibliography Glossary Fold-Outs Scale plans – Fw.190D early & late, Fw.190D-9, Ta.152H-0/1 Airframe & Miniature Volume 7 – Fw.190 Radial Engine versions (A, B, C, F, G & S) ISBN: 9781912932085 With an expanded page count up to 240 pages, this volume documents the development of the early Fw.190 from initial prototypes to the maturity of the airframe up until the point that the output from the BMW radial engine was holding them back. The changes involved many dead-ends, including new engines and ancillary positions such as radiators, turbojet powered redesign and just about any kind of aerodynamic of mechanical updates that the engineers thought could give them advantage over the Spitfire and eventually the Mustang, Thunderbolt and many other late war heavy fighters. The page breakdown is as follows: Airframe Chapters Evolution – Prototypes and A-Series Prototypes A-Series The F and G-Series F-Series Ordnance Test Trials G-Series Conversions, Projects & New-Builds Training Aircraft Fw.190C Series Fw.190E Series, Projects Modified, New-Builds Miniature Chapters Fw.190A to G kits Building a Selection Building a Collection In Detail: The Fw.190A to G Cockpit & Canopy Fuselage Engine, Cowling & Propeller Wings Tail Undercarriage & Wheel Wells Armament, Racks and Drop Tanks Radio, Electrical and Camera Equipment Miscellaneous Appendices Kit List Accessories and Mask List Decal List Bibliography 1:48 Scale Plans Fold-Out Fw.190 V1, A-3, A-6, A-8/R2 Fw.190A-9/R1, S-8 Conclusion As we have come to expect from this series, indeed any of the Valiant Wings publications, the text is interesting, the photos of high quality, and the drawings are crisp with lots of informative captions. The colour profiles are of high quality, and the isometrics that show the differences between marks are my personal favourites, and there are a lot of those in this pair! There is plenty to interest the aviation enthusiast as well as the modeller, but the modelling section is great for us plastic lovers, with models of the highest quality being showcased with tips and tricks to obtain similar results (talent willing!), with all major scales represented from many manufacturers. This series has become a great source of knowledge for those of us that don't know everything already, and with them in hand, you are poised to do a better job of your latest 190 project, especially if you're looking at detail. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Airframe Extra No.10 The Battle of Midway 1942 ISBN: 9781912932054 Valiant Wings Publishing Many modellers these days seem to like building subjects based on a theme, which can often be historical events. This series of books from Valiant Wings will look at specific areas, and events in the history of aerial warfare with this in mind. Each title will cover the history and details details of these event. This volume contains period photographs, and colour artwork from Richard J Caruana. More importantly to the modeller each will contain kit builds; this one has builds in 1/144, 1/72, & 1/48. These are from modellers; Steve A. Evans and Libor Jekl. The book is A4 soft cover format, very well printed with clear text, good artwork and clear build photographs. The tenth book in this series covers the Battle of Midway. This occurred only 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbour, the plan by Japan to decimate the rest of the US Navy in the Pacific. Due in a large part to US Intelligence breaking Japanese code the US Navy knew where the battle was to take place. While the US Did loose 1 carrier the Japanese lost 4, and were not in a position to replace these. The battle is generally considered to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific. The colour artwork features many aircraft taking part from both sides. The six models featured in this volume are; 1/48th SB2U-3 Vinicator (Academy) 1/72nd B5N2 Kate (Airfix) 1/48th TBF/TBM-1 Avenger (Italeri) 1/72nd SBD-3 Dauntless (Hasegawa) 1/144th A6M2b Zero (Sweet) 1/72nd F4F-4 Wildcat (Airfix) Conclusion This is a great ninth book in the series from Valiant Wings. They are to be congratulated for producing this series of books with the modeller directly in mind. Highly Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Spitfire Part 2 (Griffon Powered) Airframe & Miniature #13 ISBN: 9781912932009 Valiant Wings Publishing The Spitfire has to be the most iconic aircraft of WWII and although the phrase is sometimes overused it really is the case for the Spit. After its initial success in the Battle of Britain and beyond, the first meetings with the Fw.190 drove Supermarine to improve their thoroughbred, leading to the definitive Merlin engine Mark the IX. Rolls Royce were also working to improve the engine and that effort bore fruit in the shape of the larger more powerful Griffon engine, which required some structural changes that affected the centre of gravity. Later adaptations to improve the pilot's view over his shoulder by cutting away the top of the fuselage and installing a bubble canopy gave stability issues that were hard to fix, as was the monstrous torque from the gutsy new Griffon engine. The Book We reviewed the first volume of this work here a little less than a year ago, and now we're back again with volume 2, which covers the later Griffon engine Spitfires including the Seafires that were seen later in WWII, as the race for performance and combat advantage that persisted until the end of hostilities… and in fact continues today but with different competitors. The book is perfect-bound with 272 pages on glossy paper, lots of photographs, diagrams and profiles, the modern pictures being in colour, while the contemporary content is black and white due to that being the predominant film format of the day. It is of course written by Richard A Franks, with profiles by Richard J Caruana, and models by a group of fine modellers. With this being volume 2 it deals with the Griffon engine variants, from the Mk.IV prototype up to the Mk.24 with its contra-rotating prop, with everything in between, including the Seafires ending with the Mk.47, the short-lived Spiteful and Seafang, the oddities and of course the Photo-Reconnaissance variants that were modified to provide the Allies with detailed pictorial evidence of enemy movements, sometimes with dramatic consequences. If you're familiar with the Airframe & Miniature series, you'll know that the pages are broken down into the Airframe section that deals with the 1:1 real thing, and the miniature section that covers the scale models and has a number of builds, plus a host of photographic detail that will be of great help to the modeller. The breakdown in more detail is as follows: Airframe Chapters 1. Evolution - Mk.XXI to Mk.24 2. Evolution – Seafire Mk.XV to FR Mk.47 3. Spiteful & Seafang Miniature Chapters 6. Spitfire & Seafire (Griffon-powered) Kits 7. Building a Selection 8. Building a Collection 9. In Detail: The Supermarine Spitfire & Seafire Engine, Propeller, Cowls Fuel & Oil systems Cockpit & Canopy Radio Mid & Aft Fuselage Tail Wings Undercarriage Armament, Ordnance, Drop Tanks, Sighting & RATO Camera Access Panels Miscellaneous Appendices I. Kit List II. Accessories and Mask List III. Decal List IV. Bibliography 1:48 Scale plans, equivalent to 8 pages in a single concertina fold-out The scale plans by Richard J Caruana are well thought out, and fold out sideways with the left-hand edge captive to the inside cover, and the isometric drawings by Juraj Jankovic, the side profiles are by Wojciech Sankowski that pick out the differences between variants and sub-variants are a boon for anyone like me that struggles to remember the details that separate the marks, so I'll be bookmarking that with a tab. As usual with the photographs in these titles, they're excellent for the most part, and as good as they can be for the occasional slightly grainy one that is all that remains of this or that variant. There's only so much that modern photo editing software can do, after all. The four builds by Libor Jekl and Steve A. Evans are all first-rate too, with two each in 1:72 and 1:48, all of which wouldn't look out of place on competition tables at the highest level. In 1:72 (by Libor Jekyl) there are a Fujimi FR.Mk.XIVe and an Xtrakit F Mk.22, while in 1:48 Steve A Evans builds a silver Airfix FR.Mk.XIV and a Special Hobby Seafire Mk.XV with high demarcation grey top surface. Conclusion A worthy complement to volume 1 and very nice weighty tome with tons of insight and information on one of Britain's most beloved prop aircraft. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Gloster/AW Meteor (9781912932023) Valiant Wings Publishing The Meteor was Britain's first jet fighter that was developed following the ground-breaking E28/39 Pioneer and using two of the engines that were developed by innovator Sir Frank Whittle in an aerodynamically simple airframe that soon began to hold back further development of the aircraft. The engines were the more simple centrifugal type and were less prone to failure than the more adventurous and unreliable axial flow engines used by the Germans in the Me.262 and others. It saw limited service in WWII after introduction in 1944 but was held back from venturing overseas in case of a crash-landing that resulted in the technology falling into the hands of the enemy. After WWII it was used in Korea where its airframe's straight wings were no match for the swept wing Mig-15s that it fought against and Sabres that were used by the Americans. It still had a long life after Korea with frequent upgrades including swapping out the original engines for the more capable Derwents from Rolls Royce, and flew as a night fighter and test bed for years to come before it was finally retired. The Book The fifteenth volume of the popular and interesting Airframe Album series by Richard A Franks details this, our first jet fighter, its variants, one-offs, special editions, trials and tribulations. It spans 192 pages and is perfect bound in an A4(ish) portrait format. If you are familiar with the series you will know what to expect, with the book broken down into sections, as follows: i Introduction A brief narrative history of the development and operational use of the Meteor by the RAF, as well as those used by other nations. 1 Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment. 2 Evolution – Prototype, Production and Projected Variants 3D isometrics illustrating differences between variants. 3 Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs. 4 Models A build of the 1:72 F.Mk.I from Dragon/Cyberhobby by Libor Jekl and the new 1:48 FR.Mk.9 from Airfix by Steve A Evans. Appendices I Meteor Kit list II Meteor Accessories, Decals & masks list III Bibliography IV Squadrons As usual with Valiant's books, the pictures are both high quality and unusual, with lots of "behind the scenes" shots of production, testing and in-service photos, plus plenty more pictures of museum examples for those needing reference pictures. I always find the 3D Isometrics very interesting to discern the differences between variants, especially as I have the memory of a goldfish. I knew the Meatbox had a few strange noses, but I learned that it had a LOT of strange nose cones fitted in testing, and even more weird and impractical nacelles, especially those with attempts to add reheat to the existing airframe, resulting in comically oversized nacelles. The model section is always interesting, with Libor Jekl and Steve A Evans both doing their usual fine job of a pair of Meteor kits in the shape of the wee 1:72 Dragon kit made by Libor, and the newish Airfix 1:48 FR.Mk.9 in a fetching scheme by Steve, which now makes me wish I hadn't given away my kit. Conclusion Valiant Wings publish a good book about interesting subjects, and this is one that tweaked mine right away. If you're a modeller, aviation buff or even just interested in engineering, this will make an interesting read, which you'll come back to again when you need it for references as there are literally hundreds of detail pictures, drawings and diagrams. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  16. Hawker Typhoon (inc. Tornado) 2nd Edition Valiant Wings Publishing This is the second edition of this particular book that we've reviewed, the original being done by my colleague Dave back in 2013 here, which might be worth a read to go over the original content. In light of more recent kits that have surfaced since the initial print-run, Valiant Wings have returned to the drawing board and added new content relating to both the 1:72 and 1:24 offerings from Airfix, which weren't included in the original, as well as the new car-door variant that is scheduled for 2016. In total another 48 pages of information has been added since the last edition, which is a substantial proportion to say the least, which is reflected in the thickness. All the old chapter headings are there in slightly amended form, as follows: Airframe Chapters Evolution - Tornado Evolution - Typhoon Typhoon Production Variants Drawing-Board Projects Camouflage & Markings Survivor Colour Profiles Miniature Chapters Hawker Typhoon Kits Building a Selection Building a Collection In Detail: The Hawker Typhoon Appendices Tornado & Typhoon Kit List Tornado & Typhoon Accessory List Typhoon Decal List Tornado & Typhoon Production Bibliography A set of fold-out plans in 1:48 are still there at the very rear of the book, and everything is up to Valiant's usual standards of research and print quality. The profiles have been done by Richard J Caruana, and as you can see above, they even have a new cover illustration of a pair of Typhoons besting a German flying boat over the briny. Conclusion If you missed out on the original, or are looking forward to building one of the new kits, or even if you hadn't heard of the original, then you'd do well to scope this tome out. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  17. The Supermarine Swift – A Technical Guide ISBN 978-0-9930908-9-9 Valiant Wings Publishing The Swift was built by Supermarine after the British Government woke up to the fact that we no longer had a competitive jet fighter that could reach high mach numbers and go up against any potential aggressor on an equal footing. This new book from our friends at Valiant Wings describes the difficult gestation of the Swift that went from a swept-wing Attacker to a very different aircraft that broke several world speed records at the time, and became a bit of a whipping-boy over the years. It was an accomplished low-level performer, but due to the constant changing of the requirements in a fast-moving field of development, it was never able to truly shine at anything else. It did however pave the way with a few key technologies that stood the British aircraft industry in good stead for its last remaining years of existence as a home-grown group of independent entities. The book is perfect bound with a flexible card cover in the house style and the publication details on the slim spine. Inside are 80 pages in high glossy paper with colour throughout where applicable. As is often the case with older aircraft, a great many of the original and contemporary photos are in black and white, but detail in these is excellent. Written by Richard A Franks (where does he find the time & information?), it is split into an informative introduction to the type that discusses the trials and tribulations of the project from start to finish, with a technical description, painting and markings, then a kit build to finish. The layout is as follows: Sections Introduction Technical Description Detailed coverage of construction and equipment. Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs. Kit Build A quick look at Airfix's new 1:72 Swift FR Mk.5. Appendices i) Supermarine Swift kit, accessory & decal list. ii) Supermarine Swift Squadrons – a list of all the units that operated the type. iii) Bibliography. The colour profiles are executed by Richard J Caruana, and the model build was done by the author himself, and both are done to a very high standard, as we have come to expect from Valiant's many books. Conclusion Another super title from Valiant that is filled with interesting text, drawings, technical information and a lot of pictures that I haven't seen before. There are also a number of pictures of preserved and not-so preserved examples of this turned-up nosed fighter, and the book should appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in the type. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. Arado Ar-196 Airframe Album 7 Valiant Wings Publishing This is the seventh in the series of Airframe Albums, this one concentrating on the Arado Ar 196 floatplane. As with the other titles in the series, this is beautifully printed book, written by Richard Franks, that is filled with details and information on this interesting aircraft. The book follows a similar format to the others in that there is a short history, (covering nineteen pages), of the design, the production airframes, and the current existing articles, whether complete airframes, or just parts. The next forty pages come under the title of Technical Information and provide an in-depth look at all the parts, systems, armament, fixtures and fittings. The text is accompanied by numerous line diagrams and where possible, photographs from the two extant examples, one in the NAAM, USA and one a museum in Bulgaria. The section titled Evolution, provides detailed information on the variations and changes between the various prototypes and production machines. These include the variations in armament, airframe, float configuration and engines used through airframe line diagrams. The next fifteen pages covers the markings and camouflage used throughout the aircrafts service life and is accompanied by colour plates of the different schemes used on the aircraft along with period photographs. The rest of the book is taken up with information and four complete build articles on the various model kits and decal that have been released over the years and a brief synopsis on their history, re-pops and the like. The build articles are on two 1:72, one 1:48 and one 1:32 models, which not only show how the aircraft can be built but useful tips on wan problem areas and how to overcome them. The last page is a bibliography of all the books, documents, and publications that have been printed on the Arado 196 giving ISBN numbers where available. Conclusion As with the other titles in the series, this is a meticulously researched and presented book. To gather this much information must take a heck of a long time and it really shows in the depth this title goes to show every little detail on the aircraft. Even if you don’t have a kit of the Ar 196 it is still a very interesting book and a worthy addition to any collection. Very highly Recommended Review sample courtesy of
  19. Macchi MC.202 Folgore: A Technical Guide Valiant Wings Publishing The Italian Macchi MC.202 was possibly the best fighter to serve in the Italian Air Force during WWII, although it suffered from multiple problems with its ancillary equipment that could sometimes have fatal consequences. A Development of the 200, it was fitted with license built DB601 engine, and evolved into a formidable dogfighter that was held back by its poor armament, which initially consisted of only two Browning M2 derived machine guns, to which a further two were added in the wings later on, only to be removed from the aircraft in the field to save weight. The book is one of Valiant Wings' Technical Guides, and is No.3 in the Airframe Detail series. It consists of 80 pages, numbered from 3 to 82 for some reason, and is in a portrait format in a "perfect bound" binding. It is written by Maurizio Di Terlizzi with additional text by Richard A Franks, and profiles by Richard J Caruana. It is divided into sections as you would expect, with the chapter headers as follows: 1. Introduction A brief history of the aircraft. 2. Technical Description Detailed coverage of the construction and equipment. 3. Camouflage & Markings Colour side profiles, notes and photographs. 4. Appendices MC.202 kits, accessories, masks, decals. 5. Bibliography The pages are packed with information, photos, drawings and diagrams that will be invaluable to those like myself that want to know exactly how the model they are building works. There are detailed breakdowns of the various structures and plenty of colour photos from the few examples that remain in existence today. Conclusion From a modeller's perspective it's a handy tome to have available during a build, and as I have Hasegawa's 1:48 offering on the shelves, it will come in handy at some point. It is also useful purely from an interested party's point of view, and I found the introduction to be a good read, with plenty of information imparted. Whether my scatter-brain will hold onto said information is another matter however! Either way, it is wallet friendly, and very well worth the effort of getting hold of a copy. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Dornier Do.17Z – A Technical Guide Valiant Wings Publishing The flying pencil has received a lot of attention this last year, with the raising of a crashed example and the release of the new Airfix kit in 1:72, so this book from our friends at Valiant should be of great interest. It will also find favour with those owning the Classic Airframes 1:48 kit, as well as general aviation enthusiasts. Written by Richard A Franks, it covers the aircraft from its earliest prototypes, where you can see how it came by its nickname due to the slender fuselage and fairly pointed nose, right through to the end of the 17Z's career and eventual replacement by the do.215 that started life as the export variant, which was in turn supplanted by the 217. The book is a perfect bound softcover, comprising 80 pages plus covers, and is split into four main sections plus appendices, as follows: Introduction An eleven page history of the aircraft from conception to completion, including some photos of the early prototypes and test airframes. Technical Description Thirty eight pages of detailed pictures, drawings and diagrams of the airframe, and its internals, including cockpit, crew compartments, electronics, fabrication, gun installations and bays, all of which is accompanied by detailed captioning. Camouflage & markings Eighteen pages of photos, text and six pages of profiles showing the various schemes worn by this quirky-looking aircraft. Building a Do.17Z Libor Jekl builds the new Airfix 1:72 Do.17Z over seven pages, showing just what can be done with the kit and his amazing skills. Appendices Do.17Z Kits, accessories, decals, bibliography The appendices only take up four pages, and are tightly packed with information, rather than drawn out to fill pages as happens with some titles. Conclusion If you're interested in the Do.17 and its successors, you'll find plenty of interest in this new title, and a lot of photos that I've not seen before. I'll certainly put my review copy to good use when I tackle my CA kit. It will also come in handy if you're waiting for the proposed Do.17Z kit from ICM, who have been gracious enough to give us two excellent 215 variants so far. One of these for each of the 215 and 217 would be my next wish. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. The Blohm & Voss Bv.141 (Airframe Detail No.1) Valiant Wings Publishing The Bv.141 was perhaps one of the weirdest looking aircraft of WWII that almost made it to production, with its asymmetric design, large wings, fuselage nacelle reminiscent of an Fw.189, and the fact that much of its development and history has been lost in the confusion that reigned at the fall of the third reich. This new book from Valiant Wings has been penned by Richard A Franks, and extends to 63 pages in a perfect bound format. Notes in the corner of the first page tells us that almost all known pictures, drawings and diagrams still extant of this aircraft have been included in the book, and this is evident from the sheer quantity, some of which are surprisingly good, and some necessarily small and grainy because, well, that's all we have! The book is broken down into chapters as you'd expect, as follows: Introduction. This includes a brief history and extends to 11 pages with plenty of photos between the text. Technical Description. Going over the airframe in 9 sections over 38 pages, this will be of great use to anyone wanting to improve the detail of their kit. Diagrams, technical photos and excerpts of the flight manual are included. Camouflage & Markings. Extending to 9 pages with four pages of three-view and profile drawings, this section covers the variation of markings and schemes from beginning to end. Building a Bv.141 A build by Steve A Evans is catalogued over 4 pages, with some very nice photos of an exceptionally well built model. Appendices. One page split between kits and available books. Conclusion This is a very interesting and informative book of a left-of-field aircraft that is probably going to be a little more mainstream after the recent release of the Hobby Boss kit reviewed here. It is eminently readable, laid out in a sensible order with some really good photos, especially of the interior, and should be of use to anyone wishing to improve their kit, whether it be the new 1:48 kit, or Airfix's ageing offering in 1:72. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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