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book_yak-1.jpg (29201 bytes)Yak-1 to Yak-3
Aircraft Monograph No. 10
By Robert Bock
ISBM 83-86208-99-6
AJ Press 1998
78 pages with 15 sheets of 1/48 scale drawings
6 pages of color drawings

Reviewed by Will Riepl

Good reference material is a must for building accurate models, and with the release of the new Accurate Miniatures Yak-1, the timing of this book is perfect. For those of you who are familiar with this Monograph series, you’ll know that some are in Polish and some are in English. Well, this one is in English, and I am very glad for that. There is a chapter on combat use, with stories about Yak-1s fighting with Bf109s and Fw190s that is fascinating to read.

The photos are truly superb, and provide a bunch of interesting marking choices for the modeler. All the variants are covered in detail, with high quality scale drawings throughout the book. There’s even a drawing of a Yak-3 with an M-83 radial engine. Now that would be a neat conversion to do! There are also several well-done color drawings, including a German Yak, a French Yak, and a red and white Yak from a 1954 aerobatic team.

If you’ve bought the Accurate Miniatures Yak-1, this book should follow that purchase closely. I think you will enjoy this new book from AJ Press.

book_u-2.jpg (33924 bytes)Lockheed U-2 Dragon Lady
Warbird Tech Series, Vol. 16

By Dennis R. Jenkins


Reviewed by Richard Marmo

Aircraft monograph series are seemingly a dime a dozen. Whether aimed at the modeler or historian, virtually every publisher has one in their list. As a result, it's safe to say that no one is familiar with all of them. Well, those of you who have not yet discovered the WARBIRDTECH SERIES from Specialty Press need to correct that oversight ASAP. An excellent place to start is with their 16th volume, LOCKHEED U-2 DRAGON LADY.

All of the WARBIRDTECH monographs are 8 1/2 x 11 vertical format, 100 pages, 160 (give or take) photos, cutaways, 3-views, etc., and 4 pages of color photos. This wealth of material is sandwiched between semi-stiff covers and each one carries a price tag of $16.95.

If you're interested in adding a U-2 model to your collection and have little reference material, this volume is an excellent starting point. Besides a well-done description of the aircraft's history from inception to Desert Storm operations, you'll find photos of Dragon Lady on carrier decks, in NASA markings and more. There's a tech manual excerpt of the Air Refueling Socket, drawings of the cockpit arrangement and instrument panel details, photos of her in Navy markings, etc. You'll even find photos of scale models of a proposed armed (armed, with missiles and tricycle gear) version. A page and a half of code names used with the U-2 are deciphered and placed in the correct time period. Another table defines the assorted variants, while a couple of final pages identify acronyms and significant dates. Fascinated by U-2s? Then this one's for you.

Available from Specialty Press, 11481 Kost Dam Road, North Branch, MN 55056, 1-800-895-4585.

book_p-39.jpg (30858 bytes)Bell P-39/P-63
Airacobra & Kingcobra

Warbird Tech Series, Vol. 17
by Frederick A. Johnson


Reviewed by Richard Marmo

Those of you with a particular interest in the P-39/P-63 series will definitely want to check out this WARBIRDTECH offering. Considering the relative lack of comprehensive information on these Bell types, you'll want to give serious consideration to adding a copy to your bookshelf. And if you have no references at all on the P-39/P-63, this is an excellent place to start.

You'll find 100 8 1/2 x 11 pages contained between semi-stiff covers. Those pages hold everything from a thorough development history thru military operations to it's days as an air racer and private ownership. 160-odd photos (including numerous pages reproduced from manufacturer's manuals) document all the periods. There are four pages of color photos ranging from WW-II to air racing to museum restorations. Of particular note is the section on P-39 Zebra-striped gun camera targets and P-63 armored Pinball machines. It even includes tech manual drawings of the armor plating used to protect pilots from the live-fire frangible bullets.

A three-page appendix lists characteristics for all 'Cobra variants (both P-39 and P-63) and another page correlates engine and propeller combinations. Yet another page lists all key dates for both aircraft type. $16.95 and worth every cent.

Available from Specialty Press. See the Lockheed U-2 review for ordering information.

book_war-eagles.jpg (34602 bytes)WW-II WAR EAGLES
Global Air War in ORIGINAL COLOR

China/Pacific Aerial Conflict in ORIGINAL COLOR

by Jeffrey L. Ethell & Warren M. Bodie


Reviewed by Richard Marmo

Over the years, conventional wisdom has been that color photographs taken during WW-II were few and far between. Going even farther, it has been widely assumed that any color photos that were taken would have fallen prey to emulsion deterioration and extreme color shifts. All I can say is that, with the arrival of these two books, conventional wisdom has taken a royal shellacking.

book_pacific-war-eagles.jpg (32122 bytes)So what do these two books give you? Each one offers 225 georgous, unaltered, original color photos, reproduced in 8 3/4 x 11 1/4 horizontal format. Quality is everything you would expect in hardback books that sell for $39.95 each. Layout is usually one or two to a page, but you'll also find 12 spectacular double-page fold-outs in the WAR EAGLES book. PACIFIC WAR EAGLES is much the same, except that instead of double-page fold-outs, you get 12 color profiles. Both books are fully indexed.

Subjects run the gamut, including such things as an O.D. P-36A at Wichita Airport, a Mitsubishi A6M Zero in polished bare metal with U.S. markings at Ontario, California, a white PBY-5A that looks like it's had used crankcase oil poured over it and a beautiful shot of a surrender Betty in hastily done white distemper with the underlying green bleeding thru. Then there's numerous photos taken during the Aleutian campaign, North Africa, the Russian front, an FW-200 on the ground in Germany and on and on and on.

Given the reputation of the authors and the high quality of reproduction, if your interest lies in WW-II aviation, these two books are absolute musts. Very highly recommended.

Available from Zenith Books, P.O. Box 1, Osceola, WI 54020-0001. Their toll free hot line is 1-800-826-6600 and their web site is mbibks@win.bright.net

book_moldmaking.jpg (24150 bytes)Secrets Of Expert Mold Making & Resin Casting
by Karl K. Juelch


Reviewed by Richard Marmo

For at least the last twenty or thirty years, ever since RTV became available in small quantities, articles have appeared periodically in model magazines. In all cases, they purported to tell you everything you needed to know to cast your own resin parts like a pro. Not infrequently, they left you with more questions than answers. Same for small, specialized publications on the subject. No longer.

Karl Juelch has done a bang-up job on this volume. It runs to 108 pages, is spiral bound and utilizes clear plastic covers. Inside, you'll find very clear, thorough and logical data that takes you step by step thru the mold process. I can't begin to list in this review the topics covered (the Table of Contents alone consumes three pages), but take it from me that you will know everything you need to know to produce quality molds and castings when you've finished reading his book. The text is also interspersed with large, clear drawings that eliminate any need for guesswork.

Karl deals with everything from Mold Materials and Mold Anatomy to Essential Tools and Fixtures, Designing the Mold, how to Make Tape Bed Molds and on and on. He also describes the various methods of casting resin. With appropriate warnings, the various types of Machinery and how to build them is described as well. This means Vacuum Chambers, Pressure Chambers and Pressure Chamber Ovens. Finally, a selected Resource Guide and Sources of Supply is included. Now you'll be able to find that non-inhibiting double-sided tape that makes mounting and removing patterns so much easier.

How good is the information contained? Consider that I've been working with RTV and urethane resin myself for a good many years...and I picked up some tips that will prove most helpful.

Considering what's in it, the book sells for a most reasonable $19.95 plus $3 shipping and handling within the continental USA. The rest of North America and Europe add $8 and all other countries add $12 for S&H. Payment should be in U.S. funds by check or m.o. only. Credit cards are not accepted. Order from WINGNUT INTERNATIONAL, 1065 RTE. 173W, SUITE 47, ASBURY, NJ 08802, USA.

If you have more than a passing interest in mold making and resin casting, this'll be the best $20 you've spent in many a year. Trust me.

book_aero-engines.jpg (47691 bytes)World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines
4th Edition

By Bill Gunston


Reviewed by Richard Marmo

Few people would argue with the statement that aircraft cannot fly without wings (helicopters, of course, being the exception), but wings or not, no aircraft (except gliders) can fly without an engine. As a result, many modelbuilders spend considerable time in detailing the engines of their models...which leads rather quickly to a need for decent reference material on specific engines. And that brings us to this particular book.

This 8 1/4 x 10 3/4 vertical format hardcover book holds 208 pages and more than 300 b&w illustrations. Whether used by the Wright Brothers or a Concorde, if it can be considered produced by a major power plant manufacturer, it's in here. What it doesn't cover are the truly weird, obscure or one of a kind engines that were cobbled together in the back of a storage shed. You have to draw the line somewhere and it also keeps the price down to a reasonable level.

What you get for the most part are tight photos of the engine itself, along with occasional side view drawings and cutaways. There's a page and a half glossary and a two page index. Layout of the book is alphabetical, with engines being listed by manufacturer first.

All in all, an excellent one volume reference on a relatively neglected -or at least ignored- aspect of aviation history. Whether modelbuilder or historian, you need to seriously consider adding this one to your bookshelf. Reasonably priced at $39.95, it's available from Zenith Books (see the WW-II WAR EAGLES review for ordering information and web site). 

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Air Intelligence
1998 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/48 Scale Guide $20.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.00 Postage in the US.

TacAir Publications

PO Box 90933
Albuquerque NM 87199-0933
(505) 881-9621

E-Mail Us!

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