Luftwaffe Emblems 1939-1945
Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl
The heraldry of unit badges is an interesting subject, and this book is the most complete English text on Luftwaffe emblems of World War Two. The book is packed full of information on every known unit badge, from fighters to bombers to trainers and everything in between. The badges are reproduced in several color pages, with 48 badges per page. Each badge is numbered, with this number pointing to a reference in the text. For instance, badge #169 is for 2./JG71, with a description of "A red cartoon parrot or raven with a cold. Used from July 1939 until November that year when the unit became II./JG51. Bf109C." This alone would make the book well worth the price, but in addition to this information, there are copious amounts of photos that show many of these badges in use. The combination of great photos and superb research on the badges makes this a great addition to anyone's Luftwaffe collection.
CANADIAN ARMED FORCES
Reviewed By Bob Pearson
A very welcome addition to any modeler's (or profile artist's) library is this 204 page soft cover book which as the title suggests is on the markings and finish of Canadian aircraft since the amalgamation of the RCAF, RCN and Army into the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 1968. The book is divided into sections on each aircraft operated in the period covered and includes drawings and photographs showing the appearance of same. First the officially prescribed finish is shown, followed by markings carried and then any special paint schemes or markings are described. Also included are detailed drawings showing changes to the roundel and Maple Leaf; placement of the flash; letter styles; the Canada 'wordmark', etc. In fact, if a CAF aircraft carried it, it will be found here. And even if they didn't, it may still be found in these pages as a very welcome addition is entitled "The Fiction File". This is official markings that were approved for, but never carried by various CAF types. CANADIAN ARMED FORCES AIRCRAFT FINISH & MARKINGS 1968-1997 is highly recommended and is available from the author, Patrick Martin for $34.95 Cdn (plus postage).
Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl
This title is the third book in the Ventura Classic Warbirds series, and it is simply incredible. The book is somewhat small, about the size of an Osprey Aces book, and the similarities between these two books is inevitable. American Spitfire jumps right into the history of the Spitfire in US hands with a short bit about the range extension program tried out by the USAAF. From there, the book moves on to combat histories, giving a good account of US Spitfires in England, Africa, and mainland Europe. The history of Spitfires serving with VCS-7 in the US Navy is very interesting and well written. The photos are comprehensive and the notes on colors and markings clearly show the painstaking research that the authors have done. Color photos and profiles help show these markings to great effect. This is a well-written, well-illustrated book, and certainly worth the price. I am so pleased with it, in fact, that I am going to get the first two books in the series, Spitfire, Star of Israel and Spitfire - The Anzacs.
Me262 Schwalbe Part 2
Reviewed By Chris Banyai-Riepl
This second volume on the Me262 Schwalbe continues from the first one with a solid covering of two-seaters and drawing board hypothetical designs, as well as some single seat variants. There are plenty of pictures throughout and several pages of excellent drawings showing many hypothetical and Mistel options. The color profiles show camouflage differences to great effect, and covers both German and Czech types. For those of you who are familiar with AJ Press publications, this one has the text in English rather than Polish, and the writing gives a very good story of these later Me262 variants. If you have the first part, this volume completes the set very well, and for those who are just interested in the later variants, you won't be disappointed either.
Aces and Wingmen II
Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl
The Second World War was a part of history that saw extensive use of airplanes on all sides of the conflict, with the result of thousands of fighters being made and sent into combat. A holdover from the First World War, the status of 'ace' was eagerly sought after by fighter pilots of all services, and afterwards, these aces have become the subject of a great deal of study throughout the world. The 8th Air Force had its fair share of aces, and there is no better place to look for them than in Aces and Wingmen II.
Volume I of this set first came out in 1989, and it is still one of the best books on 8th AF aces out there. The coverage is incredible, and the photos stunning. Many of these photos have been seen before, but the painstaking research that has been put into this book sets to rest many of the myths that surround some of these photos. In many cases, photos of planes that were flown by one ace but assigned to another pilot are explained, and a clearer picture of a pilot's flight record is made.
The book features a section on fighting highlights, which gives a gross overview of what the 8th AF did during the war. Then there are a series of stories by people who were there, ranging from P. E. Pompetti of the 84th FS, 78th FG to M. A. Becraft of the 362nd FS, 357th FG. These short stories tell of many of the combat sorties these pilots flew, and give a good idea of what it was like to fly in the 8th AF during the war. Following these stories, brief group histories are given, along with a list of all the aces, squadron codes, aces in a day, squadron call signs, and airfield codes and call signs.
With the second volume due out next month, the Aces and Wingmen II series will be complete. As complete as this book is, I can see areas that are sparse, and I am sure that the second volume will complement this one perfectly, making Aces and Wingmen II the ultimate 8th AF reference.
Douglas Skyraider AD-1 to AD-7
Reviewed By Chris Banyai-Riepl
The Douglas Skyraider was a fine end to the world of piston engined attack planes. Designed in the waning years of the Second World War, the Skyraider first saw action in Korea. With the jet age upon the world, the Skyraider should have disappeared early on, yet it soldiered on, finally ending up in Vietnam doing things that no jet could at that time: sit on station for hours on end and deliver a huge amount of weaponry very precisely, often aiding in getting downed jet pilots out of the jungle.
This latest title in the Warpaint series takes a look at this incredible plane, from its sea blue beginnings to its brown and green camouflaged end. While only consisting of 30 pages, in these pages are crammed 59 photos, including over 20 in color. Most of these pictures are of a very good quality, but some of them look like they were scanned in at the wrong settings are appear blurry. There are also over 40 color profiles and a nice set of 1/72 drawings in a center pullout. A book isn't just pictures, though, and the text is very well written and does a good job of describing the venerable SPAD.
Overall, this book does a great job of illustrating the Douglas Skyraider in both words and pictures, which is surprising considering how few pages there are. This book will make a good reference piece to go with the Tamiya 1/48 Skyraider.
Grumman XF5F-1 & XP-50 Skyrocket
Reviewed by Tom Cleaver
The Skyrocket sotry was originally published in the American Aviation Hisotrical Society (AAHS) Journal in 1989, and wasrepublishedby Steve Ginter in his well-known Naval Fighters series.
With photographs provided by Grumman Aviation's "Schoney: Schonenberg, Roger Seybel and Lois Lovisolo prior to Grumman's absorption by Northop and the subsequent criminal act of destruction of the Grumman History Center files - which were to that time the most complete historical files kept by any American aerospace company, this is now the most complete photographic source on this interesting airplane to be found anywhere. The photos alone make this booklet a "must have" for any modeler who is contemplating getting the most out of building the new Minicraft model.
However, in addition to the photos, Lucabaugh and Martin have provided the best history of the development of this airplane to be found anywhere. Most people interested in aviation, who would be interested in modeling this "odd ball," have some small understanding of its place in Grumman history as the predecessor of the excellent Grumman F7F Tigercat. Lucabaugh and Martin here explain that the XF5F-1, despite its odd appearance, was as excellent in its time as the Tigercat was later. Only the fact that the Navy did not want to have to stock twice as many spare engines and parts to support this aircraft in the fleet as they would have to with a single-engine aircraft, prevented the Skyrocket from achieving production status. In the event, the delay in developing the airframe to meet BuAer standards allowed the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair to fly with the incredible Pratt & Whitney R-2800, the first 2,000 h.p. aircraft engine, which revolutionized powerplants and subsequent naval fighter design by its existence.
Included in this history is all the relevant information on the similar-but-different U.S.A.A.C. xp-50 design, which was based on the XF5F-1, and equally unsuccessful in gaining a production committment.
The book has excellent three-view drawings of the XF5F-1 in all its configurations, and the XP-50 design. Steve Ginter provided reviews of the existing plastic kits of the XF5F-1 at the time of publication. All of these have been superceded by the new Minicraft release in 1/48, though modelers who build in 1/72 will have to content themselves with the MPM kit unless they can obtain a copy of the RarePlanes vacuform in its 1980 release.
If you want to do anything with your kit of the XF5F-1, this book is a must-have.
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