Luftwaffe Profile Series No. 17 - Vertical Takeoff Fighter Aircraft of the Third Reich

J. Miranda & P. Mercado
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd
ISBN 0-7643-1435-1
42 Pages, Softbound

 Reviewed by Will Perry

The Miranda/Mercado team has been a prolific source of high quality aircraft drawings for many years - first, focusing on planes relevant to their native Spain, and, the last few years, on fantastic Luftwaffe ‘46 subjects.  Schiffer Publishing has filled its catalog with English translations of German aviation material.  The book in hand combines this Spanish talent, German material, and American publisher in a work that meanders from the historic to the fantastic. 

Loosely organized around the “goes straight up” theme, the book begins with good quality 1/72 drawings of three Werner Von Braun rocket planes, complete with speculative color side views.  Unfortunately, there’s very little text describing these devices, and no reproductions of actual drawings or sketches that would support the drawings.  A Fieseler winged rocket gets similar treatment.  The historical Heinkel 112 V-5 prototype with a rocket engine in the tail is covered, with useful drawings and photos (What’s “vertical takeoff about this?). 

The heart of the book is a 16-page section on the Bachem Ba 349 desperation fighter.  Three pages of history and specs are welcome, but modelers will probably home in on the drawings, color plates and photos that depict 6 colorful prototypes and one production example.  As always, the colors depicted in the plates are material for debate.  As with many Schiffer books, photos are often fuzzy and of questionable value - thin material or sloppy production?  Considering the size of the subject, 1/48 would seem a better size for the Natter drawings, and a couple of cockpit photos would have been welcome. 

The last third of the book is a hodgepodge of drawings and photos of planes and projects that barely relate to the title - including the X-1 and X-15!  Little of this material will be useful to historians or modelers - its just padding.   Natter fans will welcome this title, but, overall, it’s disappointing how little you get for your 15 bucks. 

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