Reviews of books or magazines relating to scale modeling.

Aircraft Plans

Published: March 29th, 2014     
Aircraft Plans
Author: Various
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Company: Mushroom Model Publications

Mushroom Model Publications are available in North American from Casemate Publications and the Casemate website is

MMP is expanded their excellent selection of scale plans for various aircraft. Sets No. 1 and 2 (detailed below) have been available for several years. In 2014 scale sets, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 have been released. A sample page from Set No. 1 can be viewed at One can see that the plans are of excellent quality and are filled with detail that many modelers value.

The pages, themselves can be removed from the publication and are suitable for framing, even suitable to decorate a display base! The price is right, the quality is excellent, and the subject matter is appealing.

Set No. 1 (978-83-89450-79-1 ) priced at $10.72, formatted in A4 Softcover, spiral wire binding 24 pages in A3 - Pages - 24 (0 in colour) contains plans in 1/48th for these aircraft:

Lockheed A-12 - The CIA’s Blackbird and other variants

Published: March 27th, 2014     
Lockheed A-12 - The CIA’s Blackbird and other variants
Author: Paul F. Crickmore
Reviewed by: Chris Smith, IPMS# 39182
Company: Osprey Publishing

The story of the Lockheed A-12 began with a bright orange fireball 70,000 feet over Sverdlovsk in the Soviet Union. This explosion, 1500 miles deep into Russian territory, would start a diplomatic crisis with repercussions that directly impacted the A-12 and SR-71 operations for the rest of their service lives. That explosion severed the tail from a Lockheed U-2 reconnaissance aircraft and sent the pilot, Francis Gary Powers, plummeting into the hands of the Soviet authorities. After the U.S. broadcasted a cover story assuming Powers had died, the Soviets revealed they had parts of the plane and Powers in their custody. This caused then U.S. President Eisenhower to do two things, stop all over flights and find a way to make the U-2 invisible to radar. While some efforts where made to reduce the U-2 radar signature, it was just not possible to cloak a jet-powered glider with long straight wings. Enter Lockheed’s Kelly Johnson. Known for designing the P-38 fighter plane, the F-104 and the U-2, Johnson realized the best solution would be an aircraft that could fly higher and faster then anything else.

Area 51 Black Jets

Published: March 25th, 2014     
Area 51 Black Jets
Author: Bill Yenne
Reviewed by: Rob Benson, IPMS# 44038
Company: Quayside Publishing Group

Thank you very much to Nichole at Quayside Publishing Group, the parent corporation of Zenith Press for providing this book for review.  Thanks are also due to the IPMS Reviewer Corps for allowing me the opportunity to explore a wonderful documentation and fascinating historical description.  Author Bill Yenne has struck an excellent balance of historical facts and data woven together in a great story.  I found the entire book to be engaging at all times.  The book is not just a valuable reference; it is a great read as well.  I remember building the Testors F-19 stealth fighter a long time ago when it first came out.  I was disappointed when the F-117 Nighthawk became public a few years later, but after reading this book and seeing prototype photos I believe that Testors was not as far off as many may think, nor were Tom Clancy and Larry Bond in their description of the Frisbee in Red Storm Rising.

SAC Landing Gear for P-38

Published: March 23rd, 2014     
SAC Landing Gear for P-38
Reviewed by: Christopher Gibson, IPMS# 49143
Scale: 1/72
Company: Scale Aircraft Conversions

When I received the aftermarket SAC landing gear for the 1/72 Academy P38 Lightning I went to get out the kit I had and realized the one I had was 1/48 scale, so I had to quick get one off ebay to do the review. Once I found one at a reasonable price and received the kit I finally got down to business. I opened the kit and got the SAC gear out for comparison. After removing the gear from the kit sprues I laid them out to compare them side by side. I was kind of disappointed with the look of the SAC gear, they had some flash on the gear and some mold lines that were very noticeable. Then I looked over the kit gear and found that Academy has some very good gear right out of the box, the mold lines and crisp detail were almost better than the SAC gear. I then proceeded to clean up each set of gear, the kit gear was a snap cleaning up nicely, the SAC gear was a little more involved, trying to clean up the gear was a challenge because the metal gear is a little on the soft side and bends easily and you are constantly straightening each piece after you work on it, especially the thin pieces. SAC would be great if they made the gear a little stiffer so it would not bend as easily.

Aces of the 325th FG Fighter Group

Published: March 22nd, 2014     
Aces of the 325th  FG  Fighter Group
Author: Thomas Ivie
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Company: Osprey Publishing


The 325th Fighter Group, also known as the “Checker Tail Clan” is one of the most well known units of the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. They flew P-40s, P-47s and P-51, making them a very interesting unit for modelers. They flew over North Africa, France, Italy, Eastern Europe and even the former Soviet Unit. Their distinctive tail markings helped aerial recognition and likely worried their counterparts when encountered in combat.

The book has the following chapters

  • Dedication
  • Activation, training and into combat
  • Thunderbolt and the Fifteenth Air Force
  • Mustang era
  • Where is the Luftwaffe?
  • Swansong of the Luftwaffe
  • Appendices

It covers chronologically the deployment of the unit from North Africa and their P-40s in a fighter-bomber role, to Italy with their P-47s and P-51s into a new role of high altitude escort and interdiction operations into Austria, Romania, Hungary, and the USSR.

Model Art Modeling Magazine, #51, Spring 2014

Published: March 18th, 2014     
Model Art Modeling Magazine, #51, Spring 2014
Reviewed by: Hub Plott, IPMS# 31328
Company: Model Art

From the title one could conclude that the entire magazine is dedicated to these two ships. That would be incorrect! The book also covers the IJN Yuikaze, USS Ticonderoga, IJN Noshiro, Ice Breaker Shirase AGB 5003, JMSDF PG-824 Guided Missile Patrol Boat, JMSDF Defense Ship Akizuki, IJN Tanker Ashizuri, IJN Hiryu, S-100 German fast Attack and a section on the old Monogram/Revell 1/506 USS New Jersey!   Eleven of the models are in 1/72 scale, two are in 1/350th and another in 1/72.

Since the text is entirely in Japanese, so unless you read kanji the magazine is only for the pictures.  But there are a lot of pictures and much useful information to be gained from them. Some of the ships are both photo essays of the model and the building process; others are of just the finished model. All of the models are stunning in detail and appearance, the model of the Hiryu especially so.

Convair Advanced Designs II - Secret Fighters, Advanced Aircraft, and Unique Concepts 1929-1973

Published: March 17th, 2014     
Convair Advanced Designs II - Secret Fighters, Advanced Aircraft, and Unique Concepts 1929-1973
Author: Robert E. Bradley
Reviewed by: Hub Plott, IPMS# 31328
Company: Crecy Publishing, Ltd.

This book is a follow on companion book to the author’s “Convair Advanced Designs that I was also fortunate to review for IPMS/USA! This book covers 41 different aircraft, some that were built and some that were only designs each is given its own chapter.

Scale Aircraft Modelling, Vol. 36, Issue 1

Published: March 15th, 2014     
Scale Aircraft Modelling, Vol. 36, Issue 1
Reviewed by: Dave Morrissette, IPMS# 33653
Company: Scale Aircraft Modelling

Each issue of Scale Aircraft Modeling follows a basic design and format and this one is similar. There are usually two Feature Articles, an Aviation in Profile piece, industry news and a series of Compact Build Reviews.

The Feature articles for this issue covers a build of Wing Nut Wings 1/32 S.E.5a and a 1/48 Eduard PKZ-2. The WNW S.E5a is a fantastic kit to begin with and the author, Phil Roger does a spectacular job. He uses a special method for oxidizing the exhaust pipes and shows the rigging and weathering in many detail shots.

The other Feature article from Dai Williams and is the start of a series called ":flying Oddities' and the PKZ-2 is odd. This a WWI helicopter which was basically a manned platform with an engine that was tethered to the ground and went up. Mr. Williams modifies the kit in a few areas but the shining part for me was the exceptional base he builds with the winches and planking from plasticard. Adding other parts makes the diorama truly exceptional.

Model Art Modeling Magazine, #886, February 2014

Published: March 12th, 2014     
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Model Art

Model Art Magazine is a monthly magazine that covers aircraft, armor, ships and car modeling. Model Art started releasing magazines in 1966 and has evolved from there over the past forty six years.

The February issue starts off with a report from the 2013 Tamiya fair. Some of the kits on the horizon are a 1/6 Harley Davidson FLSTFB Fat Boy Lo, 1/72 Mitsubishi A6M3/3a Zero Fighter Model 22 (Zeke), 1/35 Ford GPA with engine, 1/35 German Horch Kfz. 15 "North African Campaign", 1/48 Russian 1.5 ton Cargo Truck Model 1941, paintbrushes and tools. Also included in the first few pages is a page dedicated to the Eduard 1/72 Mig-15 in Czechoslovakian in Service Dual Combo and the Eduard aftermarket sets that could be used with it. Another page covers an auto show and then the next installment of I.J.A/N. Airplane Illustrated. This month’s installment covers torpedo sighting devices. They use photos of the actual units and drawings in the article.

Messerschmitt Me 410

Published: March 5th, 2014     
Messerschmitt Me 410
Author: Robert Peczkowski
Reviewed by: Paul Mahoney, IPMS# 8943
Company: MMP Books

With the recent releases (and re-releases) of a few Me 410 kits, MMP’s book on the aircraft is quite timely.

The first 10 (out of 120) pages of this book describe the rather convoluted developmental history of the Messerschmitt Me 410, actually starting with the Me 210.  The blurred lines between what constitutes a late Me 210 and an early Me 410 are well described.  In fact, as the lineage is so confusing, MMP provides a good flowchart to clear it all up.  At the end of this section are a brief few paragraphs describing the remaining two surviving examples of the aircraft (photos of these appear later).

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