Publications

Reviews of books or magazines relating to scale modeling.

Alesia 52 BC: The final struggle for Gaul

Published: August 31st, 2014     
Alesia 52 BC: The final struggle for Gaul
Author: Nic Fields
Reviewed by: Jeff Leiby, IPMS# 30249
Company: Osprey Publishing

Background

As described on the Osprey Publishing website, “In 52 BC Caesar’s continued strategy of annihilation had engendered a spirit of desperation, which detonated into a revolt of Gallic tribes under the leadership of the charismatic young Arvernian noble Vercingetorix. Major engagements were fought at Noviodunum, Avaricum, and Gergovia, with the last action being the most serious reverse that Caesar faced in the whole of the Gallic War. However, Vercingetorix soon realized that he was unable to match the Romans in pitched battle. Taking advantage of the tribesmen’s superior knowledge of their home territory, Vercingetorix began a canny policy of small war and defensive maneuvers, which gravely hampered Caesar’s movements by cutting off his supplies. For Caesar it was to be a grim summertime – his whole Gallic enterprise faced disaster. In the event, by brilliant leadership, force of arms, and occasionally sheer luck, Caesar succeeded in stamping out the revolt in a long and brutal action culminating in the siege of Alesia. Vercingetorix finally surrendered and Alesia was to be the last significant resistance to the Roman will. Never again would a Gallic warlord independent of Rome hold sway over the Celts of Gaul.”

Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945, Vol. 1

Published: August 31st, 2014     
Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945, Vol. 1
Author: Kari Stenman, Karolina Hołda; Illustrator: Karolina Hołda
Reviewed by: Paul Mahoney, IPMS# 8943
Company: MMP Books

Here is the newest book in MMP’s “White Series”: Finnish Fighter Colours 1939-1945, Volume One.  The author, Kari Stenman, is a name long associated with publications on the Finnish Air Force.  Just scanning through my library, I see him as the author of several Osprey “Aircraft of the Aces” books, as well as a Squadron/Signal book.  In fact, in the acknowledgements section of this book he mentions research assistance he has received over the last forty-five years!  This book is clearly written by a dedicated expert in the field.

The book itself is hardbound, with a nice glossy cover and the 200+ pages within are produced on high-quality stock with a matt finish.  Photos, mostly black and white, are on virtually every page.  Most are at least ¼ page in size.  Numerous, extremely high-quality side profiles are also present.  Text is all in English, and is very well-written.

This is Volume One of a two-part series.  The series is not separated by chronology, but rather by aircraft type.  Aircraft covered here are:

World War II Glider Assault Tactics

Published: August 31st, 2014     
World War II Glider Assault Tactics
Author: Author: Gordon L. Rottman Illustrator: Peter Dennis
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Osprey Publishing

Osprey Publications is well known for their books on military history, aviation, naval and a multitude of other subjects. This book is from the Elite series which covers specific military units or tactics used in combat.

World War II was the first conflict with the widespread use of gliders for military operations. All though many countries used gliders the focus of the book is on English, German and United States as they were involved in the largest majority of glider operations during the war.

The author covers the origins, the gliders, the glider types, tug aircraft, glider pilots, glider delivered units and glider operations. Each section is broken down covering how each country used their gliders, how they trained their pilots and how operations were executed. The book is loaded with black and white period photographs and color drawings.

Cross & Cockade International, Spring 2014 - Vol. 45/1

Published: August 31st, 2014     
Cross & Cockade International, Spring 2014 - Vol. 45/1
Reviewed by: Roger Rasor, IPMS# 34117
Company: The First World War Aviation Historical Society

Cross & Cockade International is the quarterly publication of a non-profit organization known as The First World War Aviation Historical Society.  The UK based organization has been publishing these journals since 1970 with the objective of furthering the study of First World War Aviation History. The first journal of 2014; Volume 45/1 (Spring 2014) features a beautiful cover painting by David Ellwood of a Phoenix P.5 Cork flying boat “Rattling the Rivets of a German U boat.  The Phoenix P.5 Cork is the subject of a 19-page feature article that kicks things off, but this quarterly journal, much like all C&CI journals, also covers a variety of other well-researched WWI subjects in a highly professional manner. 

Following an Editorial page, the contents includes:

Model Art - Air Model Special No. 06: IJN Zero Carrier Fighter II

Published: August 28th, 2014     
Model Art - Air Model Special No. 06: IJN Zero Carrier Fighter II
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Company: Model Art

Model Art has long set the standard for excellence when it comes to covering modeling subjects related to Japanese military history. Model Art No. 06 is no exception, covering the Mitsubishi Zero variants, such as the A6M3, A6M5, A6M5 Night Fighter, A6M5C, A6M7, and A6M8. While coverage of the Zero variants dominates this issue, there are some other aircraft highlighted in some short “build” articles as well.  

Beginning on page 96, Model Art changes the era of coverage from WWII to modern times with a great article on a 1/32 scale F-104J in JASDF markings. Eight pages filled with excellent images provide the reader with a visual “how-to” for a natural-metal paint scheme and some super detailing on the engine and in the cockpit.

The new Freedom Models 1/48 scale UCAS X-47B is featured in a four-page “how-to” article. Again, the photographs are excellent and very instructive, and they are especially helpful with the paint scheme and markings placement.

Carlson’s Raiders Makin Island 1942

Published: August 21st, 2014     
Carlson’s Raiders Makin Island 1942
Author: Author: Gordon L. Rottman; Illustrators: Johnny Shumate Mark Stacey
Reviewed by: Jeff Leiby, IPMS# 30249
Company: Osprey Publishing

Background

The 1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942 to stop further Japanese expansion.   On August 17–18, 1942, the US Marine Corps’ 2nd Raider Battalion conducted an amphibious raid on the Japanese-occupied Makin Island in the South Pacific. This operation was intended to divert Japanese reinforcements bound for Guadalcanal, over 1,000 miles to the southwest. The Raiders were to destroy the seaplane base and radio station, take prisoners, and collect intelligence. The Raiders suffered heavy causalities and even left some Marines behind, but the raid was an invaluable test of the innovative training and tactics employed by the Raiders, and a crucial boost to national morale at this difficult stage in the war.

F - 111 & EF - 111 Units in Combat

Published: August 21st, 2014     
F - 111 & EF - 111 Units in Combat
Author: Author: Peter Davies; Illustrator: Rolando Ugolini
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Osprey Publishing

Osprey Publications is well known for their books on military history and vehicles. This book is a follow up to the earlier Osprey release "General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark", review can be found here http://web.ipmsusa3.org/content/general-dynamics-f-111-aardvark .

The book starts with a brief overview of the beginnings of the F-111 and some the growing pains that the F-111 encountered, This book covers all the conflicts that the F-111 was involved. These are as follows Vietnam, El Dorado Canyon (Libya Raid), Desert Storm and a few skirmishes the RAAF were involved in. In each of these sections the author goes into great detail covering the positives and negatives encountered by this aircraft in these actions. Overall the F-111 in combat performed superbly even though in the beginning of its career it encountered many growing pains due to fact of it being rushed into service before it was ready.

The book is loaded with mostly color photographs with a few black and white ones. There is also nine pages with thirty color plates of different aircraft.

Jagdpanther vs SU-100 Eastern Front

Published: August 21st, 2014     
Jagdpanther vs SU-100 Eastern Front
Author: David R. Higgins
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Company: Osprey Publishing

Both German and Soviet military theorists in the years leading up to WW2 incorporated tanks into their battle plans to exploit breakthroughs in the enemy’s lines.  These tanks incorporated turrets capable of rotating 360 degrees, thus making them expensive and time consuming to produce and maintain.  Little thought on either side was put into providing the slower moving foot soldiers with self propelled artillery or anti tank capabilities.  The Germans were the first to see the utility of providing their troops with SPGs, with the introduction of the Sturmgeschutz (StuG) and Sturmartillerie, self propelled tracked vehicles with limited traverse guns protruding out the front end of the vehicle, and capable of knocking out enemy hard points and limited anti tank duties.  Such vehicles were cheaper to manufacture than tanks.  It wasn’t until the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 that Soviet military planners began to see the advantages of turretless vehicles, having run headlong into the German StuGs etc.

Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the Second World War

Published: August 20th, 2014     
Allied-Axis: The Photo Journal of the Second World War
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Company: The Ampersand Publishing Group

For those readers not familiar with this series of publications, they are published by Ampersand Publishing, the firm responsible for the excellent Military Models in Review (MMiR) armor modeling magazine edited by Pat Stansell, one of my favorite magazines.  As the title suggests, each issue of Allied-Axis contains a number of photo journal articles covering various aspects of the Second World War.  The issue under review today contains three separate articles.  For the most part, each page of any given issue is devoted to a single photograph, with an appropriate written caption.  Thus the detail contained in each photograph is extremely good, due to its size.  For the most part, the clarity of each photograph varies from good to superb, depending on the quality of the original print used.  The Journal paper quality utilized is also very good.  Each segment/article starts off with a short written introduction of the subject covered, followed by page after page of photos with their captions.

Issue 31 consists of three articles of varying length:

RAF Canberra Units of the Cold War

Published: August 18th, 2014     
RAF Canberra Units of the Cold War
Author: Andrew Brookes
Reviewed by: Jim Pearsall, IPMS# 2209
Company: Osprey Publishing

I knew that Canberras had been used in the 1956 Suez Campaign, the 1990-91 Gulf War, the 1995-96 Bosnia affair and the Operation Telic, the 2003 Iraq war.  This book showed me a number of facets of the Canberra’s career as the longest lasting RAF aircraft, from the first production in 1951 to the retirement of the PR.9s in 2006.  Yes, 55 years.  The Canberra replaced Lancasters, Lincolns and Washingtons (B-29s) and was itself superseded by Jaguars and Tornadoes.

There were actually three Canberra missions; tactical bomber, nuclear bomber and photo-reconnaissance.

This book follows only the RAF Canberras, not the American (B-57), Argentina, Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, India, New Zealand, Peru, Rhodesia, South Africa, Sweden, Venezuela, West Germany, or Zimbabwe. 

I learned that Canberras had been deployed to protect Kuwait from invasion by Iraq, but this was in 1961.