Reviews of books or magazines relating to scale modeling.

French Wings No. 3: Breguet 27, Potez 39, and Mureaux 115/117

Published: February 19th, 2014     
French Wings No. 3: Breguet 27, Potez 39, and Mureaux 115/117
Author: José Fernandez
Reviewed by: Hub Plott, IPMS# 31328
Company: Stratus

This is the third book in the French Wings series and it continues to provide an interesting and informative look at some of the less famous French aircraft of the pre-WWII and WWII period. All three aircraft in this book were used in the observation and reconnaissance role by the French military. The book gives you information about both the process by which they were acquired and their actual operational use. In addition to the aircraft used by France, their use by China, Peru and Venezuela are also discussed.

The book starts off with the Breguet 27, which is covered in the first 24 pages. I have always wondered why this aircraft was designed and looked the way it did. The authors clarify this early on! The reason for the rear fuselage’s unique look was that the specification it was designed to meet called for exceptional rearward view for the observer. Thus the design team made the rear fuselage as small as possible. To accomplish this goal, the aircraft was made of all-metal construction with steel used in place of aluminum for strength and as a cost savings!

Jagdpanther 3D

Published: February 16th, 2014     
Jagdpanther 3D
Author: Lukasz Gladysiak, Adam Rejmak and Krzysztof Mucha
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Casemate Publishing


As quoted from the introduction in the book "Self-propelled tank destroyers constituted an essential component of the Third Reich’s armored arm. Vehicles, which were especially useful in defensive warfare, in which the German army found itself after losing strategic initiative on the Eastern Front in the summer 1943 and following the Allied landing in Italy and France, with time began to effectively compete in armored sub-units with classic tanks. One of the largest vehicles of that type was Jagdpanther Sd.Kfz. 173, based on the chassis of the famous Panther tank".

The Book

The book starts off with the origins of design, production, technical description, combat use and where the survivors are currently located. There are period black and white photographs, 1/72 scale line drawings and tables that cover modifications, basic specifications, production overview for 1944 and 1945, unit assignments in 1944 and 1945 including eastern and western fronts, and an overview of the existing vehicles.

Panzer Divisions in Battle 1939-45, Volume 2

Published: February 16th, 2014     
Panzer Divisions in Battle 1939-45, Volume 2
Author: Tom Cockle with illustrations by Laurent Lecocq
Reviewed by: Eric Christianson, IPMS# 42218
Company: Concord Publications Company

Concord Publishing, out of Hong Kong, is back again with another Armor At War series entitled Panzer Divisions In Battle 1936-45 by popular author Tom Cockle.  Anyone familiar with the armor modeling literature and research will recognize this authoritative combination, and this latest release won’t disappoint.

Looking across my personal bookshelf of maybe 200 titles, I can spot several of Mr. Cockle’s books and I’ve familiar with many of his articles in some of the better armor magazines such as ‘Military Modeler’, ‘Military in Scale’, ‘Military Modelcraft International’, ‘FineScale Modeler’ and ‘AFV Modeller’.  If you’ve been building armor models for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with his work as well.

Panzer Divisions In Battle 1936-45 follows the format of the previous Armor at War volumes, containing 16 color plates by artist Laurent Lecocq, and 166 black and white photos with detailed captions.  The photo’s lack any form of credit, so my guess is that many of these have not been published before; perhaps uncovered as estates are sold off and hidden treasures revealed.

PBY Catalina In Action

Published: February 9th, 2014     
PBY Catalina In Action
Author: David Doyle
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Squadron Signal Publications

As quoted from Squadron/Signal Publications, "In Action books, despite the title of the genre, are books that trace the development of a single type of aircraft, armored vehicle, or ship from the prototype to the final production variant. Experimental or "one-off" variants can also be included. Our first In Action book was printed in 1971.”

Author David Doyle has come through with another wonderfully written book. This time he takes on the Consolidated PBY "Catalina." This aircraft was not always known as the "Catalina," in fact it started off as Consolidated Model 28 in 1932. It wasn't until 1940 when the British received the PBY-5 that the name “Catalina” came about.

The book starts off with an introduction that covers the history, variations and manufacturers of the “Catalina.” It then proceeds into the different variations. Each variation is covered over several pages. They start with the XPBY-1 and go all the way through the PBY-6A / OA-10B.  Within the pages are vintage photographs that can be of just the aircraft, or of specific details to that version. Along with each photograph is a well written descriptive caption. 

North American P-51D Mustang

Published: February 7th, 2014     
North American P-51D Mustang
Author: Pobert Peczkowski, illustrations by Teodor Liviu Morosanu
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery, IPMS# 14003
Company: MMP Books

Written by Pobert Peczkowski, with color illustrations by Teodor Liviu Morosanu, this book focuses on the “D” model of the ubiquitous P-51 Mustang. For such a small book, 6 ½ by 9 inches, it packs a powerful punch in its 152 pages of intense coverage of the Mustang.

There are 32 pages of black and white images which cover the development of the “D” and “K” models of the Mustang. A full-color section of 120 pages provides a great deal of “detail” for the modeler who wishes to “up their game” on a Mustang project. Drawings and illustrations are included, and add that extra value that modelers seek when selecting research material.

Bound within the publication are 3-view plans of the “D” in 1/72nd scale, with 1/48th and 1/32nd plans, on folded paper inserted in the book.

A set of excellent full-color profiles are included on the final 28 pages of the book.

This book has it all…. Cockpit illustrations and photos from every angle, full color detail images of the landing gear and wheel wells, excellent technical images of the engine showing all the “plumbing”….and full color profiles and color images….. a true modeler’s delight.

Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate

Published: February 3rd, 2014     
Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate
Author: Leszek A. Wieliczko
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Kagero Publishing


As quoted from the introduction in the book "The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate, known as "Frank" in allied jargon, was one of the best IJAAF (Imperial Japanese Army Air Force) fighters during the final year of the Pacific war. Featuring an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear, this all-metal cantilever low-wing monoplane of an elegant body was the successor of the previous Nakajima fighters - Ki-43 Hayabusa and Ki-44 Soki. The Ki-84 proved it's value fighting in China and the Philippines, although the highest number of these machines were lost there, too. When in the hands of an experienced pilot, it was a good match for the best of Allied fighter aircraft. After the war a small number of Ki-84s served with the Chinese air forces, taking part in the civil war of 1945-1949". 

RAF Middle & Near East 1945 - 1979

Published: January 30th, 2014     
RAF Middle & Near East 1945 - 1979
Author: Steve Webster & Illustrated by Peter Scott
Reviewed by: Phil Pignataro, IPMS# 17254
Company: AIRfile Publications

This book is the latest release from AIRfile Publications and covers Royal Air Force operations in the Middle and Near East from right after WW II up to 1979. I had forgotten how involved the British have been in the Middle East in times past. They have had a long history there and played a significant part in the development of several nations. The turmoil and hostility in this region we read about every day is not new. The British have dealt with the violence in this part of the world almost since their arrival.

In the first couple of pages, the authors give a brief history of the area and trace the presence of the RAF from WW II to the late ‘70s. Then the book is divided into four chapters, broken down by the years of British involvement:

  • Chapter 1 1945 - 1950
  • Chapter 2 1951 - 1960
  • Chapter 3 1961 - 1970
  • Chapter 4 1971 - 1979

The final page in the book depicts the badges of  the various stations used by the RAF during this timeframe.

Bloody Biscay: The History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40

Published: January 22nd, 2014     
Bloody Biscay: The History of V Gruppe/Kampfgeschwader 40
Author: Chris Goss
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo, IPMS# 46363
Company: Specialty Press

KG 40 was the only long range maritime unit of the Luftwaffe. V Gruppe was the only long range fighter Gruppe within the unit. That alone makes the study of their operations an interesting topic.

As part of the Battle of the Atlantic, U-Boats transiting the Bay of Biscay became pray of RAF bombers. As a response measure, KG 40 activated a heavy fighter unit (Junkers 88 C-6) to intercept the bombers. As a response the RAF deployed the Beaufighter and later, Mosquitos into the bay. The Luftwaffe counter the move by deploying single engine Fw-190 fitted with long range tanks (from 8/JG2), but eventually, the sheer number of the Allied aircraft established air superiority over the bay.

 The book has the following chapters

  • “Someone must have been watching over me”
  • Crescendo
  • Carnage
  • Enter the Americans
  • Turning the tide
  • Butchered

These chapters chronologically follows the combat actions of V Gruppe over the Bay of Biscay, until its virtual destruction operating against the Normady beachhead.

Model Art Modeling Magazine Air Model Special No. 03 "Air War Over Vietnam 2, U.S. Air Force Aircraft Part 1"

Published: January 20th, 2014     
Model Art Modeling Magazine Air Model Special No. 03 "Air War Over Vietnam 2, U.S. Air Force Aircraft Part 1"
Reviewed by: Mike Van Schoonhoven, IPMS# 41627
Company: Model Art

Model Art has done it again. Back in April 2013 they released Air War over Vietnam, U.S. Navy Aircraft Part 1.  This Model Art Modeling Magazine special edition, Air War Over Vietnam 2, U.S. Air Force Aircraft Part 1, is the follow up and they have made some changes to the layout from the excellent first issue. The text is mainly in Japanese with some English subtitles throughout. One excellent feature of these magazines is the high quality of the photographs and the models that are used.

The issue starts off with a “New Kit Selection” article. It features the Hasegawa 1/16 Sopwith Camel F.1 and the Tamiya 1/72 Mitsubishi A6M3 "Zero Fighter".

The main feature is next. This consists of eighty seven pages packed full of models, period photos (color and black and white), maps, charts, marking references and color plate drawings.

The De Havilland Mosquito: A Comprehensive Guide for the Modeller

Published: January 19th, 2014     
The De Havilland Mosquito: A Comprehensive Guide for the Modeller
Reviewed by: Dick Montgomery,, IPMS# 14003
Company: SAM Publications

This offering is a revised and re-printed version of the previously released Modellers Datafile #1.  The initial Modellers Datafile #1 contained excellent historical and scale modelling content, and that content is included in this new edition.  The new release has been expanded to 176 pages and “included the additional model builds and in-box previews covering the significant new toolings that have appeared in the fifteen years since to series began, along with an updated list of currently available kits, accessories and decals”.

“When the first Datafile was published back in 1998 it was quite rightly regarded as the definitive book on modelling one of the most enduring and iconic aircraft of WWII.”  This publication is the perfect companion and reference for a modeller wishing to build a Mosquito kit, regardless of scale.

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