This is Zoukei-mura’s third publication for their SWS model kit range, this one concerning their excellent 1/32 A-1H model. As I write, I can’t recall any other similar publication from a kit manufacturer to complement their kits. The book is broken down into 4 chapters, with a foreword and an afterword section. The photos are some of the best I have ever seen in any publication and I am going to say I've never seen them displayed in any other book. Their quality and crispness is by far a step above many other publications.
The text is 50-50 Japanese and English. At first it was a little hard to read but, after a few minutes there was no problem.
Also included is a very nice decal sheet with data and stencils (only in the first edition for this book).
The Forward section deals with the company’s concept to come up with a "Dream Wing" for their "Super Wing Series."
Zoukei-mura’s book opens with the history and development of the aircraft. An interesting note is the concept of how a nuclear weapon was to be deployed. Also included in this chapter are some excellent colour views of paint schemes that can be made from decals that are available for the kit.
The same chapter contains a plethora of fantastic full colour pictures of the Skyraider. This has simply got to be one of the best collections of photos in existences. Each photo is accompanied with text which explains the picture and, in some cases, the different colors present, and how the kit and its upgrade sets were designed with complete reference to the actual machine. Good historical notation of the pictures is also included, too, with some fascinating accompanying information. The detail given with these photos is exceptional, providing probably the best reference material for modellers, and also some quite rare shots of unusual areas of the airframe.
This chapter primarily shows the best way in which to build the kit. A stage-by-stage photographic account of a build is presented, along with accompanying text describing the best techniques to employ in the build. You are shown the tools, paint, and filler requirements, etc., and the reasons for these choices. Even to a regular modeller, this is still very readable and is a great opener.
The construction begins with the cockpit, and photos depict the best way of dealing with the assembly, including 3 different ways to build the instrument panel. Each area of construction is given the full treatment, with construction hints and tips, and is also peppered along the way with comparison shots of the real aircraft. This really is the most detailed construction account of a model that I have ever seen.
Zoukei-mura uses the construction sequences to illustrate various technical aspects of the real aircraft, from showing the cockpit and all the hull details to the armour plating around the engine and cockpit. The engine assembly area is very handy when it comes to assembling the intake and exhaust pipes. The wing fold section is useful and shows many hints and tips. I have been a modeller for around 50 years, and I find this chapter fascinating – we could all learn a little from other modellers’ techniques. I am no exception.
This chapter picks several modellers and shows how they built and detailed their model. The photos are again excellent and very detailed in their description. Our own Dave Morrissette is included with his outstanding model.
There are several stories of individual accounts of how the Skyraider was part of their life. Pilot accounts on how the aircraft flew and missions that were flown were included. I found this chapter to be most interesting.
This chapter has the Editor’s views and what's in it for us in the future.
This is not only a fantastic guide to help you build your Skyraider, supplying you with numerous hints and tips, but it also doubles as possibly one of the finest reference books on this machine ever to have been put into print. This isn’t a cheap title to buy, but I feel it is worth every penny of its cost. One must really have this book in one’s collection.
My only regret is, I wish I had this book before I built my Skyraider. After receiving it, I returned the model to the work bench and made several changes and improvements to my model. The amount of information provided is well worth the cost and I will definitely buy any future issues for any future models.
Very high recommended, and not to be missed!
Thanks go to IPMS/USA and a sincere thanks to Mr Shigeta and the SWS team of Zoukei-mura for supplying this item for our review.