Wings of the Malvinas

Published: June 28th, 2012     
Author: Santiago Rivas
Reviewed by: Pablo Bauleo - IPMS# 46363
Company: Hikoki Publications
ISBN #: 9781902109220
Other Publication Information: Hardcover, 384 pages, 475 photos, hardcover, Richard Caruana illustrations
Price: $56.95
Product / Stock #: HK922
Product provided by: Specialty Press

This year is the 30th anniversary of the Falklands/Malvinas War, or the South Atlantic conflict, as it has been known. As such, different plastic model kit sets and publications are been released and "Wings of the Malvinas" is among them.

This book covers the air operations from the Argentinean point of view. You can tell this book is a work of love from the author, Santiago Rivas, as the attention to detail is second to none.

The book is divided into 3 parts: The first one covers the path towards the conflict, with a succinct but well detailed description of the long-lasting dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina over the islands and the events on March, 1982, in South Georgia, which precipitated the war.

The main part of the book is devoted to the aerial operations from the Argentinean Air Force, Naval Aviation, and also the Coast Guard and Gendarmeria (Border Patrol) units. It also includes aerial operations by civil airplanes and personnel (Fenix Squadron) plus commercial airliners supporting the airlift to the islands.

Most books on the topic cover operations in a chronological way. This book instead is broken down by the operations of each Air Brigade (Air Wing), or squadrons from other forces. That makes it very simple to find out information on the participation in the conflict of the different airframes (Skyhawks, C-130, Pucaras, Mirages, etc). That is extremely useful from a modeler's point of view, as you have at your fingertips historical pictures and color profiles - by Richard Caruana - of the subject you are modeling. Most of the pictures are in color, in focus, and show details of the camouflage patterns unseen before.

Each chapter has a very good balance of factual data with first-hand accounts by witnesses, which makes reading this book easy and add a "human" component to the history being read. When relevant, maps showing the area of operation and flight routes are included.

The final part of the book is a long list of appendixes, with the individual stories of each aerial asset involved in the conflict. It also has a small appendix devoted to the aerial assets deployed by the United Kingdom. Among the appendixes, there is a timeline describing the day-by-day air operations, complementing the way the whole book has been written (broken down by Air Brigade).

I grew up in Argentina and I was a ten-year old kid during the war. As such, I've read several magazine articles and books about the conflict from the Argentinean side. They were full of passion on the topic, but often lacking on details and sometimes even showing inaccurate data, most likely because a lot of information was not released until years after the war. This book corrects that, and it is probably the most complete and best researched work on the aerial assets and aerial operations of Argentina during the Falklands war.

Highly recommended to aviation and history aficionados.

I would like to thank Specialty Press, Hikoki Publications, and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

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