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Hurricane Ace: Josef Frantisek, The True Story

Published: October 12th, 2010     
Hurricane Ace: Josef Frantisek, The True Story
Reviewed by: Hub Plott - IPMS# 31328
Company: MMP Books

This is another fine book in the MMP Blue series. It covers the life of Battle of Britain ace Josef Frantisek from his birth in Czechoslovakia and his time in the Czech Air Force through his service in a Polish Squadron in the RAF up till his untimely death on a routine mission.

The book begins with what little is known of Frantisek's early life and his induction into the Czech Air Force. This section also contains a number of good photographs of the various aircraft used by the Czech Air Force during his service until the surrender to German forces in March of 1939.

The next chapters covers his escape to Poland and eventual travel to France with other Czech and Polish pilots where he planned to continue the fight against the Nazis. He remained in the Polish Air Force which fought alongside the Armee d'e l'Air Four day after the French surrender, Frantisek and other Polish pilots had completed their escape to Britain.

British Motor Gun Boat 1939-45

Published: October 12th, 2010     
British Motor Gun Boat 1939-45
Reviewed by: Phil Peterson - IPMS# 8739

Most of you have heard of PT Boats, E-Boats, and MTBs. There have been movies, books, and some good models of these boats. But a class that doesn't get that much attention is the British Motor Gun Boats or MGBs. This 48 page soft-cover book starts with the development of these craft. The Motor Torpedo Boats did not have the firepower to take on their German cousins, so the initial thought was to remove the torpedo tubes and add heavier weapons. Later, boats made specifically as MGBs were created and finally, some of these were rearmed with torpedos by the end of the war, making a full circle.

Focke-Achgelis Fa-330

Published: October 12th, 2010     
Focke-Achgelis Fa-330
Reviewed by: Scott Hollingshead - IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1/72
Company: Pavla Models

After being let go from Focke-Wulf in 1936, Heinrich Focke went on to form the Focke-Achgelis company with Gerd Achgelis. The goal was to focus on the development of helicopters for Germany. The Fa-330 Bachstelze, or "wagtail" in English, was actually a rotary-wing kite that was typically towed behind Type IX U-boats via a 500 foot tow line. The aircraft could be deployed by only two crewmembers, and could be launched and attain full altitude in about seven minutes, providing about twenty-five miles of visibility while searching for targets for the U-boat. The U-boat moving forward at around 18 knots was sufficient to keep the aircraft flying. Unfortunately, the process for reeling the aircraft back in took considerably longer, so if under attack, the best option was to cut loose the aircraft (although this was probably not looked at as the best option for the pilot).

Molch Midget Submarine

Published: October 12th, 2010     
Molch Midget Submarine
Reviewed by: Scott Hollingshead - IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1/72
Company: Pavla Models

The "Molch" (German for "Salamander" or "Newt") was the first midget submarine developed by the Kriegsmarine, with the intention being a single person manned delivery vehicle for a pair of torpedoes. The first Molch was delivered on 12 June 1944, and AG Weser in Bremen would build nearly four hundred (depending on the reference, the number varies from 363 to 393). The electric propulsion system was designed for coastal operations, providing a range of 40 miles at a submerged speed of 5 knots. The complicated trim and dive controls made combat operations hazardous at best for the submariners, and the boats were later relegated to train submariners for using the follow-on, more advanced mini-subs.

Molch midget submarines were used in the Mediterranean in Operation Dragon along the French Riviera on the night of 25 to 26 September 1944 where 10 of 12 boats were lost without damaging a single Allied vessel. Between January and April 1945, Molch and Biber midget submarines tallied one hundred and two missions at the cost of seventy boats being lost, while sinking only seven small allied vessels and damaging another two.

Top Drawings 8 Sd.Kfz. 161 Panzer IV Ausf. J

Published: October 12th, 2010     
Top Drawings 8 Sd.Kfz. 161 Panzer IV Ausf. J
Reviewed by: Les Walden - IPMS# 44687

Kagero has come up with another winner if you're a Panzer IV nut, like I am. The book is soft cover with heavy stock and full color art on the front and back covers. This book covers the Panzer IV J. The strength of the book isn't the text, unless you read Polish. The 1/35 scale drawings are beautiful, showing all the angles of the tank, in all twenty seven pages. The drawings do have some text in English, so you know what variant you're looking at. The reader does know which production version is being represented. Included are exploded drawings of the different muffler systems, return rollers, idler wheels, road wheel assemblies, treads, muzzle brakes, cupolas, and armor skirts. There are also four pages of 1/48 and 1/72 scale drawings. Thirty one pages in all. Add to this four pages of full color prints, with two tanks on each page.

If you're a Panzer IV J fan, you won't be disappointed. Kagero has given us a reference with the modeler in mind. The price may seem high for a soft cover publication, however, the artwork makes it worth owning and a set of masks are provided with the book.

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