Duks in Royal Serbian Air Force

Published: March 8th, 2021     
Product Image
Author: Dragan Ž. Šaler and Aleksandar M. Ognjević
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus - IPMS# 35035
ISBN #: 978- 83-66673-11-3
E-Book ISBN #: 8366673111
Other Publication Information: Square Softbound, A4 (8.375” x 11.75”), 72 pages
Price: $22.95
Product provided by: Casemate Publishers

Based in Central Europe Kagero Publishing House is the biggest publisher and exporter of English-written publications about military history, release nearly 60 titles every year. Kagero was founded in 1995, and began by delivering military titles in Polish. Their success led Kagero to start releasing books in English in 1998. Authors from Poland, Canada, USA, Australia and Great Britain, who were invited to cooperation, gave a beginning to a new range of products, which have put them on a position of one of the most recognized publishers on the market. Kagero has released more than 550 publications. Kagero is managed by Damian Majsak and his wife Joanna.

This is Dragan Saler and Aleksandar Ognjevic second book for Kagero in the Famous Airplanes series. Their first was 2019's R.E.P. Type F in Royal Serbian Air Force, the sole example to serve the Kingdom of Serbia. Dragan Z. Saler is an aerospace engineer who lives and works in Pozarevac. Dragan has authored several books in the fields of mechanical engineering, computer science, and aviation history, along with dozens of studies, electronic publications, and virtual exhibitions. Aleksandar M. Ognjevic lives and works in Belgrade. He is a graduate economist who has authored several books, numerous articles, and television shows on the aviation history of Serbia and Yugoslavia.

Kagero's Duks in Royal Serbian Air Force is the latest in their Famous Airplanes series. This edition is in their standard 8.375" x 11.75" format square-back softbound publication that is 72 pages (excluding covers). This volume starts off with twenty pages of historical text with English on the left and Polish on the right of each page. Two pages of 1/72 line drawings are up next followed by three pages of 1/48 line drawings. The separate centerfold features 1/32 line drawings (15.375" by 22.875"). The next page features two black and white photographs of Duk test pilot Adam Haber-Wlynski. The rest of the tome is the 3D visualization by Dragan Saler.

Dragan Saler and Aleksandar Ognjevic kick off this tome with an introduction and early history of the Duks factory. The Russian engineer Julius Alexandrovich Meller (1865-1944) founded Duks (aka Dux) as a joint stock company in 1893 and specialized in bicycles. They quickly expanded into automobiles, aircraft, and motorcycles and are still an aircraft and missile manufacturer in Russia today. Meller partied with the Moscow elite and was a member of the Moscow Cycling Club and often participated in automobile racing. Meller's interest gravitated towards aviation in 1909 when he began building airships and aircraft. No doubt heavily influenced by the Wright Brothers' Paris flight demonstrations, Meller constructed a copy of the Wright Brothers Flyer A. It never flew, due to the lack of an engine, but was displayed publically. Meller's second aircraft out of the Duks factory was a 'license build' Henri Farman HF III (aka Henri Farman 1909 biplane).

Russia held several competitions for an indigenous military aircraft which Duks participated in. The subject of this monograph was essentially a combination of features from the Henri Farman HF III and the HF XX that took second place in the 1912 competition that resulted in military contracts. It was this aircraft that the Serbian delegation ended up with since all Duks aircraft production was dedicated to the Russian military. The authors include an excellent history of its short Serbian service life that includes several first person accounts and some of the political intrigue that accompanied this aircraft. The Duks aircraft finally flew on December 10, 1912 and served primarily as a trainer due to the underpowered engine. The Duks aircraft was destroyed by the Serbian Army in November 1915 during the Kosovo offensive to keep it from falling into enemy hands. The Chapters include:

  • Introduction
  • The Early Period
  • Duks Produces Airplanes [Page 09]
  • Duks Biplane in Serbia
  • Duks Biplane - Technical Description [Page 20]
  • Bibliography
  • Specifications [Table]
  • 1/72 Scale Drawings
  • 1/48 Scale Drawings
  • 1/32 Scale Drawings (separate folded sheet)
  • Adam Haber-Wlynski
  • 3D Visualization [Page 34, 44, 66]

Model-wise you have a couple of choices: Scratch build or scratch build. This is where the detailed drawings and 3D illustrations come into play. You may be able to scavenge a few parts from the very few pre-war Farman kits available in 1/72 and 1/48, but I would guess you would be better off just starting from the included drawings.

I was really pleased with this book, even though it is only on a single one of aircraft. It's a really interesting story of early aviation and I really appreciated the first person references. The 3D illustrations are first rate and provide plenty of rigging information for those attempting to build this in scale.

My thanks to Casemate, Kagero, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

  • Back
  • Page 09
    Page 09
  • Page 20
    Page 20
  • Page 34
    Page 34
  • Page 44
    Page 44
  • Page 66
    Page 66

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