Book Author(s)
Justo Miranda
Review Author(s)
Published on
May 2, 2020
Other Publication Information
Hardbound, at least 80 line drawings of airplanes. Many are 3-view, some are 4-view. 288 pages

Fonthill Media has released the latest book from Justo Miranda, covering the “Panic Fighters” of World War Two. The definition of a panic fighter relates to designs that were rushed into service, due to the high likelihood of being attacked by a larger, more powerful country (hence the “Enemy at the Gates” title).

In this book there are three countries listed as “Aggressors”: Germany, the Soviet Union and Japan. Almost all the other countries are the ones that react with some sort of ‘panic fighter’ design/prototype. Each reacting country has its own chapter with a description of their military situation and a description of the different airframes in their air forces.

Given that most of these airplanes were designs, or even conceptual designs, some of the drawings are speculative (clearly listed when that is the case) or based on educated guesses.

I would also say that the cover drawing is perhaps one of the most speculative “out-there” drawings in the whole book. Don’t let that make you believe this is a fantasy/sci-fi book. Inside the book you will have high quality line drawings (including panel lines and rivet lines) of many more conventional designs, in some case little known modifications of existing airframes, or even small production operational airplanes like the IK-3.

Among many great findings in the book are drawings of the CW-21, IK-3, a Mosquito with Me-110 engines (conceptual design by the Finish Air Force), the Saab J-23, a hybrid between the Bf-109 and a P-51 designed by Sweden, several one-offs of airplanes with alternative engines (IAR with a DB605, Fw190 with a Ash-82, etc), or a Spitfire design with a spine/swing-arm that would flip the pilot over and around the tail during bail out. Let me add that the book also includes drawings of mass-produced fighters like the Bf-109, the Zero, etc. as those were the “aggressors” fighters that the other countries reacted to.

For the historian, this book is a jumping board to learn about little-known airframes and then explore each airframe in depth on your own. For the modeler (mainly the kitbasher) this book is a roadmap for dozens of projects.

Highly recommended to both historians and modelers that love to kitbash. I have to say that the Mosquito with Me-110 engines and the Saab J-23 really got my kitbashing juices flowing.

I would like to thank Fonthill Media, Casemate, and IPMS/USA for the review sample.


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