Publications

Reviews of books or magazines relating to scale modeling.

Legends of Warfare: Stuart Tank, Vol. 2 The M5, M5A1, and Howitzer Motor Carriage M8 Versions in World War II

Published: October 8th, 2019     
Legends of Warfare: Stuart Tank, Vol. 2 The M5, M5A1, and Howitzer Motor Carriage M8 Versions in World War II
Author: David Doyle
Reviewed by: Andrew Birkbeck, IPMS# 27087
Company: Schiffer Publishing

David Doyle is one of the most prolific US writers of books on military subjects, and over the years has penned literally dozens of excellent titles on military aircraft, ships and armored vehicles. One of his most recent is this book on the Stuart Light Tank of WW2 fame. The book is 112 pages in length, and is printed on high quality glossy paper, the pages measuring 9" x 9". As the title suggests, the book is divided into main sections on three variants of the Stuart. The Light Tank M3 Stuart had been powered by a radial aircraft engine, but as the US ramped up production of tanks AND military aircraft, efforts were made to find alternative power plants so that the radial aircraft engines could be reserved for actual aircraft. Thus was born the Light Tank M5 Stuart, which retained the original turret of the M3 Stuart, but with a new hull required to house the twin V-8 Cadillac car engines now replacing the original radial aircraft engine. The M5 was replaced in 1943 with the M5A1 on the production lines, and was basically an M5 with an upgraded turret, which included larger turret hatches for easier egress during emergencies.

Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

Published: September 30th, 2019     
Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
Author: Ian White, AMRAeS
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Guideline Publications

Ian White was born in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1947 and educated at secondary schools in Rotherham and later in Ilford, Essex. He joined the Post Office Engineering Department in August 1963 as an apprentice and later served as a technician in the City of London. In 1973, on promotion to engineer, he was appointed to the Post Office's Air Defense Group in London to provide landline and ground to air communications for the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the UK, Germany and Cyprus. In April 1984 he joined the Company's Defense Sales Organization as a Senior Systems Engineer and later as an engineering manager. The final three years were spent as a liaison officer within the defense and law enforcement community. Ian retired in May 2000, following which he attended Anglia Polytechnic University (now Anglia Ruskin University), Cambridge, as an undergraduate history student. In 2003 he was awarded an honours degree in Modern European History. Ian joined the Royal Aeronautic Society in 1977 as an Associate, before being appointed an Associate Member (AMRAeS) in 1984. He was awarded Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status by the Society in March 1999.

Douglas D-558: D-558-1 Skystreak and D-558-2 Skyrocket

Published: September 29th, 2019     
Douglas D-558: D-558-1 Skystreak and D-558-2 Skyrocket
Author: Peter E. Davies
Reviewed by: Allan Murrell, IPMS# 49715
Company: Osprey Publishing

This is the 12th book in the X Planes Series and covers the Douglas D-558-1 Skystreak plus the D-558-2 Skyrocket.

The book covers the full development of the Skystreak and Skyrocket and the history of the testing and progress they made.

The book chapters are:

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: The Crimson Test Tube
  • Chapter 3: Skyrocket
  • Chapter 4: Air - Launch
  • Chapter 5: Super Skyrockets
  • Chapter 6: Afterthoughts

There are lots of great images in the book which has 80 pages.

The development stages and aircraft variations are very well done. Every detail and stages is covered in great depth. What I found very interesting is the amount of information from the human side and the people involved in the programs is tremendous.

The book shows how many variations there were in the D-558 project, so much more that I was aware of. This book is a superb source of information and pictures, and I highly recommend this book.

Thanks go to Osprey Publishing for providing this book to review and IPMS USA for allowing me to review it.

SBD Dauntless: Douglas’s US Navy and Marine Corps Dive Bombing in World War II

Published: September 28th, 2019     
SBD Dauntless: Douglas’s US Navy and Marine Corps Dive Bombing in World War II
Author: David Doyle
Reviewed by: Michael Reeves, IPMS# 51129
Company: David Doyle books

I have been interested in the SBD Dauntless for as long as I have been modeling. In these 20+ years, I have collected any book on my favorite aircraft as I could grab up. For as long as I have been modeling, I have also come to appreciate David Doyle's excellent reference books on all matters of military subjects and they have become a go-to source whenever I wanted to learn more. The fact that his expertise could be married to the Slow but Deadly in the form of a new book on this truly significant dive bomber makes me truly happy. The fact that the book contains so many photos I have never seen makes things even that much better.

After a brief introduction highlighting the development of the prototypes for the Dauntless, including some clear shots of the XBT-1 and XBT-2, we get chapters that break down each variant of the SBD- the -1, -2, -3, -4, -5, and -6, as well as an excellent chapter on the Army version of the Dauntless- the A-24 Banshee. Each chapter of each variant provides a description of the features significant to each one--including the modifications that were made in each successive model.

Letters from a Lancaster Gunner

Published: September 28th, 2019     
Letters from a Lancaster Gunner
Author: Helen Thompson
Reviewed by: Michael Reeves, IPMS# 51129
Company: Casemate Publishing

This book is not your typical historical account toting statistics, data charts, and emotionally detached accounts of RAF Bomber Command operations. I admit there is nothing wrong with those types of books- they have their place, and I have enjoyed them in the past when researching and educating myself for a build or idea. This is a narrative that is based on letters between a young, hopeful RAF turret gunner named Joseph 'Mac' Thompson and his family- mainly letters home to his mum. The book is written by his niece, Helen Thompson.

It is not emotionally detached and you cannot be emotionally detached when reading it. From growing up in Birmingham, through many trials of training and wartime exploits, through trying to help his widowed mum support his family and balance that with a love affair with a girl from Liverpool, one cannot help but get truly involved with the deep emotions expressed in the letters between them all. Each chapter provides a narrative of each event in the book and concludes with a photocopy of the letter that the chapter describes.