Reviewed Books - Vintage Airfix


Reviewed Books

Contents:
- Forty-Seven Years Aloft: From Cold War Fighters and Flying the PM to Commercial Jets - By Brian Burdett
- FV430 Series - By Robert Griffin
- German Battleship Helgoland - By Aidan Dodson
- Heroes of Coastal Command - By Andrew D Bird
- Hunters over Arabia - By Ray Deacon
- Knights of the Battle of Britain - By Chris Goss
- Large Scale Warship Models - By Dr Kerry Jang
- Lionel Morris and the Red Baron - By Jill Bush
- Lockheed F-104 Starfighter - By Martin Bowman
- M2/M3 - By Robert Jackson
- M29 Weasel Tracked Cargo Carrier & Variants - By David Doyle
- M36/M36B-1 Tank Destroyer - By David Doyle
- M65 Atomic Cannon - By David Doyle
- M7 Priest - By David Doyle
- Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot - By Helmut Mahlke
- MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109 - By Chris Goss
- Painting Wargaming Figures: WWII in the Desert - By Andy Singleton
- Panther Tanks: Germany Army and Waffen-SS - By Dennis Oliver
- Race Across the Atlantic - By Colin Higgs, Bruce Vigar
- ShipCraft 25: German Destroyers - By Robert Brown

 


 

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Forty-Seven Years Aloft: From Cold War Fighters and Flying the PM to Commercial Jets

By Brian Burdett

Forty-Seven Years Aloft: From Cold War Fighters and Flying the PM to Commercial JetsDescription:

London-born Brian Burdett had only one career objective – to be a pilot. By the time he touched down on his last flight, Brian had flown more than twenty-five different types of aircraft both for the RAF and a variety of famous commercial airlines.

It all began for Brian, as it has for so many, with the Air Cadets, flying Tiger Moths. He obtained his civil license, and six months later he was accepted into the RAF. The year was 1954.

With the RAF he graduated from Piston Provost trainers, to the de Havilland Vampire and eventually the Hawker Hunter. It was to fly Hunters that Brian was posted to 257 (Burma) Squadron at Wattisham in Suffolk, where the jets were frequently scrambled to intercept Soviet intruders in the dark days of the Cold War.

His RAF career developed further with a transfer to Transport Command where Brian could fly the planes he loved the best – the big jets. After training on Handley Page Hastings, Brian was given the chance to fly the famous de Havilland Comet. With 216 Squadron, flying high above the ceiling for commercial aircraft, Brian flew the long-distance routes between the RAF bases around the world, through the Middle East, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and down to South Africa and Australasia. This included taking personnel to Woomera and Christmas Island nuclear testing sites.

After a period as a trainer at Cranwell, Brian became the youngest four-jet captain in the world. He then flew VIPs around Europe in the RAF’s VC10s, his passengers included the then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, among other dignitaries. Brian eventually turned to the commercial world, flying Falcons, VC 10s, Tristars and every type of Boeing 747, for a variety of airlines.

His adventures are legion. From a double engine failure on take-off and still managing to land safely, to losing control in cloud and levelling off feet from the ground, to a mid-air near miss with an American aircraft that no-one knew was there, to spotting a strange object that remains unidentified to this day.

Brian’s last flight was into Los Angeles in an Airbus 340, in December 2000. He had 22,500 hours in his log book, after forty-seven years aloft.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A journey through 47 years of aviation history through the memories a one pilot. From early flight training through RAF ‘antics’ in jet fighters, and civil aviation to retirement. This book covers Brian’s whole life with aircraft. It’s fascinating, confusing in parts, but thoroughly enjoyable.

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FV430 Series

By Robert Griffin

FV430 SeriesDescription:

During the Second World War the British infantry found itself lacking suitable transport to cope with the fast moving German Blitzkrieg tactics. Various stop-gap measures were introduced with mixed success but, with the pots-war nuclear biological and chemical threat, it was imperative that a robust solution was found.

The FV300 and FV400 Cambridge carriers paved the way for the introduction of the AFV430 series in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War. Initially a basic armoured personnel carrier, the series grew to cover a multitude of roles; command, recovery, mortar, Swingfire and remote mine clearing to name but a selection. Over 50 years later variants are still in service.

This classic Images of War book not only describes in words and images the AFV430 series but traces the development of infantry carriers for the British Army.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Another well written and informative addition to the Images of War series. The images of the variants are in colour and clear and will be of great use to the modeller. The detailed history of development adds to the appreciation of this armoured vehicle.

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German Battleship Helgoland

By Aidan Dodson

German Battleship HelgolandDescription:

Alongside its incomparable archive of British warship plans, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich also holds a selection of drawings from foreign sources. Among the gems of this collection are a number of German warships dating from the First World War era. These are official plans, acquired by the Naval Inter-Allied Commission of Control as part of the peace treaty, and very similar in style, detail and draughtsmanship to Royal Navy ‘as fitted’ general arrangements, including the use of coloured line and washes.

The very best of these, in terms of the completeness of coverage and the visual impact of the drawings, relates to the battleship SMS Helgoland, launched in 1909. The name-ship of the second class of dreadnoughts designed by the Germans, she was a big advance over the earlier Westfalen class, having 12in guns that matched those of her British opponents. She served in the High Seas Fleet throughout the war, fought at Jutland, and was ceded to Britain as part of the peace terms – which is probably why the plans are at Greenwich – and was broken up in 1924.

This book is the latest in a series based entirely on original draughts which depict famous warships in an unprecedented degree of detail. Using the latest scanning technology to make digital copies of the highest quality, it reproduces complete sets in full colour, with many close-ups and enlargements that make every aspect clear and comprehensible. Extensive captions point the reader to important features to be found in the plans, and an introduction covers the background to the design. The result is a novel form of anatomy that will be a revelation to any warship enthusiast.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This book has tonnes of detailed information to go with the beautifully detailed original plans. Recommended reference material for all modellers with an eye for detail.

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Heroes of Coastal Command

By Andrew D Bird

Heroes of Coastal CommandDescription:

In Heroes of Coastal Command, Andrew Bird examines the maritime war between 1939 and 1945, interweaving accounts of events of the period with personal stories of individuals caught up in them. Through interviews, letters, diaries and reports, all combined with his own research, the author looks afresh at the maritime conflict, reassessing long-held views of the Cinderella Service’s defensive and offensive capabilities through the eyes of ordinary individuals battling for survival above the oceans against flak gun, enemy aircraft and weather as the stakes rose higher and the number of casualties become catastrophic.

Heroes of Coastal Command makes the reader think again about the RAF’s maritime arm, Coastal Command, which was established in 1936. Throughout the war, its crews worked tirelessly alongside the Royal Navy to keep Britain’s vital sea lanes open. Together, they fought and won the Battle of the Atlantic, with RAF aircraft destroying 212 German U-Boats and sinking a significant tonnage of enemy warships and merchant vessels. Often working alone and unsupported, undertaking long patrols out over opens seas, Coastal Command bred a special kind of airman. This includes individuals such Lloyd Trigg, who was awarded the Victoria Cross; Roger Moorwood, a Blenheim pilot who flew in the Battle of France; Jack Davenport, who flew his Hampden; John Watson, the sole survivor of a Short Sunderland which was lost during a rescue mission; Maurice Guedj, a Frenchman who escaped from Morocco to join the Free French Air Force; Sam McHardy, who for a short while became a Coastal Command ground coordinator posted aboard a Royal Navy destroyer for a raid on Norway; and Ken Gatward, who flew a unique daylight mission over Paris to drop a Tricolore on the Arc de Triomphe.

These are just some of the fabulous stories, full of daring and breath-taking courage, and individuals explored in this book.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Each chapter is dedicated to a single pilot from the RAF’s Coastal Command and within each are stories from other personnel around that pilot. It is, sometimes, a little confusing to follow as the narrative changes, sometimes within a single paragraph.

I also found the spelling\grammar mistakes a bit to numerous. All books have the odd mistake, but there is just too many in this book. However, that said, once you’ve acknowledged that you’ll come across more mistakes than usual, it’s a good and enlightening book.

 

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Hunters over Arabia

By Ray Deacon

Hunters over ArabiaDescription:

Based on official records held at the National Archives and other published sources, ‘Hunters over Arabia’ presents an in-depth account of the operations performed by the Hawker Hunter squadrons policing the desert wastelands and high mountain ranges of the Middle East. Copiously illustrated with colour and black and white photographs, a high percentage of operations performed by this versatile British ground attack and reconnaissance fighter are described in detail.

Using a chronological format, the narrative focuses on the period during which the Hunter served in the Middle East, from 1960 to 1971. Further chapters are dedicated to the three Hunter variants most closely associated with the Middle East, the FGA.9, FR.10 and T.7, together with their respective allocation dates. A short background to Aden, its historical links to Britain, and RAF airfields administered by Middle East Command complete this factual account.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Fantastic colour and black and white images and beautifully written with great use of National Archive documentation. This book will thrill and inform all enthusiasts of the Hawker Hunter.

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Knights of the Battle of Britain

By Chris Goss

Knights of the Battle of BritainDescription:

The Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes (Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross), known simply as the Ritterkreuz (Knight’s Cross), was the highest German military award of the Second World War. Instituted on 1 September 1939, to coincide with the German invasion of Poland, it was awarded for leadership, valour or skill. As the war progressed, higher variants were instituted, namely the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves, Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords, and the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves Swords and Diamonds.

Similar in design, but larger, than the Eiserne Kreuz (Iron Cross), and worn around the neck as opposed to on the breast, the border and hanging loop on the Knight’s Cross were made of pure silver which was marked ‘800’. The award was made by a number of German manufacturers.

On 3 June 1940, the Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuz mit Eichenlaub (Knights Cross with Oak Leaves) was instituted, by which time 124 Rittterkreuz had been awarded to all arms of the German military, of which forty-nine had been awarded to Luftwaffe personnel. The first recipient was Generalfeldmarschal Hermann Göring on 30 September 1939; the first Luftwaffe operational Luftwaffe aircrew member recipient, and the fifth overall, was Oberst Robert Fuchs, Kommodore of Kampfgeschwader 26. His award was made on 6 April 1940.

The first fighter pilot to receive the Ritterkreuz was Hauptmann Werner Mölders of III Gruppe/Jagdgeschwader 53 (III./JG 53) on 29 May 1940. Only three Luftwaffe officers would receive the Ritterkreuz mit Eichenlaub in 1940, and all of them were fighter pilots – Mölders on 21 September 1940 (he was then Geschwader Kommodore of JG 51), Major Adolf Galland (Kommodore of JG 26) on 24 September 1940, and Hauptmann Helmut Wick (Kommandeur of I Gruppe/JG 2) on 6 October 1940.

Throughout the summer of 1940, many more Luftwaffe members, be they serving on fighter, bomber, dive bomber or reconnaissance units, would receive the Ritterkreuz. Some of these awards were made posthumously, whilst others would learn of their awards whilst a prisoner of war in Britain or, later, in Canada.

In this book, the renowned aviation historian Chris Goss provides biographical details of all operational members of the Luftwaffe who received the Ritterkreuz during 1940 or were awarded it as a result of their actions in what became known as the Battle of Britain.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This is one of those books that you have on the shelf. Safe in the knowledge that it’s there when you need it and that it’ll have the information you need on a specific Luftwaffe aircrew member between April and December 1940 that were awarded the Knights Cross.

Chris Goss has once again brought together a high level of detail from a specific time in air war history and collated it into a very useful and informative book.

I must have book for any Battle of Britain historian.

 

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Large Scale Warship Models

By Dr Kerry Jang

Large Scale Warship ModelsDescription:

The majority of warship modellers work in smaller scales, most often based on plastic or resin kits. Many of these harbour ambitions to tackle something larger and more demanding, but are daunted by the challenge. The aim of this book is to persuade them that it not as difficult as it may seem, that they already possess the basic skills required, and that they can acquire any necessary new knowledge as they proceed.

The discussion focuses on the journey from conventional plastic kits to questions of deciding on a subject; choosing a kit, semi-kit or build from scratch; what conventional kit building skills transfer – and how these conventional skills such as painting techniques and an eye for detail can be brought to large scale model building so that scale fidelity is not sacrificed but enhanced. Novel requirements like research, obtaining plans and sourcing material or fittings are all covered.

The second part describes building methods, including the latest techniques like casting fittings in resin, and applies to both static and radio-controlled working models. All the colour photos were taken specifically to illustrate the points made in each chapter, so the book demonstrates as well as describes. It concludes with a gallery of superb models intended to inspire the would-be large scale warship modeller to take the plunge.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Informative, helpful, well written and beautifully presented.

If you haven’t built a large-scale warship, either from a kit or scratch built, but would like to, then you need this book. It’ll give you the knowledge you’ll need to get started.

If you’re an intermediate or advanced builder, there is much in here that will aid you also.

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Lionel Morris and the Red Baron

By Jill Bush

Lionel Morris and the Red BaronDescription:

Nineteen-year-old Lionel Morris left the infantry for the wood and wires of the Royal Flying Corps on the Western Front in 1916, joining one of the world’s first fighter units alongside the great ace Albert Ball. Learning on the job, in dangerously unpredictable machines, Morris came of age as a combat pilot on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, as the R.F.C. was winning a bloody struggle for admiralty of the air.

As summer faded to autumn, and the skies over Bapaume filled with increasing numbers of enemy aircraft, the tide turned. On 17 September 1916, Morris’s squadron was attacked by a lethally efficient German unit, including an unknown pilot called Manfred von Richthofen. As the shock waves spread from the empty hangars of No.11 Squadron all the way to the very top of the British Army, the circumstances surrounding Morris’s death marked a pivotal shift in the aerial war, and the birth of its greatest legend.

Told through previously unpublished archive material, the words of contemporaries and official records, Lionel Morris and the Red Baron traces a short but extraordinary life; and reveals how Morris’s role in history was rediscovered one hundred years after his death.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This is not just another 'Red Baron' book, it's practically a complete historical account of the Great War.

Mainly following Lionel Morris, a family member of the author, there are sections on others key players of the RFC and the Great War.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone with any interest in WWI, RFC or early war machines.

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Lockheed F-104 Starfighter

By Martin Bowman

Lockheed F-104 StarfighterDescription:

The F-104 Starfighter is quite possibly one of the most photographed aircraft of all time. It is certainly one of the most iconic. Here, Martin Bowman offers up a well researched, comprehensive and thoroughly entertaining history of this impressive interceptor aircraft and fighter bomber.

First-hand insights gathered from pilots who have flown the Starfighter in a variety of international contexts make for a rich and diverse narrative, interspersed throughout with a good selection of black and white and colour illustrations that really bring the story to life.

Over the course of an eventful history, the Starfighter has been caught up in an extensive variety of conflicts across the world. This book not only acquaints us with the landmark milestones of a widely utilised aircraft type, it also illuminates our understanding of the dynamic history of aviation in the second half of the twentieth century.

Vintage Airfix Review:

To my shame, although I’ve made a few F-104 Starfighter models over the years, I’ve never taken the time to really look into the history of this aircraft. Now I have, and what a history.

Martin Bowman has created a complete Starfighter reference book full of quotes and colour images that will tantalise any modeller. It’s well written and well laid out with in-depth detail. It’s also extremely fascinating.

 

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M2/M3

By Robert Jackson

M2/M3Description:

Among the most successful armoured vehicles produced by American industry – known as the Arsenal of Democracy – during the Second World War were the M2 and M3 half-tracks. They served on every battlefront and were as recognizable as other famous American wartime vehicles like the Sherman and the Jeep, and around 40,000 were produced between 1941 and 1945. They were easy to assemble, operate and maintain, and their versatility allowed them to fulfil a variety of purposes. This volume in Pen & Sword’s LandCraft series traces the design, development and manufacturing history of the M2/M3 and describes its operational role within the Allied armies.

A selection of archive photographs showing the M2/M3 in action gives a graphic impression of how adaptable these vehicles were and records the range of equipment they could carry. The book is an excellent source for the modeller, providing details of available kits, together with specially commissioned colour profiles demonstrating how the M2/M3 used by different units and armies appeared.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Hot on the heals of The Jeep is this, the second in the LandCraft series. It has everything you would expect, the informative development and design section, camouflage and markings and of course, the showcases. There is one showcase in particular of a 1/16 scale which is jaw dropping.

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M29 Weasel Tracked Cargo Carrier & Variants

By David Doyle

M29 Weasel Tracked Cargo Carrier & VariantsDescription:

Conceived as part of a Top Secret project to disrupt Nazi Germany's atomic bomb program, the hastily developed Studebaker Weasel went on to one of, if not THE most successful of the wartime all-terrain vehicles. Designed with light weight to facilitate both air-dropping and efficient, high-speed operation in the snow, the vehicles were soon found to have excellent performance in the mud. Always amphibious, the later models, the M29C, were equipped with flotation tanks on each end and dual rudders in the rear for even more efficient operation in the water. Weasels were used on numerous fronts during WWII, were once again deployed in Korea, by the French in Vietnam, and numerous outposts during the Cold War. These pages provide an overview of the development, and a detailed look at the deployment and the machines themselves, of these iconic, all-terrain vehicles.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A perfect reference book for an AFV modeler. As part of the Images of War series it has the expected images of the M29 and its variants in action. It also has some close-up, colour images of 2 particular variants showing invaluable detail at various angles.

The historical information on the development of the Weasel is fascinating but unfortunately a little repetitive.

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M36/M36B-1 Tank Destroyer

By David Doyle

M36/M36B-1 Tank DestroyerDescription:

Going into WWII, the prevailing strategy of the US command was that takns were not to be used to engage enemy tanks in combat. Rather, tanks were to be the armored spearhead to breach enemy positions. Enemy tanks were to be dealt with by specialized weapons, aptly named tank destroyers.

While the 3-inch weapon of the M10 was superior to that found on earlier US tank destroyers, it was still found to be inadequate against the ever-increasing weight of German armor. An even larger gun, the 90mm M3, was placed in a new, bigger open-topped turret on 100 new hulls purpose built for this, and by remanufacturing M10A1s, primarily from US-based training units. As the supply of these chassis was depleted, additional vehicles were created by converting Diesel-powered M10s, resulting in the M36B2. The M36B1 was built from the ground-up as a tank destroyer, using a hull based on that of the M4A3 but featuring a standard M36 turret. Examination of rare surviving vehicles indicate that the M36B1 hulls were manufactured expressly for this purpose, and were not merely M4A3 hulls that were converted.

While US antitank doctrine changed, rendering all the tank destroyers obsolete post-WWII, many of these vehicles were supplied to other nations, and in fact some survived as combat vehicles into the 21st century.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Another informative ‘Images of War’ book full of close up images of a beautifully restored example and striking images from WWII. Many of the WWII images would make great reference for a diorama. Although the WWII images are in black and white the close-up images are in colour.

As with all the books in this series, it’s well written and produced. I can’t recommend this series enough.

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M65 Atomic Cannon

By David Doyle

M65 Atomic CannonDescription:

Through historic photos, this volume traces the development, production and deployment of this iconic piece of military equipment from the drawing boards to the Cold War battlefields of Europe.

In 1949, the US Army wanted an artillery gun that could fire a nuclear warhead in the event that guided missiles and long-range bombers proved insufficient in delivering atomic weapons. The result was the M65, 280mm Atomic Cannon. On May 25, 1953, at 0830 hours, an M65 of A Battery, 867th Field Artillery Battalion, let loose with the only nuclear round the type would ever fire.

Six battalions of the M65 would eventually be deployed, most in Europe with one battalion sent to the Korean Peninsula. Though never used in combat, they served as a significant tactical nuclear deterrent in the early stages of the Cold War.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Yet another beautiful Images of War series book and a perfect accompaniment for Dragon Models M65 Atomic Annie Gun kit. As the series title suggests, this book is overflowing with images and with some great ideas for dioramas.

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M7 Priest

By David Doyle

M7 PriestDescription:

The M7 Howitzer Motor Carriage, dubbed the Priest, was the most successful and widely used example of American self-propelled artillery during WWII. Examples continued to be used by the U.S. Army during the Korean war, and beyond, even serving Allied countries into the 1970s. Coined the Priest due to its pulpit-like structure for the gun commander, this armored fighting vehicle would see action in North Africa, Italy, and the D-Day landings in Normandy and all the way to Germany.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This book is nicely laid out in a chronological order with an explanation of each image. Reading this book, you will gain a whole new appreciation for the M7 and its development.

As the M7 Priest is currently not very well covered by model manufacturers, this book will be a great aid the scratch build modeller wishing to build an early variant.

This is a superb reference book for armoured vehicle enthusiasts and historians. And a worthy addition to the Images of War series.

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Memoirs of a Stuka Pilot

By Helmut Mahlke

Memoirs of a Stuka PilotDescription:

After recounting his early days as a naval cadet, including a voyage to the Far East aboard the cruiser Köln, and as the navigator/observer of the floatplane carried by the pocket battleship Admiral Scheer during the Spanish Civil War, the author goes on to describe his flying training as a Stuka pilot.

The author’s naval dive-bomber Gruppe was incorporated into the Luftwaffe upon the outbreak of war. What follows in this book, therefore, is a fascinating Stuka pilot’s view of some of the most famous and historic battles and campaigns of the early war years: the Blitzkrieg in France, the Dunkirk Evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the bombing of Malta, North Africa, Tobruk, Crete and, finally, the invasion of the Soviet Union.

The author also takes the reader behind the scenes into the day-to-day activities of his unit and brings the members of his Gruppe to vivid life. The story ends when he himself is shot down in flames by a Soviet fighter and severely burned. He was to spend the remainder of the war in various staff appointments.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This memoir is a fascinating read if a little bit of an uneasy read in places.

The pride that Helmut Mahlke has in his career is evident throughout this book and deserved. He had an exception and unique career in an exception and unique aircraft.

As an historical account of the second World War from a German perspective it is an essential read.

 

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MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109

By Chris Goss

MESSERSCHMITT Bf 109Description:

The most iconic German aircraft of the Second World War, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 was the Luftwaffe’s principal fighter from 1939 until 1942 when the superior Focke-Wulf Fw 190 came into greater prominence. The Bf 109 served in every theatre of the war, though in this book the author examines the Tip and Run era, D-Day and the Eastern Front.

In the later years of the war, the Bf 109 fought with some success in the defence of Germany against Allied bombers. The Bf 109 was the most produced fighter aircraft in history and more aerial kills were made with this fighter than any other aircraft. Indeed, A total of 105 Bf 109 pilots were each credited with the destruction of 100 or more enemy aircraft; thirteen of these men scored more than 200 kills, while two scored more than 300. The Bf 109 was flown by the three top-scoring fighter aces of the war: Erich Hartmann, the top-scoring fighter pilot of all time claiming 352 victories, Gerhard Barkhorn with 301 victories, and Günther Rall, who claimed 275 victories. All of them flew with JG 52, a unit which exclusively flew the Bf 109 and was credited with over 10,000 victories, chiefly on the Eastern Front.

The Bf 109 was also supplied to several of Germany's allies, including Finland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovakia.

In this selection of unrivalled images collected over many years, the operations of this famous aircraft in the latter part of the Second World War are portrayed and brought to life.

Vintage Airfix Review:

The 109 was an awesome aircraft and has a unique place in aviation warfare history. This beautiful book will be a great addition to any enthusiast, historian or modeller. The images are inspirational to the modeller and the in-depth history is fascinating. A great publication.

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Painting Wargaming Figures: WWII in the Desert

By Andy Singleton

Painting Wargaming Figures: WWII in the DesertDescription:

Andy Singleton has been modelling and painting most of his life and has been a professional commission figure painter for some years now. Here he shares his experience and tips of the trade with those collecting figures for the North African campaigns in WWII. The four main sections of the book cover British, Italian, German and US troops, as well as tips on assembly and painting camouflage uniforms. Each section is divided into three levels of complexity, ‘conscript’, ‘regular’ and ‘elite’, allowing the reader to build up an array of techniques as they gain confidence and experience. The emphasis is on achievable results and practical advice that is applicable to painting units or whole armies for wargaming purposes in a reasonable time frame, not on spectacular individual display pieces. Most of the figures featured in the numerous illustrations are sized either 28mm or 20mm but the techniques described are easily adaptable to smaller sizes and both plastic and metal figures are covered. Andy’s clear, step-by-step guidance takes the reader through the process from the initial preparation and assembly of the figure, to finishing and basing.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This is one for all figure modellers not just the wargamer. It’s nicely organised into 3 levels of details which can be used as a guide for any scale.

I would have liked to see a few close-up images for reference of the smaller detail. But that is the only down side to this very informative and easy to follow book.

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Panther Tanks: Germany Army and Waffen-SS

By Dennis Oliver

Panther Tanks: Germany Army and Waffen-SSDescription:

In late 1944 and 1945 the Panther tank played an important role in Germany’s desperate efforts to stem the Allied advance on the Western Front. The Panther, perhaps the best armoured vehicle produced by Germany during the Second World War, was a key element in the Wehrmacht’s defensive tactics, in rearguard actions and counter-attacks, and it took a prominent part in the last German offensive of the war, in the Ardennes during the Battle of the Bulge.

So it is an ideal subject for Dennis Oliver’s latest volume in the TankCraft series. He uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the Panther tanks and units of the German army and Waffen-SS panzer battalions that struggled to resist the Allied onslaught.

A key section of his book displays available model kits and aftermarket products, complemented by a gallery of beautifully constructed and painted models in various scales. Technical details as well as modifications introduced during production and in the field are also examined providing everything the modeller needs to recreate an accurate representation of these historic tanks.

Vintage Airfix Review:

The Panther Tank has long been a favourite of scale modelers and, with this book in hand, you'll be wanting to build more.

The book has everything we've come to expect from the Tank Craft series, historical facts, camouflage reference, model showcases, and of course, well written and illustrated. All the great kits are covered here including the Airfix 1/76 scale kit (it had to really). Some of the larger scale kit in the showcase are superb.

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Race Across the Atlantic

By Colin Higgs, Bruce Vigar

Race Across the AtlanticDescription:

It was Tuesday, 15 June 1919 and for the residents of Clifden on Ireland’s west coast this was not to be a normal day. Just before 08.40 hours, descending out of the gloom, came a large, twin-engine aeroplane lining up for final approach. One or two on-lookers recognised the danger straight away for this was an area of soft bog, but their attempts to alert the pilot were in vain.

The aircraft began to sink and, with a squelch, came to a sudden stop, the tail rearing up in the air. Dazed and with fuel filling the cockpit the two-man crew scrambled out, grabbing what they could. After a flight lasting 16 hours and 28 minutes, Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten-Brown had won the race to be the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic.

It was a rough ending for a race that began in April 1913 when Lord Rothermere, aviation philanthropist and owner of the Daily Mail, offered a prize of £10,000, roughly equivalent to $1,000,000 in today’s money, to ‘the aviator who shall first cross the Atlantic in an aeroplane in flight from any point in the United States of America, Canada or Newfoundland to any point in Great Britain or Ireland in 72 continuous hours’.

Illustrated by many unique photographs this book tells the story of the race, delayed for almost six years by the First World War. Many aircraft would be entered but few would even get off the ground. The teams faced great difficulties in preparing for the challenge of crossing one of the most hostile stretches of ocean on Earth.

The authors not only reveal tales of failures and technical difficulties, but of the intense frustration of waiting for the perfect weather-window. And even when finally airborne, Alcock and Brown’s flight almost ended in disaster on several occasions as weather conditions almost conspired to cast them down into the grey, cold waters of the Atlantic and almost certain death.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Reading this book is like reading a film script and right from the first page, you’ll be hooked. It starts with a run down of all the contenders and their fate. Then, due to the gripping writing, you’re there, with all the ups and downs of the events before the historic flight. Once you’re through all that, you’re in the cockpit with Alcock and Brown and every dump and dive of the flight across the Atlantic.

This book is highly recommended to take you on a trip, in your mind, across the Atlantic. It’s an exciting trip from the early days of aviation and a great feat that shouldn’t be forgotten. The final pages of this book prove that it hasn’t been.

 

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ShipCraft 25: German Destroyers

By Robert Brown

ShipCraft 25: German DestroyersDescription:

The ‘ShipCraft’ series provides in-depth information about building and modifying model kits of famous warship types. Lavishly illustrated, each book takes the modeller through a brief history of the subject class, highlighting differences between sister-ships and changes in their appearance over their careers. This includes paint schemes and camouflage, featuring colour profiles and highly detailed line drawings and scale plans. The modelling section reviews the strengths and weaknesses of available kits, lists commercial accessory sets for super-detailing of the ships, and provides hints on modifying and improving the basic kit. This is followed by an extensive photographic gallery of selected high-quality models in a variety of scales, and the book concludes with a section on research references – books, monographs, large-scale plans and relevant websites.

This volume covers the large and powerful German destroyers of the Second World War era. Always popular as modelling subjects, interest in them has been further increased recently by the release of a number of very fine large scale kits.

With its unparalleled level of visual information – paint schemes, models, line drawings and photographs – this book is simply the best reference for any modelmaker setting out to build one of these unusual ships.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This is the 25th in the ShipCraft series, and the first to grace my bookshelf. As it’s along the same lines as the other ‘Craft’ series (FlightCraft, LandCraft and TankCraft) I knew what to expect. There’ll be colour schemes, showcases, model reviews and informative design history… It doesn’t disappoint.

Although German Destroyers aren’t a popular subject for model manufactures, there are still some superb kits available. Pretty much all of them are reviewed in this book. The showcased dioramas are inspirational and extremely well built.

On a whole, German Destroyers is a well edited, beautifully presented book that’s calling out to all warship modellers to be added to their reference library.

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