Reviewed Books - Vintage Airfix


Reviewed Books

Contents:
- The Berlin Airlift - By John Grehan
- The English Electric Lightning - By Martin Bowman
- The First Helicopter Boys - By David Taylor
- The Great Eastern Railway in South Essex - By Charles Phillips
- The Handley Page Victor - By Roger Brooks
- The History of Toy Soldiers - By Luigi Toiati
- The Jeep - By Lance Cole
- The Reich Intruders - By Martin Bowman
- The Royal Navy Wasp - By Larry Jeram-Croft, Terry Martin
- The Vultee Vengeance in Battle - By Peter C Smith
- The Zeppelin Offensive - By David Marks
- Tiger I and Tiger II Tanks, German Army and Waffen-SS, The Last Battles in the West, 1945 - By Dennis Oliver
- Uncommon Valour - By Granville Allen Mawer
- US Cold War Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles - By Michael Green
- Wargames Terrain and Buildings: The Napoleonic Wars - By Tony Harwood

 


 

Result Pages: [<< Prev]   1  2  3  Displaying 41 to 55 (of 55 Books)

The Berlin Airlift

By John Grehan

The Berlin AirliftDescription:

The fate of the free world hung in the balance. Stalin’s Soviet Union sought to drive the Western democracies from Germany to continue the communist advance across Europe. The first step in Stalin’s scheme was to bring Berlin under Soviet control. Berlin was situated deep inside the Soviet-occupied region of the country, but the German capital had been divided into two halves, one of which was occupied by the Soviet Union, the other, in separate sectors, by Britain, France and the USA. Stalin decided to make the Allied hold on West Berlin untenable by shutting down all the overland routes used to keep the city supplied.

The choice faced by the Allies was a stark one – let Berlin fall, or risk war with the Soviets by breaking the Soviet stranglehold. In a remarkably visionary move, the Allies decided that they could keep Berlin supplied by flying over the Soviet blockade, thus avoiding armed conflict with the USSR.

On 26 June 1948, the Berlin Airlift began. Throughout the following thirteen months, more than 266,600 flights were undertaken by the men and aircraft from the US, France, Britain and across the Commonwealth, which delivered in excess of 2,223,000 tons of food, fuel and supplies in the greatest airlift in history.

The air-bridge eventually became so effective that more supplies were delivered to Berlin than had previously been shipped overland and Stalin saw that his bid to seize control of the German capital could never succeed. At one minute after midnight on 12 May 1949, the Soviet blockade was lifted, and the Soviet advance into Western Europe was brought to a shuddering halt.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Another superb title in the brilliant Images of Aviation series. Stuffed with great images of the time and perfectly detailed information, superbly illustrating one of the first major international crises of the Cold War. 

As an aviation enthusiast, this book fulfils my needs. There are images of most of my favourite aircraft and great stories to go along with them.

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The English Electric Lightning

By Martin Bowman

The English Electric LightningDescription:

The early 1950s were a boom time for British aviation. The lessons of six years of war had been learned and much of the research into jet engines, radar and aerodynamics had begun to reach fruition. In Britain, jet engine technology led the world, while wartime developments into swept wing design in Germany and their transonic research programme were used to give western design teams a quantum leap in aircraft technology.

The English Electric Lightning emerged at this time. This supersonic fighter aircraft of the Cold War era is perhaps best remembered for its amazing take-off performance, its exceptional rate of climb and its immense speed. Here, Martin Bowman takes us on a photographic journey, illustrating the various landmarks of the Lightning's impressive operational history.

Vintage Airfix Review:

When I first saw this book, it sparked a memory of the first time I heard the sound of the Lightning and, it would appear, it isn’t just me. In the first few pages, the unique sound of the Lightning is mentioned.

This book, from the Images of War series, has all that you would expect. Great images and details of variants and missions.

From a modeller’s perspective, I would love to have seen some colour images in here. But as an aircraft enthusiast it’s a great addition to my library and memory.

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The First Helicopter Boys

By David Taylor

The First Helicopter BoysDescription:

The Indonesian Confrontation that raged from 1963 to 1966 stemmed from Indonesia’s opposition to the creation of Malaysia. Fighting in the challenging jungle terrain of Borneo and in the countryside straddling the Malaysia/Indonesia border, where there were few roads, posed significant logistical challenges to both sides. That the conflict was ultimately a victory for the Commonwealth forces was in due in no small part to the fact that they enjoyed the advantage of vastly superior helicopter resources and better trained crews – many of which were provided by British units.

During the Confrontation, many of these vital helicopter assets were flown by pilots and crews who had gained their knowledge and experience first-hand during the Malayan Emergency, one of the Cold War’s first flash-points which had begun in 1948.

Without doubt, the Malayan Emergency marked the formative years of the RAF’s and Royal Navy’s helicopter operations – the very early days in fact, when equipment and knowledge were much more basic. It was a time when operational procedures were still under development, even though the helicopters were already being flown on front line service.

Told in the main through their own words, by the RAF and Royal Navy air and ground crews involved, this is the story of how these ‘guinea pigs’ undertook many of Britain’s first rotary wing combat operations and, therefore, cemented their rightful place in the history of the helicopter.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A fascinating insight into the early days of helicopter development and its use in the challenging terrain of Malaysia/Indonesia. Through the words of personnel from the time and David’s superb writing, you get a real sense of the issues the early machines had, and the resourcefulness used in a Jungle situation.

I’m not sure some of the ways these machines were maintained in the Jungle would be allowed today. As an example, changing a wheel while the pilot maintains a steady hover!

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The Great Eastern Railway in South Essex

By Charles Phillips

The Great Eastern Railway in South EssexDescription:

The Great Eastern Railway In South Essex: A Definitive History is the history of the Great Eastern’s lines from Shenfield to Southend, Wickford to Southminster and Woodham Ferrers to Maldon including their ancestor. It is the only comprehensive history of all three lines and was researched using both previously published and unpublished material. The history covers not only the history of the lines in question but also a sample of services from the opening of them to the present day, the motive power that was and is used on them and a topographical description of them. The book is intended to appeal to wide audience: in particular those with an interest in the local history of the area served by the lines, those interested in the history of Essex and railway enthusiasts interested in the railways of the eastern counties in general and the Great Eastern Railway in particular.

Vintage Airfix Review:

For anyone thinking off, or already have, models/dioramas of the Great Eastern lines in Essex. This book is right up your street. Full of interesting historical facts, useful images and a great read.

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The Handley Page Victor

By Roger Brooks

The Handley Page VictorDescription:

Some aircraft inspire passion, others nostalgia, but others, often the unsung heroes, are more of a connoisseur's choice. The Handley Page Victor easily falls into this last category.

In this follow-up to The Handley Page Victor: The History and Development of a Classic Jet, Volumes I and II, Roger Brooks extends his earlier historical narratives, this time offering an action-packed and riveting memoir of a career spanning forty years.

The book charts changes as they occurred in the aeronautical industry from the 1950's onwards and, as such, it should appeal to both individuals who were caught up in events at the time as well as students of the era. In addition to the aircraft itself, Roger worked extensively with tankers, refuelling the Victor as it took part in a variety of operations in the fraught Cold War era. He brings all aspects of his career to life across these pages, offering the kind of details that can only be gained by first-hand experience.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This book is a great read and a unique insight into a great aircraft with some personal stories from the time.

Some of the detailed information that Roger discloses can be a little to technical but for the enthusiast it is a book that you will not be able to put down.

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The History of Toy Soldiers

By Luigi Toiati

The History of Toy SoldiersDescription:

Humans have made and collected toy soldiers from time immemorial. They amuse and comfort us, awaken our curiosity, turn aggressiveness into creativity. In The History of Toy Soldiers,Luigi Toiati, himself an avid collector and manufacturer of toy soldiers, conveys and shares the pleasure of collecting and playing with them. Far from a dry encyclopaedia, it leads the reader through the fascinating evolution of the toy soldier from ancient times to the early twenty-first century. The author, as a sociologist with an interest in semiotics (the study of signs), offers truly original insights into why different types of toy soldiers were born in a given period and country, or why in a given size and material. The author's writing is packed with factual detail about the different types of toy (and model) soldiers and their manufacturers, but also with anecdotes, nostalgia, wit and his enduring passion for the subject. Hundreds of beautiful colour photographs, many depicting the author's own collection, complete this delightful book.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Wow, this book is so full of memories. If you read this book from the beginning, you’ll be taken on a ride through time from the earliest to the present-day toy soldiers. However, I found the best way to read this book is just open it and start reading… anywhere. It’s addictive, informative, fascinating and fun.

It also includes scale figures from Airfix, which is a bonus for an Airfix enthusiast.

The book is superbly produced to a very high standard and very well written. If you have any interest in this subject, you really need this book. I would even stick my neck out and say it’s the ONLY book you’ll need.

 

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The Jeep

By Lance Cole

The JeepDescription:

The Second World War Jeep was one of the most famous and influential military vehicles of all time, and over 600,000 were produced. It served with all the Allied forces during the war on every front and it has been the inspiration behind the design of light, versatile, rugged military and civilian vehicles ever since. In this, the first volume in Pen & Sword’s LandCraft series, Lance Cole traces the design, development and manufacturing history of the Jeep and describes its operational role within the Allied armies.

A selection of archive photographs showing the Jeep in service in European and Pacific campaigns gives a graphic impression of how adaptable the Jeep was and records the variety of equipment it could carry. The book is an excellent source for the modeller, providing details of available kits, together with specially commissioned colour profiles recording how the Jeeps used by different units and armies appeared.

Lance Cole's introduction to the Jeep is necessary reading and reference for enthusiasts and modellers.

Vintage Airfix Review:

This is the first in the new LandCraft series and what a great start it is. The Jeep is a very versatile vehicle which, in turn, makes it a great subject for modellers. This book has some superb 1/35 scale showcases. Along with this is everything you need to know about the development of this ground-breaking vehicle.

A must have reference book for modellers.

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The Reich Intruders

By Martin Bowman

The Reich IntrudersDescription:

This is the story of 2 Group RAF during World War II. Much of it is told by the men who flew the Blenheim, Boston, Mitchell and Mosquito aircraft that carried out many daring daylight and night-time raids on vitally important targets in Nazi occupied Europe and Germany. These were not the famous thousand bomber raids that hit the wartime headlines, but low-level, fast-moving surprise raids flown by small formations of fleet-footed and skilfully piloted twin-engine light bombers. Their targets were usually difficult to locate and heavily defended because of their strategic importance to the Nazis. 2 Group also played a vital part in the invasion of Europe both before and after D-Day. Often they would fly at wave-top height across the English Channel or North Sea to avoid detection and then hedge-hop deep into enemy territory to deliver their precision attack. Enemy fighters and anti-aircraft fire were a constant risk. This is a remarkable story of skill and bravery by a little known branch of the RAF.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Covering the light bombers of 2 Group in WWII, this book from air war historian Martin Bowman brings a high level of detail and first-hand accounts of the twin engine, low level bombers such as the Blenheim, Boston, Mitchell and Mosquito that have been largely forgotten.

After reading this you’ll look at these bombers with a whole new respect. The stories of low-level raids from the crews leave you in awe.

It’s a very interesting, authoritative, and in places, sobering read.

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The Royal Navy Wasp

By Larry Jeram-Croft, Terry Martin

The Royal Navy WaspDescription:

This book tells the story of the first helicopter in the world designed from the outset to be deployed at sea, in Destroyers and Frigates. It is primarily based on the words of those who operated it. Designed from the outset to cope with the restricted space of a warship both for stowage and flight operations it proved an immediate success. Its original role was to act as a weapon carrier to launch torpedoes and depth charges on submarine contacts out of range of the parent ship’s weapons range. Soon, it also took on a second primary role of air to surface attack using wire guided missiles. The flexibility of the machine was such that it was able to conduct a plethora of secondary roles from visual search to collecting the all-important ship’s mail. Wherever the Royal Navy was deployed on operations a Wasp was there. The book has accounts of operations around the world particularly during the Cold War of the Seventies and the Falklands War where amongst other things it had the honour of being the first RN platform ever, to fire a guided missile at a surface target.

However the story doesn’t end there. Although the aircraft went out of service in the Royal Navy in 1988, it continued to operate with other navies around the world. To this day there are still several airworthy examples flying. The second part of the book gives accounts of these machines and brings the story of the Wasp completely up to date.

Vintage Airfix Review:

The WASP is a fascinating helicopter with an interesting background and in this book, you gain a new respect for it and the people involved in its development and the pilots who flew it over the years.

It's a well-presented book with some great images, some of which are close ups of components that will be useful for the advanced modeler.

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The Vultee Vengeance in Battle

By Peter C Smith

The Vultee Vengeance in BattleDescription:

This book describes the extraordinary combat career of the American-built Vultee Vengeance dive-bomber in both the Royal Air Force and Indian Air Force service during the Burma Campaigns of 1942-45. This single-engine, all-metal aircraft was ordered by the Ministry of Supply during the darkest days of World War II when the lethal German combination of Junkers Ju.87 Stuka and Panzer tank forces had conquered most of Europe in a campaign that lasted a mere few weeks and the invasion of Britain was considered imminent.

The RAF had invented the dive-bomber concept in 1917 but had consistently rejected it in the inter-war period with the obsession of heavy bombing predominating official thinking almost exclusively. By the time the Vengeance arrived a still-reluctant RAF was seeking a precision bomber to prevent a repeat of the Japanese Naval attacks in the Indian Ocean and six squadrons were set up to counter this threat. With the Japanese on the borders of Burma and India, these aircraft, no longer required for the original role, proved by far and away the most accurate bomber aircraft operated by the British up to that time.

The Allied Armies on the ground, including Orde Wingate’s Chindits, clamoured for their continued use and considered them essential, but in vain, and by 1945 all had been replaced. Their achievements have been ignored, falsified or scorned ever since but here, from eyewitness accounts and official records, is their full and true story.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A fascinating look at a largely overlooked aircraft of the second world war. Full of comprehensive data of squadrons including the crews and the aircrafts themselves. Peter Smiths level of research and the dedication it must have taken to write this book is very apparent as you read through it.

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The Zeppelin Offensive

By David Marks

The Zeppelin OffensiveDescription:

‘Fly, Zeppelin! Help us in the war. Fly to England, England shall be destroyed by fire. Zeppelin, fly!’ Such was the hymn which the children sang; such the refrain which greeted the aged inventor, Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, wherever he went. Why was there this reaction across Germany? How did a handful of aircraft giving pleasure cruises become a fearsome fleet of rapacious giants encouraged to punish Germany’s enemies? What were the images that became part of the public’s wartime consciousness?

Books on the Zeppelin raids during the First World War have, traditionally, focused on the direct impact of Britain, from the devastating effects on undefended towns and cities, the psychological impact of this first weapon of total war to the technological and strategic advances that eventually defeated the ‘Baby Killers’. Now, drawing on the largest postcard collection of its kind and other period memorabilia, David Marks tells the story of the Zeppelin during the First World War from a viewpoint that has rarely been considered: Germany itself.

From its maiden flight in July 1900, the Zeppelin evolved into a symbol of technology and national pride that, once war was declared, was at the forefront of German’s propaganda campaign. The Zeppelin links the rampant xenophobia at the outbreak of the conflict against England (it almost never called Britain), France, Russia and their allies to the political doctrines of the day. The postcards that profusely illustrate this book show the wide-ranging types of propaganda from strident Teutonic imagery, myths and legends, biting satire and a surprising amount of humour. This book is a unique contribution to our understanding of the place of the Zeppelin in Germany’s culture and society during the First World War.

Vintage Airfix Review:

A beautifully presented book. With many images of postcards from the First World War and a great narrative interwoven throughout.

An enlightening and original story of the Zeppelin airships.

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Tiger I and Tiger II Tanks, German Army and Waffen-SS, The Last Battles in the West, 1945

By Dennis Oliver

Tiger I and Tiger II Tanks, German Army and Waffen-SS, The Last Battles in the West, 1945Description:

Tiger tanks were among the most-feared fighting vehicles of the Second World War and they gained almost legendary status, yet they never fulfilled their potential because they were not produced in sufficient numbers and the tide the war had turned against the German army by the time they were introduced. Often they were deployed in difficult circumstances and in defensive battles, struggling against the odds. Nowhere was this more true than in western Europe during the Allied advance across France and into Germany, and it is the Tigers of this phase of the war that Dennis Oliver portrays in his third volume on the Tiger in the TankCraft series.

He uses archive photos and extensively researched colour illustrations to examine the Tiger tanks and units of the German Army and Waffen-SS heavy panzer battalions that struggled to resist the onslaught of Allied armour and air attacks during the last days of the conflict.

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:

A great reference for enthusiasts and modellers of the Tiger Tank. The historical part of this book covers the final few months on the Western Front, while the modelling sections cover most of the rest.

There is, off cause, a mention of the infamous Airfix Tiger kit even though it is not on the same plain as some of the other kits on offer. The reviews are well written and honest.

This book packs a lot of information from a relatively short time in history.

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Uncommon Valour

By Granville Allen Mawer

Uncommon ValourDescription:

What is the nature of courage, how and when should it be recognized, and how has our appreciation of it changed? These are among the questions Granville Allen Mawer seeks to answer in this absorbing study of the history of the Victoria Cross, the highest award in the British honours system for gallantry in the presence of the enemy. His is the first analytical account of the institution of the Victoria Cross, and it is a fascinating study of the ethics of rewarding bravery. It explores in dispassionate detail the thinking behind the creation of the award, the reasons why individual awards were given and how, over the last 160 years, the system has developed and changed.

Using vivid and carefully selected examples, he compares individual actions that led to a Victoria Cross and considers the circumstances in which they took place and the reasons given for making the award. So many factors were involved – the character of the individual concerned, the severity of the danger he faced, the situation of the British forces, whether his conduct was seen and recorded, and the interpretation of the criteria for making an award at the time.

This unconventional treatment of the Victoria Cross may be controversial, but it should stimulate a deeper understanding of the history of the medal and of the heroism of those to whom it has been awarded.

Vintage Airfix Review:

It might be “controversial” to some and I don’t think those people would appreciate this book. But for anyone with a passing interest in military history, or even curious as to the deeds that have been done to be put forward for the VC, will enjoy this book. I did.

There are many quoted citations from the early days of the award, through WWI and WWII. At the end of the book is a full list of recipients up to 2018.

It's a fascinating and thought provoking work.

 

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US Cold War Tanks and Armoured Fighting Vehicles

By Michael Green

US Cold War Tanks and Armoured Fighting VehiclesDescription:

To counter the Soviet threat and that of their client States during the Cold War years 1949-1991, the American military deployed an impressive range of main battle tanks (MBTs) and armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs).

The Patton series of medium MBTs (including the M46, M47 and M48) supplemented by the M103s Heavy Tank initially formed the core of the US tank fleet. In 1960 the M60 MBT with its British designed 105mm gun entered service and, in turn, was replaced by the M1 Abrams in 1980.

In support were armoured reconnaissance vehicles, progressively the M41 bull dog (1951); the M114 (1961), the M551 Sheridan (1967) and M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicle (1981).

The armoured personnel carrier (APC) range included the ubiquitous M113 and its replacement the M2 Bradley, cousin of the M3.

Expert author Michael Green covers all these vehicles and their variants in this informative and superbly illustrated Images of War series work.

Vintage Airfix Review:

As with all the Images of War series, this one is well written, beautifully presented and there are lots of great images which makes it a must have reference book for scale modellers of Cold War machinery.

The information that Michael Green gives us is short and sweet on each Tank and AFV but it’s enough, I thought. If I was concentrating on a specific model, I would definitely use this book along with other, more detailed, reference books.

 

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Wargames Terrain and Buildings: The Napoleonic Wars

By Tony Harwood

Wargames Terrain and Buildings: The Napoleonic WarsDescription:

Any miniature wargame is greatly enhanced by realistic and evocative scenery and buildings, but commercial ready-made pieces can be expensive. Building your own can be a cost-effective and very rewarding alternative, another hobby in itself, but it can be hard to know where to start. Wargames Terrain and Buildings is a series of books aimed at giving wargamers the skills, techniques and guidance they need to create their own stunning and practical model buildings.

In this volume, master modeller Tony Hardwood shares his years of experience and presents the reader with a wide range of projects for the Napoleonic era. With the aid of step-by-step photographs, he guides the reader through building and finishing each of these models, which are organized in three sections of increasing complexity and encompass a range of scales and different materials. Nine projects are included but the techniques and skills demonstrated along the way, along with valuable advice on tools, construction materials and paints, can be adapted and applied to a much wider range of structures to grace your battlefields.

Vintage Airfix Review:

Having been purely a kit modeller for many years, scratch building has always been a dark art to me. I mean, making something so detailed out of cupboard, glue and pixies dust must be some kind of witchcraft... right!

Well, I am pleased to say that I now understand the art, the techniques, the skill needed and the joy of the build. This is all down to this little masterpiece. Although it’s aimed at building the terrain and buildings for wargamers, all the techniques learnt can be transferred to a unique diorama.

All in all, a superb book that will end up being well used, thank you Tony.

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