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Updated: 5 hours 40 min ago

The Paulista War- Volume 1: The Last Civil War in Brazil, 1932

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 19:41
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Helion & Company

Javier Garcia de Gabiola, is from Spain and works as a lawyer. He has published numerous articles and books related to legal issues. Always interested in military history, he also regularly contributes to various Spanish military history magazines, for which he has written more than 50 articles and has published multiple pieces with the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico. This is his first instalment for Helion's @War series.

Helion is a UK based company that produces books on many aspects of Military History from the Late Medieval period through to the present day. Helion was established in 1996, and since then they have published almost 1,200 books, with 100 or more new titles coming out every year, for readers around the world. 

Helion's latest book in the Latin America @ War series is a square back soft cover includes 80 gloss paper pages. The front cover features a color Paulista recruiting poster, along the lines of "Uncle Sam Wants You!" with the Paulista flag rippling in the background.  The color profile by Luca Canossa is one of the 19 Waco 240 fighter-bombers utilized by the Federals (This profile can also be found on page 40 i with a nice description).  The rear cover artwork by Anderson Subtil features the outfit typically worn by a 20th Federal Battalion de Cacadores (Hunter Battalion) soldier (This illustration can also be found on page 40 vii with a nice description).   I counted 102 black and white photographs, there are no color photos. There are also 18 aviation color side profiles by Luca Canossa and three color illustrations of figures Anderson Subtil.  There are eight black and white maps, two full color maps by Tom Cooper, and 17 tables.

Javier Garcia de Gabiola starts up with the political history that led into the Paulista War (aka the Constitutionalist Revolution), the largest war ever fought in Brazil.  The Paulista War of 1932 was the last in a long series of civil wars and military coups in Brazil going back to Brazil's independence from Portugal in 1824.  This first of two Volumes covers the Paraiba Valley that leads to Rio de Janerio.  The second Volume will cover the battles in Mato Grosso do Sul following the Parana and Paraguay rivers. 

Javier Garcia de Gabiola continues with a great description of the troops and weapons available to both sides.  Both the Federal's and the Paulistas' armies used the same arsenals and thus there was a great similarity in weapons.  Heavier weapons, howitzers and tanks, were basically World War I leftovers, although the Paulistas did improvise.  Page 14 depicts an armored tractor that ran on steel wheels instead of tank treads.  This war was a baptism of sorts for aviation in the Americas as it saw the first aerial combat with the downing of an aircraft.  Strategic bombing and night-bombing was also initiated for the first time in the Americas.  Aircraft involved from both sides were not terribly effective though, primary serving as a psychological weapon, causing panic in the ground troops and death to assorted fish in the rivers that sustained the majority of the bombing.

The final fifty pages is devoted to a nearly daily recount of the political and combat activities in the Paraiba Valley theatre of operations.  The Paulistas took the initiative and flew the first aerial mission on 10 July 1932, surprising the Federals who were not quite prepared to intercept these rebel intruders. Two days later the first aerial combat occurred between a Potez and a Waco.  The Waco managed to escape after the Potez suffered a machine gun jam after a few bursts.  The sections include:

 

Abbreviations

  1. From Republic To War

Vargas' Revolution of 1930

Preparations for the Constitutionalist Revolution

  1. The Brazilian Armed Forces

Federal Infantry and Artillery

Table 1: Brazilian Federal Army, Order of Battle, 1932

Cavalry and Independent Units

Number of Troops Involved

The Forca Publica

All Brazil with Bargas

The Paulista Forces

Weapons and Equipment [Page 13, 14]

  1. Brazilian Aviation

The Birth, Death, and Rebirth of the Brazilian Air Service

Combat Squadron: The Potez 25 TOE

Table 2: Brazilian Federal Army Aviation, 1932

Training Squadron and Mail planes: The Wacos

The Military School: NiD.72 Fighters and Amiot Bombers

Army and Navy Moths and Avros

SM.55 and Martin PM 1-B Naval Bombers

Table 3: Brazilian Naval Aviation in 1932

Navy Corsair Fighters and Paulista Falcons [Page 21]

Colours and Markings

  1. The Paulista Uprising

Aeroplanes and Troops for Sao Paulo (9/10 July)

10-16 July, 1932: An Offensive that is not an Offensive

9-10 July 1932: Gois Monteiro Saving the Government in Rio

The Government's Reaction in the Rest of Brazil

What about the Paulistas' Allies?

10-12 July 1932: The Birth of the Federal Mixed Aviation Group

13-14 July: The First Air Combat in America

  1. The Paraiba Valley Front

Deployment in the Valley

Table 4: Ground Forces Deployed in the Paraiba Valley as of 20 July 1932

13-15 July 1932: Areias and Sao Jose Do Barreiro

14-15 July 1932: Federal Aviation in the Valley

15-28 July 1932: Emergency of the Paulista Air Force

Table 5: Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley as of 10 July1932

17-22 July 1932: Air Strikes on Sao Jose Do Barreiro

20-29 July 1932: Offensive on Barreiro

27 July - 3 August: Battle of Salto

3-5 August: Detachment Teofilo Replaces the Dissolved Agnelo

6-8 August 1932: Fall of Bianor and Areias

10 August 1932: Fall of Queluz

10-15 August 1932: The Return of the Paulista Aviation

10-15 August 1932: The Vila Quieimada Lines

Table 6: Paulista Detachments in the Paraiba Valley as of 15 August 1932

15-24 August: Federals Establishing Aerial Dominance

Table 7: Federal Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley, 28-30 August 1932

24 August - 2 September: Breaking the Vila Queimada Line

Covering the North Flank: The Sierra de Mantiquuly 1932: Paulista Resistance in the Tunnel

4-19 August: Resistance in Batedor

Overall Situation in September 1932

Table 9: Detachments in the Paraiba Valley, September 1932

4-16 September 1932: Reinforcements for the Federalists

Table 10: Combat Aircraft in the Paraiba Valley, September 1932

9-12 September: Federal Offensive in Silveiras-Pinheiros

13-16 September: Great Withdrawal to Guaratingueta

17 September: Fall of Lorena

18 September: Showdown in Guara

Table 11: Detachments on the Guaratingueta Front

21-30 September: Federal Aerial Superiority

Table 12: Federal Combat Aircraft on the Paraiba Front, Late September 1932

24-29 September: The Guara Pocket

Color Profiles [Page 40ii]

  1. The Coastal Front

10-15 July 1932: Blockade and Bombardment of Santos

Table 13: Paulista Forces on the Coastal Sector, 17 July 1932

Table 14: Federal Forces Blocking Santos, 10-12 July 1932

15-17 July 1932: The Federal Landing

19-21 July: The First Federal Assault on Cunha [Page 59]

24 July - 12 August: Strategic Bombing and the Littoral Air Forces

Table 15: Forces Involved in the Second Battle of Cunha, 10-26 August 1932

10-26 August: The Paulista Victory at Cunha

Table 16: Aviation in the Coastal Sector, August - September 1932

16-24 September: The First Naval Anti-Aircraft Artillery Downing in the Western Hemisphere

Table 17: Paulista Anti-Ship Task Force, 24 September 1932

16-29 September: The Paulista Collapsa on the Coast

Bibliography

Notes

Acknowledgements

 

I really liked the nearly daily accounting of operations as it really gives you a great understanding of what was happening.  A great example is of the first 'strategic bombing' to occur in the Americas, the target being Cubatao Light power plant near Santos. Two Savoia-Marchetti SM-55 seaplanes, accompanied by a Martin PM, took off from Ilhabela to rendezvous with two Vought Corsairs for escort.  One of the SM-55s developed engine problems and both aircraft turned back.  The Martin PM, unaware of the SM-55 issues, continued on towards the target when they finally realized that there were no aircraft with them.  The Martin PM decided to return to its base, not seeing the two Corsairs 600' above them at the rendezvous.  The next day, all five aircraft tried again, only to encounter cloud cover forcing them to turn back.  All five would make a third attempt where a Savoia-Marchetti SM-55 did drop a single 68kg bomb, but due to limited visibility, it missed the target.

Once the war starts, Javier Garcia de Gabiola puts the reader into the daily operational accounts from both sides in the air and on the ground. You get 17 tables to provide a lot of the statistical data.   I really appreciated the commentary describing the different parties involved.  The contemporary photographs support the text, and they certainly give you a good perspective of the events described.  Based on this Volume 1 of the war, I can't wait for Volume 2 providing the second theatre of battle.  If you own one the previous releases in the Latin America @ War series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.

My thanks to Helion & Company, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

Crete, The Battle for Heraklion, 1941

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 15:38
Product Image Review Author:  Hub Plott Helion & Company

If you are looking to learn about the battle for Crete in WWII, Crete, The Battle for Heraklion, 1941 may not be the book for you to start with. This book deals almost exclusively with the battle for the town and airfield of Heraklion, only one of three landing areas for the German paratroopers on Crete. However, if you are interested in the stories of those on the "sharp end of the stick" in a battle, this book is great as it depends heavily on first person accounts of those who were actually there. While some British, Commonwealth and Germans are included, most of the stories are of the Greeks/Cretans involved, which is good because they are usually overlooked or de-emphasized in most histories which tend to concentrate on the German paratroopers or the British and/or Commonwealth forces involved.

There are hundreds of illustrations of the terrain involved, battlefield maps, and photos of people and artifacts, but it can be difficult to follow the battle due to the way the book is physically laid out. The narrative is constantly interrupted by all those personal stories and anecdotes that, along with their accompanying pictures and maps, sometimes occupy the reader for several pages before he can get back to the story line.

Make no mistake, this is a thoroughly researched and very detailed account of this battle. My only reservation really is in how the story is physically chopped up. However, if you want to know more about the Greek/Cretan troops involved in this sector of the battle for Crete, this is your book. 

 

Rafale Pilots- Seated in A/C

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 00:19
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette PJ Production

Belgium PJ Productions makes wonderful resin aftermarket pieces in all scales to enhance many models. This set is a couple modern European pilots in 1/72nd scale. They are listed for a Rafale but would work in any similar plane also. The set comes with six pieces of finely cast dark gray resin- two pilot bodies and four arms. The pilots are NOT duplicates of one another and are different which is an excellent detail. 

Assembly was straightforward- I removed the parts with a razor saw and scraped a couple fine seam lines off (there were very few) and glued the arms into position with super glue. The super glue filled any minor seams, so no putty was needed. I mounted the pilots on poles for painting and primed with Alclad gray.

Painting was done after looking at the picture on the kit and Internet sources. Most were Khaki and Khaki green with black gloves and boots. The helmets were white with black visors.  Various washes were added, and metallic details as needed. They were flat coated when done and then gloss added to the visor. You can see by the pictures how small these are compared to a penny, yet the detail is superb

They are excellent addition to any kit that needs a pilot. Simple to build, well designed and a breeze to paint. Recommended.

My thanks to PJ Productions and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this excellent set.

Punchers and Tigers, USN A-6E Intruders in the Cold War & Desert Storm

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 00:05
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette AOA Decals

AOA Decals is known for its well-researched and executed decals covering the Vietnam War and newer eras with an emphasis on USMC and USN subjects. Set 72-010 continues their growth in 1/72nd scale with Punchers and Tigers, which covers two low visibility marking periods of two Navy A-6 Intruder squadrons - VA-65 Tigers and VA-75 Sunday Punchers, with coverage spanning from the 1980s into Operation Desert Storm in 1991. 

Inside the package, there is a beautiful 4x7 inch decal sheet with great detail and printed by Microscale. There are full color profiles covering all six markings with details about each plane such as different lighting configurations, color call outs, and details specific to each airframe. There are also detailed top views on a separate sheet and a sheet covering paint notes, ejection seat decals, and stencil notes. All full color which is nice!

The six marking options included are:

  • VA-65 Tigers, AG-500, 160995, USS Eisenhower, 1981/82
  • VA-65 Tigers, AJ-500, 161675, USS Roosevelt, 1991
  • VA-65 Tigers, AJ-503, 155620, USS Roosevelt, 1991
  • VA-65 Tigers, AJ-511, 159314, USS Roosevelt, 1991
  • VA-75 Sunday Punchers, AC-505, USS Kennedy, NAS Oceana 1989/90 
  • VA-75 Sunday Punchers, AC-504, USS Kennedy, NAS Oceana 1991 

Decals also included for fuel tanks, tailhooks, formation lights, and ejection seats.

One of the real highlights of this set to me is the inclusion of AJ-503. This had been painted in brown/sand colored markings on top as a trial while still retaining its gray standard color bottom. It is a unique scheme and really stands out from the normal Navy line jets and gray, gray and more gray. As a bonus, AG-500 has a nice white radome so while this mostly covers line jets, there are some colorful options.

In summary, well researched information and colorful choices along with decals printed by Microscale and full color instructions, this is highly recommended to dress up the Fujimi kit you might already have in your stash.

My thanks to everyone at AOA Decals for their efforts and the opportunity to review this great set of markings

F-104G Cockpit

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 21:17
Product Image Review Author:  Bob LaBouy Italeri

This Kit

This is not a new kit and was previously reviewed by Mark Andrews in February 2020 and followed up with an after-market seat belt set review by Chris Smith.  I strongly recommend you read both of these reviews and I hope I have avoided repeating those reviewers' contents.

After it's initial issue by ESCI, way back in 1983, this kit is clearly showing its age especially in terms of the industry's newer molding technology.  While I rate the fit of most parts is passible and the overall accuracy of the kit as good, you should be prepared for a 1983 ESCI kit effort (reboxed in 2001 and now 2020).  I also have one of the earlier kits and cannot find any differences in the 37 years between these two kits.

The Build

The kit is a reasonably easy build and the colors recommended are largely accurate, though I recommend researching the internet for photos taken in actual aircraft.  I was lucky enough to take a number of shots of these beautiful aircraft at the Militarhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr in Berlin-Gatow airport.  This museum is outstanding and strongly recommended for all aviation enthusiasts.

As you can see from several of the attached images, there are numerous colors not accurately called out in the Italeri instructions, while the general panel details (shapes and sizes) are largely accurate.

There is a lot of flash (you can see the differences in the time and molding techniques which have become common place today) and sanding and filing is required. This was especially problematic around the face shield handles requiring very careful filing.

There numerous reference number/positioning errors, including a color 'N' called out (drawing #12) which isn't even shown on the 'suggested colors' list.

Drawings depicted do not match up with instruction reference drawings themselves.  Examples include reference drawing #8 (lower half) which shows the ejection seat frame higher than handles and this same error is shown in drawing #12.  If you attempt to match the helmet decals, you will quickly find the decals are much too big to approximate what's shown in drawing #13.

I also recommend you review and look over the Italeri website's photographs, which in almost every respect provide different detail colors (seat cushions, parachute container, sun shield, knobs and screen colors).  A look at the box cover photograph and compare to the colors as called out in the kit's instructions will quickly illustrate many of these differences.

Painting

I used almost exclusively the Mission Models acrylic paints which allowed me to match most of the instruction sheet recommended colors very closed.  I have attached several images of F-104G cockpits to provide additional color references.  I used a combination of dry-brushing and picking our knobs and dials with contrasting colors of paint to accentuate their locations and raised heights.

Decals

There is a small sheet of decals which include the numerous dial and screen details, as well as the model base and helmet decals.  As I quickly learned the pilots helmet decals are very large and I could only use a few of them and had to change their locations and orientation when compared with the instruction sheet (detail drawing #13) and a F-104 pilot's helmet in my collection.

While not really a decal, there is also a sheet of straps and harnesses for the ejection seat.  I found these to be very difficult to use and not very realistic looking when fitted to the model.  I cut them with a small scissors and still found them to be one of the most challenging products I've ever tried to manipulate;  I also used a single edge razor blade and small stainless-steel guide, which provided a much cleaner edge.  However, I would urge you to look to look to some alternative after-market products (i.e; Eduard or HGW).  The kit's 'fabric seat belts' certainly do not reflect the state-of-the-art real fabric materials currently available.

Final Assembly

The kit is easy to assemble and when painted provides a nice display model although its overall accuracy is suspect.  With additional details (as shown in several of the attached photos) I believe a more accurate model could emerge from this kit.

Overall Evaluation

I recommend this kit, with the aforementioned caveats.  I only know of one other kit in this scale (the Italeri F-16 Cockpit which also does not appear to be readily available except at sky high collector's prices).

My thanks to Italeri, MRC Academy and IPMS-USA for the opportunity to review this kit.

Israel Main Battle Tank Magach 6B Gal

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 21:06
Product Image Review Author:  Dan Brown Meng Model

The Israeli Defense Force has a long tradition of importing U.S. weapon systems and upgrading them to meet their needs.  The Magach series of tanks are based on the M48 and M60 tanks.  The Magach 6B Gal is a modernized version of the M60A3 Patton and the addition of the Gal designation came with a new fire control system.  The Magach 6B Gal was used as a front line vehicle for many years, serving alongside the Merkava series of main battle tanks.   

As usual with new Meng releases, the box includes an impressive collection of extremely well molded sprues with no visible mold issues or flash. There are eleven sprues in sand colored styrene, two sprues of clear parts, four sprues of track parts, a ladder of poly-caps, a sheet of Photo-Etched (PE) brass, small metal tubes, a sprue of tan rubber, a decal sheet, separate parts for the hull/turret and one machine gun, and the instruction booklet. There is ton of detail packed into the box and as usual with Meng kits there are no issues with the parts included.

Before moving on the build of the kit I do want to highlight the instructions.  These have been printed differently than previous kits that I have built from Meng.  They are printed on slightly glossy paper that is similar to what the covers of other instructions are printed on.  The instructions in the steps are very different from what I am used to, everything is printed in 3D and the center hull is always dark grey while the parts to be added in that step are in bright colors.  For the detail painting, the small parts are printed with the correct colors where they are supposed to be painted.  Due to these simple changes these might be the clearest and easiest to use instructions I have ever used when building an armor kit. 

The build starts with the lower and suspension and there are no real surprises here.  I had no issues with the fit of any parts that went into the suspension.  I did leave the tail lights, E7 and E8, off until later in the build to allow for easier detail painting.  My only issue with the suspension is that the torsion bars are produced in two parts.  In the past, Meng kits had a one piece molding for this.  However in later releases this was replaced with a weaker two part assembly.  In this case the attachment points were better but I still left the torsion bars off until near final assembly to make sure that none ended up broken.  I also left the steel tubes off in step 7 to allow for easier painting.  I will say that once I installed the steel tubes, that they were a vast improvement over typical moveable suspension.  They are much easier to work with and made keeping the suspension workable much easier.  I also left the road wheels and tracks until the end of the build.

Moving on to the upper hull.  I left all the view ports off until the end, for this kit this is extremely easy as they are only molded from the outside.  This means that if you are building with the hatches open you will need to replace the periscopes but it does simplify the build.  One thing to note is that in Step 12, you need to add the typical hull plate number for IDF vehicles, this is nicely produced in PE but there is no decal for it.  So you will have to paint the plate and dry brush the numbers.  Take care to not miss the large number of holes that you will need to drill in the upper hull, side skirts and turret for the ERA tiles.  The instructions have helpful callouts starting in Step 11 but there are a large number and it can be easy to miss some. 

I had no real issues with the assembly of the upper hull.  All of the parts fit really well and the instructions are very clear about placement.  I did leave all of the ERA tiles off of the turret and hull until after the base coat was complete, there is a lot of detail here and I recommend doing this to ensure that you get full coverage behind and around the tiles.  The only fit issues that I had were in Steps 13-14 and were related to the mating of the upper hull to the lower hull.  This is a complicated assembly with a large number of parts and I had some slight fit issues that made it necessary to fill gaps around the edges with Mr. Surfacer and putty.  All issues were easy to deal with and the large parts count for the engine deck means that it will be much easier to add aftermarket parts to open up the engine deck.  I left all of the tools and head lights off until final assembly. 

Next up is the build of the turret.  I don't have a lot of issues to report from the assembly of the turret.  In Step 22 there were minor fit issues with this turret base to the upper turret.  It did require some filling/sanding to correct some minor gaps.  Pay attention to the note for the drilling angle in this step.  In Step 24 the mantlet cover is installed, this is the largest part of the tan rubber set of parts.  This rubber is easy to work with, it responded well to super glue and Testors Liquid Cement.  My only issue with it is that fit is tight to the turret and once it is installed it sort of locks the main gun in position, unable to move.  As with the hull build I left all tools, tracks and ERA panels off until painting was complete. 

The last two parts of the turret build before painting was the barrel and the basket.  The basket is a complicated assembly made up of ton of tiny parts.  The parts are extremely well molded but fragile.  Be very careful that you don't break any of the railings or basket parts.  The engineering here is impressive and I had no issues fitting it to the turret once it was together.  The barrel is a standard two piece affair with a rifled end piece. The detail is great but I do wish that the barrel was slide molded.  The barrel on many IDF tanks is jacketed and the high level of detail can be difficult to work around while sanding seams.  The barrel also fit into the turret perfectly once it was complete.

I left the machine guns off until after painting.  Which means that this completes the main build of the kit and brings us to painting.  There are three decal sets for three different vehicles that all have the same painting scheme, overall Sinai Grey with a white stripe down the barrel.  All paint callouts are for AK Interactive paints made specifically for Meng.  However, I chose to paint the body color with the new MMP paint for modern IDF vehicles.  I would recommend painting the white stripe down the barrel and masking it before spraying the body color. 

Once the base painting was complete it was time to install all of the ERA tiles and other associated parts.  I had no real issues with the fit of any of the tools or any of the ERA tiles.  However, I did have some issues with the installation of the subassembly in Step 34 for parts L1, L36 and L45.  I had difficulty lining up the legs with the holes in the turret while keeping L45 level.  This assembly is meant to support the front machine gun and it needs to be level.  Upon the initial insulation mine was tilted down pretty significantly.  The only other issue that I had with the tools was with the fuel cans; the pins on Part D10 were molded short and I could not install that fuel can as directed. 

Once the tools were installed it was time to complete the tracks, suspension, road wheels and smoke grenade launchers.  I had no issues with the assembly of the launchers but the insulation points were a little vague.  The road wheels, drive sprockets and return rollers were very straight forward with no major fit issues or molding issues.  The tires are molded separate from the wheels for easier painting.  Once the wheels were done, I installed the torsion bar suspension and the wheels.  Everything fit great and it was easy to set the wheels at the same height.  The tracks are typical to Meng kits, very well molded individual link tracks that are connected b a single pin.  The kit includes clear parts for a jig that allows for easy building of a 6 link unit and the pins are inserted from one side.  The instructions call for 101 links per side and this length is perfect.  With no side skirts it was easy to thread the tracks on to complete the build.

The last step is to install the clear parts and decal the vehicle.  I had no issues with the fit of the clear parts and it was a huge bonus to be able to install them from the outside.  I chose the third of the three available schemes.  The decals performed perfectly over a light coat of Future and with a little Micro Sol.  They settled down well over some complicated surfaces.  However the register was a little thin, so the green base coat showed through some of the larger decals. 

This is another great release from Meng.  The engineering is up to their usual standards with no serious fit issues.  The decals are great and the instructions are awesome.  This is another great addition to kits of modern IDF AFVs from Meng.  I would definitely recommend this kit to anyone that is interested in modern IDF vehicles. 

My thanks to Meng Models and IPMS for giving me the opportunity to review this kit. 

The Weathering Aircraft Issue 16. Rarities

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 20:40
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus AMMO by Mig Jimenez

The Weathering Aircraft is an offshoot of Mig Jimenez' The Weathering Magazine, a specialized publication designed for modelers of all skill levels and subjects. Each issue delivers to you, the most advanced weathering techniques and the related products used to achieve incredible results.

The Weathering Aircraft latest release is focused on Rarities.  Rarities as used in this issue refers to extremely unusual schemes for a particular aircraft.  This sixteenth issue is a magazine soft cover of 72 gloss pages (including the covers). The front cover features a color photo of Karim Bibi's Wingnut Wings Early Halberstadt in Royal Prussian Schlasta 21 markings; "3 Martha & Else".  This magazine is all about color and I counted 346 glossy color photographs and one black and white photograph.  This issue opens up with a loving tribute to Mig Jimenez's wife, Elizabeth Wiese, who passed on 30-December 2019 to cancer far too soon.  Elizabeth was instrumental in creating The Weathering Magazine and The Weathering Aircraft.  The contents include the following:

  • Elizabeth Wiese Obituary
  • Rarities [Page 06]
  • Wingnut Wings 1/32 Halberstadt Early by Karim Bibi [Page 14]
  • Trumpeter 1/48 MiG-23 by Michal Dostal [Page 29]
  • Yakolev Yak-1 by Philippe Roger [Page 37]
  • ICM 1/72 Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker by Angel Exposito
  • Hobby Lobby 1/48 Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe Wilma Jeanne by Marek Novacek [Page 49]
  • Kinetic 1/48 F/A-18B Hornet Raider 400 by Mario Serelle
  • Kinetic 1/48 Alenia Aermacchi M-346 by Andrew Brown

 

Each article includes text and color photographs illustrating the many techniques used to achieve the author/builder's work of art.  I consider all of the articles to be quite interesting, but I really enjoyed the cover article on the Wingnut Wings Early Halberstadt.  This particular aircraft, a Halberstadt Cl.II 5720/17 of Schlasta 21 can be seen in a photograph on Wingnut Wings website.  You can clearly see evidence of the airframe's prior paint scheme in the period photograph.  Karim Bibi starts off by painting on the earlier horizontal bar paint scheme, then fading it out before painting on the "3 Martha Else" paint scheme.  He even shows how he made corrections to this effort when the underlying horizontal bars were not as evident as he would have liked.  As in the following articles, paint colors (many show the actual bottle) are cited to leave no doubt on what each artist uses.

I really enjoyed this issue with the step by step process to describe the painting and weathering of each subject.  T is a great way to learn how to improve.  Although I have bought a few digital versions so far, I still enjoy the print versions.  If you own one the previous issues in either The Weathering Magazine or The Weathering Aircraft series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.  My thanks to AMMO by Mig Jimenez, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great magazine.

Highly recommended!

Italeri Hurricane Mk. I

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 17:43
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Italeri

Italeri's 1/48th Hurricane Mk. I is a reissue and for a great reason, with new Battle of Britain decals to commemorate the 80th anniversary of that event. The kit comes in 89 pieces of well molded gray styrene with minimal to no flash. Also included is a clear sprue of 12 pieces, a photoetch fret of 8 pieces, decal sheet with four options, and a instruction manual. Engraving is very nice and there are several options along the way which I will point out as I build the kit. The four options on the decal sheet are:

  • A-RAF No. 85 Squadron, Plt Albert Lewis, Battle of Britain, July 1940
  • B-RAF No. 1 Squadron, F/O A.W. Clowes, Wittering, October 1940
  • C-RAF No. 17 Squadron, Plt Off. HAC Bird-Wilson, 24 Sept. 1940
  • D-RAF Squadron No. 242, F/O W.L.McKnight, December 1940

Construction, as usual starts with the cockpit and Italeri does a nice job of including the framing around the cockpit. Another nice touch is the inclusion of seat belts in photoetch. A choice at this juncture is which instrument panel setup to use. There are two options. First is just adhering the decal to the flat instrument panel and painting it. Second, and the one I chose is to use the beautiful photoetch panel which had dials and the like in relief and is placed over the decals. A little weathering and dry brushing and this is by far superior to the other method. The remainder of the cockpit build is straightforward. A very nice touch is some stout locating pins for attachment to the fuselage which helps alignment.

Before closing the fuselage, the second choice comes into play. The kit includes a 12-piece engine compartment with the engine and bearers. You need to build it as it does hold the prop shaft and exhausts. There are also open panels to display it. I elected to add it but wanted my panels closed so I didn't paint it. It is very nicely detailed and I am sure some photoetch or scratch building would make it a real show piece.

When closing the fuselage, cut the molding strap on the left fuselage side, add the engine and cockpit, test fit and repeat. After several tries I got an excellent fit from the cockpit back. I needed little filler on the nose but more about that in a bit. 

The wings are next and inserts are included to allow for different variants. The ailerons are positionable also. Flaps are fixed and up. Don't forget to insert the wheel well. This was joined to the fuselage and only a little putty at the front and rear were needed- none on the wing root. While this was drying, I added the rudder and tails which also have positionable parts. 

To finish for painting, there are several oil coolers and radiators that need to be built for the bottom, and a bottom insert front the rear wing to tail wheel. A little sanding and all were fit into place. I built the landing gear, but to ease painting it was left off until later. I flipped back to the top, added the front cowling to cover the engine, which is two pieces that fit Ok. Needed a little putty but not much and they were ready. I added the wing inserts for the guns which also needed a little putty. Lastly, I masked the canopy and installed the windscreen and was ready for paint.

I chose version D as it has the half black/half Sky bottom. The top was dark green/dark earth. Paints were MRP and Xtracolor. After drying and the inevitable touch up, I also elected to paint the sky band at the back. I then glossed the entire kit with Gloss Cote and set aside to dry.

The decals were spectacular (Cartograf!). The fit, settled with water and were just plain awesome. A full set of stencils was also added and there is a separate diagram for them. Once dry, a flat coat was added.

To finish off the kit, the landing gear were added, and oil washes gently added to panel lines along with a small amount of pastel. The exhausts were given a coat of rust and the propeller added. Another coat of flat was added to seal. I added an antenna, the wing tip lights, landing lights, and glued the sliding canopy in place.

This is an excellent kit of the Hurricane and nothing a new modeler can't tackle even with the little bit of photoetch.  Detailers can have a field day further adding to the cockpit and engine. Fit is really good and I can think of no better way to remember the Battle of Britain than to build this historic fighter. Highly recommended to all modelers.

My thanks to Italeri, MRC Academy and IPMS/USA for the chance to build and add this to my collection

MQ-8B Fire Scout

Mon, 09/14/2020 - 00:44
Product Image Review Author:  Dave Morrissette Brengun

The Northrup Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout is an unmanned helicopter used by the US armed services for reconnaissance, fire support, and precision targeting. It is based on the Schweizer 333 helicopter and currently 23 of the MQ-8B's are being used by the US Navy. Brengun has produced a resin kit of this helicopter based on Attack Squadron's earlier release. The kit is multimedia consisting of 45 gray resin parts which are finely cast with only one small pinhole I could find. There is also a PE fret of 16 parts. 

The parts were well packed, but when I received the kit, three of the four struts to the skids had a clean break in them. More on the fix for that later. I separated the large parts from their casting blocks and the fit was very good - the main body, nose and top housing all fitting together with no issues. All the rear parts were added and the sensor array at the front and all the things underneath and again, no issues. The exhaust was added but in hindsight, I should have left it off for ease of painting., The only choice during this part of construction was a choice of rear left access doors. The next task is to add nice air scoops. Locations are a bit vague, but you can find a ton of pictures and videos online that make this simple.

I wanted to get the legs under it and so I tried several things. I tried duplicating the legs out of brass and could never quite get the right shapes. I ended up repairing the kit parts and using a template to get the right angles. I then used super glue to add a small backing strip of strip stock for support. I added it to the good leg also. When this was added to the bottom and the shock absorbers added as support, it looked pretty good. This made it stable enough to add the photoetch antennaes, tie downs and rear grill details which all fit well. I set this aside to concentrate on the main and tail rotors. 

Starting with the main rotor, the four blades are cut free. I succeeded on three of four but broke one and ended up gluing it back together and sanding VERY carefully. The hub is very finely cast in three parts, and careful removal gives a great result. I drilled out the part of the blades to receive the pins from the hub and assembled and it looked great. The blades were added, and I moved onto the tail rotor which is a simple three piece photoetch build and no issues were encountered.

At this point, the kit is very fragile, so this is the time for slow and steady. There are four sets of markings but as far as paint, the kit is overall Ghost Gray FS36375. I used MRP paints and was totally impressed. I let that dry and added several coats of gloss in preparation for decals- and there are a lot. There are couple of neat logos that go on the front below the rotor. I chose the markings for BuNo 167792, HSM-35 Magicians from the LCS-3 USS Fort Worth. The decals were somewhat of an issue. If they folded over, they were unsalvageable, and I lost one of the stars/bars logos and substituted from the spares box. Once they grabbed, they didn't move easily. They settled perfectly. Once dry, several oil washes were added. I then did the detail painting such as the rotor hub, shock absorbers, windows on the front and exhaust. I flat coated with Dullcote and let dry. 

I added the main and tail rotors and another flat coat and done. This kit had some challenges due to some breakage and the tiny parts and multimedia and for that reason, I would recommend it to builders with some experience. In the end, you will be rewarded with a very cool, unique model.

My thanks to Brengun and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review this great kit.

AMMO by Mig Figures Set- IDF Uniforms

Sun, 09/13/2020 - 20:18
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves AMMO by Mig Jimenez

Anyone who has used AMMO products knows that the company is prolific in the endless useful and specific sets of paints, washes, and pigments they release. Their range of acrylics for figures are designed to make painting a breeze thanks to the ease of application, with the 17mL dropper bottles. All colors in the range can be mixed with each other and with the full range of AMMO by Mig Jimenez acrylic colors. Each adapts perfectly to the traditional techniques of painting in layers or wet pallet blending as well as new mixed techniques. Each color is suitable for both brush and airbrush application. These acrylics are water-soluble and formulated to be safe and non-toxic. If airbrushing, I would suggest thinning first as the paints are thick out of the bottle which make them great for brush painting.

  This set includes 4 bottles for painting the infantry uniforms used today by the IDF (Israel Defense Forces). The colors have been selected through rigorous research of period uniforms, allowing you to accurately paint the base tones of uniforms, add highlights, and enhance details. They include the following:

  • AMMO.F-503    Dark Olive Green
  • AMMO.F-504    Yellow Green
  • AMMO.F-506    Medium Russian Green
  • AMMO.F-509    Uniform Green Base

There is a photo guide on the back to aid in selecting the colors--I used a Black Dog set of Israeli Women Soldiers for sampling the paints as I wanted something a bit different for my next IDF build (still haven't decided what that'll be yet!). The figures have great detail and would be the perfect test-bed for these paints. I chose Dark Olive Green for her pants and Yellow Green for the uniform blouse. The paint went on smoothly and very opaque. I really had no issues at all with applying them. Only one coat was needed, and they cleaned up off the brush with just some soapy warm water.

 

Conclusion

AMMO really have done it again--providing the modeler with a great base set of colors to use in your IDF builds. While it is pretty obvious that I am not a highly skilled figure painter, I improve a little bit each time I try. These paints really let me focus not so much on having to fiddle with paints to get the right shades and consistency--they've already done that for me. Instead I can spend more time focusing on the highlights and shading that make a figure stand out. I didn't do a whole lot of that here as I wanted to be sure of the setting this lady will be in first, but in mixing the shades where I did, there were no problems. My thanks to AMMO by Mig Jimenez and IPMS-USA for this sample set.

Hitler’s Heavy Tiger Tank Battalions, 1942-1945: Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Sun, 09/13/2020 - 20:09
Product Image Review Author:  Marc K. Blackburn Casemate Publishers

The images of war series, published by Pen and Sword but distributed by Casemate Publishing, is a prolific series that covers a huge variety of topics. They will often feature a campaign or a particular vehicle and then provide a brief narrative and photographic coverage of the vehicle's service life. The author's do their best to find photographs that have not been widely published. The audience for these publications are history buffs and. I would say, modelers.

This particular volume focuses on the individual Tiger Tank battalions that were formed with the advent of the Tiger. The book takes a chronological approach and starts every chapter with a brief overview of what was going on. This is not a photo essay on the Tiger, but the battalions that they served. They served on every front and provided the units that they supported with the firepower that they were well known for. Since these battalions were combined arms units, the photographs not only show Tiger Tanks, but views of the supporting arms, which in my mind, are the most compelling of the book. There are some great ideas for dioramas, in particular with the mechanized flak guns.

For a one volume collection on Tiger Tank battalions, this is a nice additions. It is a nice touch to recognize that the thank battalions were more than just tanks and, in my mind, these are some of the more intriguing photographs in the book. This is not a comprehensive history, but an overview and it succeeds in that regard. One of the features that is both welcome and disappointing are the two Tiger profiles in the back of the book. It is nice to see those featured, but they are in black and white rather than color. My thanks to IPMS and Casemate Publications for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Journal of the Military Vehicle Preservation Society (Vol. 2, Issue 2 - October/November 2019)

Sun, 09/13/2020 - 19:54
Product Image Review Author:  Marc K. Blackburn Military Vehicle Preservation Society

The Military Vehicle Preservation Society (MVPA) is a hobbyist group that restores and operate historical military vehicles. While the journal is for members, for modelers that enjoy soft skins, the images are worthwhile.  From what I can figure out, it appears that History in Motion is available to members as opposed to something you would find in a hobby shop. This publication is the result of merging the previous two membership publications into one.

 

Like many membership publications, there are articles from the officers, features that highlight membership activities and special articles. The articles in this issue that caught my attention was the last part of three part series on Canadian Five Ton trucks., the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings and a number of photo series. The photographs are of a great quality, though keep in mind, these are restored vehicles. For the vehicle aficionado, the magazine is packed full of ads for vendors who sell a remarkable array of goods related to historic vehicles. Impressive. 

 

There are various levels of membership, depending upon how quickly you want the publications shipped ($50.00 vs. $75.00). If you are hobbyist, this might not be the best way to build an archive of historical vehicles, but it is a start. My thanks to IPMS and the MVPA for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

Fighting Vehicles of the Israeli Army in Colour & Scale

Sun, 09/13/2020 - 19:44
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves MA Publications, Ltd.

This is the first of a new series of books for military modellers and enthusiasts. Each book in the series centers on a particular subject and numerous model builds, step-by-step guides, and tips and techniques along the way. Models in a variety of scales are included- some full kit builds, some conversions, and painting guides. This particular volume looks in depth at various vehicles that serve with the Israeli Defense Forces. Some of the topics covered include urban warfare, mine clearance, main battle tanks, and armoured personnel carriers.

 

What's Inside

After a brief two page introduction, the book continues with 21 different builds or conversions of kits. The titles pretty much give an indication of what is occurring in each build and what kits were used. The builds break down into the following:

 

  • Isherman- Jerusalem Chariot- Dragon M51
  • Desert Whip- Sho't Kal Gimel with Explosive Reactive Armour- AFV Club
  • Battlefield Engineering- Academy M113 with Mr. Modellbau, Fruil, and Eduard Accessories
  • Urban Stinger- Academy M163A/1 Vulcan SPAAG with Legend Conversion
  • Up-Gunned Workhorse- Cyber Hobby M50 Super Sherman
  • Urban Monster- Tiger Models Nagmachon with Doghouse
  • Blazer Armor- Magach 7B- Academy M60 with Legend Conversion
  • Israeli Re-Engineering- Tamiya Tiran 5
  • Magach Magic- Academy Magach 7C 'Gimel'
  • Ramming Hit- Magach 6BGal Batash- Italeri M60 with Legend Conversion
  • Desert Lightning- Legend Productions Merkava IIIB Baz
  • Nagmachon- Clearance Under Fire- AFV Club kit with Legend Productions Conversion
  • Merkava 3D- Meng-Model kit with Blast Models, Legend, and Model Miniature Upgrades
  • Desert Chariot- Merkava IV- HobbyBoss kit
  • Clearing the Way- Academy Merkava III with Mine Rollers
  • Battlefield Support- Meng-Model Achzarit
  • Ultimate M113 Zelda- Academy M113 with HK Models Conversion
  • Yom Kippur Warrior- Tamiya M113 with Eduard and Model Kasten Accessories
  • Modular Armour- Magach 7C- Academy M60 with Legend Conversion
  • Kasman- Urban Protection- Blast Models kit with Friul Tracks
  • Access All Areas- AFV Club M109A2 Doher with Black Dog, Real Model, and Friul Upgrades

 

When the build article involves a kit bash of more than one kit, it gives an indication of which parts were used from each kit. Each article is only a handful of pages, and is full of excellent photos and captions to give indications of what is going on in the build. The articles goes through the construction, painting, and finishing stages for each build. Some of the skills and techniques covered in the book include building up the mine rollers, scratch building stowage and extra details using Apoxie Sculpt or Magic Sculpt or Green Stuff or what have you, and recreating the anti-slip surfaces using different products. There are a great many ideas for detailing your builds in the book.

 

Conclusion

This series is a welcome addition to any modelers bookshelf. In particular to those interested in building Israeli armour, this is a goldmine of ideas and techniques for just about any vehicle one could imagine. So far, subsequent issues feature German Armour Modelling (Wehrmacht vehicles) and Gulf War Armour Modelling featuring Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom vehicles. I certainly look forward to more volumes if the quality is up to par as it is in this issue. My sincere thanks to MA Publications and IPMS-USA for the review sample.

 

USN SBD-2 “Battle of Midway”

Sun, 09/13/2020 - 19:23
Product Image Review Author:  Michael Reeves Academy Models

The SBD Dauntless was a stalwart aircraft in the USN arsenal from the beginning of the war throughout most of the major naval engagements in the Pacific Theater. The Battle of Midway was a major engagement in the turning of the tide in the Americans favor. Accurate Miniatures' Dauntless kits were their stalwart kits in their line--serving as the best example of the kit in 1/48 scale. It continues to be re-released by other companies with new decals and parts added here and there. In this Academy offering, the molds are starting to show their age with some flash and warpage. The sink marks are plenty as well and if you're one to fill every one up- even the no-see-ems, you'll have your work cut out for you.

 

What's Inside the Box

 

The kit contents come in a nice sturdy box and includes the following well-packed bits:

 

  • 1 clear sprue with options for a completely closed canopy or parts to have it open
  • 6 grey sprues
  • 1 PE fret with seat belts and buckles for both seats
  • Masking set
  • Decal sheet featuring stencils and markings for three schemes

 

Construction

 

As usual, construction begins with the cockpit "office". As per the usual Accurate Miniatures builds, the side panels and radio gunner rear wall are added, followed by work on the cockpit floor and instrument panel. In step 3, the rear control stick that the radio gunner used in emergencies is shown attached. This was normally stowed on the side so I removed it and attached it in its place. After this, the seats had their belts attached and they were installed along with the radio set. At this point the gunner's seat would be added in, but I have completely no idea where it went...I imagine I'll come across it at some point, but I decided to close the canopies up and hide its absence.

 

At this point the two fuselage halves were put together, but whether it was just a fluke or due to the age of the molds, I could not get things to mate cleanly. Maybe due to some warping or whatever reason, lining it up exactly on the front end made the back end slightly off. I did get it mostly together but due to all the pieces already assembled, I couldn't try fixing the warp. You add the cockpit floor to the fuselage and then the bottom and top halves of the wings, elevators, and tailhook.

 

Work on the cowling and engine commences next. There was quite a bit of flash on my engine face around the pipes...so I carefully trimmed as best as I could, but the bits are quite thin. The main landing gear are next--not too much detail on the wheels themselves as per usual for AM, and no real definite attachment points for them going into the wing bottom. It looks like they should fit right into the slots, but despite this and waiting 24 hours, when I set the plane upright, one of the gear legs started to spread out. The dive flaps and their attachments, as well as the three bombs, are next. After this were all the remaining small bits- the telescope sight, radio loop, lifting cable, and front cowl ring.

 

Masking the canopies was next and the masks worked quite well. One of the masks is mislabeled in the directions though- the one for clear part I8--mask 26 does not fit. Fitting them in place however proved to be a bit of a mess--as you can see from the rear side, the fuselage is a bit too wide for the rear-most canopy piece. I am not sure if the full canopy part has similar fit issues as I had thrown it away thinking of showing off the detail...bad mistake. Lastly are the propeller and hub, pitot tube, exhaust stubs, and antenna mast. The kit fit ok but there were alignment issues as one of my photos shows--but in the end, it looks like a Slow But Deadly.

 

 

Painting and Weathering

 

The three included schemes are:

 

  • Version 1-- and SBD-2 from Midway based VMSB-241, June 1942
  • Version 2 that I chose- SBD-2 from VB-2, "Hit and Run" Raids of March 1942
  • Version 3--a pre-war SBD-2 from VB-2, January 1941 for your NMF fix

 

I used Vallejo Model Air USN Blue Gray and Light Gray for the paint scheme. Masks performed excellent with no bleed through.  I used Tamiya Panel Line wash to bring out the detail. Decals went on well. The tail decal requires you to paint the tail white and then add the red striping on top.

 

Conclusion

 

I have built a handful of the Accurate Miniature kits, including all variants of the Dauntless, as well as a couple Avenger kits. This kit from Academy shares a great lineage of some of the best kits in 1/48, but the molds seem to be showing their age from the original base kit from 1997. I don't remember there being so much flash, and the warping of the fuselage was a bit challenging. The details inside still make things shine though. The new decals went down well and give some new schemes as options. In the end, one can still end up with a nice looking Dauntless in quarter scale--but I suggest mating the fuselage halves up first before you add the details so you can be sure of what you're dealing with. My thanks to MRC and IPMS-USA for the review kit sample.

 

BTR-60 PU Soviet Armored Vehicle

Sat, 09/12/2020 - 11:33
Product Image Review Author:  Jim Pearsall Brengun

THE VEHICLE

The BTR-60 series was developed in the late 1950s to make the Soviet Infantry motorized, allowing the troops to keep up with the tanks as they advanced.  The vehicle is amphibious, with an internal propeller.  The BTR-60 series had dozens of versions.  The BTR-60PU is the command vehicle version, which explains all those antennas on the top. 

THE KIT

The base of the kit is the vehicle chassis.  There are several sets of resin parts and one PE fret. 

ASSEMBLY AND FINISHING

After removing the chassis from the pour block, I painted all the parts with my airbrush.  I'll have to say the color scheme was very easy.  One color for everything except the tires and the mirrors.  I put the decals on at this point. I removed the wheels from the pour blocks and cleaned up the tread areas.  I painted the wheels black, using a brush.  Then I put the wheels on the chassis. I tend to start with the larger and less delicate parts first, then go to the finer details as I proceed.  Experience has taught me that I WILL knock small parts off while doing large assemblies.  I used gel type CA to put the wheels on.  They were pretty easy to reattach after I knocked a couple off later in the build. The small resin parts were next, the gas cans (yes gasoline, not diesel) and the headlights.  I left that antenna off until much later. I assembled the PE equipment rack which goes on the very back on top of the vehicle.  This assembly requires some bending of small and fine PE parts, but I was able to get it pretty well. I followed this with the mirrors, which are quite delicate and were difficult to get to fit.  I installed the mirrors and the equipment rack, and put on the climbing steps.  Six of the steps go just above the wheels, between the wheels.  There are also steps on the sides of the vehicle to provide crew access to the top.  These were pretty difficult to install, as there were no locating spots, so getting them straight and keeping them in place was a challenge. The last installation were those big HF antennas on the roof.  Each one required a 90 degree bend for each of the 3 legs plus a 90 degree bend of the antenna, just above the middle leg of each one.  I actually had far less trouble with these PE parts than any of the others.  Once I got the bends pretty close, I was able to attach the middle leg at the point where the antenna bent.  This was also easier because there was an attachment point.  I then used a tool I bought at an IPMS Convention several years ago called the Glue Looper.  This tool allowed me to get the part in place, then apply a tiny spot of liquid CA between the antenna leg and the attachment point.  I was then able to work one end of the antenna to its attachment point and glue it in place.  Then the third, using the same method. I then put on that vertical antenna, and the project was finished. 

OVERALL EVALUATION:  Recommended.  The PE parts for the steps were a challenge to install and keep in place.  Everything else worked nicely. 

Many thanks to Brengun for the kit, and to IPMS for the chance to do the review, and add to my 1/144 vehicle collection.

Red Star and Roundel. A Shared Century

Sat, 09/12/2020 - 00:45
Product Image Review Author:  Luke R. Bucci PhD Fonthill Media

Thanks to Casemate Publishing & IPMSUSA for the review copy!

Philip Wilkinson has written a tome on a topic seldom seen - Anglo-Russian air force togetherness from before the First World War to a few years ago. This book contains a wealth of historical information that is very difficult to find, along with a first-hand view of military cooperation (or not) by the author. Mr. Wilkinson served in the RAF and thus this book is chiefly concerned with British airpower and its changes through war and peace. His perspective and insights are many and astute. If you are looking for technical details or operational histories, this is not the right book. If you want to know the highlights of RAF-Russian interactions from an RAF viewpoint, this is the right book.

What You Get

A 7 X 10-inch hardcover book 1.5 inches thick with 10.5 font written in British English (not American English). A short foreword by Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire KBE CB KStJ precedes the Preface and then 31 Chapters with short Endnotes and Bibliography at the end of the book. In the middle of Chapter 19 between pages 192-193 there are 16 pages of figures, illustrations and photographs (B&W and color) running the gamut of the timeframe of this book. Half of the images are of people the author dealt with and half are of historical interest.

As Philip Wilkinson explains, he wanted this book to be a window on a little-known part of recent history that he experienced with enough background to keep perspective on world events. He focuses on the men and women of the Royal Air Force (and its precursors) who dealt with Soviet Union from WW1 to almost present day. Much of the text is pulled from memoirs, diaries, and letters - on the spot reporting. His personal experiences are the shortest part of the book, but brings the reader up to date with how the RAF interacted with Russia as allies, antagonists, allies, Cold War antagonists and then allies again. He purposefully did not have copious footnotes and references, but he does quote many official documents that provide rationale for the comings and goings of history and his experiences.

This book is not focused on my modeling interests (1/700 WW2 ships), and is a willing departure from my technical or naval book reviews. This is a well-written, well-researched, and well-flowing book that has inside information on events that greatly affected all of us reading this review. If you wanted to know more about Russia, Soviet Russia, and afterwards, this is one place to get eyewitness accounts.

To give you an idea of why this rather large book is worth a read, I will briefly cover the main topics - you the reader will reap the rewards of his findings and interpretations. The first three chapters cover the birth of the RAF before and during WW1, although this book does not delve into that conflict. Chapters 4-13 are concerned with the "action" in Russia near and after the end of WW1 - a forgotten but very important time that determined where the world is today. British air forces were in northern Russia from mid-1918 to mid-1920, at first to prevent the Germans from ransacking Russian weapon troves but which quickly morphed into an undeclared, anti-Bolshevik (Soviet) war at a time when everyone except the Bolsheviks were trying not to fight. Needless to say, the reader will learn why the Bolsheviks prevailed against the White Russians and the dwindling backing of the British. Air power is the main focus, and you are put into the cockpits and observers' seats.

At the same time, British efforts to control Bolshevism in South Russia is covered in Chapters 14-16, roaming around the Caspian and Black Seas, and the Caucasus region. Again, another forlorn theatre that only stemmed the Red tide briefly - a failed campaign. Chapter 17 concerns the air force in the Baltic theatre, which was mostly naval and ground forces. Same story - no matter how the air force performed, it was not enough to win a limited action against a determined foe (sound like Deja vu?). There are lessons buried in these chronicles of carrying on. Chapter 18 is a short synopsis of the interwar years 1921 to 1941, with little to discuss. Half the book is concerned with pre-WW2 activity.

Chapters 19-26 concern the larger and much friendlier role that British air power played for and with the Soviets in WW2. From Hurricanes, Hampdens, Airacobras, Lancasters and Spitfires, the reader is placed into the shoes of British airmen who flew, trained and supplied the Soviet air force on a massive level little appreciated today. The roles of RAF liaison staff in the Soviet Union were detailed, and help explain events after WW2.

Just as fast as the Soviets became allies, they once again were antagonists, as exemplified by the Berlin airlift and immediate post-WW2 occurrences as shown in Chapter 27. Since there was no presence of the RAF in Soviet lands, Chapters 28 & 29 focus on RAF Gatow, the British airfield in Berlin, and take us through the Cold War and the fall of the Soviet Union. The author's experiences enter in this timeframe, discussing arms limitation talks, flying spy missions, and treaties. The ending of RAF activity in Berlin after the Wall fell is seen through the eyes of the RAF team on the ground. In Chapter 30, the author then joins the British military presence in Moscow and gives an eyewitness account of the changing regimes after Gorbachev, and of relationships built that last to this day after his retirement. Finally, Chapter 31 gives a brief update to 2012, focusing on joint amity ending up with medals and how some of the RAF personnel fighting the Bolsheviks ended their careers.

Summary

When I chose this book to review, I was worried that in doing my Reviewer Corps duty I might be using my time on something that was not anticipated or welcome. All those thoughts quickly banished when I realized the author had many stories to tell about a century of history that most of us have lived through the latter part. The forgotten campaigns were exposed on a personal level, something we do not normally get. We learn a lot about the Russian and Soviet psyche, and world news becomes less opaque and more understandable. Filling in these forgotten and invisible areas of military history makes this book worthwhile. But the real beauty of this rather lengthy book is to see how people perform in situations they would not have chosen. There are many entertaining vignettes of those life moments we all have that make rote and dreary lives more bearable. Philip Wilkinson won me over with details, humanity, and behind-the-scenes wisdom. You will not regret reading this book, and it is a perfect companion if you have time on your hands to be educated, informed, and entertained the old-fashioned way - with a good book. Recommended for flyers and military history buffs of all kinds, and all those who love a good yarn.

Figures:

Figure 1: Front cover of Red Star and Roundel.

Figure 2: Back cover of Red Star and Roundel.

Figure 3: Author with crew of a Russian Bear after being flown as a passenger.

Figure 4: Russian, British (author in middle) and German attaches at a dinner function.

Figure 5: Author (right) taking over the Defense Attache position in 1993 with Kremlin in background.

Figure 6: Author (second from left) watching the White House burn in Moscow, October 1993.

Model Aircraft Extra – Building the Harrier

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 23:38
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Model Aircraft Magazine

Review

Model Aircraft Magazine now has a new series on "Building the..." a specific aircraft. The 5th installment of this series covers the Hawker Siddeley Harrier (previous installments cover the Fw-190, Bf-109, P-51, F-4 Phantom).

In particular in this issue you have articles covering

  • First Generation - Harrier Duo - 1:48 Monogram AV-8As
  • Artic Harrier - 1:48 Eduard Harrier GR.7/9
  • SHAR School - 1:48 Kinetic Harrier T.8
  • So Long SHAR - 1:48 Kinetic Harrier F/A-2
  • Vertical Reality - 1:48 Kinetic Harrier F/A-2
  • VSTOL Raider - 1:48 Kinetic Harrier II Plus
  • Falklands Fighter - Kinetic Sea Harrier FRS.1
  • Artic Training - 1:48 Kinetic Harrier T.4
  • Marines Mover - 1:72 Airfix AV-8A
  • Hover and Out - 1:48 Kinetic Sea Harrier F/A-2
  • Spanish Matador - 1:72 Airfix AV-8S
  • Harrier in Helmand - 1:72 Airfix Harrier GR.7/9
  • Step-by-Step SHAR - 1:48 Airfix Sea Harrier F/A-2

In addition to all those articles, there are 6 photographic references for different deployments or users, line drawings (1/72 scale) for the Sea Harrier F/A-2 and a well written, although high level, introduction to the history of the airframe.

All the articles are build articles, review type in some cases, with hints and tips as to how to assemble the model, while others articles focus more in the painting and weathering techniques. All articles are lavishing coved with high resolution color pictures as you are accustomed from Model Aircraft Magazine.

If you are an aircraft modeler, you will enjoy this issue. If you are a Harrier fan, you will love it.

Recommended.

I would like to thank Model Aircraft Magazine and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Gloster Gladiator Top Drawings 94

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 22:56
Product Image Review Author:  Pablo Bauleo Kagero Publishing

Review

The Top Drawings series specializes in line drawings of a given subject in each booklet. The 94th installment in this series is devoted to the Gloster Gladiator or J8 as was known in Swedish service.

This booklet has line drawings (front, back, left, right, top, bottom, plus fuselage contours) for the Gloster Gladiator Mk I, MkII, Sea Gladiator, Mk II Meteo, Mk I Trop, J-8, plus Norwegian and Finnish ski types for the Mk I.

In addition to the B&W line drawings, you also get 10 color profiles, in some cases with multiple views (left side, right side, etc.) of the same aircraft. Markings are for British and Finnish service.

The booklet also includes a brief description on the overall history of the aircraft and each line drawing has an explanation as to what was modified from the previous block series. Scale of the drawings is 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32, in a pull-out sheet.

If you are looking for detailed drawings of the Gladiator, this book is the answer.

Highly recommended.

I would like to thank Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for the review sample.

Cross & Cockade International Summer 2020 Volume 51/2

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 00:51
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Cross & Cockade International

Cross & Cockade International is a non-profit UK based group known as the First World War Aviation Historical Society that publishes their journal four times a year. They also provide a free newsletter (sign up on their website) and occasionally publish WWI themed books like the Sopwith Dolphin monograph I reviewed earlier for IPMS USA. This Journal is the sister of the US Journal, Over The Front.

The Summer 2020 journal of Cross & Cockade International features a nice clear black and white photograph of a Greek Maurice Farman Se.7 Longhorn. The rear cover features another photo of a Maurice Farman Se.7 Longhorn (top) and a Henri Farman F.20 (lower), both of the Hellenic Aviation Company.  This issue includes the second in a series of British flying sites in France, Belgium, and Germany from 1914 to 1920. This is a separately page numbered center section that consists of eight pages, twenty period black and white photographs, and eight black and white maps. Also included is a separate folded color 1/100,000 map consisting of eight pages when folded up.  This color map represents the flying sites in Calais while Beauvais is on the reverse side.

Stewart K. Taylor kicks off this issue with a tale of two Canadians that joined the RNAS, Alex Knight and Rod McDonald.   Through twenty-four pages, Stewart covers their exploits in the RNAS, primarily flying Sopwith Triplanes.  Stewart includes several first person accounts that add a lot of insight into the "Noisy Knight" and his fellow Naval 8 pilots.  This article includes forty-five well-captioned photographs.  Graham Pitchfork follows with a 2-pager on the capture of Leonard Arthur Colbert behind enemy lines.  Thankfully Colbert survived the downing of his FE2b and were able to burn their aircraft before becoming a POW.  His advance planning for this possible occurrence gave his parents a heads up to his condition before his parents received the military's "regret to inform" letter.  This includes a photograph of Colbert and a fellow POW as well as photos of the correspondence. 

Mike Kelsey offers up a six-page article that complements Paul Leaman's recent contributions on captured German aircraft.  In this case, Mike addresses German aircraft that were captured on the Macedonian front, complete with fifteen black and white photographs, a period three-view and description of a Friedrichscahfen G.II bomber, and descriptions of the nine German aircraft that were captured.  David Learmount is up next with a six-page article on his grandfather, Leonard Learmount.  Many have probably never heard of Leonard Learmount, but most have heard of his sometime observer/gunner, Archie Whitehouse, well known for his memoir, Hell in the Heavens.  Whitehouse went on to author many books.  The attrition on the Western Front was up to five times that of infantryman serving in the trenches.  When Whitehouse left 22 Squadron in January 1918, he and Leonard Learmount were the only two aviators left after one year of service.  Learmount, contrasted with Whitehouse, did not keep any records or photos of his WWI service. Lacking such, his grandson has put together a nice article about Leonard Learmount and Archie Whitehouse.

Paschalis Palavouzis delivers a twenty-six page feature on Part One of Greek Naval Airmen at War.  There are a whopping 102 black and white period photographs included, plus an additional four photographs on the rear inside and outside cover.  Paschalis takes us from the start of Greek aviation on February 21, 1912 with the flight of Emmanouil Argyropoulos in a Nieuport IVG to the Summer of 1917.  Part Two will focus on the 1917 preparation for operations over the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula. There are plenty of first person accounts to get you into the thick of things.

Mick Davis's Fabric consists of a correction to the Spring 2020 issue (V51/1).  One letter addresses Paul Hare's tale of the flour BE2a aircraft in the Naval Wing.  Four additional photographs are also included.  Joe Moran does a build review of the Wingnut Wings 1/32 Rumpler C.IV kit in Modeling with five black and white photographs.  Joe Moran also provides an update on new on-topic releases.  Under Obituaries, Paul Stuart Leaman, a founding member of Cross and Cockade passed on April 8, 2020.  Paul led Cross & Cockade for over 25 years.  A prolific author on World War I Subjects, he was well known for his Fokker Dr. I knowledge.  The Bookshelf section is a review of WWI aviation specific books and magazines with this issue totaling three.

Topics:

  • Editorial by Mick Davis
  • The Two Bohunks by Stewart Taylor [Page 51-078]
  • American Express? That'll Do Nicely by Graham Pitchfork 
  • German Aircraft Captured in the British Sector of the Macedonian Front- by Mike Kelsey [Page 51-104]
  • Out of the Ordinary- by David Learmount [Page 51-108]
  • The Gazetteer of British Flying Sites in France, Belgium, and Germany 1914 - 1920 Part 2: Support Units  by Peter Dye, Roger Austin, and Mick Davis [Centerfold Map]
  • Greek Naval Airmen at War - Part 1 by Paschalis Palavouzis [Page 51-127]
  • Fabric compiled by Mick Davis
  • Modeling: New Releases and Kit Reviews compiled by Joe Moran
  • Obituaries : Paul Stuart Leaman 1929 - 2020 
  • Bookshelf

This is another excellent issue from Cross & Cockade and I continue to be impressed with the quality of the articles, both from a research perspective and readability. The period pictures, maps, and drawings in this journal come off looking great thanks to their printing on the journal's glossy paper. If you are into early / WWI aviation, this journal is an incredible source of information that will have you on the edge of your seat for the next issue. My thanks to Cross & Cockade International and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great issue.

Highly recommended!

Cross & Cockade International Spring 2020 Volume 51/1

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 00:40
Product Image Review Author:  Frank Landrus Cross & Cockade International

Cross & Cockade International is a non-profit UK based group known as the First World War Aviation Historical Society that publishes their journal four times a year. They also provide a free newsletter (sign up on their website) and occasionally publish WWI themed books like the Sopwith Dolphin monograph I reviewed earlier for IPMS USA. This Journal is the sister of the US Journal, Over The Front.

The Spring 2020 Journal of Cross & Cockade International - Spring 2020, features a nice clear black and white photograph of Ltn Kurt Monington of Jasta 15 in his Albatros D.V.  The rear cover features in-action shots of a 20 Squadron FE2b in early 1916.  This issue includes the first in a series of British flying sites in France, Belgium, and Germany from 1914 to 1920. This is a separately page numbered center section that consists of eight pages. Also included is a separate folded color 1/100,000 map consisting of eight pages when folded up.  This first map represents the flying sites in Abbeville while Amiens is on the reverse side.

Paul R. Hare kicks off this issue continuing with his detailed histories of individual RAF BE2a aircraft.  Through five pages, Paul covers the four BE2a that had long careers with the RFC's Naval Wing.  This article includes sixteen well captioned photographs.  Stewart K. Taylor follows with a 22-page article on the RAF's 21st Squadron experience with the severely underpowered Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.7.  This is an excellent feature using interviews, letters, and diaries.  Stewart provides a biography of 2Lt Arthur Melville Goulding that comprises half of this article before addressing several other pilots in the 21stSquadron.  Interestingly, many of A. M. Goulding's photographs are presented.  

Thomas Nilsson offers up a ten-page article on the French GB8 that was formed on January 1918 for night bombing.  David Mechin provides three gorgeous color side profiles of Voisins along with 14 period black and white photographs.  GB8 began operations targeting airfields, railway stations, and ammunition depots.  Thomas Nilsson provides details on the Groupe's missions, including dates, number of missions, bomb tonnage dropped, and GB8 losses.  A.D. Garvey is up next with a six-page article on the evolution of aircraft markings and aviator's uniforms in World War One, with Why Was the Red Baron Fokker Painted Red?

Lorne Bohn contributes a five-page article with 11 photographs on the impact of early aircraft development and marketing.  Items that every 'modern' aviator must have, included goggles, flight clothing, scarves, socks, and helmets. Interestingly, upgrades to early aircraft landing gear was apparently a good industry.  Keep in mind that the original Wright Flyer took off and landed on skids.  Upgrading your aircraft with a variety of wheels, or pontoons gave the daring adventure quite a few great options.  Philip Jarrett chimes in with a 17-page feature on Assistant Paymaster Edward Bertram Parker.  The author addresses RFC's Naval Wing flights out of Eastchurch in 1913 and includes 23 black and white photographs.  Based on Philip Jarrett obtaining a large ledger that served as a personal flight log book, this article serves as a biography of Edward Bertram Parker.  The ledger reveals his flight training in conjunction with pilots who would go onto fame.

Mick Davis's Fabric consists of a correction to Mike Meech's article in the Winter 2019 (50/4) issue addressing the James Means Device.  This was effectively using smoke signals form the aircraft's engine so that a ground observer could read them.  Three additional photographs are also included.  Joe Moran does a build review of the Valom 1/144 Rumpler C.IV kit in Modelingwith four black and white photographs.  Joe Moran also provides and update on new on-topic releases.  The Bookshelf section is a review of WWI aviation specific books and magazines with this issue totaling nine.

Topics:

  • Editorial by Mick Davis
  • The RAF Be2a in the Naval Wing by Paul R. Hare [Page 51-004]
  • 21 Squadron's Beardmore Blues by Stewart Taylor [Page 51-011]
  • The History of Groupe de Bombardments 8 (GB8) by Thomas Nilsson [Page 51-036]
  • The Gazetteer of British Flying Sites in France, Belgium, and Germany 1914 - 1920 Part 1  by Peter Dye, Roger Austin, and Mick Davis
  • Why Was The Red Baron's Fokker Painted Red?- by A. D. Harvey [Page 51-040]
  • Early Aircraft Development & The Marketplace by Lorne Bohn [Page 51-048]
  • The Tragic Tale of Assistant Paymaster Parker, RN by Philip Jarrett
  • Fabric compiled by Mick Davis
  • Modeling: New Releases and Kit Reviews compiled by Joe Moran
  • Bookshelf

This is another excellent issue from Cross & Cockade and I continue to be impressed with the quality of the articles, both from a research perspective and readability. The period pictures, maps, and drawings in this journal come off looking great thanks to their printing on the journal's glossy paper. If you are into early / WWI aviation; this journal is an incredible source of information that will have you on the edge of your seat for the next issue. My thanks to Cross & Cockade International and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great issue.

Highly recommended!