BOOKS

ON THE SHELF

ONE-OFF SUPER SHIP

82 pages

Japanese Destroyer Shimakaze

By: Mriusz Motyka

ISBN: 978-83-65437-76-1

Price: £26.95 Format: A4

Web: www.casematepublishers.co.uk

In terms of torpedo complement, Japan’s Shimakaze was the most heavily armed destroyer of its time. While just a single experimental ship class, it has fascinated historians and modellers alike with its potential, despite being succeeded by other designs. A short history serves as a neat introduction to the vessel, before the reader is immersed in Kagero’s trademark top-quality digital imagery. Shimakaze is depicted throughout as it appeared from 1944 onwards, with increased anti-aircraft armament, notably the four staggered triple-gun emplacements aft of the funnels. The author is to be commended for the detail incorporated in the images, with everything from deck crosshatching to torpedo launcher grab handles and ship’s rigging displayed clearly. The characteristic pull-out plans feature 1/200-scale five-view drawings of the ship, plus a hull cross-section diagram, which is ideal for those modellers wanting to make their own vessel, regardless of size. A new element is the provision of six un-scaled isometric-view drawings, of the funnels, forward superstructure, aft deckhouse, and searchlight/ anti-aircraft gun posts, providing yet more detail that should satisfy even the most ardent scratch-builder. SF

SOVIET FLYING TANK

256 pages

Il-2 Shturmovik Red Avenger

By: Jason Nicholas Moore

ISBN: 978-1-62545-042-5

Price: £40 Format: 178 x 255mm

Web: www.fonthillmedia.com

Sergey Ilyushin’s Il-2 earned many accolades during World War Two, due to its rugged structure and fearsome firepower, and was built in greater numbers than any other military aircraft. Known simply as ‘Ilyusha’ by the Soviets, it’s the subject of a fascinating study, from Fonthill. The Shturmovik’s development, operational service and legacy is then discussed in depth. While it’s undoubtedly text-heavy, there’s a collection of period photos, maintenance manual extracts and combat maps to provide context; these are supported by more contemporary shots of warbirds and museum exhibits. There isn’t a walk-round section per se, but most aspects of the Il-2’s airframe are covered in depth; 24 pages of colour profiles depict many of the camouflage schemes and variations, and highlight the differences between early straight-winged machines and later ‘arrow-wing’ (swept leading edge) versions. Three chapters will be of great use to modellers, as they cover the evolution of the Shturmovik, variants and modifications (both field and factory), plus one devoted to kit listings, with guidance on how to build an accurate model. Fans of the Il-2 and Soviet aircraft design during World War Two will find this an engrossing and informative volume. SF

ARMOURED WARRIOR

160 pages

Images of War: Challenger 2

By: MP Robinson and R Griffin

ISBN: 978-1-47389-665-9

Price: £15.99 Format: 190 x 246mm

Web: www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

Pen & Sword’s recent Images of War on the British Challenger 2 main battle tank takes a slightly different approach to its predecessors, in that it serves almost as a pictorial pocket-guide, covering its origin, development and combat deployment. As with many offerings in this series, it’s packed with high-quality colour photos, many of which are sourced from military archives and haven’t been published previously. The type’s troubled genesis is explained in brief, after which the focus is on its operational history, notably the 2003 invasion of Iraq (and subsequent occupation), where its considerable protection measures safeguarded crews from multiple rocket-propelled grenade attacks. Most aspects of the tank are covered well, including urban upgrades, crew attire and equipment, but just the exterior is photographed. However, the inclusion of Omani vehicles, Titan bridge-layer and Trojan Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers variants is a plus. While modellers will appreciate the close-ups, walkrounds and overall depiction of the British Army’s primary armoured ‘punch’, military aficionados will also find much to enjoy, notably how urban conflict (in Iraq) led to improvements. As a final bonus, there are diagrams explaining how British Challenger 2 Squadrons are organised, which will also be a boon for wargamers. SF

UNDERWATER HUNTERS

288 pages

Submarines of World War Two

By: Erminio Bagnasco

ISBN: 978-1-5267-4453-1

Price: £40 Format: 247 x 267mm

Web: www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

This exhaustive volume provides modellers who build World War Two submarines with a thorough examination of every vessel type that operated between 1939-45. An extensive introduction charts the genesis and development of underwater warfare, and the subsequent countermeasures (sonar, depth-charges, patrol aircraft). It also highlights how two nations, Germany and the US, turned them from a tactical asset to one capable of inflicting damage at a strategic level. The remainder of the pages are then devoted to submarine types, with operator/builder nations organised in alphabetic order. There is a notable divide between the ‘major’ (France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, United States and USSR) and ‘lesser’ (Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia) powers, with just ten pages allocated to the latter. Each country receives a concise overview of design philosophies, production and operational usage, before focus shifts to individual classes. For these there’s a list of builders, hull numbers, sub-variants (including diagrams to show how design aspects changed) and where vessels were sunk. All this technical information is backed by period photographs and a series of blackand- white line drawings, making this an invaluable reference. SF

SEND IN YOUR PRODUCTS FOR US TO REVIEW: Airfix Model World, Key Publishing Ltd, Units 1-4 Gwash Way Industrial Estate, Ryhall Road, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 1XP, UK

FLAT-TOP FLYING MACHINES

261 pages

US Navy and Marine Carrier-Based

Aircraft of World War II - Fighters

By: Bert Kinzey and Rock Roszak

ISBN: 978-0-9991959-0-1

Price: US $12.99 Format: digital

Web: www.detailandscale.com

Detail and Scale bucks it’s usual trend of focusing on a single type, with this involved examination of US carrier aircraft. All major fighters are covered, such as the Brewster F2A Buffalo, Grumman F4F/General Motors FM Wildcat, Corsair family, F6F Hellcat, and F8F Bearcat…’oddities’, such as the XF5F-1 Skyrocket and Bell Airabonita also feature. Published by modellers for modellers, this guide is a superb gathering of insightful text and heaps of imagery. The latter comprises colour and black and white photos of whole aircraft, and close-up detail studies, plus quality colour profile/plan view artwork. There are maps for historical/tactical context, and scrap illustrations of vertical tail markings, engine cowling fronts, wingtips and fuselage bands. The colour cockpit shots are particularly useful for getting those ‘office’ features looking just right, and inclusions of the more unusual types (XTBU-1 and TBY-2 Sea Wolf, and XSB2D-1/BTD-1 Destroyer), are welcome indeed. While the attention is on the aircraft, there are also ample photos of carrier deck/airfield features to aid modellers. Superb value in e-book form, but selected pages are also available in a 114-page softback book for $21.99. CC

HUNTER HOW-TO GUIDE

163 pages

Jagdtiger: Building Trumpeter’s

1:16th Scale Kit

By: Sam Dwyer

ISBN: 978-0-9935646-2-8

Price: £35 Format: 298 x 210mm

Web: www.aftvmodeller.com

Modeller Sam Dwyer takes on Trumpeter’s massive 1/16 Jagdtiger, as he shows how get the most from the impressive kit in this step-by-step guide. Construction is split into seven sections, addressing the interior hull, fighting compartment and exterior, before attention shifts to painting and weathering these areas; a gallery then profiles the completed model from every angle, including close-ups of the interior detail. Throughout, the author aims to correct and improve the basic kit parts; while much is specific to Trumpeter’s offering, there is plenty to consider for 1/35 Jagdtigers from Dragon or Tamiya. Plastic card is used extensively the interior and exterior are superdetailed with explanations of how equipment is placed within the hull, and employing AFV Modeller’s resin aftermarket accessories where required (such as ammunition pouches and gas mask containers). Although this is effectively a showcase of advanced modelling skills, there is much to inspire the lessexperienced builder as many basic techniques are covered, such as creating weld beads, building storage boxes and adding internal wiring. Arguably, the most educational element is the painting, as the sub-assemblies are coloured, chipped and weathered. The final chapter supplies detailed walk-round photos of a preserved Jagdtiger, courtesy of the US National Armor and Cavalry Museum. SF

PLANS BONANZA

20 pages

Brewster Buffalo

By: Maciej Noszczak

ISBN: 978-83-65437-73-0

Price: €18.99 Format: A4

Web: www.kagero.pl

Kagero’s dual-language (English/ Polish) volume, the 51st in its Top Drawings series, examines the Brewster F2A Buffalo, catering for the -1, -2 and -3 sub-variants. Various scales are employed to illustrate the type; the majority of drawings are 1/48 (including fuselage cross-sections), while close-ups of specific equipment, such as landing skis (fitted to Finnish airframes) and the wing gun bays are 1/24 scale. The four centre pages are occupied by eight superb colour profiles, which provide examples of US Navy, Finnish, RAF and Dutch Near-East Indies Air Force airframes, offering six different camouflage schemes, as worn by almost all Buffalo subtypes. The final section provides a concise variant guide, charting the changes between the initial production F2A-1 through to the final F2A-3. Whether one has offerings from Tamiya, Special Hobby or Hasegawa, there is much to savour, and this collection of scale drawings offers much scope for either basic/super-detailing projects, or just correcting any inaccuracies in the kits. This is a great guide to the Buffalo, and an essential reference for any US Navy aviation enthusiast; as a bonus, there’s an A-4 colour print of a US Navy F2A-3 Buffalo. SF

FLANKER ENCYCLOPEDIA

720 pages

Sukhoi Su-27 & 30/33/34/35

By: Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy

Komissarov

ISBN: 978-1-91080-918-1

Price: £44.95 Format: 220 x 286mm

Web: www.crecy.co.uk

If you thought the previous collaboration between the authors on Sukhoi’s Flankers was comprehensive, then prepare to be astounded by this completely revised and updated edition, which delves into the subject in unprecedented detail. As previously, the Su-27’s background is explored, culminating in its selection for the Soviet Air Force and Navy, after which each of the subsequent variants receives an exhaustive examination. Notably, there’s a complete listing of serial numbers, which is divided alphabetically into operators, and covers all export customers, including the Chinese; the latter nation also warrants a chapter of its own, where its local Air Force and Naval variants are described. The type’s operational history receives much attention, chronicling the various reorganisations with the Soviet/Russian military, before examining the Flanker’s involvement in recent conflicts, including those in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria. The latter is arguably of most interest, as it covers both air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. Perhaps unsurprisingly (given the volume’s size), there are more than 1,700 high-quality photographs, including a busy ‘in detail’ section, which offers all the close-up shots a modeler could possibly need, and there are scale drawings for each variant. Regardless of whether one is a modeler or aviation enthusiast, this is the only reference needed on the Su-27 Flanker family. SF

A SQUADRON TRIBUTE

174 pages

Combat Over the Mediterranean

By: Chris Goss

ISBN: 978-1-47388-943-9

Price: £14.99 Format: 190 x 245mm

Web: www.pen-and-sword.co.uk

Arguably, the title of this Air War Archive is somewhat misleading; while combat operations over the Mediterranean are indeed the subject, they are concerned with one particular RAF unit, 252 Squadron, which operated Beaufighters during this period. The source material, comprising a series of stunning gun-camera photos, comes from the personal archive of Wing Commander Dennis Ormonde Butler DFC (who commanded the unit on two occasions), augmented by notes compiled from the squadron Form 540 Operations Record Book and the combination is a fascinating insight into wartime events. All photos are black and white, and while attack footage forms the main component, there are also personnel/crew shots, posed alongside their Beaufighter mounts. It’s hard to determine what is the more impressive, the sheer range of targets struck by 252 Squadron during that period, the height (or lack thereof) at which they pressed their attacks, or the overall clarity of the photos…far removed from the usual grainy wartime fare. This is a stunning collage, and the author is to be commended for combining these with operational extracts, occasionally highlighting specific items and providing valuable historical context. SF

RUSSIANS IN SYRIA

80 pages

Moscow’s Game of Poker

By: Tom Cooper

ISBN: 978-1-912390-37-3

Price: £16.95 Format: A4

Web: casematepublishers.co.uk

In recent years, the majority of military interventions abroad have involved Western nations, with mixed results, so when Russia became involved in the Syrian conflict there was considerable interest in what form that would take. Tom Cooper’s engaging volume sets out to examine the intentions and capabilities of Russia’s military forces. More importantly, the author takes the time to explain the somewhat complicated geopolitical situation, before recounting the arrival of Russian airpower in Syria. Events are then detailed chronologically, supported throughout by photos of combat aircraft and their weapon loads, and assessing the effectiveness (or otherwise) of the munitions employed. Seven pages of colour profiles depict Russian and Syrian aircraft; notable inclusions are B-13 rocket pods on SU-25s, a weapon not previously associated with the type, and the brief deployment of Su-57 fifthgeneration fighters. An eighth ‘profile page’ provides diagrams explaining the organisation of S-400 and S-300 strategic air defence systems, deployed after Western air strikes on Syria in April 2018. The summary highlights Russia’s operational achievements, such as turning the tide of the ground war, but also the blatant use of Syria as a weaponstesting facility…not to mention the propaganda value of ‘succeeding’ where Western interventions elsewhere ‘failed’. SF

IRONWORK’S FINAL FIGHTER

44 pages

Grumman F-14 Tomcat

By: Marcelo Ribeiro

ISBN: 978-83-65958-02-0

Price: £19 Format: 216 x 303mm

Web: www.mmpbooks.biz

MMP’s latest ‘Spotlight On’ focusses on the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, which was operated by the US Navy and is still in service with Iran. As with other titles, there is a brief introduction, including the types combat record, although the latter covers just US Navy actions. Forty-one specially commissioned full colour plates then form the remainder of the pages; the majority provide single side profiles of a specific airframe, and most units are covered by just one image. The exceptions are VF-84 ‘Jolly Rogers’ and VF-103 ‘Sluggers/ Jolly Rogers’, which have four and two respectively, while VF-33 has a four-page spread comprising side, upper and lower views. VF-111 ‘Sundowners’ gets special attention, combining a standard profile plus the same treatment as VF-33. Five profiles are dedicated to Iranian aircraft, and cover the different colour schemes applied to that nation’s Tomcats since delivery in the 1970s. Similarly, most US Navy liveries are covered, from the original Light Gull Gray/ White to several variations of the multi-tone grey Tactical Paint Scheme. There is a particular emphasis on aircraft that participated on operations, with multiple examples from Operation Desert Storm, Southern Watch and Iraqi Freedom; both standard ‘line’ jets and specially marked CAGbirds feature, and there are closeups of nose art, bomb tallies and unit insignia. SF

ISRAEL’S CHARIOT REVISITED

84 pages

Merkava Siman 1 Part 2

By: Michael Mass and Adam O’Brien

ISBN: 978-965-7700-09-9

Price: £29.50 Format: 215 x 278mm

Web: www.aviationbookcentre.com

Desert Eagle’s IDF Armour Series is to Israeli military vehicles what Detail & Scale is to aircraft; authoritative, indispensable, and a true ‘by modellers, for modellers’ collection. This second visit to the first member of the Merkava main battle tank family is no exception, and picks up where the initial volume (No.20, see reviews p.77, Feb 2018) ended, with high-quality colour photos of the tank in action, along with general views. Attention quickly shifts to specifics, starting with the often-seen Nochri mine-roller and its conspicuous attachment points, then the man/machine combination, describing the crews’ uniforms and equipment (with a demonstration of how to remove the tracks). While the interior received little attention in the previous volume, here there are 20 pages of photos, documenting many features, including vehicle batteries, nuclear, biological and chemical filters, and the myriad turret hatches, used for storing various forms of ammunition (for mortars, machine guns and grenade launchers). The final sections focus on various wrecked Merkava Is and serve as an introduction to unit/ formation insignia, as found on all Israeli armoured vehicles. Modellers will find all they need to help build an accurate and realistic Merkava, and much more, while those preferring dioramas may find themselves overwhelmed with inspiration. SF