A recent softback from Amberley Publishing is a handy entry-level reference for anyone modelling this USAF organisation’s aircraft.
Flying machines of the US Strategic Air Command make for great modelling subjects, whether bombers, tankers or reconnaissance assets pique your interest. Newcomers to the theme have a worthy, reasonably priced reference in Amberley’s new image-laden 96-page study, portraying SAC assets from the 1980s. It was the decade that preceded the ‘fall of the wall’ and the end of the Cold War with the then Soviet Bloc.
SAC in the 1980s offers a wealth of full-colour images and at just £15.99 is a wallet-friendly product, ideal for modellers approaching the subject for the first time. Author Adrian Symonds’ efforts begin by profiling the history and role of Strategic Air Command. SAC will always be remembered for its bombers and these feature very early on, with shots of the B-1, B-52 and B-2 opening the proceedings. Modellers can expect revealing shots of other aircraft types, too, such as the KC-135 (and recce-focused RC/EC airframes), KC-10, FB-111, E-4B, SR-71 and U-2. The organisation’s structure is described in detail throughout, from an operational standpoint, but also via narrative on exercises and competitions. How the organisation evolved throughout the latter part of the Cold War, and its changing strategy, is ably imparted.
Different colour schemes
There’s a pleasing variety of images in that they show B-52s in the attractive SIOP (Single Integrated Operational Plan) camouflage – with black/white undersides – as well as the later overall Gunship Gray. Likewise, the ‘135s are shown in the early aluminium livery, as well as ADC Gray and later-service hues. Varying camouflage can also be witnessed on other SAC types. The photos are pleasing for their detail content, such as nose art and weapons loads.
Symonds’ text and captions are informative, offering enough background without getting bogged down by minutiae that might overwhelm the novice. A list of relevant units is provided too, as a ready reckoner. Ultimately, this is a great little book for anyone tackling the subject in scale form for the first time, but there are also enough photographic gems to possibly entice more experienced modellers and those who already have a decent reference collection. It’s available direct from Amberley Publishing.
SAC in the 1980s
By: Adrian Symonds
Format: 235 x 166mm