|Valiant Wings Publishing|
|£9.95 MSRP at www.valiant-wings.co.uk|
|Notes:||82 pages, A4 Format, softcover, ISBN: 978-0-993534546, Airframe Extra #6|
In 1919, Finland, at one time part of Imperial Russia, became a sovereign nation. Its borders were such that the southernmost border was within just a few miles of Leningrad (St. Petersburg). This did not sit well with the Soviet Union and particularly with Stalin, so without declaring war (something that is common with Russia even today), the Soviet Union invaded Finland in 1939 for what was to be the Winter War.
Finland was not prepared to battle the huge Soviet Army and after putting up stiff resistance, signed an armistice with the Soviets about three months later. Allied nations were gearing up with equipment and even troops to help out, but the wheels of diplomacy turned much slower then than now and the war was over before any of this reached Finland.
Segue to mid-1941. Finland was anxious to regain lost territory and was friendly towards Germany, though not part of the Axis (and they never would be). Provided intelligence by the Germans on the pending Operation Barbarossa, the Fins prepared on the border. Again, the Soviets attacked with a huge artillery barrage and bombing without declaring war, pulling Finland into World War II on the German side.
By this time, the Finnish military, though still quite small by comparison, was better trained and somewhat better equipped. This was best seen by the Finnish Air Force, which, despite having an eclectic mixture of aircraft from all over Europe and from the US, gave a lot better than they got. Finland also allowed free passage to German military forces to operate from Finnish territory. While the UK and Commonwealth declared war against Finland (mostly due to their working with the Germans) such was not the case with other Allied countries.
Despite gains made by Finnish and German troops, including taking back most of Finland's lost territory, thanks to continuing aid to the Soviets, there was no way Finland was going to win. A 1944 armistice with Finland and the USSR returned Finland's borders to the way they were prior to the Continuation War. Finland than half-heartedly declared war on Germany, but little German life was lost as a result.
This book concentrates on the Finnish Air Force during this time and while it is impossible to cover all the various types operated during that time, the book does a good job within the constraints of the pages. What most people like in this series, and I am one of them, is the combination of excellent color profiles and very nicely done kit build articles. As usual, there are two builders which are obviously the 'go to' folks for Valiant Wings. Each has a different take on building kits. One puts as much aftermarket as is possible into a kit along with doing some scratch-building and the other builds pretty much out of the box only doing enough to correct blatant errors. This works well and provides the sort of differences that many like to see.
For kits in 1/72 we have the Hasegawa Buffalo, Zvezda IL-4, Revell Hurricane, Azur MS410, and ICM I-153. There is a 1/32 Special Hobby Buffalo and 1/48 Gavia Lysander to round out a very nice selection of kit articles, all with underway images. A paint chart of available paints is provided which is a nice touch.
It is a book that both the fan of the series and the newcomer to it will want to have in their collection. It is a great reference is one that I can quite easily recommend to you.
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