|Richard A Franks|
|Valiant Wings Publishing|
|£22.95 MSRP at www.valiant-wings.co.uk|
240 pages, A4 Format, softcover,
ISBN: 978-1-912932-06-1, Airframe and Miniature #14
Thanks to the situation with international mails at this time. This book arrived a couple of weeks after AM #15. I'm glad it did show as it is another superb book from the folks at Valiant Wings. The German air force had put a lot of faith in the dive bomber, thanks to Edward Milch, who was enamored with the type. Indeed, if you wanted pin-point accuracy in terms of hitting a target, then dive bombing was the way to do it. The opening months of the war in Europe and the war in the Pacific proved that without a doubt. However, for a dive bomber to be properly effective, the nation operating it needs air superiority as these planes are pretty much sitting ducks for defending fighters.
It is interesting that when the competition for a dive bomber in which the Ju-87 was entered was complete, the He-118 was determined to be the winner. However, politicking took over and the Ju-87 was the type put into production.
The initial production aircraft was different from the prototype in that it had a standard tail section. It was still underpowered and could only carry a maximum bomb load if it left the gunner at home. Still, planes sent to Spain showed that the plane was effective in the conditions there.
After the initial production planes were build, an improved version was developed, learning from the experience in Spain. It was with the Ju-87B that Germany went to war. The type was very effective in the first 10 months of the war, however, once it was sent into the skies over the UK, it became woefully obvious that it was little more than easy pickings for the RAF and was quickly pulled out of that theater.
In Russia, it was a bit of a different situation. In the beginning, the Stuka was again effective as the Luftwaffe made it easy to get local air superiority. Failure of any sort of replacement provided another upgrade to the airframe, one which lasted until the end of the war.
This latest volume from Valiant Wings provides a full development history and a fair combat history. It details the differences in sub-variants, which were considerable considering the length of time it was produced. You are provided with a nice colors and markings section along with the type's use in foreign countries.
Then we get a modeling section that provides some kit reviews. This section only covers a minimal number of those kits that have been fairly new releases. This is followed by the build articles. Oddly, several of the build articles are on kits not listed in the review section. As usual the 1/72 builder likes lots of aftermarket while the builder of the 1/48 and 1/32 kits leans more to basically out of the box. This leads to the closeup section that combines period photos and tech manual illustrations with images from preserved aircraft. Finally, a section that provides all the kits, decals, aftermarket, and books done on the Stuka. To add to the desirability of this book, two very large foldouts of plans in 1/48 scale.
It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that this series is undoubtedly one of the best done when it comes to completeness in regards to covering a subject for both the enthusiast and the modeler.
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Thanks to Valiant Wings for the review copy. You can get yours today at this link.
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