Avonmore's Pacific Profiles Vol 5

Author/Artists: Michael Claringbould with Ed DeKiep and Ryan Toews




$42.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 120 pages, softbound,  over 100 profiles and dozens of photos.
ISBN: 978-0-648

The first year or so after the US landing at Guadalcanal saw some of the most intense aerial battles of the Pacific War. It was during this time that Japan still had a cadre of experienced combat pilots, a situation that got worse and the war progressed. New Guinea and especially the Solomons were originally given to the Navy to provide air defense and offensive operations. This meant that there were a considerable number of land based fighter units, initially using A5M aircraft, but quickly switching over the variants of the A6M.

It was also here that the Japanese eventually ran into the new fighters being developed in the US like the F4U Corsair and the F6F Hellcat. Though the A6M fell behind in terms of speed, it always had an edge in maneuverability and in most variants, range. It was here that the A6M3 type 32 saw the majority of its combat. To most pilots this plane was a step back as though it had a more powerful engine and newer canon, it also had less range and due to the 'clipped' wing tips, less maneuverability. This was fixed with the later A6M3 type 22. Late in the period covered by this book, the A6M5 started making its way into the theater that the Japanese called the 'South Seas'.

Japanese camouflage, markings, and unit designators have never been an easy subject for researchers. Japanese photos are few so much of the research uses those by TAIU of wrecks taken after the Allies had occupied an air field. Sometimes unit diaries are available, but don't always shed a lot of light on how the planes were marked. In other cases, pilot diaries have come to light that help add a little more information. Then there is the examination of those wrecks that even in the 21st century, are still out hidden in the jungles. This requires a lot of effort on the part of researchers, but what is provided in this book, it is best information so far. Information that at times, supercedes what we thought we knew about the markings of various aircraft. This makes things like some previous profiles and the markings offered on decal sheet obsolete. 

The book covers each of these units in greater or lesser detail, showing each squadron's common markings and colors along with a number of great photos and profiles based on those photos as you can see by the example provided on the left. Each full color profile provides information on that particular aircraft. No lengthy pilot stories or background history on this as it concentrates on the aircraft and units involved in the conflict. In addition to photos and profiles, you are provided an introductory section on the plane and the theater of operations as well as some nice art work, the latter spread throughout the book.

It all makes for a superb reference book for the modeler and enthusiast and well worth the price of admission. I very much like this series and look forward to each new volume. Most highly recommended.

December 2021

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