|Richard A Franks|
|Valiant Wings Publishing|
|£25.95 MSRP at www.valiant-wings.co.uk|
256 pages, A4 Format, softcover,
ISBN: 978-1-912932269, Airframe and Miniature #11. Revised edition
Few aircraft elicit the interest in enthusiasts, modelers, and the public like the Bf-109. There are fans of other types, but for the sheer number built, the places in the world where they fought, and the aura that has surrounded the aircraft, few match it. Valiant Wings has done the near Herculean task of providing information on the later, 'round wing' 109s. These planes underwent not only a bevy of standard upgrades and modifications, but were used as test beds for various projects. There were several projects that also never made it past a prototype or two and sometimes only reached wooden mockup stage before being cancelled.
All of this makes for one of their largest volumes produced by Valiant wings at 256 pages. It all starts out with a brief look at all the major variants. This covers the units that flew it. This provides a basic idea of the difference between the variants so if you want to know what changed from a G-2 to a G-3 for instance, you get a good idea in this early section.
We then go into a very large section on the on the evolution of the various type. This includes prototype and provides profile drawings of each aircraft covered. It is divided into 3 major sections covering the Bf-109F, Bf-109G, and finally a section on the BF-109H/K/Z. This would be a good time to interject something I read which may well be still undecided. I used to think that all Bf-109G-10 were rebuilt airframes. I stated this in an article a few years back and was quickly chastised by several readers who state they were all new builds. The author makes the same statement as I as to their being rebuilds, so be advised that may still be undecided. The author then covers the various camouflage schemes worn by the aircraft. There are a plethora of differences covered here and to most modelers, this is the section that provides the greatest interest. The final section of the 'Aircraft' part of the book delves into the various nations that flew it. Note that this does not include post war variants built in Czechoslovakia or Spain.
The 'Miniature' section starts with reviews of some of the more recent and popular kits in the three major scales. It is really just a look at the best as the number of kits produced is far more than would fit into this volume. Then there are four kit builds. A 1/72 Fine Molds kit, the Tamiya and Eduard kits in 1/48, The Border Models kit in 1/35, along with a conversion of a Revell kit and a Trumpeter 1/32 kit build.
The book then moves to the section that provides drawings of each of the variations and tells the difference between them. This is followed by the detail photos section, one that is quite well done as there are lots of 109s available in various museums around the world. This section also includes some period photos and images from tech manuals. It all concludes with a rather extensive list of kits, decals, and accessories. Attached to the back of the book is a large fold-out with plans in 1/48 scale.
It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that this is one of the best modeler's resources on the Bf-109 late models that you can find. The additional items in the kit previews and the build articles only adds to its desirability. Buy it!
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