|Richard A Franks|
|Valiant Wings Publishing|
|£25.95 MSRP at www.valiant-wings.co.uk|
232 pages, A4 Format, softcover,
ISBN: 978-1-912932252, Airframe and Miniature #5 revised edition
I am a fan of the 109 just as many other folks are fans of the P-51, F4U and other types, so I am always pleased to see another book on the type. You'd think we'd get jaded, but it is not the case. I have to say that I have several dozen books on the type and welcome others. It seems that when it comes to the very early 109, something different is provided with each new book that I read. In this one there are differences of opinion with previous offerings concerning the early 109; its colors and its numbers. The author makes a very good case for his findings and like all good references, it should be taken in the greater scheme of things and left up to the reader to decide if the conclusions are convincing enough.
Valiant Wings has been on a program of updating some of its earlier editions to take into account new information and new products since the previous edition was released. Such is the case with this revised edition.
The book starts out by providing information on the history of the type, starting with the prototypes, of which there are a considerable number. What makes this book special is that there are drawings and photos of these planes, with each successive improvement noted in the drawings. Each plane in this early series has a bit of a history involved with it that gives some pertinent information on the aircraft in question, that includes the colors of the airframe. As the type gets more into production, this information isn't provided, of course. However, we are given information on all the known prototypes, which even for the 'square wing' 109s is considerable.
In the historical section, we are provided with a goodly section on camouflage and markings. Here you'll find several pages of very well drawn profiles by Richard Caruana. All the major production aircraft are covered in this section. As it is in the historical section, there are profiles of those aircraft sold to client states.
In the modeling section is a selection of reviews of most of the extant kits of the 109, with the author's take on the positive and negative aspects of the particular kits listed. This includes listing all the different variations on the most recently issued kits. A build section comes after that with some of the articles containing conversions. The main additions to this section are builds of the Special Hobby 1/72 Bf-109Es as well as the Wingsy 1/48 Bf-109E-1. Next a selection of drawings showing the differences between aircraft for those who wish to model them.
Next is an 'in detail' section. Thankfully there are preserved examples of this plane extant, so using images from those planes as well as illustrations for the various technical manuals and period photos, you get an excellent look at the workings of the 109.
A rather complete kit listing, decal listing, accessory listing and some nicely done kit listing with all variations is next followed by a list of accessories, decals and books associated to the aircraft. This is followed by two huge foldouts in 1/48 scale covering six views of all the major variants covered in the book. These drawings are on heavier paper stock than the book and while attached to the binding in the back, should be easy enough to remove if that is your wish.
This one is a welcome addition to the series and it is great that Valiant Wings is making the effort to update these books when appropriate. If you have any interest at all in the early 109, then this is a book you really must have in your reference collection. Most highly recommended.
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