The Messerschmitt Bf 109Z was an actual prototype. It was constructed from two Bf 109F fuselages, with the intent of producing a new heavy fighter and fast bomber design without interrupting production lines. The aircraft was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid in 1943 before testing could commence, but performance estimates were impressive. The Germans produced another Zwilling aircraft, the Heinkel He 111Z glider tug, and many more designs were given the twin treatment on paper. On the American side the F-82 Twin Mustang saw combat in Korea. Modelers have found these hard to resist and there are a great number of “whiffer” models based upon twinning two standard types.
This is the Amodel kit enhanced with several spare parts from Fine Molds Bf 109s. The biggest change was substituting Fine Molds cowling pieces to beef up the noses.
USN McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II
By Peter E. Davies, illustrated by Adam Tooby and Henry Morshead
Series: Osprey Air Vanguard Book 22
Paperback, 64 pages, heavily illustrated
Published by Osprey Publishing March 2016
Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.1 x 9.9 inches
This is the first book in the Osprey Air Vanguard Series which I have read. Like most Osprey books, it covers a lot of ground in a small number of pages, so it is best thought of as a primer or an introduction rather than a comprehensive history. The story of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom could easily (and does!) fill several volumes so it is wise that Osprey have focused on USN F-4s in this work while issuing a separate book on Phantoms operated by the USAF. Having said that, this volume also covers Phantoms in US Marine, Royal Air Force, and Royal Navy service, so the USN in the title is a bit of a misnomer.
The first chapters are devoted to the developmental history and technical description of the Phantom. This is well known among aviation enthusiasts but is useful for being concise – an example where the brevity of the format is a strength. There is a description of all the major sub-types operated by the naval services, and then a history of the type in service.
Like most Osprey books, this one is profusely illustrated, mostly in color. There are several pages of artwork including portraits of two aircraft and profiles of nine. The profiles are reproduced to a much smaller format than either those in the Aircraft of the Aces or Combat Aircraft series and there is much less information presented in the captions. One of the nicer presentations is one which I almost overlooked – the back cover is actually a gatefold which contains an annotated cut-away illustration of the Phantom.
Overall a nice package, the contents and quality of which would not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with this publisher.
Photographs taken at the Air Zoo, Kalamazoo Michigan.
This is the Messerschmitt Bf 109G-2(Trop) of Feldwebel Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert of 4. / JG77 at Castell Benito, Libya, JAN 1943. The model was constructed from the Fine Molds kit.
Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert was one of the Luftwaffe’s leading Experten, scoring a total of 174 victories. He was unusual as he began the war as an enlisted man, rising through the ranks to finish as a Hauptmann (Captain) and was training on Me 262 jets with I. Gruppe of Jagdgeschwader 7 as the war ended. He fought on the Eastern Front, North Africa, the Italian Front, and in Defense of the Reich.
This is the Messeschmitt Bf 109F-2 of Lt. Franz-Josef Beerenbrock, Stab IV / JG 51 at Dugino, Russia, AUG 1942 built using the Fine Molds kit.
Beerenbrock’s Bf 109 carried a dense dark green overspray and 102 Abschussbalken on the rudder, for which he was awarded the Knight’s Cross with Oak Leaves. His final tally was 117 victories after which he was shot down and spent the rest of the war in Soviet captivity.
Sherman in the Pacific 1943-1945
By Raymond Giuliani, twenty color profiles by Christophe Camilotte
Hardcover, 144 pages, heavily illustrated
Published by Histoire and Collections May 2015
Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.2 x 0.7 inches
This book is a photo essay of all US Army and USMC M4 Sherman operations in the Pacific War, from Taupota, New Guinea in October 1943 through the invasion of Okinawa which was secured in June 1945. The photographs are arranged by operation, with each section introduced by a map and a brief paragraph giving an overview. The author then lets the photographs tell the story.
The photographs are, in a word, spectacular. They are the crème of the crop, sharp and in high resolution. Often there are several views of the same Sherman showing the vehicle from different angles or at different times. They are reproduced in large format on glossy paper, and the pages are piled full of pictures. This is a modeler’s dream with crew stowage and modifications being clearly seen, and the vehicles are shown in many situations which would make excellent inspiration for dioramas.
The captions are well detailed and provide insight and context to what is seen in the photographs. There are several instances of some awkward translations in the captions and while these make the descriptions read a little clunky they do not prevent the reader from grasping the meaning. A minor (but avoidable) fault which I found easy to adjust to.
Interspaced among the pictures are twenty color profiles of M4 Shermans and the M32 recovery vehicle, which are displayed along with the photograph(s) which inspired the artist. These are quality renderings and the photographs of the particular subjects only enhances the artist’s credibility. This is a nice standard which I wish more artists and decal manufacturers would follow.
Overall this is an outstanding treatment of the subject and a valuable reference for anyone wanting to model these vehicles. If you can find a copy pick it up, you will not be disappointed!
Photographs taken at the Air Zoo, Kalamazoo Michigan.