Erik Mombeeck has published the second volume in his Luftwaffe Gallery series, comprising another collection of period photos brought vividly to life with profiles by the noted aviation artist Thierry Dekker.
Volume Two is a 56-page landscape format softbound A-4 book, printed on glossy high quality stock. The format of the Luftwaffe Gallery titles is very distinctive - not only visually, but in the way they handle their subject matter. With so many books available these days that cover individual Luftwaffe aircraft types, units or campaigns, I find Erik Mombeeck's approach very refreshing in that he tackles topics that are seldom covered in any depth elsewhere. Thus, in Volume Two we find:
1. The Mickey Mouse cartoon character, as carried as personal and unit emblems on Luftwaffe aircraft from the Spanish Civil War onwards. This section shows the evolution of the artwork and is illustrated with period photos, some of which have been used by Thierry Dekker as the basis for spectacular full-page colour profiles. Among the photos are a few old friends, but there are also many which are totally new to me, and a check of the credits reveals that the private collections of veterans and their families is the source for much of the book's content, along with the author's own extensive archives.
2. Camouflage Gallery – scribble pattern paint schemes. "Mirror waves" in their various forms are among the most tempting and challenging Luftwaffe schemes to attempt in model form. The author includes a selection of contrasting winter and desert schemes, again brought to life by Thierry Dekker. What is particularly useful from a modelling perspective is that, where possible, the photos are grouped to show several views of the same aircraft (or similarly painted machines from the same unit). In the case of "Black 2" of 2./JG77 we are uniquely fortunate to have almost all-round coverage. It doesn't make reproducing the scheme convincingly on a model any less difficult technically– but at least we can't complain that we're going by guesswork!
3. Colour Gallery – original colour photos of Bf 109Fs in Italy. This is a very useful selection of colour prints dating back to the winter of 1941-42 taken in Sicily, showing aircraft of JG 53 and JG 27. The former have transferred direct from the Eastern Front and are still panted in temperate colours, while the sole JG 27 'F-4 sports desert camouflage and whitewall tyres.
4. Markings Gallery – Maritime strike aircraft rudder victory tallies As the chapter title suggests, the focus is on the rudders, but in fact many of the photos give a broader view of the aircraft. Profiles include an Ar 196 and He 115, plus a very unusually camouflaged and marked Bf 109F "White 1" that should really appeal to '109 enthusiasts.
5. Equipment Gallery – Pilot victory sticks. The coverage now shifts to the pilots and their iconic victory sticks – each quite unique, and a very personal tally of their career. Several surviving sticks are shown in full colour, where possible matched to period photos with their owners.
6. Equipment Gallery – Seaplanes Special Pt. 1. For some reason, seaplanes seldom seem to receive the coverage they deserve, so I find this 6-page section very welcome. Once again Thierry Dekker provides excellent profiles to illustrate the accompanying B&W photos. The types covered include the Ar 196, plus the Ar 95, BV 138 and He 114 – a timely reminder that good quality, affordable, kits are still needed in 1:48.
7. Readers' Corner. The last page of Volume Two includes a small but interesting collection of photos sent in by readers of Volume One, along with a couple of small corrections for a caption in the previous book.
Staying with the topic of captions, each photo and illustration is accompanied by detailed and informative text, expertly translated from the original French by Kitmaker member Neil Page.
I really enjoyed Luftwaffe Gallery Volume Two with its unusual and eclectic combination of often rare photos and top quality artwork. It will be of interest to Luftwaffe enthusiasts and modellers alike. Recommended.
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Highs: A rich and varied collection of period photos and excellent colour artwork. Informative and very readable English captions.Lows:Verdict: The Luftwaffe Gallery series provides a fresh and distinctive take on the subject, finding topics that are seldom covered elsewhere in detail. Equally useful to Luftwaffe enthusiasts and modellers alike.
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...