Book Review: Airkraft Modelling Guide #1 Fighters and Attack Aircraft of the Vietnam War

Airkraft Modelling Guide #1: Fighters & Attack Aircraft of the Vietnam War
Front Cover of Airkraft Modelling Guide #1: Fighters & Attack Aircraft of the Vietnam War

So as my last book review wasn’t really something especially for the modeller I thought that I would ensure that this next review definitely was!

For this review I am looking at the AirKraft Modelling Guide #1 which has been put together with HobbyZone and the paint manufacturer Hataka so of course their products feature heavily. This issue covers the fighters and attach aircraft of the Vietnam conflict and despite the paint manufacturers heavy presence, the builds covered offer solid advice and technique demonstrations along the way. The build articles themselves provide a very useful insight to the kits covered along with many of the aftermarket parts used too.

The Introduction offers great images along with historic information on Air combat over Vietnam
The Introduction offers great images along with historic information on Air combat over Vietnam

Whilst the title is retailed as a book I suppose it would be more accurate to describe it as a bookazine I suppose, but for the price of £10 its not too expensive for what you get with the book containing 96 pages of lovely full colour spreads. There’s also a great little introduction at the start of the book covering the history of the use of air power over Vietnam and how it was used changed the way wars were fought for decades to come. Some of the images in this section are understandably in black and white but this if anything only adds to their atmosphere.

It's not just American Aircraft that are covered, there are NVAF types covered
It’s not just American Aircraft that are covered, you will be glad to see there are North Vietnamese Air Force types covered too.

There are a decent number of builds covered by the book and whilst there are of course multiple Phantom builds, there is a decent variety of aircraft and kit manufacturers covered in several scales, besides its not like you can ever have too many Phantoms.

The Airfames/Kits covered by the book are:

  • Eduard’s 1:48 F-4J
  • Hasegawa’s 1:48 F-104C Starfighter
  • Eduards 1:48 F-4B
  • Meng’s 1:72 F-102A Delta Dagger (Case XX)
  • Rodens 1:48 JOV-1A Mowhawk
  • Kinetics F-5B Freedom Fighter
  • Monogram/Revell’s 1:48 F-8 Crusader
  • Academy’s 1:48 Mig-21MF Fishbed
  • Italeri’s 1:72 F-4C/D/J
  • Tamiya’s 1:72 A-6E Intruder (Experimental Camouflage)
  • Trumpeters 1:48 F-100C Super Saber
  • Italeri’s 1:72 Martin B-57B Canberra
  • HobbyBoss’s 1:48 MIG-17F Fresco C
  • Airfix’s 1:72 Cessna 0-1 Bird Dog
  • Eduard’s 1:48 A-4E/F Skyhawk
  • Trumpeter’s 1:48 A-37A Dragonfly
  • Fujimi’s 1:48 Grumman KA-6D Tanker
  • Revell’s 1:100 AH-1G Cobra
  • Airfix’s 1:48 English Electric Canberra MK.20 (RAAF)

Now I think you will agree that this is a pretty impressive list especially so you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck with this book.

The full colour images that accompany the builds and finishing techniques are superb
The full colour images that accompany the builds and finishing techniques are superb

Each one of the aircraft are covered by their own full colour build article, detailing the builders process from start to finish, including any aftermarket they have used, issues they have overcome, additional detailing they have scratched and the finishing techniques they have used.

Now I love the aircraft from this time period, the aircraft were all such a massive leap forward from those of the second world war and those SEA Camo schemes make them look all the more purposeful when compared to the grey schemes that many airframes sport these days, so every subject in this book is right up my street so to speak.

Personally I love this book and I look forward to looking over future issues of the series, you can get the title from SAMpublications over at http://www.sampublications.com/books/airkraft/airkraft-1-vietnam/prod_1145.html as well as other retailers.

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Book Review: Adventures of A Cold War Fast Jet Navigator

Cover of Adventures of A Cold War Fast Jet Navigator by Wing Commander David Herriot
Cover of Adventures of A Cold War Fast Jet Navigator by Wing Commander David Herriot

This book is a great tale of life in service during throughout a major part of the cold war. The author manages to take you along with him on his journey from early life in Glasgow to his deployments in service in the Royal Air Force, and along with all the hard work came many amusing incidents that really shows the great comradery between colleagues that seemed ever present no matter where the author found himself stationed.

Whilst operational stories are always interesting to aviation enthusiasts, the authors stories of how these crews let off steam and really did live the work hard, play hard lifestyle are not only often funny, but I thought it showed a real human side to the RAF during a time when almost everything they did in training and practice sorties was ultimately aimed at preparing for having to go beyond the Iron Curtain in one way or another.

For me I ended up finding it was these anecdotes of lighter moments that really made the book, not to detract from the rest of it mind you, but they really seemed to make the book go beyond merely an operational history for the author to make it feel almost feel like an old friend or relative was recounting stories from years past over a drink or two. If you have any kind of interest in the RAF, or those that serve then this is definitely worth a read.

As always thanks go to Pen and Sword books for the copy to review, you can find the book for sale on their site for which a link can be found in the links section of this sites menu.

Fact File: Fighter Aircraft Since 1945 – Frank Schwede


This book provides technical data along with a brief history of the development of each fighter type and it’s variants which are all organised by the country/bloc of origin. There are fighter aircraft from America, Russia, China and Europe covered with each being accompanied by some fantastic images of those airframes. The selection of aircraft included in the book illustrates the shift from the quest for greater speeds and altitudes for the worlds air superiority fighters to the quest for stealth and technological advancement instead.

Whilst the book does have a nice selection of photographic content, the images tend to be more generic images of the aircraft in question rather than the detail shots that modellers crave, this does not detract from the book though which is a great little title that should find its place on any aviation enthusiasts bookshelf.

German Night Fighters versus Bomber Command 1943-1945 by Martin W. Bowman.

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Whilst this book may not be a modelling resource as such many modellers do have an interest in this period and its events and this book gives detailed accounts of some of the unforgiving meetings between the aircraft and crews of allied forces under Bomber Command and those of the Luftwaffe’s Nachtjagd during the latter years of WWII.
Much of the information provided of these encounters and the bitter aerial battles that resulted is given first hand, as experienced by aircrews on both sides of the conflict.
This wealth of information depth, first hand testimony and operational details along with the profiles of many of those involved from both sides of the conflict provides the reader a great insight in to the units and people involved during this period of the war.

Messerschmitt Bf-109, The early years – Poland, The Fall of France and The Battle of Britain


This book is part of Frontline Books Air War Archive series covering various historical and famous aircraft types with this one taking a look at the Bf-109.
This title is a fantastic resource for modellers, it begins with a short description of the aircraft type, development during service, with an explanation of the markings they wore during this time.
The book then continues on with a wealth of fantastic images, each with a detailed caption full of the intriguing and incredible stories of those aircraft and their airmen captured in the images.
The images begin with shots of pre-war aircraft of 1939 and continue on through the ‘Sitzkreig’, the fall of France, the Battle of Britain and end with images from 1941.
Whilst the images provide a great source of reference material for the modeller, their captions give further life to the images and make this a great addition to anyone’s collection of wartime reference material.

Focke Wulf 190: Birth Of The Butcher Bird 1939-1945


This book unsurprisingly covers the development of the FW190, a German aircraft that really was a workhorse for the Luftwaffe during WWII with its many variants allowing it to be utilised for a wide range of mission, from air superiority to bombing missions in theatres from the Eastern Front to North Africa.

The book begins by concisely covering the development of the type from its prototype to production aircraft and the many variants developed for the various missions and theatres they were deployed for. This part of the book covers many of the improvements and alterations throughout the variants of the type, their armaments and their mission types; there is also an explanation of the colours and markings used on the type.

The book then contains over a hundred fantastic photographs, a few of which are even in colour, showing the aircraft in a huge range of situations, theatres and variants all of which are all captioned to explain what they show along with any other pertinent information about the photographs. The images published included some lovely detail shots and some images of rarely seen captured aircraft and a few other unusually marked airframes.

On the whole I found the book to be a great source reference material and information, whether it be for general interest or looking at it like myself as a model maker. The publication is a great source of inspiration and information about the type for anyone interested in aircraft of this era and is a superb resource for anyone looking for photographic reference material on this extremely important aircraft.

The book is available from Pen and Sword at: http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Focke-Wulf-190-Paperback/p/11806