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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Build Complete!


She’s done, there was a few last minute problems, for example one of the inner pylons was sitting at a strange angle so I had to take the stub wing apart and sand the part to modify the angle in order to prevent the back part of the XM-159 sitting against the skid. There were the other usual touch ups and hassles you get when trying to finish a build but all in all I am really happy with this one, the last two builds, the Huey SAR and this Huey Cobra have been some of my best finished builds to look at. I am finally getting to the stage where I don’t look at the end result and want to chuck it in the bin. I hope you enjoy looking at her as much as I do.

Lets lay some paint!


Well I have been building up the layers on the Olive drab, here is a quick shot of her in between coats at the moment, I think I have one or two more to go till I have the desired shade and difference with my pre-shade. A little more detail work to be done on the rotors too, here the additional spars being added that are missing from the kit, I also have a couple of pieces of etch to put on.

Constuction Complete!.. ok almost complete


Here we find a rare upside down Cobra, well the main part of the construction is now complete, the skids, stabilizers, stub wings, turret body and most of the etch are now together. I am being super careful with the skids on this one considering how many times I broke the ones of the TH-1 I built. Almost time for paint!

Is there anything more frustrating than working with etch?


Ok so I am continuing to detail the model with the etch set and I thought I would show you the size of some of these parts. Now I have never really done much with etch before, in fact this is my first build using a full aftermarket etch fret so maybe I will get better with experience, but seriously look at the size of some of these parts and I have to attach them end on to the model without getting CA adhesive everywhere! Thank god Eduard provide a lot of spares for these small parts as there’s currently more in my carpet than glued to this model!

Is that a Gun Turret in your pocket..? Why yes!


One of my only gripes with these great little AZ kits is the gun turret is a bit basic looking, so again I turned to the superb range of RES-IM and ordered me there replacement turret pack, this comes with 3 different turrets, 2 minigun barrels, the grenade launcher barrel and some other barrel I don’t need with a small fret of etch for the access panels on the underside! Now for the joys of sanding resin, dust masks at the ready people!

The Cobra gets an Office!


Ok so I am a little bit behind in my updates on here, I am struggling to get back into my blogging mind set, here some pictures of the cockpit for the Cobra, I used the RES-IM etch set for the kit. Got to love Eduard Etch