Dmitry Degtev is one of the leading Russian researches of the history of the Second World War. Widely known to readers for his publications on military aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s, he has been studying the air battles of the Second World War and the history of the Luftwaffe for more than twenty years. As a result, he has assembled a huge amount of exclusive material on events and battles previously little known to the wider audience. He also has more than twelve years of experience teaching Russian and world history and currently lectures at Nizhny Novgorod State Technical University. He lives in the Russian Federation.
Dmitry Zubov is the author of twenty-two books on military history. In his works he prefers to analyze the psychological causes of historical events. A professional psychologist, Dmitry is an Associate Professor who lectures on psychology at the Nizhny Novgorod State University. He also lives in the Russian Federation.Summary
As the Preface states, the events in this book are "very exciting and dramatic events, not inferior to the scenarios of the best American blockbusters". Ok, Hollywood, every chapter of this book could be turned in to a thrilling big screen movie!
This is one of those books you just can't help telling people about. I think to date I have told several dozen people about it. It is filled with spies, code names, bold missions, captures & surrenders, and even double agents. The book charts in exciting fashion the formation of an organization known as the Abwehr--a secret intelligence organization of great complexity.
One segment in the book about Spy Kids has been stuck in my mind. It sure isn't about a Disney movie. Rather, it tells how the Abwehr came up with the idea of 'recruiting' children to be spies in Russia. This in and of itself may be appalling to some people, but it was the method in which the child spies were selected which made an impression on me. If you can picture a setting somewhat akin to child gladiator fights where the strong are the victors and the weak, well...let's just say you should read the rest!
Even intwined in all of the exciting espionage taking place, there are some moments of humor. Russians who had been trained in Abwehr intelligence schools were boarded on planes and flown secretly into Russia. The problem was they were often so nervous they had to be given copious amounts of vodka to steady their nerves. Needless to say, by the time the plane landed, they needed "assistance" to get out of the plane!
This is a fantastic book and its stories could easily become blockbuster films, as the Preface states. It brings the reader into the world of total espionage from recruiting, training, mission planning, and plain old underhandedness. It's one of the best military books I have read to date!
Thank you to Casemate Publishers for providing a copy of this thrilling book for review, and thank you to IPMS for the opportunity
Reviewed by: Will Kuhrt
Company: Pen & Sword
About the Authors
Dmitry Degtev is one of the leading Russian researches of the history of the Second World War. Widely known to readers for his publications on military aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s, he has been studying the air battles of the Second World War and the history of the...
This set consists of one photoetch fret with parts to detail and/or replace kit parts on Emhar's 1/72 British Mark IV Male tank. Mainly they are replacement parts for the kit's un-ditching beam rails, some detail parts for that beam, replacement sponson doors, pistol port covers and parts to enable the modeler to open up the driver's and commander's vision ports. There's also a piece to replace the roof top storage bin.
The modeler would benefit from some PE folding experience, especially where the new un-ditching beam rails are concerned, as the folds are long and the pieces quite thin. The instructions for the sponson door parts leave out that you need to cut off the lower part of the kit part and glue it in place as it represents the part of the sponson below the door and the replacement parts do not take this into account. If you follow the instructions, there will be a large opening below the door. The benefit of these parts is that you can pose the sponson doors open as an interior part is supplied for the door. However, as the kit has no interior to speak of, the modeler will need to add something to the inside of the sponsons themselves.
The replacement roof stowage bin will not sit quite right as its bottom is straight whereas the surface to which it is to be attached has a slight angle to it, so some carving into the kit part is necessary to get it to sit correctly. The new visors over the commander's and driver's vision ports are nicely done and consist of two parts, the main visor and the vision slit cover, but care needs to be taken in removing the ones from the kit part so as not to lose other detail. The beam rails are very fiddly to deal with and are in two pieces, which makes them even fiddlier. The modeler should take a good look at the kit parts, which are actually nicely done, and decide whether these parts are worth the effort. If you thin the kit parts down, I think not.
There are a whole bunch of new covers for the pistol ports located around the vehicle. The instructions do not tell the modeler to remover the kit parts, which are molded in and a little "mushy", so the assumption is you just put the PE parts on top of the kit ones. The gain in detail is minimal, but they are easy to apply at least. The un-ditching beam's parts consist of two plates for the top and bottom and two straps for the end. There is no kit part to put these on, so the modeler has to make it himself, and while not a difficult job it's a bit fiddly as the beam is not square, but rather a trapezoid, in cross section. I added the eye bolts and chain from my stocks.
I posed the tank with one sponson door open and one not, the driver's visor open all the way and the commander's vision flap open, but his main visor closed. You can see from the photos the differences/benefits of the PE parts and how they look in place and painted. They do add some interest to the vehicle but take a bit of effort to get them in place and in some cases aren't much better than the kit parts.
I'd like to thank IPMS/USA and Hauler for the sample and the chance to take a look at this small scale option.
"After the Second World War many American military vehicles become surplus stock and soon found their way into the hands of farmers and land owners across Great Britain. The subsequent heavy use and the real possibility of difficulties obtaining spares led Maurice Wilks, the Rover Car Company Chief Engineer, to design and build a replacement."
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Design & Development 3
Camouflage & Markings 17
Model Showcase 25
Modelling Products 41
The Land Rover in Detail 53
Land Rover Variants 57
In Service & In Action 62
"Since its introduction in 1945 when the Land Rover was quickly adopted by the War Department as a utility track, it has become an identifying symbol of the British military. From the jungles of South America to the frozen tundra of NATO's northern borders, this light utility truck has proved itself time and again. Indeed, such is its prowess and adaptability in the field it has been adopted by allies and former adversaries alike as the go-to truck. From firefighting to special forces transport the Land Rover is the everyman of the 4x4 world.
Its genesis was in a world of post-war austerity, and it was this that made the Land Rover the ideal military platform. It was made from straightforward engineering and had a utilitarian arid fuss-free appearance with wonderful adaptability, all without too much damage to performance or function Its steel ladder chassis, aluminium panels and leaf-sprung construction marked this new vehicle out as something that was field-ready.
First ordered by the British Army in 1949. the Land Rover was soon deployed to Korea with the British contingent. This baptism of fire cemented the Land Rovers reputation and what was initially intended as a temporary model for Rover proved its ability to tackle anything thrown at it."
In 1956 the Land Rover secured its dominion m the British Army over the Austin Champ by being declared the main General Service (GS) truck."
My reading of this LandCraft book number 7 was a pleasant surprise for me. I had only several personal experiences with the venerable Land Rover vehicles (mostly with the more common automobile like configurations that we often see on roads around us today), though I have been intrigued with 'military' versions I've traveling in the United Kingdom and across Europe. However, I had no idea about just how many versions of Land Rovers there are. These vehicles are truly ubiquitous today. As the author points out: "That some 70 percent of the original two million Series and Defender Land Rovers are still in use today prove that the Land Rover really is 'the best 4x4xfar'."
While it seems to be a modern vehicle, Land Rovers are a reasonably 'new kid on the block' and I was initially interested in just the special operation type of Rovers, this book proved to be far detailed than I had imagined. In this book Ben Skipper develops a great modeling publication, including eight four view color renderings (including the 'Pink Panther'), 16 pages of great model photographs (with three kits described in depth), four pages summarizing all of the known model kits and decals (with detailed reviews of their strengths and shortcomings) and a unique list of what to watch for when building a Land Rover model.
I can't say enough in summary about this book. In it's 64 pages, there are a great many color photographs and color illustrations. I was pleased to see most of the variants were outlined in this book (including the forward control vehicles) and had not realized how many special purpose vehicles Land Rover manufactures. The author also provides a great look into the many small details which might also be overlooked by readers and especially modelers.
My thanks for this review copy and my thanks to both Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for my opportunity to review, read and thoroughly enjoy, and provide this review.
From the publisher's notes on this book: "Early in the morning of 2 August 1990, aircraft of the Iraqi Air Force bombed Kuwaiti air bases, and then the Iraqi Republican Guards stormed into the country. Thus, began what would be called the 'Gulf War' - or the 'II Gulf War' or 'II Persian Gulf War' - fought between January and March 1991.
Although encountering some problems, the Iraqi forces occupied Kuwait in a matter of a few days. However, when President Saddam Hussein of Iraq unleashed his military upon Kuwait, little did he know what kind of reaction he would provoke from the Western superpowers, and what kind of devastation his country would suffer in return.
Concerned about the possibility of Iraq continuing its advance into Saudi Arabia, the USA - in coordination with Great Britain, France, and several local allies - reacted by deploying large contingents of their air, land and naval forces to the Middle East. Months of fruitless negotiations and the continuous military build-up - Operation Desert Shield - followed, as tensions continued to increase. Determined to retain Kuwait, and despite multiple warnings from his own generals, Saddam Hussein rejected all demands to withdraw. The USA and its allies, 'the Coalition', were equally as determined to drive out the invader and restore Kuwaiti independence. Gradually, they agreed this would have to be by force.
Following an authorization from the United Nations, the Coalition launched the Operation Desert Storm, on 17 January 1991, opening one of the most intensive air campaigns in history. The last conventional war of the 20th Century saw the large, but essentially traditional, Iraqi Army overwhelmed by forces trained and equipped to exploit the latest technologies.
Desert Storm reveals the whole war fought between Iraq and an international coalition, from the start of this campaign to its very end. Largely based on data released from official archives, spiced with numerous interviews, and illustrated with numerous photographs, colour profiles and maps, it offers a refreshing insight into this unique conflict.
Volume 2 of Desert Storm tells the story of the air campaign, naval operations, the 100 hours of the land war, and the aftermath of this conflict."
The Table of Contents provides this basic outline:
1 Hammer from the Sky 3
2 Iraq Strikes Back: The Missile Offensive and the Battle of Al-Khafi 21
3 Desert Sabre Background and Overview 34
4 The Left Hook - XVIII Corps 53
5 The Liberation of Kuwait 59
About the Authors 72
This book was an enjoyment to read and review. As I began my review, I started with the extensive review of the abbreviations and soon found that I was quickly returning to this list, and often. Although I initially had a reasonable grasp of constituted the 1991 Middle East war in Iraq, I quickly found just how little I really knew about the war and the events leading up to war.
In general, the narrative follows the invasion of Kuwait by daily discussion of the ground and air combat. There is also an informative description of the Iraqi organization defenses and how they were deployed throughout the combat.
I found the tables outlining the aircraft and ships involved greatly exceeded my prior understanding. The sheer number of aircraft by operational types and numbers were truly overwhelming. The specific types of aircraft, along with numerous black and white photographs is covered in the narrative descriptions.
There are also numerous descriptions of the allied/NATO and the Iraqi (IrAF) aircraft and their deployment as well. One of the most interesting photos included in my assorted scans shows the burned-out hunk of a MiG-25 illustrating nose section totally destroyed and literally melted away.
Speaking of photos, without attempting to count the actual photographs, there are a large number of black and white images in this book as well, seven pages of color side-views and several color maps of the Kuwaiti battle.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book for any members interested in the general Desert Storm and battle to liberate Kuwait
My thanks for this review copy and my thanks to both Casemate Publishers and IPMS/USA for my opportunity to review, read and thoroughly enjoy, and provide this review.
When I heard a 1/72 scale World War I submarine kit was coming out, I was excited. It ended up being the U-9 class from Germany. The kit is molded in light gray plastic and comes packed in a nice large, sturdy box. In fact, it will fit back in the box all the way until the completion of the build.
When I first saw the instructions I thought they were ruined, but they are intentionally given a distressed look with yellowed pages, coffee mug rings and scotch tape making them look as if they're really old. The hull comes in two halves plus a deck and reminds me a lot of the structure of the Titanic with its large plates and rivets. The kit's parts are very finely molded with virtually no flash. There are many options such as open and closed torpedo tubes, retracted or upright paired smokestacks, open or closed hatches, and covered or uncovered conning tower. If no glue is used, the smokestacks will fold down flush with the deck or extend into the vertical, and the conning tower can be changed at will, covered or uncovered
Included with the kit is a 99-page book with both English and German text, covering early U-boat development and featuring many nice pictures. I thought it was interesting that Alfred Von Tirpitz originally was against wasting money on U-boats.
I followed the instructions for building the hull, gluing in the spacers to only one half so that I could adjust the other half. I weighted mine since I make all my boats and subs float. I then used tube glue, put a dab on each one of the spacers, and taped and rubber-banded the whole deck to the hull to get a perfect fit. There is no keel on the bottom so it has a smooth hull like a boat.
Parts C12 to C15, C19, C20, C31 and C32 are tricky; they comprise the prop shafts and their housings. After finishing my model and putting the two props on, they would probably hit each other in real life so I may not have gotten the angles right. Parts C9 and C10 were also tricky for me so caution should be taken with that two-part stanchion.
I glued in all my side hole stanchions and posts, which was a mistake when it came to painting the model. To do it again, I would leave off parts C37 and C38 (they're poles, 2 forward and 2 aft, and C29 and 30 (stanchions), plus B30, B32, B33, and B34, the diving planes. There are three vertical locators for the diving planes and the instructions show to install them into the top two. I inquired of the company why there is a third empty hole and was told and shown a picture where the diving planes were in the upper and the very lower holes in drydock. Looking at other pictures, there were usually two diving planes on each side which reminded me of World War I biplanes, but they were in different positions in different photos.
There are two nines on the decal sheet, different style numerals with no explanation as to which ones to use, so I just used the ones I liked. I went with boat U-9 even though the modeler also has the options of 10, 11 and 12, because I only saw the builder's plate which glues to each side of the stern for U-9 but the others are also included on a different section of sprue. U-12 is the boat they actually found sunk, and from which measurements were taken to create the model.
The Cartograph decals were excellent and lay down nicely with Solvaset. No thread is provided so I used E-Z Line for the rigging.
I thoroughly enjoyed this build and it went fairly quickly as I had less than 30 hours into it. It would've gone a lot quicker if I had left the aforementioned parts off which would really have streamlined masking. I hope they build more 1/72 scale subs and maybe even some small ships.
I thank MBK-USA, Das Werk and IPMS/USA for the opportunity to build and review this unique and enjoyable kit.
Helion produces books on many aspects of Military History from the Late Medieval period through to the present day. Helion was established in 1996, and since then they have published almost 1,200 books, with 100 or more new titles coming out every year. The 'Africa@War' series covers African military history since 1945.
Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in the worldwide transportation business - during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa - he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. That resulted in specialization in such Middle Eastern air forces as of those of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, plus various African to and Asian air forces. In addition to authoring and co-authoring about 50 books - including about three dozen titles fors Helion's @War series - and well over 1,000 articles, Cooper is a regular correspondent for multiple defense-related publications.
Adrien Fontanellaz, from Switzerland, is a military history researcher and author. He developed a passion for military history at an early age and has progressively narrowed his studies to modern-day conflicts. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of the Pully-based Centre d'histoire et de prospective militaries (Military History and Prospectives Centre), and regularly contributes to the Revue Militaire Suisse and various French military history magazines. He is co-founder and a regular contributor to the French military history website L'autre cote de la colline, and this is his tenth title for Helion's '@War' series.
Jose Augusto Matos is an independent researcher in military history in Portugal with primary interest in operations of the Portuguese Air Force during colonial wars in Africa, especially in Guinea. He is a regular contributor to numerous European magazines on military aviation and naval subjects, and has collaborated in the major project 'The Air Force at the end of the Empire', published in Portugal in 2018. Recently he has written two books in Portuguese, one on the former Portuguese regime's relations with South Africa and the other on the attack against Guinea-Conakry in 1970.
Helion's latest book in the Africa @ War series is a square back soft cover includes 80 gloss paper pages. This Volume 3 follows up on Adrien Fontanellaz' and Tom Cooper's earlier Volume 1, Africa@War 31 and Volume 2, Africa@War 34, Volume 1, both published in 2019, covers the Angolan and Cuban Forces at War, 1975-1983. The cover features a color photograph of Mig-21 and Mig-17Fs lined up on the tarmac. . The cover color side-view by Tom Cooper of the first on twelve MiG-23MLs that were operated by DAA/FAR (the Revolutionary Air Defense and Air Force, flown by Cuba).
I counted one color picture (front cover) and 86 black and white photographs and drawings. There are also 19 aviation color side profiles by Tom Cooper and Luca Canossa; and 3 color side AFV profiles by David Bocquelet, along with 8 black and white maps, one color map, and eleven tables.
War of Intervention in Angola, Volume 3 covers the air warfare during the II Angolan War from 1975-1985 - through narrating the emergence and operational history of the Angolan Air Force and Air Defense Force (FAPA/DAA) as told by Angolan, Cuban, Russian, and South African sources. This (at least) four part series updates the previous accounts of this war by including newly available sources that provide more insight. These Angolan and Cuban sources depicts an entirely different portrayal of the air war over Angola. This volume shows the development of the Angolan military from 1975 to 1985. What the reader gains is insight into the political machinations of the Cubans, Russians, South Africans, and of course the CIA. That's not to mention the various Angolan parties, all fighting for control. The fun part of this book is all the different players and their associated acronyms. Luckily, this addressed at the beginning with a list of Abbreviations. I found myself referring back to this list again and again, just trying to understand all of the players involved in this war. The sections include:
- 1 - Who-Was-Whom in Angola, 1975 - 1985
- The End of Portuguese Rule
- Operation Carlota
- MPLA's First Victory
- Differences in Military Thinking
- The Mess of 1976 - 1981
- Table 1 - FAPA/DAA, FAPLA and FAR Terminology
- 2 - People's Air Force
- Portuguese Origins
- Starting From Scratch
- Table 2 - Ex-Portuguese Nord N.2501/2502 Noratlas Transports in Angola
- Mercenary Air Raid
- Cuban Military Intervention
- Communists to the Rescue
- Establishment of FAPA
- Table 3 - FAPA, February 1976
- Castro's Micro-Management
- Mishap at Cela
- Del Pino's Adventure [Page 16]
- Fishbeds Over Huambo
- Hunt for Svimbi
- Destroying UNITA
- 3 - Which Way Next?
- Training, Training - and More Training
- Table 4 - FAPA, October 1978
- DAA Component
- Table 5 - DAA, Anti-Aircraft Units, 1977 - 1978
- New Nests
- Radar Core
- Table 6 - 1st Radar Battalion, FAPA/DAA, 1979
- Expanding Transport Capacity
- Excessive Attrition
- Cooperation with Airlines
- The Workhorse
- Western Aircraft
- Strategic Disagreement
- Searching for Their Own Way
- 4 - Bad Start
- Wrong-Footed [Page 29]
- IFF Problems
- People's Supersonic Jets
- Peculiarities of the Soviet and Cuban Training System
- Bitter Complaints
- Old MiGs for Mission Olivo
- Protea and Other Catastrophes
- First Clash with Mirages
- Second Clash with Mirages
- Color Illustrations [Page 36v]
- 5 - Pretoria's Forges
- Counterproductive Arms Embargo
- SADF's Weak Spots
- Table 7 - Known FALA Battalions
- Growing UNITA
- Of Strelas and Stingers
- 6 - Bitter 1983
- Cangamba Shock
- Nunda's Cavalcade
- South Africa's Next External
- FAPLA's Regulars
- A Venomous Gecko
- Table 8 - Major Equipment of Standard SA-8b SAM Site
- Askari Derailed
- Armoured Battle of Cuvelai
- The End of One Brigade, Survival of Three Others
- Lusaka Accord
- 7 - Aftershocks
- Battle of Sumbe
- The Switch
- Hinds for Angola [Page 52]
- Fighter Jets for FAPA/DAA
- Peculiarities of MiG-21bis
- Silver Bullet
- Reorganization of the FAPLA
- Table 9 - Known FAPLA Brigades of 1983 - 1989
- Endless List of Problems
- 8 - Controversial Strategies
- Aircraft on the 1st Strategic Front
- Operation FAPLA 10 Years of Victories
- Peculiarities of the MiG-23
- What's in the Flogger? [Page 63]
- Radar Core to the Rescue
- Table 10 - FAPA/DAA, ORBAT, Late 1985
- Table 11 - FAPLA/DAA, Commanders, 1976-1989
I found many sections of this story very interesting, but one stood out. After several battles that were lost, the Russians finally decided to provide modern equipment instead of outdated, worn out aircraft, and shipped Hind-Ds to the Congolan military. This was a major improvement over the Alouette IIs and IIIs that had been the standard. The Hind-D brought Angola with an improved ability to fight with the heavily armed gunship. What I was surprised to learn though was that although the Hind-D was great in a cold environment at sea level, it struggled in Angola's heat and high elevation. Angola's geography range from 3,000 feet to 6,000 feet. The Angolans quickly found out that the Hind-D was very underpowered. Any operations had to use a rolling take-off and the Hind-D could not hover.
Adrien Fontanellaz, Tom Cooper, and Jose Augusto Matos present an easy read that is well supplemented with photos, maps and tables. Although I had very little awareness of the conflict in this area, I was able to read this easily over four nights. There are several first person accounts that provide additional insight. The modeler is well served as there are plenty of good action photographs of armored vehicles and aircraft that is well supported with Tom Cooper's color aircraft side profiles and David Bocquelet's armor color side profiles. Volume 4 on the War of Intervention in Angola: Angolan and Cuban Air Forces, 1985 - 1988 is forthcoming in June 2021, but first, I will need to go back and get the first two volumes: Angolan and Cuban Forces at War, 1975 - 1976; and Angolan and Cuban Forces, 1976 - 1983.
If you own one the previous releases in the Africa @ War series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be quite pleased.
My thanks to Helion & Company, Casemate Publishing, and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.
Preview: Minibase add more firepower to their Sea Flanker with the w/Kh-41 Moskit(P-270) anti-ship missile
Read on... »
This book covers the many captured foreign aircraft that were put into service and tested by the Luftwaffe. The book has twelve chapters.
Chapter one has many pictures of aircraft taken from Czechoslovakia and absorbed from Austria. Many Fiat, Avia, Letov are featured in the accompanying photos.
. Chapter two has great photo coverage of planes from Poland, Norway, the Netherlands. Many of these were put into Luftwaffe service especially in the training role.
Chapter three covers the aircraft taken with the fall of France. These included all types of home manufactured aircraft such as Bloch, Dewoitine, LeO and Morane as well as American made aircraft used by the French such as Hawk 75 (P-36) and North American models 57 and 64 trainers. Also included are the many British aircraft, both those serving with the French as well those left behind by the British when forced to retreat.
Chapter four continues the influx of British aircraft as the fighting with Britain continues as aircraft that were forced down or crashed were collected for repair and research. By mid-1940 to mid-1941 many of the major frontline British types were being test flown after repairs. Spitfires, Hurricanes, and Wellingtons were just a few of the examples tested at Rechlin.
Chapter five covers the aircraft taken from Yugoslavia, Greece and the USSR. Some of the more modern aircraft were taken over by the Luftwaffe or given to the new Croat AF but many were scrapped.
Chapters six and seven cover further British aircraft acquired and those used in Vichy France along the Mediterranean. In addition, when the Allies invaded North Africa, the Germans moved into Southern France and commandeered almost 1900 Vichy AF aircraft even though a number escaped to Morocco, Algiers and Tunisia.
Chapter eight covers the first American aircraft to fall into German hands. The first B-17 on 12 December 1942. Several others are shown although many of those like a P-39 in North Africa probably were not able to be flown back across the Med.
Chapter nine covers when Italy surrendered to the Allies. The Italian AF aircraft in those areas controlled by the Germans were immediately impressed into service with the Luftwaffe or used by the Aeronautica Nazionale Repubblicana.
Chapters ten and eleven cover from Normandy through the end of the war in Europe. Many US types and the remains of other captured aircraft are shown.
Chapter twelve is the conclusion where it is all brought together. Again, photos of aircraft from all those who fought the Reich are shown.
This is a great photo book supplemented with brief but informative text. All photos except the cover are in B&W but the modeler will find many interesting markings to give them inspiration. The treasure of this book are the many photos. I can recommend this to anyone with an interest in WWII, WWII aviation as well as the modeler, all will find something of interest within the covers. The author is to be commended for what I am sure was a long and difficult period of research to find this information and all these photos. My thanks to Casemate for the review sample and to IPMS for the opportunity!
Several years ago, I had the pleasure of spending a week in Prague. Relatively untouched by the Second World War, I had a delightful time. While I had a general knowledge of what happened in 1968, I was not thinking about the sacrifices that the inhabitants of the city made. This volume fills that gap. Hellion Publishing has created a host of series that examine conflicts around the world, including Europe. This particular volume provides an overview of the Soviet and Warsaw Pact intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968. As with other Hellion offerings, it follows a standard design and format. The text provides context and details of the intervention. Given what happened in 1968, I have never seen many of these photographs, so anyone with an interest in Soviet vehicles and equipment, it is a treasure trove of information. They also include a small selection of color photographs, profiles of equipment that took part in the intervention, and a map. Finally, it has a complete bibliography for those who would like to follow up with this tragic but important event.
While Czechoslovakia was considered part of the eastern bloc and Warsaw Pact, tied to Moscow and the Soviet Union, for many westerners, they would have been painted in the same broad brush strokes, in fact Czechoslovakia had a different pedigree than many of their neighbors. Before the beginning of World War Two, the country was a parliamentary democracy that was swept up in appeasement and the Munich agreement. In the aftermath of the war, it became part of the Communist Bloc. It seems the best way to characterize what was going in Czechoslovakia is that the government, led by Aleksander Dubcek, did not want to abandon Communism, but retool it to meet the needs of his country. This meant abandoning Soviet doctrine. The Soviet leader at the time, Leonid Brezhnev was not against change, but in the background was the Soviet reaction to what had occurred in Hungry in 1956 - a popular uprising against Soviet rule. In the case of Czechoslovakia, it was change from above.
As with most revolutions, there were tensions that Dubcek had to navigate - conservatives who did not want to rock the boat and progressives who wanted to push for wider reforms. There was a sense, in particular since the Soviet Union seemed to tolerate these changes, that they could move forward. In fact, conservative elements in both governments put a break on these reforms. There were two things that defined the reaction to Dubcek's reforms - at its core, the Soviet Union was about maintaining control over its allies in the Warsaw Pact. In the end, there was absolutely no interest in allowing Czechoslovakia express any independence. Taking advantage of the split with the party, the Soviets and their Allies planned an intervention, though it took time to build a consensus over a plan for action. Given that the United States was at the height of their involvement in Vietnam, the chances of a western move to counter a Soviet/Warsaw Pact intervention was not going to happen. Dubcek was willing to work with and negotiate with the Soviets and their proxies, but once it became clear that there was really not going to be a change, the Soviets invaded.
Overwhelming force, the 1968 version of shock and awe, was planned and went forward without a hitch. With a combined force of Soviet and Warsaw Pact Forces, the combined force was able to quickly overrun the country and secure the major cities and airfields. It was a well planned and executed operation. There was little bloodshed. The country was secured. There was still civil unrest, despite the presence of Soviet troops and the establishment of a hard line regime in Prague, the seeds of the undoing of the Soviet Empire would be put in place. There was a cadre of leaders who would carry the spirit of independence forward to what would eventually lead to the velvet Revolution. Ironically, when Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union, his reforms were inspired by the efforts to move forward with change in Czechoslovakia. Bottom line, while the Soviets had a resounding military victory, the seeds of change were sown.
Hellion is filling a gap with this work specifically and this series generally. While the occupation of Czechoslovakia did not trigger a wider conflict with NATO, it did lay the foundation for change. My thanks to IPMS and Helion & Company for giving me the opportunity to review this book.
ICM has lately really gotten into making combo kits, and this one, which combines their excellent CR. 42 Night Raider with their equally excellent German pilots set, is one of the latest. I will review each item separately, so let's start with the airplane.
As most of you already know, the Italian CR. 42 biplane was perhaps one of the most elegant aircraft of its day. Late in the war, however, its obsolescence as a front-line fighter was painfully obvious, and both the Italians and Germans saw its potential as a night intruder for harassing the enemy under conditions where it was unlikely to encounter much, if any, aerial resistance. This involved some modifications, such as adding bomb racks, extending the engine exhausts and cutting down the landing gear spats to deal with rough field conditions.
Assembly begins with the interior, and ICM has done a nice job creating the delicate aluminum framework of the original as well as the interesting split control panel. As with all ICM kits of this scale, no attempt has been made to include seat belts, so those will either have to be found elsewhere or scratched. All dials on the various bits of control panel are reproduced in decal form, and certainly simplify the painting process. Realistically, there isn't anything else you may want to add except for the belts.
The engine assembly is a model in and of itself, and looks fine as is, although it's a simple enough task to add some wiring for better effect. You can elect to show the cowl flaps open or shut, and you also have the option of leaving a number of panels open. I opted to leave them ALL off just to show the quality of the molding.
Biplanes offer a number of challenges, one of which is how best to paint the struts with a minimum of masking. I discovered, that if one takes a little time, all of the interplane struts can be assembled onto the upper wing exclusively in such a fashion that they will essentially snap into place onto the fuselage and lower wing after painting, which saves an enormous amount of masking. There is also a relatively limited amount of rigging for a biplane, and this can be tackled in any number of ways - your choice. Nothing too difficult for the average modeler. Be sure to punch out the mounting holes for the bomb racks on the lower wings before assembly, however.
Assembly of the fuselage and various appendages is extremely precise and required next to no putty to finish the job. About the only thing that might require a bit of care is the attachment of the extended exhaust pipes, which are braced with a couple of very thin struts. Fortunately, there is a complete second set of these included in case yours snap.
If everything is assembled properly, you'll find that the engine virtually clicks into place on the fuselage, which permits you to paint this subassembly separately if you so wish.
The fun part of this kit has to be in the painting. If you're comfortable with an airbrush, you'll find this a great kit to test your skills on. Two decal options are provided, and as is typical with ICM, are a breeze to put on and set with virtually no film. You will, of course, have to scrounge tail swastikas from another source.
Although I'm not a big fan of what the Germans did to this elegant aircraft in the name of efficiency, I have to admit the final product is really interesting to look at. I don't have anything in my collection quite like it. All in all, a wonderful kit with few, if any, vices.
The German pilot set is, I believe, one of the first pilot sets released by ICM some years back. Unlike most of their newer sets, the three figures depicted do not, technically, work as a vignette. Basically, what you get is three pilots in three different uniforms standing around looking Teutonic. The fact that they all have basically the same face doesn't help either (triplets?). Your best bet is to display them with three different aircraft rather than all together.
That being said, they are truly lovely figures in their own right, with beautiful detail and good, natural poses. They assemble easily with little putty, paint up exceptionally well and really look the part when complete.
Once again, ICM has come up with a lovely combo kit featuring top-notch kits. As I stated in a previous review, I think ICM is missing an opportunity by not providing additional decal options for their regular CR. 42 kit, which would make this set even more desirable. Still, it's a bargain for such excellent kits. Highly recommended.
As always, my thanks to ICM for releasing such wonderful models, and to IPMS/USA for entrusting me to build and review them. Stay safe, everyone, and happy modeling!
Reviewed by: Ron Bell
This set consists of one photoetch fret with parts to detail and/or replace kit parts on Emhar's 1/72 British Mark IV Male tank. Mainly they are replacement parts for the kit's un-ditching beam rails, some detail parts for that beam, replacement sponson doors, pistol port covers and parts to enable the modeler to...
Reviewed by: Bob LaBouy
Company: Pen & Sword
"After the Second World War many American military vehicles become surplus stock and soon found their way into the hands of farmers and land owners across Great Britain. The subsequent heavy use and the real possibility of difficulties obtaining spares led...
Reviewed by: Bob LaBouy
Company: Helion & Company
From the publisher's notes on this book: "Early in the morning of 2 August 1990, aircraft of the Iraqi Air Force bombed Kuwaiti air bases, and then the Iraqi Republican Guards stormed into the country. Thus, began what would be called the 'Gulf War' - or the 'II Gulf War' or 'II...
Reviewed by: Mike Kellner
Company: Das Werk Scale Models
When I heard a 1/72 scale World War I submarine kit was coming out, I was excited. It ended up being the U-9 class from Germany. The kit is molded in light gray plastic and comes packed in a nice large, sturdy box. In fact, it will fit back in the box all the way until the...
Reviewed by: Frank Landrus
Company: Helion & Company
Helion produces books on many aspects of Military History from the Late Medieval period through to the present day. Helion was established in 1996, and since then they have published almost 1,200 books, with 100 or more new titles coming out every year. The 'Africa@War' series covers...