A visit to the local bookshop over Christmas netted an excellent catch; the first in a new series from Classic Colours about Luftwaffe wrecks. The softbound A-4 book contains 96 pages packed with original wartime photos and excellent colour artwork of some of the aircraft featured by noted artist Tom Tullis.
The series editor is Brett Green, who'll need little introduction to most modellers as he's the driving force behind the renowned Hyperscale website as well as author of a number of books. Brett has really done an outstanding job here; the wartime photos are well printed to maximize the tonal values in each shot. There is basically no text, as such - this is a photo/artwork essay with highly detailed captions. The layout is mostly two pictures per page and the shots are just the right size to pick out the maximum detail while staying manageable for the workbench.
The photo coverage
The sheer scope of the pictures is amazing. The shots work chronologically from the Spanish Civil War through to the end of WW2, encompassing all the theatres of war in which the Luftwaffe fought. The range of subjects is great, mostly the obvious Luftwaffe favourites but with a few rarities thrown in, such as an Re.2002. The linking theme through all the photos (with a couple of exceptions) is that the aircraft are wrecked or abandoned. There are some old friends among the shots, but many of the photos will be new to a lot of readers and the detailed captions make this an absolute goldmine for Luftwaffe modellers.
Sprinkled among the B&W pictures are a few original WW2 colour photos. Obviously the quality varies widely, but they are a fantastic reference for trying to figure out (in particular) the late-war schemes. Brett really has gone to town in analysing the colour schemes on show and there are a few real beauties among the shots which are bound to inspire plenty of models.
Backing up the photos is a selection a top quality colour profiles by Tom Tullis which really help make sense of some of the schemes in the B&W photos. Interpreting such shots is always somewhat contentious - as the author states, it's far from an exact science - but the artwork is superbly done and even includes alternative versions of one Bf 109G, allowing the reader to form their own informed opinion. You can hardly ask for more.
Modelling the aircraft
Rounding everything off is a short modelling section and this is the only part of the book which left me slightly nonplussed. I'm a huge admirer of Brett's modelling, but I couldn't help feeling this section was added as something of an afterthought. In a book about wrecked aircraft, I would have expected a modelling section to deal with depicting battle damage etc., with perhaps some dioramas of crashes and junkyards but, instead of that, the chapter contains a brief round-up of the various Me 262 models available and a showcase of some of Brett's models of the type. The odd thing is that none of them are depicted in a wrecked or abandoned state and thus have little relevance to the rest of the book. Even the quality of these photos is disappointing; while the wartime shots are beautifully printed, the shots of Brett's models are reproduced far too large for the resolution of the photos and are noticeably pixellated. As I say, it feels like an afterthought and is a poor substitute for what could have been another 8 pages of mouth-watering original photos.
Despite my disappointment with the final section, I'm very impressed by this book as a whole. The price is just right, making it a very affordable reference and the scope of the photo coverage and the quality of the captions and artwork make it almost a "must buy" for Luftwaffe modellers. Highly recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Classic Publications have released the first of what promises to be an exciting new series dealing with wrecked or abandoned Luftwaffe aircraft.
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...