It has to be said, I found the book's sub-title a little misleading - "The essential reference for the aircraft modeller" led me to expect some kind of encyclopedia of different techniques and materials. Instead, this A-4 softbound 178-page book breaks down into two distinct formats; a series of advanced modelling projects by some of Greece's top aircraft modellers, and a smaller number of reference articles. All the subjects are WW2 and cover a wide variety of interesting topics:
Operation Husky - The Allied invasion of Sicily
Bf 109G-2 Trop "Black 6"
The modelling projects are well chosen to illustrate a variety of techniques. Most make extensive use of resin and etched upgrade sets, while several involve a fair amount of scratch-building, kit-bashing and some correction to the basic kits. The articles are well written with just the occasional giveaway that English isn't the authors' first language. With so many impressive builds, it seems almost churlish to pick out favourites but, inevitably, some highlights do stand out; for instance, the Ju 88 includes a complete scratch-built bomb bay to complement the extensive Aires resin details elsewhere; the Spitfire Mk.IX is a kit-bash of the Hasegawa and Occidental kits to get around the former's fuselage dimensions problem; the Tempest build involves extending the fuselage with a styrene plug and a total re-scribe; the Spit Vc has been extensively modified to open up all the maintenance panels and expose the wing roots structure. Something in common among a number of the builds is the application riveting with a pin-wheel and painted-on markings - carefully done, these techniques really do add a lot to the finished look.
The builds are copiously illustrated with very good colour photos. Most have in-progress shots to help clarify the work involved and inspire you to have a try yourself. In some cases there are also some B&W period shots and fine colour profiles by Richard J. Caruana. All in all, it adds up to an impressive collection of inspiring builds that show just what can be achieved with time, patience - and a rather large dollop of skill. These certainly aren't beginner's projects, as even the most "straightforward" involve a deceptive amount of work and, not surprisingly, some of the finished models are award-winners.
Richard Caruana is also the author of the 3 out of 4 of the book's useful reference articles. They are sub-titled "Camouflage and Markings", but this doesn't really do justice to their scope, because they are really historical accounts, with well-written text backed up with original wartime photos, accompanied by more of his excellent artwork - the colour descriptions being restricted to the captions accompanying the profiles. The remaining article, "Black 6" about RAF Hendon's restored Bf 109G-2 is written by Chris Papathanasiou, with a very useful set of walkaround photos by Fraser Gray.
Periscopio's book didn't turn out to be quite what I expected but, nevertheless, I found it very enjoyable and it's a volume I will return to for inspiration and advice. I might not call it "essential", but it certainly merits its place on the bookshelf, and the exciting thing is that it's only Vol. 1 - my appetite is firmly whetted for further treats from Greece's master modellers.
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Highs: Some great WW2 era builds described in detail, plus useful reference articles.Lows: Anyone looking for a modelling encyclopedia will need to look elsewhere - this isn't one.Verdict: Periscopio have presented a good combination of some advanced level aircraft models along with well written historical research.
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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...