JG 52 Vol. 1 follows the well-established format of Kagero's series of unit histories. The text is written in Polish and English and each page is split down the middle to allow for this. The style is very "readable", with the historical accounts backed up frequently by comments and recollections by the unit's pilots.
This volume covers the period from JG 52's formation in 1938, through the "Phoney War" and the Battles of France and Britain, up to the Spring / Summer of 1941. Therefore, it's a little odd that the introduction is the story of Victor Petermann's combat and bail-out over Russia in 1943 and his subsequent escape from behind enemy lines - the incident is the subject of the book's cover painting. Still, the story makes for fascinating reading and, no doubt, gives a taste of what's to come in future volumes.
The book is well illustrated throughout with b&w photos. Some are well known, but many are drawn from personal archives. The quality therefore varies, but the photos show many useful details of JG 52's insignia and camouflage schemes.
All the books in this series include a "bonus". It can be a book-mark with colour chips, an etched-metal detail set or, as in this case, a sheet of decals printed by Techmod in 1/72 and 1/48 scales. The decals look to be excellent quality; very thin and printed in perfect register. The sheet includes insignia (and some national markings) for 7 aircraft, and the schemes are illustrated with excellent colour artwork.
The subjects include an interesting selection of Bf 109Es, which illustrate the development of Luftwaffe camouflage very well, plus Petermann's Bf 109G-4. A nice surprise is the inclusion of an Avia B-534, which the unit used briefly in 1939. It's great to see a more unusual subject, like the Avia, and good excuse to dig out the old Karo As vacuform.
Strangely, most of the subjects chosen aren't included in the book's selection of photos. The artwork should be treated with a little caution; I found photos of 2 of the aircraft elsewhere and both sported rear-view mirrors, which aren't shown in the paintings.
Overall, this is fine addition to Kagero's series. The format is a good one; the text is informative and does much to capture the atmosphere within the unit, and the addition of the decals makes for a very complete package which should appeal widely.
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...