Aircraft Aces Vol. 3 is presented in a 28-page bi-lingual pamphlet format and covers the careers of 3 Luftwaffe pilots:
Coverage of each pilot is divided into two sections, each illustrated with a well-chosen selection of B&W photographs;
Firstly, an account in the pilots' own words of significant events and combat during their service and, secondly, the authors Marek Murawski and Peter Neuwerth give an overview of the pilots' careers, from training through to the end of the War (and, in the case of Wolfrum, his subsequent career as an aerobatics champion). I really like this approach - primarily because you get a much greater picture of the character of the pilots from their personal accounts - their sense of humour and their fears.
Last - but certainly not least - there is the decal sheet and excellent colour profiles for 5 colour schemes:
For Heinz Ewald...
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6, Stab II./JG 52, Crimea, April 1, 1944
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6/R6 W.Nr: 163568, 6./JG52, Romania, June 3, 1944
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-10/AS W.Nr. 610487, 6./JG52, Hungary, February 1945
For Walter Wolfrum...
Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 W.Nr. 411777, 5./JG52, Crimea, 1944
And for Werner Hohenberg...
Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 W.Nr. 210194, Stab I./JG 2, Stolberg, Jan 1, 1945
Ewald's aircraft are arguably the most eye-catching - at least in terms of personal markings - as they all carry his mascot - a "lucky pig" (these should be popular with the DSB!). The story behind the pig is vividly described in Ewald's account of the perils of a novice pilot's first combats on the Eastern Front. Suffice to say, for the purposes of this review, Ewald was christened "Esau" (lucky pig) by his Staffel-mates. Ewald's aircraft cover the period from April 1944 to February 1945 and clearly illustrate the development in Luftwaffe camouflage, along with a shift from the flamboyant bright pink pig of 1944 to a sombre white outline-only version on Ewald's return to combat following months of hospitalisation.
The decals themselves are superb quality - thin and glossy and printed perfectly in register. The sheet carries personal markings and is printed in 1/72, 1/48 and 1/32 scales. The sheet is intended to be used in combination with kit-supplied decals, but some national insignia are also included (swastikas are split in half for the sake of political correctness).The artwork is of a similarly high quality, although one weakness from a modeller's viewpoint is that only Wolfrum's aircraft is treated to a full 4-view. For the others, one is left to assume that they carried standard camouflage on the wings.
Kagero's twist in the established format is rather neat. The combination of excellent quality decals and artwork with well-written text makes for a very effective package. Kagero describe the decal sheet as a free bonus - which I'm sure is true for historians; but many modellers will view the decals and profiles as the primary reason for purchasing the volume and see the text as the bonus. Either way... thoroughly recommended.
Thank you to Kagero Books for kindly supplying the review sample.
Kagero Books are distributed in the US by MMD-Squadron
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