The newest in Osprey’s Duel series is authored by Mike Guardia, a six year veteran who served as an Armor Officer in the United States Army. He attended the University of Houston where he earned a BA and MA in American History. Guardia has been published by Osprey before in the New Vanguard series, but this is his first entry into the Duel series. He has also authored The Fires of Babylon, Hal Moore: A Soldier Once…and Always, and Shadow Commander. Hal Moore, of course, was popularized by Mel Gibson in the movie “We Were Soldiers”. He is an active member in the Military Writers Society of America and has twice been nominated for the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Book Award.
I was quite caught off-guard when I discovered that the Tom Daniels “Beer Wagon” was to be reissued by Monogram/Revell this summer. There had been nothing noted on any recent publications from Revell that this kit was to coming back out, but I am so happy it has resurfaced. Now, how many different variations to this kit can I build?
Historically this is the single kit that launched my interest in scale modeling. Not the first kit I ever built, but the first kit release from Monogram in 1967 under the Tom Daniel’s banner. Many more would follow of which I have built nearly 50 of the various Tom Daniels designs and have a collection of over 80 of the 80+ he is given credit for drafting.
Osprey publishing continues to expand the Duel Series, this time with WWII naval enemies: British Submarines and Italian Torpedo Boats in the Mediterranean. The Italian Torpedo Boats were more like a “destroyer escort” or “frigate”-style ship, not a fast attack torpedo craft.
This book follows the typical format of the series including a few chapters on the technical aspects of each vessel, the training of the combatants, the strategic situation, a very detailed narrative of combat, and wraps it up with statistics and analysis.
I have to say that I have found the reading of this book very interesting and I was surprised by how many references –to other books or interviews- this issue of Osprey Duel has. It is clearly an extremely well researched book and some of the main things I learned follow:
The short version -- I liked the kit. Hasegawa has engineered this kit well.
Now, the details.
The final and most built series of the Mitchell, the B-25J looked less like earlier series, apart from the well-glazed bombardier's nose of nearly-identical appearance to the earliest B-25 subtypes. It had the forward dorsal turret and other armament and airframe advancements. Also produced was a strafer nose first shipped to air depots as kits, then introduced on the production line in alternating blocks with the bombardier nose. The solid-metal "strafer" nose housed eight centerline Browning M2 .50 caliber machine guns. All J models included four .50 in (12.7 mm) light-barrel Browning AN/M2 guns in a pair of "fuselage packages"; conformal gun pods each flanking the lower cockpit, each pod containing two Browning M2s. Total J series production was 4,318.
Thank you to Ginter Books for providing a review copy of their new release, Naval Fighters Number 102, a second volume covering the Grumman S2F/S-2 Tracker and the WF-2/E - 1 B Tracer. I also appreciate all of those in the IPMS Reviewer Corps, who do the heavy lifting to get the reviews done, from start to finish.
The Tracker holds a special interest for me beyond my personal enthusiasm for USN aviation, an interest honed after hearing two Navy veterans argue about how effective the aircraft was. Naturally, one was a submarine officer, and the other an S2F aviator. This volume adds to the material covered in Part 1, Naval Fighters Number 101, adding brief narratives, squadron insignia images, and photographs related to the aircraft as it was used by reserves, utility, training, and other interesting operational units.