When I saw this title become available on the list of items up for review, I thought it might be a good title to review since I was currently working on the new Dragon Ta-152C-1/R-14 kit. I was expecting a softbound book similar to what Squadron or Kagero might do. What I received was a beautifully produced hardbound book of very high quality.
There are 136 pages divided into five sections. The first two sections only comprise four pages and are basically an explanation of what the authors have tried to achieve in putting together this book. The next section deals with camouflage and gives a brief outline of the interpretations of RLM colors used in the book. Contained in this section are five pages of printed RLM color swatches, including two pages of grayscale renditions of the colors. An interesting feature of the swatches is the inclusion of a section that shows each color with highlight and shadow effects.
The bulk of the book is in the next section – the profiles. There are a total of 100 profiles which are broken down into 8 sub-sections. The profiles are around 1/48 scale, and several of them show top and bottom views. In many cases, there is more than one interpretation of a particular color scheme, and these are supplemented by scrap views showing the alternate interpretations. There are also many scrap views of unit badges, kill markings, etc.
If I had one nit to pick with this book, it is in the descriptions accompanying the profiles. All of the text is in English, but the translation could have been improved upon, especially considering the otherwise superior quality of the publication, not to mention the price. There is nothing that the average reader cannot figure out, but some of the phrases required a little thought to decipher. For instance, the term “axle housing” is used to refer to the spinner, the cowling is sometimes called the “hood”, and the tail is occasionally called the “drift”. That being said, I actually found the translation to be more entertaining than annoying.
Anyway, back to the profiles, which is what this book is all about. They are beautifully painted and printed. The book only contains two photos, and they are used in the introduction to help clarify the research techniques used by the authors. I was pleased to see a section dealing with the two-seat Fw-190S-5 and S-8 versions. The Fw-190D is represented by 10 profiles, but unfortunately the Ta-152 is only represented by one aircraft, an H model, that wore three different sets of markings (German, British, and US).
At the back of the book is a bibliography listing dozens of references for Kurt Tank’s most famous creation. Following the bibliography is an eleven page section which should prove to be very useful. In this section, each profile is cross-referenced to multiple sources where photos of the aircraft can be found. The chart even goes as far as to indicate on which page the photo can be found. I looked up several of the pictures in my references to verify their accuracy for the sake of this review and every one was where it was supposed to be.
This book was obviously a labor of love for the authors. The amount of time and research that went into the making of this publication must have been staggering. Although the price may be a little steep, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is an Fw-190 fan. However, you should be warned that, if you obtain this book, you will not be able to resist the urge to add more 190 kits to your stash so that you can model some of the aircraft from its pages.
My sincere thanks to Euromodelismo for providing this excellent publication and to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to review it.