Book author: Marek J. Murawski
Amongst recently released publications from Kagero we can find a second issue of the "Units" series. These publications are brief but comprehensive monographs of title units containing historical overview and a lot of archive photographs. In the debut of this series we could focus on the famous German Jagdgeschwader 52. Number two keeps us amongst Luftwaffe pilots and takes us on the historical tour with Jagdgeschwader 54.
Let's see what's in this volume. Content of this issue seems to be already quite standardized. Publication is released in the form of booklet with soft covers in the A4 format with 32 pages.
Text starts with the essential bibliography with titles of well known and respected authors. From page 4 we go into the historical "body" of this publication. Text is divided into few sub-chapters depending on the campaign in which geschwader had participated. So we travel across Europe and time from France and Great Britain in 1940, Balkans in 1941, Russia during Operation Barbarossa in 1941 and area of Leningrad in 1942, next year generally through the Eastern Front only to land once again in France for the last two years of war. Last pages are filled with general statistics, names of geschwader and gruppen commanders, high scores and awards of best pilots and types of planes used in particular gruppe's.
Pages are fed up with archive photographs of different sizes, from 1/6 to 1/2 of page or even up to the whole page. There are in total 49 black and white photos which had to be accommodated on just 32 pages so sometimes you may have feeling the content is somewhat cramped, however it does not collide neither with the text nor makes reading difficult by any means. Photographies presents machines used in JG 54, their pilots and ground crews during their ordinary life, sometimes varied by an opportunity to celebrate another round victory of their units.
Decal sheet is printed by Cartograf. Contains 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 individual markings for the four planes. Selection of colour profiles and, at the same time, decals includes the following machines:
- Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-2; “Blue 5” of 7./JG 54, probably Isotscha airfield in Smolensk area, Russia, winter of 1942-1943.
- Focke-Wulf Fw 190 A-5; W. Nr. 0150 1501, “White 4”, flown by Oblt. Walter Nowotny, Staffelkapitän of 1./JG 54, Russia, summer 1943.
- Bücker Bü 131 D-2; W. Nr. 1683, coded “KG GB” of 2./JG 54, Krasnogvardeysk airfield, Russia, late March 1942.
- Messerschmitt Bf 109 F-2; “White 9”, flown by Oblt. Hans Philipp, Staffelkapitän of 4./JG 54, Mal. Owsischtschi, 10 August 1941.
Decals consists only from the individual markings for the machines listed above, numbers and unit badges seen on depicted machines. National markings will have to be obtained from some other sources, which are plenty available on the market.
Historians of the Luftwaffe, who are not modellers, may be disappointed with this book as the historical data is rather a solid foundation for further studies of the topic than discover new word. In my opinion much more interesting are archive photos from the author collection and attached decals. As a modeller many times I would like to build a particular machine presented on a photo or colour profile. Then the biggest difficulty is to get the proper markings, numbers or emblems. If you can't prepare on your own self-adhesive masks or don't have any leftovers of decals from other kits most probably you're boiled. Kagero "Units" series, including of course this issue, is some kind of solution for similar problems: provides almost all you need to enlarge your collection with another eye-catching model of popular airplane. What is more your model will be much more unique than so many other models of this type in the original producer painting option.