The book is printed in a pamphlet style - 24 x 16.7 cm - and consists of 36 page walkaround with 103 colour photos, plus an introduction, a set of 1/72 scale drawings and profiles & decals for two aircraft.
One could really say this books isn't so much about the
Bf 109G-6, as about a particular
Gustav. The subject of the book really quite unique; Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 W. Nr. 163306, which crashed into Lake Trzebun on the morning of 28th May 1944, carrying Feldwebel Ernst Pleiness to his death.
The brief service history of the aircraft and its subsequent recovery in 1999 and restoration by the Polish Eagles Association is well described in the English introduction to the walkaround.
All the photos are printed to a very high standard, usually three or four per page, and are ideally sized for modellers' references. The aircraft is shown during restoration and the authors, Miroslaw Zelechowski and Jakub Plewka, have been granted exceptional access to the airframe in its part-disassembled state. This means that many areas normally hidden in other walkarounds are fully visible in these photos. The pictures are grouped into the following sequence:
The basically complete airframe on display at Krakow.
The fuselage, minus the wings and tail assembly with exposed details of the attachment points.
The propeller assembly, including pitch adjustment gear.
The engine - under restoration with some parts missing.
The cockpit - again incomplete.
The wings, including details of the slats and radiator baths. The radiators themselves were destroyed in the crash.
The tail assembly - disassembled, showing its construction clearly.
As you can see, some parts of the airframe are incomplete - and this is perhaps the only weakness in the book. As it stands, TopShots 11004 represents a fascinating study of W. Nr. 163306 under restoration, but if the authors had also included some comparison shots from original manuals or other restorations, it would have provided a more complete reference for modellers.
The walkaround is finished off with a 1/72 scale 4-view plan of the Bf 109G, which will be useful to modellers and, finally, the rear cover of the book has two excellent side-profiles, along with detailed English/Polish captions describing the camouflage and other painting:
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6, II/JG 77, Sicily 1943
Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 - W. Nr. 163306, 2/JGr West, May 1944 - the subject of the walkaound photos.
Kagero have included a very neat little set of decals printed in 1/72, 148 and 1/32 scales to accompany the profiles. The decals are printed by Techmod and look excellent; thin, glossy and printed perfectly in register. They are intended to be used in conjunction with donor kit-sheets, so no national insignia or stencils are included.
This should be a useful book for anyone wishing to add more detail to their Bf 109G. The fact that the airframe is under restoration provides a unique opportunity to see the innards of the Bf 109, but it does also mean that modellers will require addition references to fill in the gaps of the incomplete areas.
The restoration is testimony to the care, expertise and respect devoted by the Polish Eagles Association to the aircraft of a former foe and serves as a reminder of the human tragedy of war. 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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