Thursday, September 27

"Bloomin 'ell its a ruddy 'Einkel" - in our "Walk Around" Series book review

Squadron/Signal Publications has sent us their latest book to read and show off to you – from the excellent and detail packed “Walk Around” series that modellers seem to love this book’s subject is on a very popular Luftwaffe aircraft – the He-111. We will take you through what we like and maybe didn’t like in our review.

Written by: Ron Mackay.
88 pages
Illustrated with 228 photos detailed line drawings and colour profiles
Product Code: SS65070

This book comes to me wrapped in hard cardboard from the USA and only in a few days I may add- The title sticks to the same format that you may be used to from this series. It is a landscape orientated book in A4 size full of glossy photographs and line drawings, there are also some period snaps and some excellent profiles of many aircraft included for inspiration and better understanding of the different variants as well. There are 88 pages and there aren’t many shots I have seen before, especially the walk-arounds which look like they were done especially for this book. There is a hardcover edition as well but the version we are looking at is a softcover version.
Being a 1/32 modeller primarily I was pretty happy to see Revell’s offering of the big bird last year, but the only book I had for close up detail was my trusty “Aero Detail” book from Japan. These are long out of print and a lot of the pictures are dark (blame the museum in Hendon partly for that) but it is otherwise an excellent reference – it has many line drawings, mock up pictures and photos, but the problem is that it is now out of print and rare as rocking horse do-do. What’s a perspective modeller to do for an all in one reference?
Enter Squadron with yet another in their series of “Walk Around” books – this one has at the centre the same Heinkel as the walk around books – the “H-20” model from RAF Hendon Museum as well as the restored version of the He 111P2 captured when it was forced down in combat over Norway. This aircraft has been fully restored to a magnificent standard and now resides in the Museum of Gardermoen Museum in Norway.
Whilst the Norwegians restored aircraft looks like it could fly out of the hangar doors at the museum the Hendon example looks a lot the worse for wear. It is dusty, untouched inside and showing signs of corrosion in other pictures but this I suppose is just as good a source of reference to modellers – to have an aircraft in pretty much an untouched state is sometimes better than an aircraft restored and sometimes lacking accuracy. This has happened on the Norwegian Heinkel actually, but the author takes care to point out where the errors were made in that restoration (not many of them I may add). You must take into account however how the Ex Luftwaffe, ex 56 Fighter Group and now Hendon museum’s airframe would have aged in the 70+ years since it’s internment.
The start of the book gives you the briefest of introductions and explanations of the origins of the aircraft – from a passenger plane designed by brothers to the more familiar role of chief German protagonist of the “Battle of Britain” and the “Blitz” and then into later service life the aircraft is shown throughout the book in it’s different guises in several line drawings which help tell one variant from another.

The first twenty eight pages of the book give you an internal walk ‘round (more like crawl inside) the Norwegian P-2 version and Ohh what a treat this is! There are more shots than you or I may take if we got the chance. Everything internal that the crew could see and get to is documented in great photos – all in focus and properly lit. It seems the photographer went from every panel to the next – nothing seems left out to me. The only problem is sometimes you get lost! There is however excellent text backing up the photos that explain what you are looking at and telling you where you are. I still did get lost a bit and had to look again where I was from time to time.
The rest of the P-2 aircraft is shown in many pictures over the next thirty odd pages and this includes pictures of the pristine looking restored engines and the undercarriage which are most helpful. This really is an excellently restored example and you can gain a great amount from the careful research that has gone on to the restoration as well as the obvious knowledge of the author of the text of the captions of the photos.

As are the insightful smaller scale diagrams of the differences of certain parts of the aircraft and how they have changed from variant to variant, type to sub-type. The gun positions, nose section, gondolas, tail section and several other bits that separate one variant from another are shown in detail here.
The RAF aircraft is a good foil to the immaculate version we have just seen. After not being small enough to transport to the states for evaluation after the war this example eventually fell into the care of the great museum at RAF Hendon in North London. Although this aircraft has not been restored this is a blessing a you can see the original details – although worn and faded at least you can see where this aircraft would have been weathered during it’s service life – so a perceived weakness of the book I think in using this aircraft is a strength.

This bird does need a dust down though! Years of storage have seen it accumulate a fair bit of slight rust on the engines as well. These are shown with and without the cowls and again there is evidence of how the aircraft might “age” whilst in use. Although this is less of an issue with the engines as they would have been well maintained. At least we got to see them here.

There are some excellent side on profiles of the aircraft which give you a great source of inspiration and leave you hankering to make other variants of the Heinkel. The variants here vary from the start of the war to captured variants, desert birds, cable cutting oddities and V-1flying bomb carriers. Great inspiration for modellers especially.
The last part of the book shows some good period photos which add to the evidence provided in the book - these are good but unnecessary or maybe better for the start of the book when they aren’t showing a particular part of the airframe or equipment.

All In all a better close up reference than the “Aero Detail” book I own as the photos especially of the Norwegian based restored bird are just the best I have seen. This is a great (and not to mention inexpensive) detail book for those of you wanting to make this big winged bird. Nice work.

Adam Norenberg

Both hardcover and softcover are available now from Squadron/Signal Productions and we thank them for this book to read and review.