Wednesday, December 31

In review: Airframe Detail No.1: The Blohm & Voss Bv 141 by Richard A. Franks - Valiant Wings Publishing

In a new series called “Airframe Detail” Valiant Wings Publication’s new title examines one of the weirdest designs in aviation history (and there have been many of them) – the ungainly looking but it seems very interesting Blohm & Voss Bv 141 aircraft. We were interested to see why so many people are captivated by this aircraft so what better way to start by reviewing this title…

Review: Airframe Detail No.1: The Blohm & Voss Bv 141
- A Technical Guide
By Richard A. Franks
64 pages softcover
A4 format
ISBN 978-0-9575866-7-3
Available from Valiant Wings Directly for £11.95

Now let’s call a spade a spade, I just don’t get what people seem to like about this aircraft. To me the Blohm & Voss Bv 141 looks like a funny shaped stick with an engine on it and some wings. I do know however that we like the odd, the strange and most importantly the unique in this world of modelling. We all like to model something that stands out from what EVERYONE else is doing. I suppose that is one of the reasons we like this kite. The other I suppose is a wonder at how it flies?

Valiant Wings new series has picked just this airframe to focus on with Richard A. Franks’ latest book Airframe Detail No.1: The Blohm & Voss Bv 141. This kite was the subject of the recent release of the new tool Hobbyboss 1/48 scale kit and not to mention the old Airfix 1/72 scale kit. I have even heard of rumours of a larger scale aircraft in this type. SO I suppose this selection is timely. Valiant wings do have a knack of picking the right time to release their books on certain subjects so I will be watching the market keenly.

This book is similar to the other Valiant Wings tittles in look and feel. It is a glossy softcover in portrait format in A4 size. Weighing in at 64 pages there is a lot of info in her for an aircraft that had such a short production run. The bonus being that it has not often been covered in such detail before. The other thing I notice once reading the book is that none of that “all in one” approach to completely covering an aircraft tin one tittle is lost here.

On first look the only thing missing on first look would be some scale plans… To be honest I tend not to trust scale drawings anyway. Let’s have a bit more than a first look shall we?

The books starts of course with a preface and a brief history of the type. Starting with the even more ungainly looking prototype versions which housed a raised canopy and looked every bit the 30’s style of oddity aircraft. We look at most of the airframe types through to the production “B” type which it’s thought about twenty were produced. Some great pictures in here of aircraft I haven’t ever seen before.
The real meat of the sandwich is in the title of the book – it is next as the technical description. And boy we do get right into it here. Through pictures, original technical diagrams and period photographs of the internal areas we look at all of this aircraft and it’s a boon for the modeller. The drawings are captioned in German and we are lucky to have them translated into English while each of the pictures that accompany the drawings are captioned with helpful text as well. Some little gems of information are passed on by the author in these shots.
Starting with the canopy section of the glasshouse, cockpit, crew positions and equipment we also have drawings, pictures and text describing the undercarriage, wings, tail and control surfaces, access panels and engines as well as the wiring and electrical equipment and included are the weapons and ordinance. This section really does show you from the inside out the technical aspects of the aircraft and it’s a massive help for modellers.
Another interesting but I suppose short section due to the lack of airframes built is the camouflage and markings of the BV 141. An explanation of the colours and markings is provided and I think the author has looked at the colours and markings pretty smartly using the evidence they have pulled up.
The usual good work from Richard.J.Caruana is here in form of aircraft profiles. We not only get camouflage patterns but individual profiles from ten of the aircraft made by B&V. The RLM 02 versions I found particularly interesting and there are a few here.
The next section is to me quite interesting. The Hobbyboss kit is built up for us by Steve Evans in just the same scheme I thought was the most appealing in the profiles. This kit is pretty basic but Steve does a great job but does not hold back on the points of the kit he does not enjoy so much. I loved the paint job Steve has done here with such a dull colour in so many shades on the panels he has brought this gangly looking aircraft to life.
Lastly we round of this title by a collection of the rather thin on the ground collection of model kits and books this aircraft has been featured in. By the total lack of coverage it looks like a very smart idea to make this book. It has not seen the coverage that on reflection it deserves.

Well I am surprised. Like in the Boomerang book Valiant Wings have taken a somewhat un-pretty looking aircraft and made it a great deal more interesting than I would have ever thought it to be. Those who already like this aircraft are in luck as this will answer their prayers. To the arrest of us this all-in-one book follows on from the other Valiant wings books in making the very most out of an aircraft in one place.

Well done by the author and publishers. They have sparked my interest in this - the most un-natural of aircraft.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for sending this book for us to read and review