Tuesday, June 21

EriK Mombeeck Luftwaffe Gallery No2

This month a new publication from the noted Luftwaffe author and historian Erik Mombeeck. This, the second in Erik’s “Lu/Ga” (Luftwaffe Gallery) series of publications serves as a neat distraction from some of his other publications that go deep into unit histories and the pilots that flew them. These are smaller in page number and in word count, but large in pictorial and artistic detail. The first book in this series proudly adorns my shelf and now I thought I could show off the second to you.
Erik Mombeeck
Luftwaffe Gallery No. 2
Released: May 2011
Around 100 Colour + Black and white photos + Artwork
56 pages 
Author: Erik Mombeeck

These “Lu/Ga” books are large landscape formatted A4 publications on very good quality paper. This edition has fifty-six pages and has around one hundred photos, all of good quality and some in colour - many never before published. The other strong point of this book is the excellent illustrations and colour profiles complete with RLM colours that complement the photographs. These illustrations by noted artist Thierry Dekker really are top quality and will be of note to many Luftwaffe modelling enthusiasts out there (and by gosh there are many!).

The book is very much like the AFV series of armoured vehicles called “Panzerwrecks” – it is mainly pictorials of the aircraft with some text that explains the circumstances behind the photos and the people who flew and worked on them. The book is broken up into several sections all focussing on certain themes, some before unbeknown to myself such as the pilots “Victory Stick” which was carved and carried by the pilot as a sign of prestige.

The pictures and illustrations are explained in good detail by text which describes the scene without distracting form, the imagery; it is informative and makes for easy reading. I will take you through the chapters in turn...

Article 1: The Mickey Mouse Cartoon Character
The character of Mickey “Maus” was a popular mascot of the soldiers and pilots especially in the thirties and the forties. Although the Mickey emblem was initially frowned upon as being from an American origin, this book shows how this motto was adopted by the pilots who flew in the Spanish civil war and was taken from that unit into many others in the Luftwaffe.

From Pilots such as Mölders and probably most famously Adolf Galland this chapter illustrates the genesis and transformation of this character on the sides of these fighters.

Article 2: Scribble Pattern Paint Schemes

The second chapter shows the differences in the “scribble” schemes adopted on many types of Luftwaffe aircraft from the frozen Tundra and Eastern front to the extreme heat of the western desert.

Many interesting and incite full illustrations are here as they are in all the sections of this book. These pictures are good in the way are grouped together and show sometimes the whole aircraft so you can (try) to replicate the complex schemes on some of these aircraft down to the last squiggle.

The pictures are matched in with an excellent account of a battle over the frozen tundra that really is a great read and shows into the pilot’s mind before and after the dogfight. The illustrations and profiles again show the photos off to their best, with inclusions of RLM colours this is a seriously good modeller’s aid.

Article 3: Bf 109F’s in Sicily (Colour Section)
The static nature of the aerial assault on Malta from Italian bases in Sicily lent itself to soldiers securing some of the colour film, which was in short supply in the war. Luckily for us Eric has brought us some pictures of the nature I haven’t seen before of the winter months of the attack on the Island fortress from late 1941 to 1942.

Aircraft from JG53 were stationed as Comiso and you can see by photos at large Italian aerodromes the nature of the aircraft there – Often with Italian aircraft in the background, these series of eight pictures are excellent examples of the new photos that can come to light through the constant research that Mombeeck does.

Article 4: Maritime Strike Aircraft Rudders
This is something I never really thought about – kill makes for ships on aircraft! Well of course they did exist and here we have several different aircraft with their rudder kill marks prominently displayed through pictures and illustrations again by Thierry Dekker in this chapter. Ten pages here cover naval floatplanes like the He115, the Focke Wulf Condor and of course the Arado Ar-196 (of special interest to lots of people since the Revel kit) this chapter also covers more of the usual aircraft put into anti-shipping duties like the Bf 110 and Bf 109. One pilot in a ‘109F scored over twenty ships claimed!

Again here the text adds a lot to the pictures and illustrations presented as I t partially tells the tale of the kills and the pilots behind them, after all the pictures here mean nothing without some context. So I am glad for the explanation given here.

Article 5: Pilot Victory Sticks Part 1
This was a new one on me – Victory Sticks! I guess I had never paid attention to them in pictures before – often thinking them to be walking aids! The text and pictures here show many pilots with the sticks they have carved out then – sometimes very intricately – inscribed information of their decorations and kills on. Sticks that still exist are shown in full colour.

The sticks of just two units are captured here, Nice artwork again! Often the text accompanies the stick as an illustration and a picture of the pilot – often with “stick in hand” I was surprised to see some great pictures with ace Egon Mayer included (never knew he had a stick!) the leader of JG2 after Hans Hahn left “Richthofen” Definitely interesting to me anyway.

Article 6: Seaplanes Special Part 1
There is a small section of six pages on Seaplanes with colour profiles included here. Illustrated are the Blohm & Voss 138 Arado Ar 196 and Ar 95, as well as the Heinkel He 114. There are also some pictures of the aircraft in action.

Reader's Corner
I liked this section – It takes a big man to add corrections or additions to his own print – Well Eric does this in this last page of the book – he adds comments or corrections the readers do send in, it is a valuable addition to the book in that enthusiasts see and can add to these book with their own stories and images.

Not too heavy or light – this book has top notch illustrations and pictures – the text just tops it off – I loved the first version and I think most Luftwaffe fans would really like this in their collection.

I loved it – Bring on Lu/Ga 3!

Adam Norenberg

To order your copy of "Luftwaffe Gallery" #1 or #2 
1 copy of Lu/Ga (18 euros) plus postage in Europe: 25 Euros
1 copy of Lu/Ga (27 US $) plus postage for the rest of the world: 38 USD