Thursday, February 14

We review Luftwaffe's Baptism of Fire - and test the decals in a baptism of water!!

Kagero seem to be going through a phase of self-betterment. They have taken some older titles out of print and improved them and meanwhile it seems raise the bar for their new completely items – the new “MiniTopcolors” book on the first combatants of the wartime Luftwaffe is just evidence of this. We look at the book and test the new decals for you.

Kagero Topcolors - Luftwaffe's Baptism of Fire Part I

MiniTopcolors 30 - Luftwaffe's Baptism of Fire Part 1
Maciej Góralczyk, Andrew Bard, Janusz Swiatłoń, Arkadiusz Wrobel
Softcover landscape  - 20 pages
Decals in 1/72 + 1/48th & 1/32nd of 8 different aircraft
Printed by Cartograf.
ISBN 978-83-62878-29-1

Available from Kagero Directly at this link
I have noticed that over the last year or two Kagero Publications from Poland has strived to upgrade their products and therefore their customer’s expectations and their reputation in the publishing world. Indeed I have heard some varied opinions of their books in the past. Having seen a change myself I am quite positive about the road this company has been on.

By adding aspect to their books like their excellent 3D series, and the improvements in their translations and the addition of Cartograf to their supplier of decals - well the future is looking good for them I feel. This leads us onto their newest “miniTopcolors” book.
This title is called “MiniTopcolors 30 - Luftwaffe's Baptism of Fire Part 1” and it is a landscape softcover publication of A4 size. Good paper stock and the lightness of the book should not let you be deceived – there are eighteen books cited at the start of this book used for reference. I fell the authors have gone out of their way to make sure the research for this book was done well. Having cited influences like “Luftwaffe im Focus” and several other specialist publications in this ilk they are certainly on the right track.
This is a book of eighteen pages featuring the side profiles and top-down paintings of eight different aircraft. Each early war Luftwaffe types, - we see Bf-109 D, and E models, a Ju-87B-I, a Bf-110C-2 and even a Heinkel He 111 P-2 covered in these excellent profiles which illustrate camo demarcation and often the particular personal making of each aircraft. With all of the research that has gone into the markings and colour schemes of each aircraft what else could you want? Ohh you want to model them? Well this book is like the poshest decal sheet you would ever get – as it has some info (in dual Polish and English) and colour schemes and some history for each of the aircraft but also in this edition eight aircraft’s decals in all the three major scales on two decal sheets…
The two large sheets of decals are printed by market leader Cartograf of Italy – so there is no doubt to the quality of the decals provided. It provides individual markings in the scales of 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 for the German aircraft captured in the book – all from the early war period 1939-1940. In a good  feature three is included the “Condor Legion” national markings for 1 Ju 87 and one Bf 109 in all 3 scales and swastikas for 1 He 111 in 1:32 and 1:72 scales. That beats you having to source your own, which the 1/32 kit did not have as it was made in Germany (cha-ching!)

The aircraft are - in order of appearance..
-Junkers Ju 87 B-1, the '29 side code • 8 'from the 5th K/88, Legion Condor, airport Sanjurjo, Zaragoza, Spain, the end of 1938,

-Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1; side code '6 • 119 'pilot: Hptm. Siebelt Reents, commander of the 1st J/88, Legion Condor, León, Spain, spring 1939,

-Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1, 'Black 14' with 2 (J) / LG 2, Poland, half of September 1939,

-Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-1; W.Nr. 4048, 'yellow 7' of 3./JGr. 101, Hoya, Germany, 18 November 1939
-Messerschmitt Bf 109 D-1; W.Nr. 630, 'Black N +7', pilot: Oblt. Johannes 'Macki' Steinhoff, commander of the 11th (N) / JG 2, Hage, Germany, April 1940,

-Messerschmitt Bf 109 E-3; pilot: Oblt. Wilfried Pufahl of Stab II. / JG 53, Sandhofen Mannheim, Germany, April 1940,

-Messerschmitt Bf 110 C-2, on the code side 'L1 + KK' of 14./LG 1, Crew: Uffz. Hans Bechthold (pilot), Uffz. Wilhelm Harder (radio operator) Sandhofen Mannheim, Germany, late spring 1940,
-Heinkel He 111 P-2, with code '1 G+ HL side 'of 3./KG 27, Crew: Uffz. Otto Kaiser (pilot), Hptm. Robert von Sichartshoff Sichart (leader-follower), Uffz. Gustav Bergmann (radio operator), Uffz. Paul Kleinitzke (flight engineer); Neukuhren, East Prussia, 15 September 1939 (sign in 1:32 and 1:72 scales). - I noticed that the man on the side isn't in the 48th decal sheet for the He 111P - because there is no current kit for it - I was worried for a second!
Luftwaffe afficianos will no doubt be pleased to see ships flown by such aces as Johannes 'Macki' Steinhoff & Siebelt Reents as well as some before unbeknownst -  to me anyway – pilots of the early years of the Luftwaffe in this book.

 Let’s try them out shall we??

I didn’t have a kit with me so I decided to try a fair few of the smaller 1/48th decals on a board I had painted up in lovely “olivegrun” – it was a little rough but it would at least show me how it all adhered…
I used the 1/48th scale decals as I thought they would show up any silvering or problems

Just as I thought with Cartograf decals – they adhered very well and sunk in very well with a little decal solution to assist. The whites are strong and the printing of even the smallest decals is in register. The long dog decal needed a little bit of positioning and although I did apply it twice (I am clumsy ok!?) it still handled well and didn’t break up.

Well I was pleasantly surprised by the book and decal package – though only 20 pages there is enough detail there to let you know a fair bit about what you are modelling, great artwork in the profiles and excellent adherence and quality of decals make this an excellent purchase to anyone interested in early Luftwaffe no matter what scale you model in. (except 1/144 :-) )

A great publication/decal package

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Kagero for sending this to review.