Saturday, October 5

"My Naked Ass" in three different decal scales AND in print? - It could only be the review of Kagero's SMI LIBRARY 06 B-25J "Mitchell" in Combat over Europe (MTO) & decal combo

Kagero Publications has a nifty little series in their stock called the “SMI Library” This series covers one aircraft in detail with several profiles and colour pictures and most importantly decals for three scales for the aircraft featured in the book. We have looked at a few in this series but this book is a little different – Is the change good or bad? Read our review to find out..

SMI LIBRARY 06 B-25J "Mitchell" in Combat over Europe (MTO)
Kagero Publications
Author: Marek Katarzyński
80 pages
A4 size Landscape softcover
Text English/Polish languages
199 b/w & 36 colour photos + illustrated nose arts & Profiles
Decals for 3 aircraft in 72nd, 48th & 32nd scales.
Available from Kagero Directly.

We reviewed the SMI book from Kagero this month on the P-47 Thunderbolt in the MTO, CBI & Pacific Theatres. We liked the book a lot and the decals were great – the one thing I pointed out is that it was a lot to cover in a book of eighty pages so it was not as deep an experience as I would have wanted.

This book however on the beautiful B-25 Mitchell bomber from WWII, and it focuses on just one theatre of operations – the southern Mediterranean theatre of the Italian and Corsican region. The aircraft covered are from the 12th airforce. From the Balkans to Italy to the invasion of southern France these aircraft served the USAAF and the allies very well in low to medium level bombing raids. This book takes us on a mainly pictorial view through this aircraft’s history in the “med”
In a softcover matte A4 landscape book there are eighty pages of 199 b/w & 36 colour photographs including illustrated nose art & profiles for of 4 B-25Js ( all in one breath) AS WELL as decals printed by Cartograf of three of the four aircraft in the profiles (and featured in the book) in 1/72nd, 1/48th & 1/32nd scales…. Now you know the contents let’s look at the quality.

There are sections devoted to each of the bomb groups in the 12th AF that flew the Mitchell – the text is in both polish and English and is featured side by side ( as well as in the description of each photo)  - the text talks a little bit about the colouring and actions of these groups and where they fought in the MTO. There are some revealing snippets in only a concise amount of text. Facts about the olive drab paint applied on these aircraft and the usage of British (RAF) paint, the usage of gun packs and so on that are revealed here.
Where I felt the P-47 book we looked at recently had just too much to fit into one book this title of eighty pages has really only about ten pages of straight text in total – the rest being pictures and captions. It leaves the reader with a brief overview of each unit (and a few interesting facts I had no idea of before) and then the rest is all pictorial gold.
There are (at Kagero’s count I am not good with numbers) 235 archive photos including 36 in colour photos in this book. They feature many before unseen photos in print, and several fan favourites well known to some B-25 nuts as well. The photo quality is excellent throughout and although there are some still shots that are taken (I think) from movie reels of the aircraft in action the book this part is the best part of the book – Single aircraft are featured usually in groups of shots which is very handy for reference, with each aircraft either one, two or three shots in the book it is great if you want to get a feel for each plane and the differences in the bombing groups.

There are nine truly excellent pages of clear colour images – mostly the very good nose arts are features and if these “sets” don’t get you interested in modelling I do not know what will. A great part of this book!
Another good part is the colour artist renditions of the real life art poses – many Vargas images that the artists in these bomb groups incorporated into their own nose arts on these “ships” They are a very good reference to those who would like to know the origin of the art and how it was translated onto bare aluminium skins of the bombers. The bomber group insignias included on the next page are cool but not half as interesting as the lay-deez! Maybe they should have been slightly bigger to see the artwork a little better?
Another excellent part of this book are the four profiles of aircraft painted by Janusz Światłoń. These profiles show both port and starboard sides and top down with a close up of the sassy nose art – there are three olive drab upper surfaces Mitchell’s here and one all natural metal bird. The artwork is top class and the captions add just that little extra as well – Don’t you wish you had the markings for these birds??

Well now you do – three of them anyway– in three major aircraft scales (72nd, 48th & 32nd) there is a large decal sheet – printed by market leaders and go-to guys Cartograf. They are..
B-25J-2-NC (s/n 43-27751) coded '50' (previously Roman ‘III’) and named MMR of 447th BS / 321st BG,

B-25J-2-NC (s/n 43-27473) coded '73' and named Paper Doll of 447th BS / 321st BG,
B-25J-2-NC (s/n 43-27704) coded '7A' and named My Naked Ass of 487th BS / 340th BG.

The decals are very nice to my eyes – thick but not too thick so they are strong, with a minimum of carrier film that you can get away with and in register. All of the artwork came out perfectly and you have the book here to check your references of all three in profiles AND picture form – what could be better if you want to make your own?

And in close up detail - this is 48th scale
This book is my favorite SMI title yet – the pictures, profiles decals and nose arts are all top notch – and just the right amount of subject for a book this size. This is the formula Kagero should stick to in this format I reckon. When Kagero get these type of books right they get them very right. The price, the pictures and artwork and not to mention the decals - this book is excellent.

Adam  Norenberg

Thanks to Kagero for this book to read and review