Wednesday, May 13

Review: Wingspan Volume I from Canfora Press

Canfora Press have brought us some of the most beautiful books on modelling today. Large picture formats with good stories and modelling practices that inspire you want to go out and make your own kit just like the one in the book. Tony Canfora has authored a new book in a series  featuring 1/32nd scale aircraft. It's called “Wingspan” - we have read it now let’s have a look at it in our review…
1:32 Aircraft Modelling
by Toni CanforA

128 pages in English
Landscape A4 format.
Price: 27 Euro from the Canfora website & their distributors worldwide

With new large page format books like the FAQ series and the TankART books now the desired format for modellers who like it large and easy to follow another market leader – Canfora Press has added their own title to the  fray. No tanks this time though – It’s all large scale aircraft!
This new book from Canfora Press in Sweden steers away from the usual territory of AFV’s like the Panther, Tiger and wartime ground dioramas and swapped them for showing us models of some of the nicest aircraft to have flown in WWI, WWII and beyond. The book is called “Wingspan” and we are sure that if this does well there will be more volumes in the pipeline.

Straight away when you first open up the wide format softcover book you notice that there are just about all of the “stars” of the 32nd scale featured in this book made by a variety of different modellers with alternate styles. Eras of aircraft shown range from the early World War One aircraft, through to World War Two fighters and bombers then through to the early jet age. This book is as diverse in its choices as many people’s tastes. Popular older kits are mixed with the upgraded newer kits with details that we seem to take for granted nowadays in this scale. Most of the time you cannot tell from the finished products when they were released even though there is sometimes many years between their release dates. Each model is made to a top standard that you might see in the better modelling magazines and books.
The pictures are clear and in focus and the writing is very good.  The layout is very nice and the format is story/gallery and four or more SBS “Step By Step” pages within each build. A few hiccups here and there in the diction but I am sure to make more mistakes in this review alone. No one is perfect and it does not detract from the reading experience. 
Enough of the overview – what about the builds? We will go through them each briefly…

Firstly we go all Japanese with the older Hasegawa kit of the Ki-84 “Hayate” by Jan Kopecky. He makes his fighter as you may see many of the Japanese aircraft – raggedly worn and paint chipped.  Even though he writes he did have trouble with the metal finish the end result looks very good to me. 
A step by step showing of the whole cockpit assembly and undercarriage along with some more block text and then another SBS on the chipping and weathering process is also included in this build. To me this kit is looking much nicer than the Hasegawa form it came from.
Next we look at the Tamiya Corsair from the Author. Now I know that this is a complicated kit to build but it can turn out a great result. The hard thing is to stick to it. Toni does this and takes us through the kit straight from the box with just the addition of some seat harnesses in plastic from FineMolds.  I think he has weathered this bird just about right in this build. Restraint has been shown and I like that when a lot of modellers take this kit to town. It’s a wonder some of them still fly! 
Again there are two Black framed SBS sections. These better deal the cockpit construction and later on in the build and paint of the fuselage details along with the chipping, dirt and mud application and weathering process. These sections explain the build more in depth than the regular format text which accompanies the build as the pictures add so much. 
Off into the sky next with the lovely MENG kit of the Me-163 Komet in 32nd scale (see a pattern here?) The model maker Mats Johansson makes a lovely kit that is displayed both with the tail removed and a Verlinden starter trolley next to it but also built ready to take off. 
Just one double page SBS is included with this build due to the relative lack of parts in the kit. The need to include filler in the wings and tips on spraying the mottle effect were helpful. The whole inside out look afforded to this model by leaving the engine showing on a rear stand appeals to me and now I know how to make the most out of mine when the time comes.
Spitfire lovers get their fill next – The lovely kit of the Tamiya Spitfire VIII by Anders Isaksson is next. A few of you might be familiar with the shark mouthed “Grey Nurse?” These markings I see from the book were painted on with the help of Mal Mayfeild’s masks and the look of the whole kit is again weathered but not too much or too little.
The breakdown of the two SBS sections details in pictures and text the adding of the Barracuda parts and RB Productions radiators to improve the already very good kit but the second SBS gives us an insightful look into the intricacies of painting using a multi layered masking system. Another SBS shows us how the modeller finished and weathered this kit just enough to pass for realistic.
Eduard’s Bf-109E4 kit in 32nd scale is next exhibited through Jan Abrahamsson’s build. We see an early BoB type in lighter fuselage colours and some lovely faded shades along the “metal” fuselage. At first I thought that his aircraft was not completed but realized that the maker has decided to show the aircraft in some parts undergoing maintenance.
A slightly shorted build but then again this aircraft isn’t that large. No detail was skimped on though as we see an open engine and cockpit and radio/compass compartment added in resin to the Eduard kit. I like the tonal variations he was able to achieve through different shades of painting and weathering. The aircraft was suitably worn but again not too much.
Now THIS is a large scale plane – the HK B-25J “Mitchell” light attack bomber is seen in an Italian theatre scheme in next from the very talented Jan Kopecky (his second here in this book.) “Ave Maria” is seen with a bunch of Eduard extras added as well as some Profimodeller and Kitsworld bits. The Glass nosed Mitchell is seen in the variation of faded olive drab colours on top of metal. Chipped and faded OD is a treat to see with Jan’s work especially how he varies the colours on fabric and the different panels of the aircraft.
There is the usual block text describing the build and again the SBS sections which go deeper with the aid of pictures. The internal structures and how the added aftermarket is applied are a good help to the modeller as are the pictures of the engine and cockpit constriction and painting. The re-riveting and painting of everything that hangs from the aircraft is a bit of a masterclass really. You can get quite a lot from Jan’s build that does not turn you off because of the complexity of kit, paint and aftermarket. In the opposite it is an inspiration to do that to your own aircraft.
The next part of the book takes us to a welcome place fast gaining popularity – World War One. /the aircraft features is really two aircraft – namely the Fokker DVII. Great for readers interested in their models both of these kits, modelled by Maikael Terfors, are from Wingnut Wings, the supplier of the moment when it comes to WWI aircraft. Although it was great to have both an earlier and later DVII in two very different schemes this build is a tad confusing and non-linear so you lose track of what’s being built.
Having said that the two builds here are quite impressive achievements and especially the open engine covered later Fokker is very impressive and full of depth. I would have split these two impressive builds into two articles. A wealth of riches almost. 
The HK Models F4 Meteor is next with an Argentinean scheme which isn’t just all silver dope paint. The highlights of yellow make this a more attractive looking machine than other silver meteors. I can tell thought from building the kit myself that there were several pints that the model maker/ author Toni Canfora had along the way.
The SBS parts of the build cover some of the more basic internal parts that need attention if you want to make the best out of this model. This rather honest but very helpful appraisal of the kit is one of the better meteor builds I have seen of this kit. Also the help with the Fisher intakes is worth admission price alone if you are making your own kit.
Next we get a lovely looking Messerschmitt Bf-110 Zerstörer built by Stepan Lasek. This Dragon kit is hardly improved with any aftermarket so it’s a great judge of the kit’s quality. There is a fair amount of scratchbuilding on offer here to compliment the kit’s features. Wiring and plumbing and details like a new oil tank in the wings and propeller enhancements add to an already very nice kit.
The SBS panels on this kit are a little vague on the text side and it leaves you wanting a little more when the pictures do not already speak for themselves. A little more explanation would be great sometimes. 
Well that is it – with a promise of a second part coming in the near future I would not suggest many alterations. Beefing up the SBS parts to pretty much describe the whole build would be an improvement I would make. I found myself saving them till the end of the article to read. Kind of nice but it breaks up the flow a little. I had to look hard to find something I did not like about this book. The very well shot models. Honest appraisals of the kits and warm writing style displayed throughout the book makes these very appealing looking finished kits into a great build I would recommend to not just only large scale modellers but all aircraft guys. Tank & AFV modellers might want to have a look at these too….

A lovely book with great content, a bunch of well-presented and high quality models and a variety of kits from all eras – what’s not to like?

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to Canfora Press for sending this book out for us to read and review - you can get this book from Canfora Press at their website