Tuesday, February 21

Read n' Reviewed: Wingspan Vol.2: 1/32 Aircraft Modelling from Canfora Publishing

We were very impressed with Volume I of the Canfora Publishing's "Wingspan" which we reviewed last year. So when we found out that Vol II of this series, again focussing on great 1/32nd aircraft model builds was on the way we were busting to look at what was inside. We got to read the book, and this is what we found...

Read n' Review: Wingspan Vol.2: 1/32 Aircraft Modelling
From Canfora Design & Publishing

Authors        Jan Kopecky, Dirk Polchow, Stepan Lasek, Mikael Terfors, Jan Abrahamsson, Toni Canfora, Ralph Riese, Bodo Cordes
ISBN            978-91-982325-4-7
Pages          128
Photos         300 (approx.) colour photos
Format         Softcover
Retail price   £27
Order from the product Link on the Canfora Website
Canfora Publishing from Sweden under their chief Tony Canfora has produced some very competent, instructional, in-depth, but mostly some very beautiful books on the subject of modelling and the modelling subjects on their pages. They were responsible for the very good "Nordic Edge" series, "Panther" modelling books, the StuG II on display book, the "World of Dioramas", the "AFV Photo Album" series, "Rare Wheels", focussing on soft skin WWII obscure vehicles, "Truck Modelling" from Last year and most importantly for this book the first in the "Wingspan" series of books. 

Wingspan Volume I
Today we have the second in this series, with more great aircraft in 32nd scale called – not surprisingly – "Wingspan Vol 2 1/32 Scale Modelling "

So what is "Wingspan - 1/32 scale modelling Volume II" made of...
The tag-line for these books was “Big planes deserve a big format” and that was true in the first volume and looks to be so at first glance in the second volume. The book follows volume I in almost every way, providing a softcover landscape format book of 23cm(H) X 31cm(W) in dimensions, with one hundred and twenty-eight pages inside. Printed in full colour on semi-gloss paper, I found that if I had greasy fingers sometimes a print was left on the page. Happily, these prints wipe right off and it does remind you to maybe wash your hands :-).

This book could well do with a hardcover version also we think...
Inside the book, there are ten different builds of all types of aircraft. Bombers, fighters, props and jet engined kites. There is plenty of variety from a bunch of different nations here, of course, you get the usual popular choices of the F-4C Phantom II, BF 109F-4, Hurricane Mk.IIC, JU 87G-1 Stuka, TA 152H-1, AV-8B Harrier II and Zero M2B, but also some less obscure choices like the N1K2-J George, P-61 Black Widow and the massive but beautiful Felixstowe F.2A.
The book is filled with some very nice photography, with its visual style being a big selling point, though most of the text is in block form and accompanying the large format photos. The large format lets you drink in all of the details that are allowed on these kits, the width of the pages and large images are indeed a perfect fit in this format.
There are also some step by step (SBS) in block sections on darker pages spread through the book. These describe in detail what is going on in the photo right next to it. I prefer this style of modelling book because even an eeediot like me can follow the words of the author quite easily.
Along with the photography and models in the book, I noticed the quality of calibre of the modellers involved in making these kits. Messrs Jan Kopecky, Dirk Polchow, Stepan Lasek, Mikael Terfors, Jan Abrahamsson, ToniCanfora, Ralph Riese & Bodo Cordes are some of the "Top Guns" of the hobby and a real catch to the publisher. I was looking forward to reading what is inside, as I bet you are, so let's have a look at the models in the book in sequence.

The models...
First of all, we start with a firm fan favourite, the Tamiya Zero M2B. This model from Jan Abrahamsson is seen in a familiar scene of a deserted kite with many of its panels and the cockpit open to the elements. HE has used some aftermarket from CMK and Aries as well as the obligatory seatbelts from HGW, (where would aircraft makers be without the Czech Republic?) to bring some yet sharper detail to an already nice kit.
We do not see any of the real construction of the kit until the SBS sections start. I would like to see more, but these sections really do help to detail the block text and pick out some of the finer detail of the painting and weathering of the kit as he goes along. Layers of pre-shading and paint to chip and reveal give this finished project a lot more depth and realism. The finished result is a little monochrome but impressive and realistic looking in scale to say the least.
Next, we see the really very beautiful looking aircraft model of the Felixstowe F.2A in 32nd scale from modeller Mikael Terfors. This Wingnut Wings kit is surely on the wish lists of many a modeller out there, but not often have I seen one completed. The large format photos afford the reader really show off the amount of work that has gone into bringing out the detail of the model. Wiring, wood and canvas is replicated and shown off in a lot of detail here.
The modeller tells us a little about what is in the box and the interior of the model. Again the darker pages with the SBS modelling show a lot of the interior, a lot of the masking and painting with the woodgrain, and a lot fo the wiring and rigging that is involved with this kit. I don't know if it has made me more scared of taking on a kit like this, or more aware of Mikael's techniques and skill. What a beast and what a great job, nicely captured here in this format.
The next kit we look at is the very nice Zoukei- Mura kit of the Ta152 "H1" high altitude fighter. This kit is enhanced by the SWS (Eduard) aftermarket flaps, Machine guns and pilot along with the interior and exterior kits and HGW seatbelts. At least the modeller Stepan Lasek has kept the additions "in house" with this then! The setup of the model is familiar to Luftwaffe fans, with the engine and MG's expose and the cockpit, flaps and everything else on the kit is open for inspection. This gives you a lot to look at, and a very large construction, weathering and painting process for the modeller.
Although not as much work in parts and plastic as the Felixstowe we just saw, this model is just as charming, with the sequences again of the painting and weathering shown in the darker SBS pages. The one thing I am noticing is the lack of bare plastic building I am seeing. I like to see the construction of a model nearly as much as the painting, but I may be in the minority here, however, it is best to cover all bases, and I think all of these models could do with at least a double page "construction points" SBS in the articles. The model is a very clean work, with nothing to tip you off to the fact it is a model except the lack of a background to sit it in. I think if this was superimposed in a WWII hangar or airfield you may well have trouble picking it out from the original bird. The feathering of the mottled paint and the smaller details that are afforded to this kit really do make it a very nice facsimile of the Ta152.
Next, we see another fan favourite, the Tamiya kit of the 32nd scale F-4C Phantom II from Jan Kopecky. Straight away the well-lit background displays an amazingly subtle paint job. Not so much of a dirty but more of a well-used aircraft that you may see in the colour photos from the Vietnam Conflict. Eduard accessories additions to the exterior, interior and placards whereas identified by the modeller he would like to improve and these are a great addition to a now very old kit.
Pleasantly (for me) Jan does talk us through a lot of the construction and improvements of this kit. This is carried on to one of the SBS sections where you get to see heaps of bare plastic in construction. He is not scared of a little bit of scratch building which earns him "much respekt" from me. I like the way that he has gone from start to finish with his article and not missed anything along the way. For me, this is the most complete build in this book and hard to beat.
Next, we see more from the Japanese lovers, with the very nice looking Nakajima N1K2-J George in a rather war-weary condition. The Modeller of this kit is again Jan Kopecky, and this kit build shows that the Phantom was no fluke. The build of the Hasegawa kit incorporates the sparing use of an Eduard interior self-adhesive set which improved the instruments and cockpit as well as the HGW seatbelts. The kit was also riveted as we see from the SBS sections, as well as wiring and other refinements.
A large part of this kit is the beating down of the paint and the weathering. Jan is no stranger to this, and as we saw in the Phantom he gives this kit just enough to keep it looking like the real aircraft would have, and these Japanese kites sure lost paint like no other nations in WWII. The wings and panels are smartly chipped and worn in keeping with usual use and wear and tear, and you can see the modeller has the understanding of his subject in the results on display. I do not usually like Japanese aircraft models, but this "George" is right up my alley in subtlety and detail.
One of my favourite models, the 32nd scale Stuka G-1 from Dirk Polchow is next up. The Hasegawa kit is now old with the Trumpeter kit just last year released, but we see with this model, that there is life left in the older Hasegawa kit yet. Some additions from Aries, Eduard, Verlinden, Montex, Eagle Cals and master model (essential for the FlaK 37 big guns) can bring this to the top of the pile.
These additions were cherry picked by the modeller and he tells of some of why he used some alternatives over the others, people will always be curious, and it would be good to SEE why with your own eyes. However, the results he shows in the SBS parts especially are great, with the focus of the kit, the engine, cockpit and those big, open barrelled guns getting a lot of exposure and expose. I can see how he spent six months on this model, and it is a worthy hangar mate to the others in this book.
Next up, we see a favourite of mine, the modern era Harrier II (AV-8B) from modeller Jan Abrahamsson. Now I know that here are a few issues with this kit, but the only additions made were with the Eduard Exterior and seatbelt details and the Aries Harrier cockpit.
Not many people would know about the few problems around the cockpit, and the modeller solved some of them by using the Aries cockpit anyway, and the little additions in surface detail he applied himself and added from sets, as well as the paint job with juuuuuust enough weathering is great. The temptation to over weather USMC Harriers is tempting as the modeller explains, and only really the undercarriage (again as the modeller notes in the text) are given a harsh time.
Fly Models get some love next, with their Hurricane Mk.IIC in 32nd scale. We see this in a desert scheme of the North African theatre of WWII. "The Boss" Toni Canfora's model is a challenge, and as we see in the SBS section with construction the basic kit is pretty "basic" indeed. I was already feeling sorry for him as he talks us through where his expectations of the kit did not exactly come true in the kit. However, the improvements to the kit that he shows us in the SBS part show what a determined modeller can do. The inclusion of Master Model 20mm cannon, Yahu instrument panels and the HGW Harnesses really do add that final touch of class.
The paint on this bird is interesting. With the regular looking Western Desert RAF scheme mixed with zig-zag yellow/ green scheme which almost looks like the one Italian aircraft used in the same theatre. This scheme and the weathering the modeller has added to the paint job add a lot of interest and elevate this model to a Hurricane scheme I had not seen before. Hat's off to the modeller for sticking with this kit. You can see from the pictures in here that the work he did was worth it in the end result.
We go next to the other extreme of modelling. A full injection moulded kit in great detail with PLENTY of parts from a major manufacturer. However, one that requires just as much work from the modeller Bodo Cordes. His now famously well-known P-61A from Hobbyboss in 32nd scale. I had seen this Black Widow before, but it added a little more "elite" status to this book, as it is so obviously one of the better 32nd scale kits we have seen in the last few years.
Cherry picking from Eduard, Avionix, HGW and Profile modeller parts for the build, this kit could take up the space of a small book on its own. Unfortunately for me, this build did not have a lot of photos of the construction process, and all in all only eleven pages from start to finish in the article. I could do with some more. The model is described in more detail that you would have ever seen before however, and a magazine showing this kit would not give you a third of the information which is on show. The scheme of the kit, and the lovely Zotz decals that have been used make this a unique model from a talented model maker that again exemplify the talent on show here in this book.
Last, but not at all least – is this beautiful little BF 109F-4 from that talented man Ralph Riese. The clean lines of this "F" model are very nicely shown in the gallery of completed model shots (in the same way as every other kit in the book) and the details are shown in the text and again the SBS photo series of pictures with text.
The Hasegawa kit is upgraded with the hollowed out Quickboost exhausts, North Star wheels and tyres, a Barracuda prop and spinner replacement and Miracle paint masks. These are just the right quality additions to add some detail and scale believability to this kit, although Ralph does not show us much of just how or when he applied them to the kit. I do very much like the mottled effect and paint job he has added to the kit. You can tell how much talent he has by the end result, here in the large format photos.
Well, that is that - from front to back. This book is very much like the first edition, with a variety of models, also the modeller's skill and talents exposed to the fore. The one thing I would like to see as I have hinted at are more "in-construction" photos with bare plastic of just HOW these models were added to from out of the box. There are a lot of magazines that cover painting, hell one or two show nothing else, so this is one way to stand up and above other publications.

This is a BOOK however, and the models and the execution here are second to no other titles out there. The format matches the large scale of the models and the details on show. I do think that the publisher could even put these out as two single or a combined hardcover editions and they would reflect the quality therein.

A great addition to the series, more than most modellers could ask for in detail from most books, and more than most modellers could hope to achieve. But Inspirational, I should get out my Hasegawa Stuka...

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to the Publishers Canfora Graphic Design & Publishing for sending this book to us to read and review - You can check out the Canfora Website to pick up this or any of their other books.