Messerschmitt Bf 109...
...FlightCraft 14, from Pen and Sword
Title: Messerschmitt Bf 109
Author: Robert Jackson
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Number 14 in their series of FlightCraft titles from Pen & Sword, an 80-page softcover book. It covers the wide range of variants of one of the most famous fighters of WW2, the Me Bf 109, plus of course it went on to be used by other countries for many years after the war ended. It opens with some background on the designer, Willy Messerschmitt. He set up his own company but didn't have the financial backing to buy materials for the orders he had, and which led to him working with the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (BFW) which in turn led to the Bf designation of his famous Bf 109. It moves on to the design & development of the 109, working through from the earliest models, their use in the Spanish Civil War and on through the many later marks and sub-variants. All of this is accompanied by a fine selection of archive photos to illustrate the story. It also includes some experimental versions, even the 'twin' 109Z and 109F/4V with V-shaped tail unit. Among other foreign operators there is even the Japanese who were supplied examples for test and post-war users such as Czechoslovakia, Spain and Israel.
Next comes the section on Into Service and Into Action, which gives a useful summary and illustrated with archive photos of the 109 as well as some of the aircraft it fought against. That is followed by 8 pages of fine colour profiles under the heading of Camouflage & Markings which includes a good variety of finishes that a modeller might find some inspiration from. That leads perfectly into the second half of the book which is firmly centred in information for the modeller. It goes through a host of models in a mix of scales and a fair number of manufacturers. There are lots of beautifully finished models shown here, and a final section of 'Modellers' Showcase' with more very nice larger scale kits.
Add the model information to the basic history behind the fame and widespread use of the 109 which makes it an excellent basic groundwork for the modeller, a well balanced and useful addition to the FlightCraft series.
Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.