Skyrocket in flight

Skystreak, Skyrocket and Stiletto Scott Libis Specialty Press £15.99/US$24.95 Website: www. ianallanpublishing. com
In the 1950s the American aircraft industry was deeply engaged in pushing back aviation frontiers, notably in speed and altitude, and these three successive aircraft from Douglas emphasise the speed with which progress was being sought, if not, especially in the case of the X-3, always successfully. The development of each type is very well illustrated, with an increasing proportion of colour photographs as the story unfolds, and design studies for each are included as well as the eventual aircraft. Author Scott Libis is obviously a fan of what he describes as the ‘Golden Age of research flying’, and his coverage of these three steps into a largely unknown future – as he points out there were no simulation facilities, the pilot’s first idea of an aircraft’s behaviour was when it lifted off for the first time – is very well researched and presented. Appendices give full flight logs for all the aircraft, and details of Edwards AFB, their actual and spiritual home. The publisher seems to be making a corner of splendidly produced books on American aviation of this period, and this is well worth acquiring.
There have been kits for all three types presented here, though they may take a little searching out if you don’t already have them laid down. When you do make any of them you will find this book very helpful, as well as telling a story fascinating in its own right.

Mike McEvoy

Thanks to Ian Allan for the review copy

MiG-21 Fish bed Walk Around Part 2 Hans-Heiri Stapfer Squadron/Signal Publishing

£12.95 Website: www. squadron. com

MiG-21 Fishbed Part 2 deals with the MiG-21SM/M, MiG-21M/SM (Modified), MiG-21MF (all ‘Fishbed-J’), Mig-21bis Lazur (‘Fishbed-L’) and MiG-21bis SAU (‘Fishbed-N’). As with other books in this series, the reader is treated to a vast number of photographs, in both monochrome and colour. Some show the whole aircraft, but the majority are close-ups. In my day aircraft had pitot tubes to measure moving air pressure and static vents elsewhere. Now the ‘air data boom’ is common and on the MiG-21 this is a complex piece of engineering. It includes air data sensors and a number of vanes to measure angle of attack. The book also provides details of static dischargers with the dimensions of pitot tubes and a multitude of antennae in various guises. All these innovations are illustrated in great detail. Visit a model show and you are bound to see a MiG-21 at some time. Usually such models are beautifully finished and sleek looking, but if you thumb the pages of this monograph you will soon realise that in certain areas the MiG-21 is about as sleek as a steam train. For instance, the SPRD-99 attachment point is simply a chunky bracket bolted to the aircraft’s surface, as are many other components. There have always been arguments regarding panel lines; should you or should you not emphasise them? In this case you can, they are extremely pronounced and the various fairings fit where they touch.

Walk Around

All this illustrates the amount of detail you will find in this book. It is a super detailers delight. If you need inspiration then you might get it from one of the 12 colour profiles, showing aircraft from the Sudanese, Egyptian, Vietnamese, Somali, Slovac, Bulgarian and Soviet air forces. This is another value for money publication from this company.

Ernie Lee
Thanks to Squadron/Signal for the review sample
Model Master-series 1: A detailed view at building Jet-models Nico Deboeck daco publications & C2A
Website: https://ultra. glo. be/daco/

This new book, produced in association with Revell, is aiming to be a guide to building model aircraft to competition standard. It presents a number of beautifully finished models – among them products from Academy, Italeri, Revell and Tamiya, in 1:48 and 1:32 scales – but really fails to provide any real detail on how their standard was achieved.

Unfortunately, the book’s generally good photography is let down by poor reproduction in places and the author has gone for a ‘friendly’ style in the text and captions, which Ialways find very aggravating.
If you enjoy ‘modelling manuals’ – and usually I do – take a look at this book. For my money there are better books of this type to be had, although perhaps not with this selection of types featured within the one volume.

Paul E. Eden
USAF F-4 Phantom II MiG Killers, 1972-73 Peter E. Davies
AH-64 Apache Units of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom Jonathan Bernstein Osprey Aviation £12.99 each Website: www. ospreypublishing. com

Something old, something new from the latest two volumes -55 and 57 – in Osprey’s Combat Aircraft series. The F-4 must be, after the Bf 109, the most written about fighter, particularly in its Vietnam period, and while the combat helicopter concept emerged during that

Windsock Datafile 111: Caproni Ca.4 Gregory Alegi Albatros Productions Ltd
£10.25 Website: www. windsock-datafilespecials. com

As a modeller my first thought when appraising a Datafile is to its subject’s modelling potential. Good grief, this aircraft would be a nightmare! Of course, if a Ca.4 kit came for review I would build it though, and in my mind I have already worked out some of the problems! This machine had the sort of design that encourages biplane enthusiasts to purchase its kit, have a good look at it and then quietly put it on hold. The Ca.4 was also mas-

Naval Fighters No. 64: North American A-5A/RA-5C Vigilante Steve Ginter Ginter Books £19.70/US$29.95

This book presents a complete overview of the Vigilante programme, timed nicely to conflict, one of its more recent manifestations, the Apache, is now making its mark. 


By Gregory Alegi


Both these books follow the familiar pattern, but while the F-4 photo – sive. A triplane with a wing span of some 97 ft (29.57 m) and a height of 20 ft (6.10 m) with its engines and fuselage suspended beneath its centre coincide with the release of Trumpeter’s kits. A brief general history of the programme is followed by extensive sections detailing various aircraft systems, usually with the use of images from the aircraft manual as well as good close-up photographs.
The operators of both the A-5 and RA-5 are covered in their entirety, with a good number of photographs for each. Apart from those on the front and back covers, the photographs are in black and white throughout. I know it would have increased costs, but for me the Vigilante, at least the RA-5C, is a ‘colour aircraft’ and I’d have liked to see more colour. Otherwise this is a fine book on the type.

Paul E. Eden

Thanks to Steve Ginter for the review copy
graphs within the text are black and white, with a three-page colour section to accompany the 27 colour profiles, nearly all those in the Apache book are in wing, it must have been quite a sight. One shot in the book shows a 15-ft (4.57-m) wooden ladder leaning against the aircraft – it was the only way to get in. The size and position of the Ca.4’s fuselage made installing fuselage bomb racks a challenge. This was overcome with a large container built into the lower wing. A modified version of this container could house five passengers, as one photograph shows. Although basically a landplane, a Ca.4 variant with floats was constructed and photographs and the cover painting illustrate this aircraft.

This is a typical Datafile, but with little extras – detail sketches on both the inside

United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978 Brian Rogers Midland Publishing £24.99 Website: www. ianallanpublishing. com

Now here is a book containing serious amounts of data. It colour. This has 21 profiles, all but one in ‘helo olive drab’, though the last is in the grey finish which is now being applied following the experience of the USMC Cobras in that colour. While the accounts of operations in Iraq may be reasonably familiar, it is good to see the Afghanistan campaign also being featured. The line drawings for the F-4D and E are in 1:96 scale, and those of the AH-64 in 1:72. As always, the standard of production is excellent, and these are recommended for addition to your bowing bookshelf.

Mike McEvoy

Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review copies

covers. The usual brief development and operational history is interspersed with many well-captioned photographs, some as clear as if they’d been taken today. As always, 1:72 and 1:48 scale drawings are provided (for the landplane), with three colour profiles on the rear cover.
This is another book for the collector and an automatic buy for the World War I aviation enthusiast. If you want to know more about other
Datafiles and the bimonthly magazine Windsock, go to www. wind-sockdatafilespecials. com

Ernie Lee

Thanks to Albatros Productions Ltd for the review copy

would be simple to sum up its review as, ‘any serious student of the modern USAF should have a copy of this book to hand’, but for those wanting to know more I can do little more than describe this superb tome.
The book covers the period 30 April 1978 to 1 October 2002 in three sections. Firstly it presents tabular data describing every USAF unit, however small, that had aircraft assigned and was active during the period. It then provides a guide to units, dates and allocated aircraft by tail-code, before presenting a chronology of Air Force organisational changes for the period. A glossary and colour section are also provided.

Paul E. Eden

Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer Yefim Gordon and Keith Dexter Aerofax £19.99/US$36.95

Soviet/Russian Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Yefim Gordon Red Star £18.99/US$34.95 Website: www. ianallanpublishing. com

Information for both historians and modellers continues to emerge from the Soviet/ CIS territories, and frequently under one Ian Allan imprint or another. Aerofax books are generally devoted to a single type, and this one traces the ‘Fencer’ story from the original T6-1 prototype with its fixed delta wing to the variants of the swing-wing production model currently in service. This service is likely to continue for some time, until the Su-27IB ‘Platypus’ is available in sufficient numbers to replace it. The Su-24

Hurricane R4118: The Extraordinary Story of the Discovery and Restoration of a Great Battle of Britain Survivor Peter Vacher Grub Street £20.00 Website: www. grubstreet. co. uk

This fascinating book tells the story of Hurricane Mk I R4118, first discovered in India by Rolls-Royce car restorer Peter Vacher, in 1982. After many years of negotiation, in 2002 Vacher was able to bring the Battle of Britain veteran back to the UK, where a magnificent rebuild was undertaken for a first post-restoration flight in December 2004.

falls somewhere between TSR.2 and Tornado, and is probably equivalent to a somewhat smaller F-lll. A large proportion of the photographs throughout the text are in colour, showing interior and exterior details as well as complete aircraft; these are mostly in basic grey and white, but there are some camouflaged examples, which are also included in the six pages of colour profiles. There are also six pages of line drawings. 1:72 scale kits

Although this is clearly not a modeller’s book, or at least not in the form of a book to be slavishly followed as a source of reference pictures, it is illustrated throughout and decals of the ‘Fencer’ are currently on the market, and 1:48 decals are still available, so there must be kits in that scale on somebody’s shelves! If you fancy something other than red stars, consider aircraft in the colours of the Ukraine, Iran, Iraq or Algeria, all of which are illustrated.
Red Star’s 20th title, on UAVs, is definitely a little different. The story starts in 1950 with the earliest examples of target drones from Lavochkin being hung from the wings of a Tu-4. Other well-known Soviet design studio names also occur, with Tupolev, Yakovlev and Kamov all featuring in this book. The only UAV kits that I’m aware of are those in resin from Unicraft of the Ukraine, and are all of US subjects, but perhaps this book will encourage the company to broaden its range. Otherwise a little inventive use of the spares box, and a spot or two of Milliput will be called for if
with well taken photographs, the majority in colour. The presentation of these images and, indeed, the feel of the book itself, is added to immeasurably by the high-quality paper on which it is printed.
The text describes the often tortuous processes and red-tape cutting that Vacher had to wade through, in considerable detail. It also describes the restoration of the airframe in the minutest of detail, although the narrative manages to remain engaging and exciting throughout.
It would be foolish to buy this book in the expectation that it would help you build a better Hawker Hurricane by

you want to produce any of these subjects, and I rather like the little Pchela-IT if I can cope with the ducted pusher prop. Even discounting the modelling possibilities this is a fascinating story, especially when considered in parallel with the current accounts of similar activity in the West.

Mike McEvoy

Thanks to Ian Allan for the review copies

reference alone, but it might well inspire you to build a better Hurricane – perhaps even to model R4118 itself. Having read the story of the aircraft’s restoration, seeing it fly and being able to photograph it at Waddington’s International Air Show in 2005 was really quite an emotional experience. For me it was quite honestly the equal of seeing the Morta Lisa for the first time.
This is an excellent book, telling a worthy story in a very readable way. I’m happy to recommend it to all modellers and aircraft enthusiasts.
Ever since the llya Moumourets, size has been an integral part of Russian and Soviet aviation, and the four helicopters from the Mil design bureau featured in this 22nd book in Midland’s excellent
Red Star series maintain the tradition of gigantism. 

It’s almost 50 years since the first
Mi-6 ‘Hook’ flew, attracting attention not only for its size, but also for its use of stub wings to offload the rotor in forward flight. This was followed by the Mi-10 flying crane in both long – and short-legged versions, and then the enormous twin, side-by-side rotor V-12, before returning to the original layout in the Mi-26 ‘Ha lo’, a visible descendant of the Mi-6. The story of each type is told with black and white photographs accompanying the text, and there is a 21 page colour photograph section. Ten pages of line drawings illustrate the types’ development, but they come without a scale. I have an idea that the Mi-26 has been kitted, but I can’t confirm it, and I don’t recall seeing any of the others in plastic, though a scratchbuilt V-12 would be something to behold! Even outwith that possibility, this is an excellent addition to the Red Star shelf.

Connected themes: jet model aircraft, pictures of aircraft, metal model planes, Skyrocket in flight, model planes and helicopters, 1 18 scale model aircraft, design a airplane.

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1 Response to Skyrocket in flight


eric m peterson

October 30th, 2014 at 5:34 pm

I enjoyed building and flying my Douglas Skyrocket balsa autoclave formed model aircraft when I was a kid in 1955.
Wish they made the same kit today. It was a great seller. I built one a month for about 3 years.

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