Valiant Wings have recently republished their excellent 2-volume Airframe & Miniature study of the Messerschmitt Bf 109 by Richard Franks. Available individually, the combined 2-parter forms one of the most comprehensive reference works available for modellers and enthusiasts, covering the iconic fighter from its inception through to the final wartime variants, including a myriad of prototypes and paper-projects along the way.

These new editions are updated and expanded to feature extra material and new model builds of recent kits. The successful format is unsurprisingly unaltered, with the softbound volumes containing the Airframe & Miniature series' classic mix of historical and modelling content. AM5 now comprises 232 pages, while AM11 has grown to 252 pages. Both books include a set of fold-out 1:48 plans at the back.

As usual with Airframe & Miniature volumes, the content is divided into two main sections: Airframe Chapters and Miniature Chapters. The former deal with Evolution and Camouflage and Markings, while the latter provide a comprehensive overview of kit releases along with a number of excellent full-builds. Also included in the Miniature Chapters is the In Detail section - a highly detailed "walkaround" compiled from original photos and technical illustrations plus modern shots of preserved airframes. In each volume there is also a very useful Preface giving an historical background to the content, plus a series of Appendices providing lists of kits, accessories and further reading.

Both volumes feature extensive camouflage and markings sections illustrated by Richard Caruana that offer a very useful reference as well as whetting the appetite to tackle some unusual schemes. Similarly, the Evolution and Building A Collection chapters serve dual-purposes as handy "checklists" to get the details correct for a given variant, and also to inspire conversion projects.

Undoubtedly the main reason many people will buy the books are the In Detail "walkarounds" which cover the '109 in great depth - around 50 pages in each volume. The coverage is almost forensic in its detail, going well beyond the scope of most publications, so these are references which will deserve a place on the shelves for any modeller with an interest in the Bf 109 - or, honestly, Luftwaffe aircraft of the period in general.

Airframe & Miniature #5 - Bf 109 Early Series

Airframe & Miniature #5 - Bf 109 Early Series

So, taking each volume individually, AM5 covers the Bf 109 from the first prototypes through to the Bf 109T. The radial-engined V21 is included, along with an attractive Spanish conversion with an Hispano-Suiza.

The model builds by Libor Jekl and Steve Evans feature:

Bf 109V1 - MPM  1:72

Bf 109A - Tamiya 1:72 (converted from 'E-3)

Bf 109E-1 - Tamiya 1:72 (converted from 'E-3)

Bf 109E-4 - Special Hobby 1:72

Bf 109E-7 - Airfix 1:72

Bf 109E-1/E-3 - Airfix 1:48

Bf 109E-1 - Wingsy Kits 1:48

Bf 109D - Eduard 1:32 (converted from 'E-1)

Bf 109E-1 - Eduard 1:32

As usual, Libor's work is at a level that makes it hard to believe it's 1:72, while Steve always impresses with his larger scale builds.

Airframe & Miniature #11 - Bf 109 Late Series

Airframe & Miniature #11 - Bf 109 Late Series

Turning to AM12, the variants continue the story through to the final fighter versions and the Bf 109Z project.

This time Libor and Steve are joined by Dani Zamaribide to showcase his exceptional skills with a Trumper Gustav:

Bf 109F-4 - Finemolds 1:72

Bf 109G-6 - Tamiya 1:48

Bf 109G-5 - Eduard 1:48

Bf 109G-6 - Border Models 1:35

Bf 109G-12 - Revell Hasegawa 1:32 (converted from 'G-4)

Bf109G-6 - Trumpeter 1:32


If you want just one reference for the Bf 109 that combines historical and modelling aspects, there's probably little that can rival Valiant Wings' pair of volumes. Splitting the coverage between the early and mid/late variants is done logically and obviously helps spread the cost - particularly if your interest leans more to one area more than the other. Most people will probably want both volumes, though, and together the books form an almost invaluable go-to resource for Luftwaffe modellers and enthusiasts alike.

Airframe & Miniature #5 and #11 Second Editions are available now from Valiant Wings, Price - £25.95 each.

Many thanks to Valiant Wings for the review copies.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE



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