Visually, the series has always been very striking and Lu/Ga No.6 refines the look even further with a cleaner page layout that works really well. The period photos and modern shots of documents and memorabilia are printed large to maximise the amount of detail visible (obviously, the quality of the vintage photos varies, the majority being taken as quick snapshots), while the excellent colour profiles by Janusz Światłoń and Arkadisz Wróbel occupy the full width of a page and include RLM and RAL colour matches as appropriate.
Where the Luftwaffe Gallery series stands apart from the countless other books devoted to the Luftwaffe is in its choice of subjects and the way it presents them, covering themes that are seldem covered elsewhere. In the process, I've found the books are a treasure trove of information that's new to me.
On this occasion, Erik has collaborated with Tim Oliver, Johannes Matthews and Laurent Freidine to cover five very varied and interesting topics, wrapping up the volume with a reader's feedback on the earlier JG 5 Special:
From Kriegsmarine to Luftwaffe: The Story of 1. Staffel of Kustenfliegergruppe 106
This chapter follows the history of the unit from its pre-war beginnings amid the conflicting ambitions of the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe, through to its eventual absorbsion into the latter as 4. Staffel KG 6. The focus is on the unit's period flying the He 60 and He 115 floatplanes, with plenty of inspiration for anyone tackling the recently re-released Special Hobby 1:48 kit of the He 115.
Card and Dice Emblems: Chance and Superstition
This exactly the kind of "themed material" that makes Luftwaffe Gallery so distinctive. Here, the focus isn't on any particular unit but, instead, on the emblems carried, explaining the background and significance in each case, in this instance often linked to the cardgame Skat that many pilots played between sorties
Claim or Victory
The high scores of the Luftwaffe's top aces has long been a controversial subject, so this chapter makes for fascinating reading as it picks apart the entire process of how an Abschuss was reported and assessed before being denied or confirmed. It includes eye-witness testimony outlining the pressure pilots felt should they doubt the claims made by their comrades, along with examples of how junior pilots were overlooked as unit claims were allocated to more senior colleagues. Finally, there's a detailed pictorial study of the career of Josef Wurmheller, illustrating how his growing tally (including one claim that was officially refused) was depicted on his aircraft
Kurt Ubben and his Aircraft
The next chapter follows a similar style in examining the machines flown by Kurt Ubben during his carrier lasting over 500 missions. There's excellent photo coverage of the aircraft, along with superb profiles to inspire modellers wishing to depict them. It's certainly not often tha you can build a Bf 109 with a "victory" marking for HMS Warspite on the rudder!
Luftwaffe Airfield and Runway Equipment: Tankers and Bowsers (Tankwagen)
The final chapter will be an absolute goldmine of reference material for anyone building a Luftwaffe diorama or vignette of a refuelling scene. Fuel bowsers seldom get the coverage they deserve, so it's great to see Erik put that right with a detailed look at the various vehicles used, from standard bowsers to towed trailers. The plentiful period photos are brought to life with some excellent colour artwork.
Luftwaffe Gallery is always an interesting and informative read, and the latest volume is no exception. As with previous volumes, it takes a refreshingly different "angle" to other reference works and deserves a place in the collection of any modeller or aircraft enthusiast interested in the Luftwaffe. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to Erik Mombeeck for kindly providing the review sample.
The book - ISBN: 9782930546230 is available now, direct from his Website
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