Book author: Tomasz Szlagor
SMI Library is a series of album-like publication which focuses on particular type of war machine, not just airplanes. After a brief historical and technical introduction we get a large load of photographs depicting the title plane or vehicle. This time publisher focuses on the most famous American jug – the P-47 Thunderbolt.
As mentioned above the fifth issue of the SMI Library series is dedicated to the USAAF P-47's on the European Theatre of Operations (ETO). After a very brief and general introduction of the Thunderbolt variants development and short operational service on ETO, author takes us to the "body" of the publication which consists from about 100 archive photographs. This is why I consider this publication to be more like an album than typical book, there's definitely much more for looking than reading. Kagero Publishing always emphasize on the good quality of photographs. The smallest photo in this title takes about 1/4 of the page size while most of the content is filled with photos for 1/2 or even whole page. There are many close-ups for the decorative artworks, armament and many other airplane sections so this gives a good chance to catch a lot of details. As a kind of curiosity there are few photos taken from the Jug gun-camera showing a damaged Bf 109, Fw 190 or an exploding ammunition truck and a P-47 flying right into the ball of fire. What else is shown on the pics? Well, we can also find a lot of people – pilots and ground crew, posing to the photo or during their ordinary daily hard work. And of course there's a lot of Thunderbolts on each photo. At the end of book we get 12 colour photos, some of them are already well known but still look attractive in this format. In total we get 93 black&white photos and 12 colour. Authors provides us also a useful crib-sheet of the 8th and 8th AF units equipped with Thuds' divided into Fighter Groups, Fighter Squadrons of each Group and code letters for each squadron. This is given in the form of table with 8th AF on one side and 9th AF on the other side. Of course there is also a short bibliography for those who are interested in further studies of the topic.
The book has in total 84 pages of chalk matt paper. It is released in the format of 275x205mm. Cover is soft. All text and descriptions of photos are bilingual: Polish and English. Depending on the place text is divided into two columns, one for each language, or one above other in case of captions.
What is almost a rule for Kagero we get a decals sheet which the individual markings in three most popular for aviation modeleres scales. Decals allows to decorate our scale replicas in four options presented on colour profiles at the end of book. The variation contains following machines:
- P-47D-22-RE (s/n 42-26293), "UN-L" named "Belle of Belmont", flown by. Lt. Armand A. Laflam of 63rd FS/56th FG (presented on the colour profile attached to this review)
- P-47D-28-RE (s/n 44-20209) coded "7U-W" named "Jeanie" of 23rd FS/36th FG
- P-47D-22-RE (s/n 42-26249) coded "2Z-D" named "Kansas Tornado II", flown by Lt. Howard J. Curran of 510th FS/405th FG
- P-47-D-25-RE (s/n 42-26628) coded "LM-C" named "Miss Fire/Rosie Geth II", flown by Capt. Frederick J. Christensen Jr. of 62nd FS/56th FG
As you see we have two Razorbacks
and two Bubbletops
. Author have made a really great choice selecting these four birds for colour profiles and decals. Each of them will be a real eye-catching jewel in our collections.
Decals are printed by Italian Cartograf. Quality is typical for this company – great colors, no misalignment and thin carrier film with good reaction for popular decal agents. What's not to like?
I really enjoy this book. Although I'm not a great enthusiast of American Air Force and their planes, content of this publication made me looking for a P-47 model on the market. So watch out, reaching for this book may inflict some additional damage to your wallet if you don't have yet any Thunderbolt in your stash.
For me, the content of this publication is really informative. There's a lot of photos showing many construction details of Thunderbolt. It is also a great reference if you decide to build a kit with the attached decals – each machine presented in the profiles can be found on the archive photographs. I think we can can say that this book is a treatment for a typical modeler questions: which painting scheme?- one of four presented inside; who makes these decals? - use attached decal sheet; how did this plane really looked like? - see inside the book. Generally: highly recommended.
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