Valiant Wings Publishing | Airframe Extra 10: The Battle of Midway
Reviewed by Kevin Futter
UK-based publisher Valiant Wings Publishing has just released the tenth title in Airframe Extra series. Issue No. 10, entitled The Battle of Midway: 4th to 7th June 1942, combines historical narrative, profile artwork, and seven model builds, and clocks in at 74 pages.
The specific structure of the contents is as follows:
- Colour Reference
- 1/48 SB2U-3 Vindicator Build
- U.S. Profiles
- 1/72 B5N2 Kate Build
- 1/48 TBF/TBM-1 Avenger Build
- 1/72 SBD-3 Dauntless Build
- 1/144 A6M2b Zero Build
- IJN Profiles
- 1/72 F4F-4 Wildcat Build
- 1/48 B5N2 Type 97 Build
There's also a brief foreword from publisher Mark Peacock, followed by a table of contents. It's then on to the main content sections.
This 19-page section is written by Patrick Branly, and covers the background and conduct of the Midway engagements in early June 1942. The format follows a basic chronological description of events, with context given where appropriate. It includes a smattering of interesting period photographs, and represents a handy primer for the events of the conflict itself, as well as being a good starting point for further historical research.
Not mentioned on the Contents page, This single-page reference lists each of the major colours used by US Navy/Marine Corps, USAAF, and IJN aircraft, and matches them against paint numbers from seven different brands - six acrylics (GS Mr Aqueous, Humbrol, Lifecolor, Mission Models, Tamiya & Xtracrylix) and seven lacquers & enamels (Akan, Hakata, Humbrol, GS Mr Color, Revell, White Ensign & Xtracolor). Terrific stuff, and a fantastic bit of value-add.
1/48 SB2U-3 Vindicator Build
The first of the title's seven model builds sees Steve Evans build the Academy boxing of the Accurate Miniatures 1/48 scale SB2U-3 Vindicator kit. Like all the builds in this book, it's a typical magazine-style photo-essay of the build, covering five pages of hints, tips, and advice.
As with all the profiles in the book, this section is illustrated by Richard Caruana, and features five pages of colour profiles with captioned colour notes. While the schemes are largely of the familiar blue-over-grey variety, there's still plenty of inspiration for a wide range of model builds.
1/72 B5N2 Kate Build
Libor Jekl tackles the book's second build, featuring the Hasegawa 1/72 B5N2 Kate kit. The style of this six-page build is similar to the preceding one, as is the result! Libor Jekl's builds for Valiant Wings publications have single-handedly persuaded me that 1/72 models can in fact appear as convincing as those from larger scales. Bravo!
As with the other builds in this book, it features a section entitled "Historical Significance", wherein that particular aircraft's role in the battle is elucidated. It's a nice touch, and saves the historical section from becoming bogged down with such tangents.
1/48 TBF/TBM-1 Avenger Build
Steve Evans returns to tackle Italeri's reboxing of the Accurate Miniatures 1/48 Avenger kit across six pages, and does a terrific job. The kit is tricky in some areas, so Evans' tips will be invaluable to anyone building this kit.
1/72 SBD-3 Dauntless Build
Libor Jekl is back with a eight-page build of the Hasegawa 1/72 SBD-3 Dauntless kit, and the result is predictably superb. Lots of hints and tips for getting the most out of this kit, too.
1/144 A6M2b Zero Build
This is technically two builds, with Steve Evans tackling a pair of the diminutive 1/144 scale A6M2b kits from the appropriately-named Sweet. The builds are excellent, though the models do suffer slightly from their tiny scale.
Just three pages here, mainly featuring Zeroes, Kates, and Vals. There's also a couple of contrasting Petes thrown into the mix; if only we had LSP kits for them!
1/72 F4F-4 Wildcat Build
Libor Jekl turns his hand to the relatively new Airfix 1/72 F4F-4 Wildcat kit for a six-page build, including a nice aftermarket upgrade for the canopy. Jekl's ability to make his 1/72 scale builds look like they're much larger kits is uncanny.
1/48 B5N2 Type 97 Build
The book's final build article features the Hasegawa 1/48 B5N2 Kate kit, and is again handled by Steve Evans over five pages. The result is, yet again, terrific.
Here's a small selection of sample pages, courtesy of Valiant Wings:
I enjoyed this title a great deal. Its blend of interesting history, attractive artwork, and impressive model builds is nearly perfect. The magazine format is highly accessible, and can be used as a launching pad for more comprehensive research into the period covered. My only lament is the total lack of LSP builds, but given the constraints of the format, and the specialities of the featured modellers, it's understandable.
I think this is a fine starting point for modelling aircraft of the The Battle of Midway, and has much to recommend it.
Thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for the review sample.
© Kevin Futter 2019
This review was published on Friday, October 04 2019; Last modified on Friday, October 04 2019