Valiant Wings Publishing | Airframe and Miniature No. 23: The Junkers Ju 88

Reviewed by Kevin Futter

UK publisher Valiant Wings Publishing has released Number 23 in its popular Airframe & Miniature series, entitled The Junkers Ju 88—Part 1: V1 to A-17 plus B-series: A Complete Guide to the Luftwaffe's Legendary Twin. The author is Richard Franks, and the illustrations are shared between Richard Caruana and Wojciech Sankowski. The terrific cover art is by Jerry Boucher.

The first thing that struck me when I picked up this book was how heavy it is; at a hefty 272 pages plus a gatefold section of scale drawings, it is indeed a weighty tome. This hints at just how much material there is to cover even for just the A-series Ju 88! The book is extremely well printed on quality glossy paper, and the reproduction of all drawings and photographs is first-class.

The contents are broken up into nine separate chapters, grouped into two distinct sections:

There is also a preface, along with a collection of appendices at the rear of the book:

  1. Ju 88 V1 to A-17 (inc. B-series) Kits
  2. Ju 88 V1 to A-17 (inc. B-series) Accessories
  3. Ju 88 V1 to A-17 (inc. B-series) Masks & Decals
  4. Bibliography

The book closes out with a gatefold insert containing scale drawings in 1/48 scale by Richard Caruana.

The sample images below (courtesy Valiant Wings Publishing) should give a good indication of the nature and style of the book's contents:

While not mentioned in the table of contents, the Preface weighs in at a substantial 24 pages, and describes a potted history of the Ju 88 A- and B-series in all their versions, which provides useful support for the subsequent technical information.

The sequence of chapters covering the evolution of the airframe spans 36 pages, and consist of brief summaries supported by crisply-rendered greyscale profile drawings. They are clear and easy to follow, and form a handy guide for discerning what features distinguished which variants.

The Camouflage & Markings section covers 38 pages, and includes a one-page stencil placement guide to 1/48 scale. Rather than a dedicated section for colour profiles, they are instead interspersed throughout the text as necessary. They are by Richard Caruana as usual, and are very nicely rendered indeed. There's a varied selection of schemes here, including many non-Luftwaffe and post-war examples.

Chapter 5 features a brief description of the commonly available Ju 88A model kits. Our options in 1/32 scale are limited to the admittedly decent Revell kit, and a couple of legacy vacuform examples from the likes of Combat Models and I.D. Models (neither of which is currently available, to the best of my knowledge).

The modelling section features a mere two kit builds, both by Steve Evans, comprising a 1/72 Revell Ju 88A-1, and a 1/48 ICM Ju 88A-4. Both models are extremely well done, though it would have been nice to see a build of the aforementioned 1/32 Revell kit.

Chapter 7 is called Building a Collection, and features a series of annotated isometric 3D line drawings by Wojciech Sankowski. These are designed to illustrate the salient differences between the various prototype and production airframes as the Ju 88 A- and B-series developed, and form a perfect companion to the earlier 'evolution' chapters. This is one of my favourite sections with the Airframe & Miniature series, as the information contained within really does make it easy to identify the distinguishing features of any particular variant at a glance.

Chapter 8, In Detail, features an extensive selections of archival and contemporary photographs and diagrams. The author notes that he was not able to gain access to any of the surviving airframes, however. Everything has been selected and presented with a modeller's eye, which is not only welcome, but very handy.

The four appendices cover the usual list of available kits, aftermarket, decals, and mask sets, as well as a concise bibliography for further research.

The scale plans included at the very back of the book are to 1/48 scale, and presented in gatefold format. They're printed on heavy, non-glossy plain stock, covering the following airframes:

These are drawn by Richard Caruana and look very nicely done. Note that many of these variations are rendered only as scrap views that show pertinent differences between the models, rather than as separate full plans.


Not being a Ju 88 expert, I can't give a considered evaluation of the accuracy or veracity of the text itself, and so will leave that to more knowledgeable readers. All other elements of the book ooze quality however, from the clear photography to the beautiful profiles and the detailed scale plans. Contemporary photographs are plentiful and very nicely reproduced. Overall it's an impressive attempt to be the Complete Guide the title alludes to. Recommended!

Thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for the review copy.

© Kevin Futter 2024

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This review was published on Friday, April 05 2024; Last modified on Friday, April 05 2024