Valiant Wings Publishing | Airframe Album No. 20: The Heinkel He 177 Greif

Reviewed by Kevin Futter

Valiant Wings Publishing has just released the 20th instalment in its Airframe Album series, entitled The Heinkel He 177 Greif: A Detailed Guide To The Luftwaffe's Troubled Strategic Bomber. In common with previous titles in the series, this one is authored by Richard A. Franks, a well-known name in modelling and aviation publishing.

The first thing that strikes you with this book is the terrific cover art by Arkadiusz Wróbel. The presentation of material in this book is impressive throughout. Photographs are generally clear and crisply reproduced, as are the isometric line drawings by Wojciech Sankowski. The colour profiles by Richard Caruana are handsomely rendered.

The content itself is organised into five main sections plus an introduction and appendices:

It should be evident from the list of contents alone that this title is aimed squarely at the modeller. There's plenty here for aviation enthusiasts and He 177 aficionados too, but the emphasis is on providing the modeller with copious data and as much detail as possible.

The Introduction (also labelled Preface) provides an excellent 25-page history of the design and development of not only the He 177, but also its various projected variants, such as the He 274 and He 277. It also covers the captured airframes that were evaluated by foreign powers.

The Technical Description section of the book is packed with period photographs, technical drawings and contemporary restoration images. The airframe is covered pretty comprehensively from nose to tail, with special emphasis on those areas of the most interest to modellers. At 75 pages, this is the largest section of the book, complete with extensive coverage of the He 177's ordnance.

The section on the evolution of the airframe gives a concise but very clear overview of the development of the He 177 and its various prototypes and projected variants. The series of isometric line drawings used in this section really help to understand the salient features of any given variant, and the development of those changes between them.

The Camouflage and Markings section covers the type's use by the Luftwaffe, as well as those foreign evaluation airframes covered earlier in the book. A decent selection of period photographs is accompanied by a selection of colour profiles, and a stencil placement guide is also included (scale not given).

I'd like to see larger versions of some of the photos, but that's a perennial constraint that all aviation publications have to deal with, and hardly a criticism.

The final of the main sections of the book features but a single model build, which sees Libor Jekl tackle the Revell 1/72 He 177A-5 kit. It's a terrific guide to building the kit, and the resulting model is a treat. With no other viable, widely-available kits on the market , it's understandable that the book includes only this single build.

The final section is the Appendices, and these follow the customary pattern for this series of books, in outlining what options the modeller has in terms of kits, accessories and decals for producing a scale replica He 177. This section is necessarily brief, since the type has not been well represented in scale over the years. I live in hope of a quality kit in 1/32 scale!

The book rounds things out with a bibliography of existing titles covering the He 177, which serves as a handy launch pad for further research into the type.

Sample Pages

Here's a small selection of sample pages, courtesy of Valiant Wings:


This is a detailed, comprehensive and modeller-friendly title. If you're building, or intend to build, a model of the Heinkel He 177 in any scale, this book will prove invaluable, and I highly recommend it. Perhaps it will inspire the release of a 1/32 scale kit!

Thanks to Valiant Wings Publishing for the review sample.

© Kevin Futter 2024

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This review was published on Sunday, June 02 2024; Last modified on Sunday, June 02 2024