Valiant Wings Publishing | Airframe & Miniature No. 14: The Junkers Ju 87 Stuka
Reviewed by Kevin Futter
UK publisher Valiant Wings Publishing has released Number 14 in its Airframe & Miniature series, entitled The Junkers Ju 87: A Complete Guide to the Luftwaffe's Famous Dive Bomber. The author is Richard Franks, and the illustrations are shared between Richard Caruana and Juraj Jankovic. 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 240 pages plus a gatefold section of scale drawings, it is indeed a weighty tome. It's 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:
- Airframe Chapters
- Evolution - Prototypes & Ju 87A Series
- Evolution - Ju 87 B & R Series
- Evolution - Ju 87 D & G Series
- Evolution - Ju 87 C, E, F, H and Ju 187
- Camouflage & Markings and Colour Profiles
- Miniature Chapters
- Ju 87 Kits
- Building a Selection
- Building a Collection
- In Detail: The Ju 87
There is also a preface, along with a collection of appendices at the rear of the book:
- Kit List
- Accessory & Mask List
- Decal List
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 26 pages, and describes a potted history of the Ju 87, which provides useful support for the subsequent technical information.
The sequence of chapters covering the evolution of the airframe spans 22 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 33 pages, and includes a four-view stencil placement guide. 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. A set of profiles for aircraft in foreign service is also provided.
Chapter 6 features a brief description of the commonly available Ju 87 model kits. Not only do we have a range of options in 1/32 scale, there are also several to choose from in 1/24 scale, thanks to Airfix and Trumpeter. Only the newer kits are discussed in this section, however, though a more complete list is featured in the appropriate appendix.
The modelling section features six kit builds, comprising 1/72 Airfix Ju 87B-2 Trop, 1/72 Fujimi Ju 87D-3, and 1/72 Academy Ju 87G-2 builds by Libor Jekl, and 1/48 Special Hobby Ju 87A, 1/48 Hasegawa Ju 87D-4, and Trumpeter Ju 87D builds by Steve Evans. These models are extremely well done, and will serve as inspiration and guidance for our own Stuka builds when we get to them.
Chapter 8 is called Building a Collection, and features a series of annotated isometric 3D line drawings by Juraj Jankovic. These are designed to illustrate the salient differences between the various prototype and production airframes as the series developed, and form a perfect companion to the earlier 'evolution' chapters.
Chapter 9, In Detail, features an extensive selections of photographs and diagrams, including a series of walkaround detail photos of surviving airframes. The walkaround photos have been selected 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:
- Junkers Ju 87 V4
- Junkers Ju 87 V6
- Junkers Ju 87A-0
- Junkers Ju 87A-1
- Junkers Ju 87A-2
- Junkers Ju 87B-1
- Junkers Ju 87B-2
- Junkers Ju 87R-3
- Junkers Ju 87R-4
- Junkers Ju 87C-1
- Junkers Ju 87D-1
- Junkers Ju 87D-3
- Junkers Ju 87D-4
- Junkers Ju 87D-5
- Junkers Ju 87D-7
- Junkers Ju 87G-1
- Junkers Ju 87G-2
These are drawn by Richard Caruana and look very nicely done.
Not being a Stuka 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 2020
This review was published on Wednesday, July 08 2020; Last modified on Thursday, July 09 2020