Kagero has acquired a reputation for publishing books that appeal equally to those interested in history and the modeller. This book covering the Arado Ar 196 by Marek J. Murawski is just such a title with that duel appeal. The Arado 196 served with the German Navel Air Force as both a ship borne aircraft and a coastal aircraft. The Arado 196 being the only German asset to successfully capture a Royal Navy submarine during World War 2.
This title from Kagero is I believe the latest title in their Monographs series of books, number 45 in the series. The book has a closer card cover with a pleasing print of an Arado 196 in flight. Inside there are 104 semi gloss pages of high quality paper judging by the page thickness and feel of it. The print quality is excellent and results in a book for the reader as regards quality. The only downside thus far is that there in no inventory of the contents and so you cannot flick straight to a specific page to read an area of interest, instead you have to look for the point you are after.
The sections breakdown as follows;
Design and development
Hunting British submarines
Commerce raiding sortie
Colour three way views
The text in the book is written in a format that is easy to read, with the technical aspects covered in a way that relays the information without needing a dictionary on hand. The sections that cover operations and some also written by the crews make for an especially enjoyable read for a person such as myself. The best way I can describe this is even if you consider the German forces of World War 2 the enemy, the style in which this is written allows you to see beyond the country whose forces they served in, to the men doing their jobs in time of war. This covers both the highs and lows of their duties during the war. I particularly enjoyed reading about the only British submarine captured in World War 2 by the Germans and the Arado 196 aircraft that captured it ferrying the crews back to shore in their aircraft.
The period photographs in this title are all black and white and of a good quality. For the most part the photographs are of a good size, but there are always some you wished were larger. The images offer a very good selection, covering everything from conception, to production and in service; the in service images cover in-flight, on the sea, on the ships, recovery and even recovery of damaged/destroyed aircraft.
The schematics towards the end of the book will be of great help to the modeller who wants their build to be just so, or even the modeller who wants to show and aircraft in a semi assembled state; the combination of schematics and photographs inside the book of the Arado in various states will help greatly in that respect. The scale drawings are great, but at the same time disappointing; having seen what Kagero can supply in terms of scale drawings, these in 1/72nd scale would have been greatly improved by the addition of 1/32nd scale offerings, that is with the Revell of Germany models in mind and I suspect the most common model of the Arado 196 in the hands of modellers who would go to the trouble of buying reference material. The colour drawings at the end of this title could prove of interest, in particular the aircraft with Japanese roundels on it.
With two excellent offerings of the Arado Ar 196 available from Revell of Germany in 1/32nd scale, this title is worth looking into by the modeller who wants to represent as much detail as possible in their builds, this book does provide information on both the single and duel float variants of the Arad Ar 196. In addition this book has enough information on the history of the Arado Ar 196 from conception to the end of World War 2 that it should appeal equally to the historians amongst us who want to know about the machines of war.
Highs: This is very well written in a style that retains the readers interest and does not come across as stuffy.Lows: I would have liked to see 1/32nd scale drawings to accompany the 1/72nd scale offering due to the Revell of Germany offerings.Verdict: A very interesting read on an aircraft that does not get much in the way of limelight.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...