When I look back to collecting my first modelling references some forty-odd years ago, it seems that we pretty much relied on the same few photos printed endlessly in one publication or another. They were accepted without much question and, in the light of modern day 20:20 hindsight, often totally misidentified and captioned.
What a change the last few years have seen! The sheer number of previously unpublished photos surfacing of Luftwaffe aircraft taken during the collapse of the Third Reich is a continuing source of amazement to me. It almost seems as though every other Allied airman or G.I. was busy taking snapshots! And hand in hand with this treasure trove of long-forgotten private archives has come research of a quality we could only have dreamed of in the past.
One of the most exciting new publications I've read lately is "Captured Eagles - Volume 1" from Vintage Eagle Publishing. This contains no less than 91 photos which are entirely new to the general public as far as the author, Roger S. Gaemperle, is aware. They are certainly new to me - for while I've seen a number of the actual subjects elsewhere, the photos here are fresh views that reveal a mass of useful new details.
The presentation is excellent, stylishly bound as a softback A-4 71-page book printed on high quality heavyweight silky finish stock. A note for collectors is that the first edition is limited to 2,500 copies, each individually numbered.
Great attention has been paid to reproducing the photos as well as possible to bring out the available tonal range. Of course the quality of the originals varies from quick snapshots to some that appear to be carefully composed and framed, but all have their value in forming a unique perspective of the subjects - particularly as many are grouped in series.
The photos are divided into the following chapters:
All bar two of the vintage photos are black and white, and joining the pair of colour shots are a small number of modern-day views of preserved artefacts such as the control column of Fw 190 W.Nr. 160896 that clarify details normally missed.
One of the outstanding aspects of the book is the quality of the captions. In fact, the term "captions" hardly does them justice, as many run to several paragraphs. Each subject is described in detail, with a mass of background facts noted where possible. What particularly impresses me is the way the author outlines his process of elimination as he analyses each photo to identify the particular subject aircraft and location, deducing its likely colour scheme by cross-referencing with other sources. It really is a "text book" example of how to approach such photos - almost essential reading for Luftwaffe enthusiasts in itself.
Along with the photos, the book also contains a set of superb full colour profiles by Simon Schatz bringing a number of the subjects of the photos back to life, plus colour artwork of Luftwaffe unit emblems by the author himself. As light relief, the photos are interspersed with amusing "vintage style" cartoons based on an original G.I. handbook.
Not content with producing the book alone, Roger Gaemperle has also released a set of decals to accompany it. Sold separately, or bundled with the book, they are available in 1:48 and 1:32 and contain markings for four of the aircraft shown in the book:
The decals are provided in two forms; waterslide and rub-down. Cartograf provide waterslide national and unit insignia to their usual faultless standard, with the thin glossy items printed perfectly in register, with minimal carrier film. A comprehensive set of stencil markings is supplied, and these are rub-down transfers printed by Hobbydecal. These look excellent, once again showing perfect registration and, of course, there's no carrier film to worry about so there's no chance of problems with "silvering".
Full instructions are given for both types of decals - particular useful for the rub-down transfers as modellers are generally less used to working with them.
The schemes are illustrated with the same excellent profiles as seen in the book, plus new colour plan views and monochrome stencil placement guides.
Captured Eagles Vol. 1 is available in three forms, priced as follows:
Captured Eagles Vol. I - 1:48 Combo - Price €37.90
Captured Eagles Vol. I - 1:32 Combo - Price €39.90
This is a superb publication that really is something of a "must have" for anyone interested in late-war Luftwaffe aircraft, whether as an aviation enthusiast or modeller. It's a dramatic first release from a new publisher and, as such, deserves to be a great success. I really hope that Roger Gaemperle produces additional sets of decals for some more of the great subjects contained in the book and, of course, I can hardly wait to see what he has up his sleeve for Volume 2! Unreservedly recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: A fantastic reference book, containing previously unpublished photos with superbly detailed captions. Released to accompany the book, the top quality decals are available in both 1:48 and 1:32.Lows:Verdict: A real "must have" for all students of late-war Luftwaffe schemes.
About Rowan Baylis (Merlin) FROM: NO REGIONAL SELECTED, UNITED KINGDOM
I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...