Authors: Maciej Góralczyk, Arkadiusz Wróbel
Some battles or campaigns are widely and eagerly covered in references by the publishers. Battle of Britain, Barbarossa, D-Day to name just few. Other campaigns or front areas, as less important for the final course of war, are not so popular. This surely can be said about the Far North of Norway and Finland. Although the seaport of Murmansk was vital for the war effort of Red Army I have a strange feeling that battles which took place in this region are very underestimated and forgotten. Most of the publications focuses on the sea convoys or the thread made by Tirpitz battleship. Kagero have just broken the general trend and published a booklet about German fighters which fought in this area between 1941 to 1945.
As usual for the miniTopcolors series we get eight painting schemes. Each plane is shown if four views: port and starboard profiles as well as views from above and below. Views of the lower surfaces are reduced only the wings with national and individual markings. Artworks have been drawn by Arkadiusz Wróbel, well known and talented artist. Next to the drawings of planes we can find a close-ups of the unit or pilot emblems.
Painting schemes reproduced in the booklet are:
- Bf 109 E-7; 'Yellow 7', pilot: Oblt. Horst Carganico, commander of 1./JG 77 (JGr. z.b.V.), Petsamo, 25 September 1941,
- Bf 109 E-7, W.Nr. 6274; 'Red 19', pilot: Fw. Josef Wirtz z 5./JG 5, Kirkenes-Hřybuktmoen, April 1942
- Bf 109 F-4; 'Yellow 10', pilot: Fw. Hans Döbrich z 6./JG 5, Petsamo, 30 June 1942
- Bf 109 E-7; pilot: Hptm. Günther Scholz, commander of III./JG 5, Petsamo, August 1942
- Bf 109 G-2; pilot: Oblt. Günther Schwanecke ze Stab II./JG 5, Salmijärvi, August-September 1943
- Bf 109 G-14; 'Blue 11', pilot: Uffz. Karl-Heinz Erler z 16./JG 5, Rygge, April 1945
- Bf 109 G-6, W.Nr. 411960; pilot: Hptm. Franz Dörr, commander of III./JG 5, Gossen, May 1945
- Bf 110 C-4, probably W.Nr. 3271; code '2N DR', pilot: Oblt. Hans Kriegel, commander of 7./ZG 76, Stavanger-Sola, February 1941
Each plane is described both in English and Polish language. I have noticed some minor differences in translations, not only in the flexibility of language (what's pretty obvious) but also in some details of the described plane.
In the Topcolor series Kagero attaches a decal sheet with the individual markings, werknummers, kill markings and emblems for the machines reproduced inside the booklet. Since some time producer of the decals attached to Kagero publications is Cartograf, one of the most appreciated decal producers. On a single decal sheet, in the almost A4 format, we get decals in 1:72, 1:48 and 1:32 scales. I didn't find any glitches or misalignments on the decals. It's only a bit pity there is no decal of the white stripe for the spinner of “Blue 11” which has a little unusual “curved” shape.
This is surely an interesting proposition for Luftwaffe or, being more specific, Bf 109 enthusiasts. Camouflages are possible to be painted without any special talent or experience. A very big advantage of this publication is a rarity of the topic. Together with decal this is a comprehensive reference and solution for individual markings at the same time. High quality of the book is guaranteed by the names of authors and deserved reputation of the decal producer.
As this is part 1 I suspect in the forthcoming issues we will get some other planes, like for example Ju 88, He 111, Fi 156 or Hs 126. I suppose this would be warmly welcomed by the modelers to present some bombers or torpedo-bombers which fought against Allied sea-convoys heading to the ports of Murmansk or Archangielsk. As this was a very important sea-air battle it would be good to have a solid foothold in the references and decals for our future models.