by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
New from Valiant Wings comes a very interesting study of the Horten Ho 229 / Gotha Go 229. Written by Richard Franks, Airframe Detail No. 8 includes all the elements that have made the series so popular with modellers - combining a history of the subject with modelling specific material and an extensive ďwalkaroundĒ section.
The volume begins with an Introduction in the form of a useful 12-page history of the aircraft, tracing its roots back through Horten brothersí pioneering work with flying wing designs in the 1930s. The chapter traces the development of the jet-powered fighter and the plans for its production, before outlining the story of the only surviving example - the Ho IX V3 which was stored at Silver Hill for many years, including a period where is was exposed to the elements and suffered serious dilapidation, before being transferred to the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Center where efforts were made to prevent further damage.
The Technical Description will undoubtedly be the reason that many modellers and enthusiasts buy the book, because itís a 30-page walkaround that covers the Horten in more detail here than Iíve found in any other book Iíve read. Thereís a mass of reference material here, with a combination of modern colour shots by Scott Willey of the V3 in storage, along with B&W period photos, plus illustrations of the various systems taken from manuals and post-war evaluation. The result is a real treasure-trove for anyone building a model of the aircraft.
The coverage breaks down into 5 main sections:
1 - Cockpit Interior & Canopy
2 - Centre-Section & Engines
3 - Undercarriage
4 - Wings
5 - Armaments, Sighting & Radio
Each is subdivided so, for instance, youíll find 4 pages devoted to cockpit shots, 6 pages covering the engines and their installations, another 5 pages of shots of the undercarriageÖ I think you get the idea; itís exactly what modellers want for detailing a kit.
Itís sad to see just how badly the only surviving example of this extraordinary aircraft has deteriorated, with rust and rot meaning that a significant amount of the airframe will have to be entirely replaced if a full restoration is ever undertaken.
Thereís plenty of inspiration for modellers in the 9-page camouflage and markings chapter, which includes a selection of profiles by Richard Caruana. Obviously, the aircraft never progressed beyond the prototype stage, so Richard takes the opportunity to explore some what-if colour schemes, ranging from how the aircraft might have looked in Luftwaffe, Hungarian and Italian service and after capture by the allies.
Thereís only one model build in this volume, but itís an excellent one. I always admire Libor Jeklís work, because he consistently manages to build 1:72 kits to such a high standard that you could easily mistake them for much larger scales. Thatís certainly true here as he tackles the 1:72 Zoukei-Mura model, which boasts a high level of interior detail that is scaled down from the companyís earlier 1:32 and 1:48 kits. I must admit Iíd never come across the kit before Liborís 7-page article, but the result is excellent as he builds it almost straight from the box, adding Eduard seatbelts and refining some of the smaller details.
Rounding everything off are 3 pages of appendices, with list of kits and accessories along with a useful bibliography.
ConclusionAirframe Detail No. 8 will obviously be a very useful reference if youíre modelling the Ho 229 in any scale, but it will also appeal to aircraft enthusiasts and deserves a place on the shelves of anyone with an interest in the Luftwaffe.
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