David Knights' Weblog

December 2, 2019

Book review: German Guided Missiles of World War II

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 6:26 am
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German Guided Missiles of World War II
Fritz-X to Wasserfall and X-4
New Vanguard #276
By Steven J. Zaloga
Osprey Publishing (2019)
ISBN 978-1-4728-3179-8

Review by D.M. Knights

                                                                                                    The German “wonder weapons” of WWII are a particular area of interest for me.  I have built several models of some of these weapons. (V-1, V-2, C-2, Me-163)  I have a fair sized library of books on the subjects.  This latest book is by well-known military writer and historian Steven J. Zaloga.  Mr. Zaloga is most well known for his works regarding armored vehicles.

This book covers German guided bombs (Fritz-X and Hs 293) as well as several anti-aircraft missiles that the Germans developed as the war progressed. Given the slimness of the volume, it is only 48 pages; it doesn’t cover any of the subjects in detail.  Rather, it is a general overview of the subject, touching briefly on a particular weapon, giving a brief development history and, if applicable, its combat use.

It isn’t a bad book.  The photos and illustrations are first rate.  While not intended as a comprehensive study of these weapons, it does an adequate job of covering the weapons systems.  My biggest complaint is in regard to value for the money.  A normal

Osprey volume is 96 pages.  This one is 48 pages.  That makes the book rather pricey for something that takes less than an hour to read, even if you aren’t a speed reader.

If you are new to the subject and looking for a basic primer, this is a good volume, as long as you aren’t bothered by the price.  If you are looking for something more in depth, or are a value shopper, then you’ll want to pass on this one, or wait until you can pick this one up on sale at Amazon or your local hobby shop.

October 24, 2019

Ouch

Filed under: Politics — dknights @ 1:42 pm
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Now this may be the classiest take down ever.  Someone call the burn unit.  This only raises my estimation of Gen. Mattis.

September 5, 2019

Book review: The Bulgarian Air Force in World War II

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 12:12 am
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The Bulgarian Air Force in World War II

Author: Eduardo M. Gil Martinez

ISBN:978-83-65437-55-6

108 pgs

The stories of the air forces of the Axis minor allies are some of the more interesting stories of WWII.  I have a particular fascination with the Romanian air force.  One of the smallest axis allied air forces was that of Bulgaria.  The book tells the story of the Bulgarian air force before during and immediate aftermath of WWII.

The book is a good book with plenty of information for the modeler interested in doing a Bulgarian aircraft.  Where it suffers is that English is not the author’s first language and the translation from Spanish to English on the subject of Bulgarian aircraft makes for some awkward sentences.  There are some really nice photos that go well with the text and numerous color illustrations that make me want to build several of these aircraft.  The Eduard B.534 is a particularly good model for a Bulgarian aircraft.

I do recommend this book, even with the limitations imposed by some awkward translation issues.

July 30, 2019

Movie review: Master and Commander (2003)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 6:53 am
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While I had seen bits and pieces of this film from time to time, a recent modeling session and the purchase of the DVD finally led me to see the whole film.  It was worth it.  I am a fan of Crowe and I have heard a lot of good things about the books in the series that this movie was based on.  The movie was excellent.  It was well paced and really gave a feel for life in the age of sail.  The action scenes are compelling, well-paced and well shot.  The films was a small success at the box office when released, but not enough of one that the hoped-for sequels were made.  This is a shame.  It seems that all we get out of Hollywood is superhero movies these days, when movies like this would be much more compelling IMHO.  The movie did win two minor Oscars.  Four and a Half out of Five stars.  See it.

 

May 29, 2019

Heinlein

Filed under: General — dknights @ 12:19 pm
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A nice appreciation of the work of Heinlein, with special emphasis on one of my favorite books, Starship Troopers.

December 17, 2018

Movie review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 10:19 pm
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I never saw this film when it came out, which is a bit of a surprise.  It should have been right up my alley.  Sci Fi, check. British comedy, check. Zooey Deschanel, super check. Martin Freeman, check.  Yet I didn’t ever see it until I recently found out it was on Netflix.  So, I took the time to watch it.   Surprisingly, it was just so-so.  I am sure that part of the problem was that the book was very hard to adapt into a movie,, given its odd nature. All the actors did a good job, but nothing stood out as great.  I didn’t regret the time I spent with the movie, but by the same token, I wouldn’t have wanted have paid to see it in a theater.  5 out of 10 stars.

November 21, 2018

A Revolutionary War reading list

Filed under: General — dknights @ 4:22 pm
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An interesting compilation of books to read on the Revolutionary War.

October 16, 2018

Order this

Filed under: Family,General — dknights @ 3:05 pm
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You should order this.  It will be good for your mind and soul.

April 4, 2018

Book review: Images of Aviation Bowman Field

Filed under: Kentucky,Modeling — dknights @ 8:14 am
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Book review: Images of Aviation Bowman Field
Author: Charles W. Arrington
Arcadia Publishing
128 pgs, numerous B & W photos
ISBN: 978-1-4671-2699-1

Those of us who live in Louisville, KY think of Bowman Field as the general aviation airport for Louisville.  The one in the heart of town with the beautiful 1930s terminal.  However, as Charles “Charlie” Arrington knows there is much more to Bowman Field than that.  Charlie comes by this love of history naturally, and he spent his career as a history teacher.  Charlie, a former longtime MMCL member, has an encyclopedic knowledge of Louisville’s aviation history.

This book is clearly a labor of love.  It starts with this history of Bowman Field as nothing more than a farm field on the far outskirts of Louisville in the around 1920.  The first aircraft recorded to have landed at the new airfield was a Canadian built JN-4 Canuck.  Bowman Field grew along with the rapid expansion of aviation technology and before long there were hangers, paved runways and regular airline service to destinations all over the US.  This is all documented thru an amazing collection of period photographs.  This is one of my favorite periods in aviation history, and it is really neat to see all the different 1920s and 1930s aircraft which passed thru Louisville.  Charles Lindberg and the Spirit of St. Louis was one such aircraft, and, of course, Charlie has the photos to document the occasion.

The next big event in the history of Bowman Field is the outbreak of WWII.  Like many civilian airfields, Bowman Field became a training base.  Bowman specialized in training glider pilots and was the home base of the airborne nurses program.  This period saw a rapid expansion of the field’s facilities.  As you would think, much of this wartime effort was well documented in photos and Charlie has gathered the best ones and included them in this book.

It is in the postwar period that Louisville’s current commercial airport was established.  Staniford Field became the commercial airport, which relegated Bowman Field to the status of a general aviation airport.  While this was a change, it didn’t mean that history wasn’t happening at Bowman, and again this postwar development is well recorded in many black and white photos.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.  It is fascinating, and has enough great photos to provide hours of interesting browsing.  I purchased my autographed copy directly from the author for $20.

March 30, 2018

Norway 1940

Filed under: Modeling — dknights @ 8:14 am
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A really nice high level analysis of the British failures in the 1940 Norway campaign.  I don’t think it lays enough blame at the feet of Churchill, who deserves a huge amount of blame, but nonetheless it is a good overview.

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