Book reviews: Aeroflot & Russian Aircraft of World War II: Technical Guide

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Aeroflot – Fly Soviet | Current | Publishing / Bookshop | FUEL

t’s October so I thought I’d go ‘red’ and review two Soviet aviation themed aircraft books.

Aeroflot – Fly Soviet, By Bruno Vandermueren published by Fuel Design

Aeroflot – Fly Soviet | Current | Publishing / Bookshop | FUEL

Like almost every Western member of X-generation I love Soviet memorabilia. I can’t stop buying it when I’m on holiday in Eastern Europe, but where do you put it? Every corner of my flat is infested with obscure tin badges of Soviet aircraft which I frankly don’t need. With this beautiful book you can enjoy hundreds of fabulous pieces of Soviet design without having to actually own them.

I haven’t finished this book but I already love it, the writing is well informed, engaging and visually the book is an absolute treat. Strongly recommend. Buy it here.

Aeroflot – Fly Soviet 8422

Russian Aircraft of World War II: Technical Guide by Edward Ward published by Amber Books

Edward Ward is a regular contributor for this site and an extraordinarily knowledgeable man. I’ve been to a pub quiz with him and it was like Slumdog Millionaire. He was an absolute fact machine. This book is typical of Ward’s work, fastidious research combined with an enjoyably readable style of writing.

As many Western classic works on aviation were written before Soviet records were made available, modern books tend to be more accurate than those from before around 2000. For example, The great Bill Gunston had to rely on a lot of guesswork for the majority of his work on Soviet aircraft. With the benefit of far more information, Ward has created an impressively comprehensive guide. The book offers tremendous bangs for your buck.

Ukrainian readers may not be too happy with the title, as Ukrainian Antonov designs are included (as are foreign-built types operated by the Soviet air force) despite the use of the word ‘Russian’ for the title. I’m guessing that the title was chosen for marketing reasons.

My minor gripes are perhaps not fair, as without these economical measures it may not be possible to produce such a book for the price, they are as follows: Many of the profile artworks are old and ropey, on the positive side this gives it quite a reassuringly retro feel but in today’s world of readily available digital work does seem a trifle cheap. Also the text size is slightly too small for comfortable reading with my X-gen eyes. As I say though, these are minor gripes.

This is an excellent book that not only features the well known Il-2 Sturmovik but a wealth of utterly obscure wonderful aircraft, some with new excellent artworks. It also features classic Western aircraft with exotic (to me anyway) Soviet schemes. An extremely handy guide and a must-have for the World War II aviation reader. Much recommended. Buy it here.

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