Monday 31 August 2020

Book Review: Haynes, Flak 88 Owners' Workshop Manual - Chris McNab

I recently bought and built a 1/72 Flak 36 88mm gun, by Hasegawa. Looking at that and my other 88s, one an Airfix 1/76, the other a Zvezda 1/72, I felt a hankering for further knowledge. A quick look online revealed the existence of this Haynes 'Owners' Workshop Manual' title. Looking around for the best deal, I found The Works had new copies for just £7. So I shoe-horned a trip to the Huntingdon branch into our daily round yesterday, and bagged my swag.

Funnily enough on perusing the photographs I found that there were many that I'd already hoovered up in my online quest for ref, whilst building the Hasegawa kit. But no matter, I prefer having these images in print to looking at them digitally. There are, of course, also lots of images I didn't have. Although actually I do have lots of photos uncannily similar to the Muckleborough images to be found here, from my own trip to that terrific collection.

At this point, although I've dipped into the text - especially as and when I've chanced on stuff that tickles my interest - I've mostly used this excellent book as a purely visual aid. An invaluable source of reference and detail, it's sheer unadulterated fun just perusing it, and a font of inspiration for detailing and colour schemes, etc.

A typical spread, packed with useful images and info'.

Some little details that I've discovered or learned more about, thanks to this book, include: the stakes (extra precautions against movement/recoil) attached to the folding legs; the numerous types of shells and their containers (I particularly like the wicker boxes); crew size/roles; the electronic gizmos; the sextant, tools, toolboxes and the jack (for removing the trailing arms from the bogies); associated radar and other ranging and sighting stuff; the different types of bogies, etc. 

I'm left wanting to both build more of this fascinating gun, and to better detail the models I already have. The three I've made so far all have the shield. I fancy having a similar 'unit' without the shield. And it'd be nice to have some deployed off their bogies, and some on them. Yet others could be on their bogies but in transportation mode. Then there are the prime movers. And it'd be nice to have a few oddments like searchlights, acoustic locators, stuff like the Kommandogerät 36, etc.

Anyway, my first Haynes WWII manual, but not my last, methinks. Love it!

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