Kagero Famous Aircraft Books # 04
by Krzysztof Janowicz
reviewed by Paul Mahoney
This is the first one of Kagero's 'Famous Airplanes' series books I have had the pleasure to read. I have always enjoyed the unit histories Kagero puts out and looked forward to reading one of their aircraft-specific volumes.
This book covers the A6M2-N 'Rufe', the floatplane off-shoot of the famous A6M 'Zero.' It is noticeably slimmer than unit histories, at 36 pages versus 75-85 pages typically in the other series. However this does not detract from the information contained within the covers.
Once again Kagero's 'standard' format is used here - each page has one column of Polish text and one of English. Black and white photos are scattered throughout. Photos of the Rufe in general are somewhat rare, and there are a pretty good collection of shots in here.
The text begins with a history of the development of the Rufe, including the rationale and need for creating a floatplane fighter aircraft. Following this, there is a discussion of the combat deployment of the fighter. Each of the major areas where the Rufe saw combat is covered separately. Towards the end of the book there is brief coverage of the camouflage colors used on the Rufe. Like their other volumes, Kagero is definitely gearing this one to the modeler - the section on camouflage even discusses how the paints weathered over time! Even though it is not specifically covered in the text on camouflage, one of the photo captions makes a nod toward the oft-discussed 'violet' paint schemes once thought to have been used on Rufes. According to the photo caption, the "light gray paint of this Rufe changed to a light purple-rose color. It wasn't the effect of special paint as some sources claim, but the oxidation of the poor quality Japanese paints " Again, geared toward the modeler and the discussions that have been had regarding that supposed 'violet' paint scheme! The last few paragraphs of the book are an evaluation (and summary) of the Rufe's performance during the war.
In addition to the wealth of technical data and history, there are several very nice color profiles on the back page and in a center section. Also included is a Techmod decal sheet covering several of these aircraft in 1/72nd, 1/48th, and 1/24th scale. There are no Hinomarus here, but otherwise all the tail codes and other pertinent markings are present.
Bottom line: A good, concise reference
for this aircraft. This should make a welcome addition to any reference library
that covers WWII Japanese aircraft. The decal sheet provides some nice alternatives
to what is currently on the market. Whole-heartedly recommend.
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