Title: Aichi D3A1/2 Val
Author: Peter C. Smith
Publisher: Crowood press, Aviation Series
ISBN: 1 86126 278 7
Price: $36 (from Roll Models)
I was really excited when I first opened this book.
Finally a book about Japanese Aircraft that was written
in English! As I paged through the book I got more
and more exited about the photos and the detailed history
(I'll get to that in a minute).
The book opens with a history of dive-bombing and the Imperial Japanese Navy. It's basically a summary with some interesting details of the original dive-bombers and works its way up to the Val.
You are then given a history of Aichi Kokuki Corporation. From it's beginnings as the Aichi Clock and Electic Company all the way through the changes during the war years.
You then get a behind the scenes look at how the Val design came about. How many different influences came together to design and build one of the most successful dive-bombers of WWII. For the modeler, there is a greatly detailed description (complete with many photos) of the Val itself and the Val's distinguishing characteristics.
Once your technical briefing is over, you get a look at the Val's operational use. A detailed history that takes you through China, Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, the Philippines, Port Darwin, South-West Celebes and Java, the Indian Ocean, Battle of the Coral Sea, Midway, The Aleutians, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, and the Philippine Sea. Finally, there is a chapter on the final mission, the Kamikaze.
There are a couple of downsides to the book. There are a couple of photos that are mislabled (or possibly the wrong photos), and there are times when you do get a bit lost in the detail.
Overall, the information and the presentation overcome any of the shortcomings (not to mention again that it's in English!). Get this book! For the $36 (from Roll Models) it's an excellent value.
My thanks to Crowood Press for the review copy.
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