Crown Publications Aircraft Books - Rikyu Watanabe

Discussion in 'Modelling Books and Magazines' started by Zeke_Freak, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Zeke_Freak

    Zeke_Freak Member

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    In the past I've had a couple of the Crown Publications books on aircraft from the 1980's. The ones I had were 'Stuka' and 'Zero', both illustrated by Rikyu Watanabe. The seemed like great books, with fantastic colored illustrations by Watanabe, and lots of cut away diagrams, etc, showing details.

    Just wondering if anyone here likes this series of books, and which ones in particular are worth picking up. I just picked up the 109 book sight unseen for around $10. Re-buying the Stuka book cost me $15.

    Also, I'm very impressed with Watanbe's illustrations, but just how accurate are they? Are they a reliable reference for colors and schemes?

    Lastly, anyone collected them all? How many are there?

    Leif
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I haven't seen any for a long time, but when they were first published, in the early 1980's, Watanabe's work was seen as ground-breaking. However, whilst his illustrations are, without doubt, very impressive, the colours used are more representative of the 'conditions' in which the aircraft are illustrated, that is, the way the artist 'sees them' for the lighting conditions of the scene. As there is no background to his illustrations, such as a sky scape or ground, this can make the pictures look somewhat artificial. With this in mind, the actual shades and tones of the colours used should not be taken as the actual colour, but as a representative rendition.
    However, in most cases, it is apparent that a colour scheme is supposed to be portraying a known scheme, for example RLM74/75/76 on a Bf109, so it is therefore simple to match the illustration to actual colours.
    As for accuracy of content, as with any such illustration, this can only be verified by photographic evidence of the actual aircraft depicted.
     
  3. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    #3 Wayne Little, Jan 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
    Mmmm...got a few of those books....will need to see which ones, been a long while since I checked them over....:D

    Do recall that they were published at one time as one rather large compilation of all the books...about 8 or so??
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    That rings a bell. I had something on the Mustang which included his stuff, but blowed if I know what happened to it. At the time, nothing like it had been seen before, to such high standards that is. Now, however, with digital artwork, the style is very common.
     
  5. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Well definitely got 4 of 'em Bf109, Fw190, Zero and Hellcat!:D
     
  6. fw190d

    fw190d New Member

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    I have them all. Lancaster, FW-190, Mosquito, Spitfire, F4u, P-38, Stuka, P-51, Zero, Me-109, Hellcat, B-17. It is all old information, but, the drawing are out of this world.
     
  7. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Ah, so there was 12 of them all up...guessed at 8 but thought there was a few more...
     
  8. Zeke_Freak

    Zeke_Freak Member

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    #8 Zeke_Freak, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
    Hey, great! Which ones are the best in your opinion? Or do they all feature the same level of quality?

    For me, these books are more about the artwork than anything else. The 'Zero' book really stood out for me, mainly because of the dust jacket, using the aircraft skin as a scheme for the cover design. I quite liked that approach. While the 'Stuka' book is great inside, I found the cover less inspiring.

    Here's an image of the Zero Fighter book, that I just BINed on eBay for $10. I love this cover design. It's a thing of beauty. Would like to know if any of the other books use a similar design.

    They say you can't judge a book by its cover... but in this case, I think you can. ;)

    [​IMG]

    I see online that Rikyu Watanabe also illustrated a series called 'Aggressors' where they discuss 'tank busters vs vehicles', 'patrol aircraft vs submarines', 'interceptor vs heavy bomber', etc. Also something called 'The Great Book of WWII Airplanes'.

    Leif
     
  9. Zeke_Freak

    Zeke_Freak Member

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    Ooooo, Hellcat. I hadn't heard of that one. I love the pacific theater aircraft. Always been a big carrier aircraft nut in particular.

    Does any of them stand out in your mind as better or worse than the others?

    Leif
     
  10. Zeke_Freak

    Zeke_Freak Member

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  11. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Here's the 190 book, not sure where i put the others....:rolleyes:
     

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  12. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    #12 Crimea_River, Jan 9, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011
    There's also this, which I bought about 17 years ago for the then very expensive price of $99. It's a compilation of all 12 volumes that you're talking about.

    As to "best" and "worst", I can't really comment. Some appear to have much more info than others, although I must admit, I have not read the entire thing. I tend to just read the ones that I am researching for a model at the time. The Mustang chapter was very helpful.
     

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  13. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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  14. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I have the P-38 one, and have to say it's pretty nice! I had no idea there were others, I'd like to get the one Andy has.
     
  15. Crimea_River

    Crimea_River Well-Known Member

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    There are used copies on Amazon starting at 40 bucks.
     
  16. Zeke_Freak

    Zeke_Freak Member

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    Oh man... that book you have Crimea_River... I was thinking of picking that one up, but I had no idea it was a compilation of all of the other books! I should have just gotten that one book, instead of starting to buy the books separately, which is what I started doing. Oh well, live learn.

    Thanks for sharing those pics.

    Leif
     
  17. fw190d

    fw190d New Member

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    It's the line drawings and art work. If you see them, get them.
     
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