Profile for joalem > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by joalem
Top Reviewer Ranking: 13,325
Helpful Votes: 704

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
joalem "joalem" (Surrey, UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9
pixel
Revell 1:32 Scale Arrows Hawk (Red)
Revell 1:32 Scale Arrows Hawk (Red)
Offered by Francis Miniatures
Price: £22.02

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best value 1/32 jet kit out there, 7 Jun. 2013
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A very good value kit. Although beset with Revell's usual moulding deficiencies (varying details, sink marks in the plastic and large ejector pin marks from the mould release process) this kit builds up into a very passable model of the current Red Arrows jet.

The cockpit detail is very basic but easy to construct, and fits together really well. The intake details are a bit rickety and don't fit the fuselage very well, but with careful alignment will fit acceptably, although there are gaps where the intake mouths fit around them on to the fuselage.

The wings and tail parts fit almost exactly with no significant gaps. If you make it wheels up for a flying display, the wheel covers sink into the wheelwells and need padding out from behind.

The biggest drawback to this model is the hard, brittle red plastic it's moulded in. Not only does this make painting difficult, it also makes it easy to damage the smaller parts removing them from the sprues. Take care!

The decals are nice, but the white ones are not very opaque, leaving some faint trace of the red colour underneath visible through the white. However, they fit the finished model very well, and there is some spare decal to patch any small slivers of gaps between the decals.

As an adult modeller, I don't rate Revell large-scale kits much above the toy level due to their fairly poor moulding and indifferent fit. However, this kit is an ideal large-scale starter product for the either the grown-up modeller or younger hobbyist, and all stops in between. For the price, it's the best value 1/32 jet kit you can find.


The Heavy Cruiser "Takao" (Anatomy of the Ship)
The Heavy Cruiser "Takao" (Anatomy of the Ship)
by Janusz Skulski
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXACTLY what Japanese cruiser fans need!, 7 Jun. 2013
Janusz Skulski has produced a fantastic work on the Takao-class cruisers of the Second World War, probably the best book in the Anatomy of The Ship series.

The book's square-ish format makes it a comfortable size to both read the text and digest the series of photographs and immaculate scale drawings that fill the 256 pages. The 25-page introduction is a bit crammed, with various tables and technical specifications of the construction, armament and fittings of the Takao occurring with quick-fire frequency. The format makes the array of detail rather dense, and I find I have to dip in and out of it to avoid saturation!

The photos take up another 20 pages, with carefully-chosen examples from an obviously large selection, intended to document finer details such as deck/superstructure fittings rather than the overall appearance, although there are some very clearly reproduced pictures of the entire ship.

The remaining 210 pages are absolutely packed with Skulski's fantastic artwork. For the modelmaker or enthusiast this is the holy grail. Extensive and well-annotated, the drawings encompass almost every part of the ship, with great detail and fidelity. It's easy to study the many and various changes throughout the life of the ship with separate treatments of the forward superstructure at different periods and refits up to 1945. 3-views, plans and perspective drawings cover every significant structure, fitting, sensor, aircraft and weapon of the ship throughout its history. Anyone modelling the Aoshima 1/350 kit of this ship will be presented with almost unlimited scope for improving the detail and accuracy of that product. There are even rigging diagrams of the ship pre- and post-radar refit.

Although the price of this book has gone skyward since the original run ended, it is still a "must-have" for the Japanese ship modeller, and makes a specialist companion to the magisterial Japanese Cruisers of the Pacific War by LaCroix and Wells (prices also sky-high!) if you are lucky enough to own that volume.


66Fit Gym Ball With Pump & Dvd
66Fit Gym Ball With Pump & Dvd
Price: £11.00 - £27.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 75cm ball - Better quality than expected!, 25 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I needed a ball on the advice of my physio, did a bit of looking but bought this mostly on customer reviews. It arrived within 48 hours, and I was pleasantly surprised at the product - the ball is a durable, weighty plastic and the components are fairly robust. I would say the "plastic-y smell" isn't half as bad as some people have been making out, it's typical of this material but not bad!

I expected problems with the double-action pump following some reviews, but had no issues with it whatsoever - from receiving the package to using the ball took about 10 minutes. I would advise pumping the ball up in one go - as it reaches about 70% inflation, the air will leak out through the pump if you stop pumping! Hard work, but gets the job done quickly and without problems.

I ordered the 75cm ball (I'm 5'10") as it was the size of the one I was using in the gym; I'm glad I did, as this one is just about the right height for sitting on with knees bent less than 90deg. Any smaller and I possibly would have had problems with over-flexing my knees.

Haven't watched the DVD as I had a prescribed set of exercises, but I might get bored later on....!

Very pleased with the purchase, and Amazon as a speedy and efficient vendor.


F-15C Eagle Units in Combat (Combat Aircraft)
F-15C Eagle Units in Combat (Combat Aircraft)
by Steve Davies
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the best Osprey publication I've read, 11 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Those familiar with the Osprey series will know that they have a deserved reputation for packing an awful lot into a small, compact and reasonably-priced volume. Their occasional weakness is that some titles are written by "jack-of-all-trades" authors heavily reliant on other sources and often containing factual errors, mis-titled photos and light on specialist information.

Step forward Steve Davies. He has produced by far the most authoritative, factual, reliable and politically astute book in the Osprey series that I've read to date. It oozes authenticity, with extensive accounts of actual air combat written by the pilots themselves. The actual process of BVR air combat is accurately described, but in the sparse, urgent language of the combat pilot, putting the reader right on the F-15's wing.

Davies doesn't pull any political punches, and will delight his target audience with the pithy evaluations of Saudi Eagle operational performances, the truth behind that "first kill of Desert Storm", and the disparity in kills between the "talk the talk" 1st TFW and the rampant "walk the walk" 33rd TFW.

Davies uses his extensive primary sources (F-15C pilots) to their greatest effect, and communicates their respect for their Iraqi enemy, who often fought cleverly and bravely against their far superior foe. He also makes the F-15C the true hero of the book, paying great homage to a truly-world-beating piece of kit and its lethality and invincibility in air combat when coupled to an equally well-honed pilot.

So far the worldwide F-15 kills/losses score is 105-0. Steve Davies' remarkable book highlights exactly why that is the case, and why the F-15C and its pilots should rightfully hold the World's Greatest Fighter accolade, period.


MiG-21 Units of the Vietnam War (Osprey Combat Aircraft)
MiG-21 Units of the Vietnam War (Osprey Combat Aircraft)
by Istvan Toperczer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slim but very informative volume, 11 Sept. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Like most Osprey titles in the series, this manages to pack an awful lot into a small space.

However, this is a particularly good edition in the series. The book concisely but clearly documents the MiG-21 aircraft used by the VPAF, the training regime of the pilots, and includes many eye-witness accounts from pilots on both sides of the conflict. Numerous high-quality black and white photographs accurately document the contemporary appearance of the planes, personnel and bases of the VPAF; in addition to some excellent artwork detailing many of the individual aircraft involved in the conflict.

It should be pointed out that the Hungarian author, Dr Istvan Toperczer, has had privileged access to VPAF records and puts his research to good effect, cross referencing with US records. The differences say as much about the similarities! He wisely steers clear of the politics which still dominate reflections on the air war over North Vietnam, and sticks closely to an informed study of the conflict from the standpoint of its combatants. The only controversies he doesn't duck are those surrounding the disparity in capability and numbers vs the relative success of the VPAF MiGs, especially in the early part of the conflict.

A good read and quick reference for anyone seeking a broader understanding of the mechanics of the actual conflict in the air over North Vietnam.


British Battleships 1919-1945
British Battleships 1919-1945
by R. A. Burt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £45.00

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant book, highly recommended, 13 Mar. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I'm very glad to see this reprinted, formerly it would have been like gold dust if you could find an original 1993 copy at this price. One of the definitive works on the subject, second only to the now-priceless Raven and Roberts magnum opus, British Battleships of World War II.

Ostensibly covering the time period 1919-39, there is also some very nice summary material on the development of British dreadnoughts from the turn of the 20th Century, with small scale line drawings and summaries of the development of the battleship through to the end of the First World War.

The main subject matter covers the Queen Elizabeth, Royal Sovereign, Nelson and King George V classes, although there are numerous references to most British dreadnought, battleship and battlecruiser classes from 1900-1945. As well as many excellent photographs, there are some very nice line drawings showing evolution of various ships in each class throughout their development. The text is very accessible, and written in a lucid and almost jovial style which communicates the author's great enthusiasm for the subject.

Burt presents the histories, construction and armour characteristics of the various classes, and provides detailed damage reports of each ship's wartime career which I found to be one of the most interesting aspects of the book.

A marvellous book written by the enthusiast for the enthusiast. I'd grab one while you can!


Wolf Pack: The Story of the U-Boat in World War II
Wolf Pack: The Story of the U-Boat in World War II
by Gordon Williamson
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with information and VERY good value for money, 7 Mar. 2012
This book represents great value as it is a 270-page combination of no less than four other books in the Osprey series by the same author.

Chapters cover the types of U-boat in service during WW2, their appearance, weapons and tactics, bunkers and bases, and crews. It is full of useful information and history, and would be an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to have a comprehensive knowledge of the German submarine arm during the war.

The artwork in this volume is particularly good, and there are full colour diagrams, cutaways and profiles on practically every page, which complement the many original photographs of the subjects. The section on bunkers (from Williamson's book in the Osprey "Fortress" series) is probably the best section and comprehensively portrays their construction, function and inner workings.

Williamson's clearly expressed fondness for the subject and heartfelt admiration for the engineering and crews of the U-boats may seem distasteful to some despite the intervening years; in my opinion he balances this by making pains to point out the cost in slave labour for the construction of the U-boat bunkers, and particularly the Bremen construction bunker for the Type XXI. Then again, he also makes a strong case for the privations of the German crewman and his relative lack of politicisation, contrary to Allied propaganda and postwar legacy. The vast majority of U-boat losses occurred in the last part of 1944-45 and took on the proportions of a turkey shoot - Williamson emphasises the 80% casualty rate among U-boat crews, to attempt to offset the extraordinary toll of Allied merchant shipping which their predecessors took earlier in the war.

Overall I would recommend this book over any similar title due to the amazing amount of information and its excellent visuals for a relatively cheap price.


Fletcher Class Destroyers (Warship Design Histories)
Fletcher Class Destroyers (Warship Design Histories)
by Alan Raven
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent modelling resource, 17 Feb. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Alan Raven is a highly respected ship historian, illustrator and modeller. This should be considered when buying this book, as he states in his preface that it is intended to be a "visual coverage" of the Fletcher-class destroyer, depicting "what these ships looked like and how they were fitted out in service". In this task he succeeds admirably - several dozen excellent photographs, numerous very detailed three-view drawings, deck plans and tables, and very detailed sketch drawings of the many fittings, fixtures, and weapons carried by the class throughout their wartime and post-war careers.

This is not an historical book as such - there is very little in the way of historical text (barely 20 out of the 160 pages,) and such as there is only relates to the design, construction and modification of the ships during their careers. Most of the photos are dockyard shots depicting the various changes in equipment and appearance, although there are a few very evocative photos of the ships in immediate action and undergoing replenishment.

As a resource for artists and modellers, this book is excellent. As an illustrated design history, also noteworthy. For a more in-depth history of the class, their service, engagements and disposition during and after the war, it is probably not the book you were looking for. I bought it as a modeller building five different Fletchers in various wartime configurations, involving many scratchbuilt modifications - I found this book to be one of my primary resources and am thankful for its publication!

I would also add that it is a very robust book! As I was not home when it was delivered, it was tossed over the fence and inadvertently landed in a pool of water, spending two hours almost fully immersed. Over several days I was able to restore it to dry, mould-free and eminently readable condition. Not a situation I would hope anyone to have to repeat, but speaks highly of the production values used in publishing this book!


Shipcraft 8 - Fletcher Class Destroyers
Shipcraft 8 - Fletcher Class Destroyers
by Lester Abbey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent modelling resource, 23 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A great addition to the collection - this book follows the usual ShipCraft format of history and photos, modelling review and round-up of kits and aftermarket products, and a model showcase, with helpful line drawings, plans and profiles.

Where this copy stands out is in the latter two sections (the ones that really count!). The collection of models is stunning. Two in 1/96 and 1/192 are just breathtaking, and are extensively photographed - the detail shown on each is more than adequate for the "standard" scale modeller and super-detailer. The remaining models are an early and late-model 1/350 by Loren Perry (of Gold Medal Models) with useful background and build information, and extensive views of the restored USS Kidd at Baton Rouge.

The profiles are perfect - various 3-views in full colour of the eight major camouflage measures adopted throughout the war, and the first accurate port-side view of the original 1942 dapple camouflage applied to DD-445 Fletcher that I've seen in print. The three-view plans show each of the major refits and changes applied to many of the class, including the seaplane carriers. The appendix makes a good attempt to showcase the changes as they were applied in chronological order.

The only downside I can see is that although it was published in 2007, it includes the recent Trumpeter 1/350 and 1/700 "Sullivans" kits, but there obviously wasn't a chance to include the Revell 1/144 kit before going to print - a shame, really. Otherwise, the kit evaluations are fair and reasonable, although only the photo-etched aftermarket items specific to the Fletcher kits are included - the excellent resin products by L'Arsenal, Niko and Veteran Models which would all enhance any current kit are not mentioned at all.

Nevertheless, this is a highly recommended resource for modellers, and would go very well together with Dave McComb's new Osprey book "US Destroyers 1942-45".
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2012 12:42 PM GMT


US Destroyers 1942-45: Wartime Classes (New Vanguard)
US Destroyers 1942-45: Wartime Classes (New Vanguard)
by Dave McComb
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just about a perfect little resource book, 23 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A just about perfect snapshot of the WW2 US destroyer classes.

This book is packed with facts, history, line drawings, profiles and photos, also featuring several colour plates, two of which are reproductions of some beautiful colour artwork. There is a design and development section on each of the Flatcher, Sumner and Gearing classes, and then a potted history of their WW2 service listed by theatre of war.

There are extensive tables detailing the names and number of each class, helpfully subdivided into round bridge and square bridge, originating shipyard and date of commission. Other tables throughout the book helpfully break down division and squadron members, decorations and armament configurations and their changes throughout the war.

Dave McComb is probably the premier authority on this subject, and the sheer amount of information packed into this excellent value and very handy resource book does him great credit. His obvious affection for the subject also provides an infectious enthusiasm for the Tin Can Navy and their crews.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2012 12:43 PM GMT


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9