'Mezek' Avia S/CS-199, Vol. 1 Book Review
|Date of Review||December 2013||Title||'Mezek' Avia S/CS-199, Vol. 1|
|Format||120 pages, hardbound||MSRP (USD)||$TBA|
Production of Messerschmitt's legendary Bf 109 didn't end with Nazi Germany's 1945 defeat.
In rebuilding its military after World War II, Czechoslovakia suffered supply snags from allies east and west. The dearth of fighters proved especially vexing. So the Czechoslovak Air Force tapped prewar production roots – and sought an indigenous solution.
Enter Avia – which manufactured Luftwaffe Bf 109G-10s in WWII's waning months. Alarming Daimler-Benz DB 605A engine unreliability, however, forced the company to adapt the more trustworthy Junkers Jumo 211F to Messerschmitt's airframe.
Thus emerged the "Mezek" – or "Mule", an intriguing fighter with some truly fearsome handling features. Around 500 entered operation.
Miroslav Irra recaps the aircraft's development, production and Czechoslovak service in "Mezek" Avia S/CS-199, Vol. 1 – an absorbing account from Jakab.
Subtitled "Conversion of the Messerschmitt Bf 109G in the Czechoslovak Air Force", Irra's spellbinding study blends archival sources, exemplary research and anecdotal evidence for an adept monograph of this military mongrel. Just don't expect much on Israeli Avias: Czechoslovak military and "Security Air Force" use overwhelmingly dominates coverage. Still, check out that segue on Marie Kopeckova, the only woman to tame the "Mule"!
Contents sport Czech- and English-language text, dozens of B&W photos, twelve color plates, drawings and detail shots. And color images of the surviving S-199 at Prague's Kbely Aviation Museum further spice the story. But Czech-language tables of indeterminate import baffled this hapless English-speaker. Translation, please? And how about those inside-cover photos? Can anyone say "flipped"?
Considering Hobbycraft's 1:48 kit? Tackling KP's ancient 1:72 effort? Grab this terrific tome – if you can find it in North America!