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AK Interactive

The Eagle Has Landed Book Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2016 Title The Eagle Has Landed
Author Aitor Azkue Publisher AK Interactive
Published 2015 ISBN N/A
Format 288 pages, softbound MSRP (Euro) 39,50€


We've seen a variety of quality scale modeling titles over the last few years, but this one ranks as my favorite so far. 'The Eagle Has Landed' is a fantastic work by master modeler Aitor Azkue Gracia which focuses on ten World War II dioramas that feature a variety Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht subjects. The projects covered are:

  • Germany 1945 - surviving German crews hide their vehicles under a Berlin bridge while planning their last stand against the Soviet advance
  • Autobahn Stuttgart-Munchen 1945 - surrendering German forces drive past an abandoned Me 262 hidden off the autobahn under the supervision of US Army military police
  • Booby-trapped - US soldiers look for souvenirs among abandoned Luftwaffe aircraft as an explosives team arrives to look for booby traps, perhaps too late
  • Hamburg 1945 - British soldiers arrive at the port to find abandoned vehicles and even a submarine pierside
  • Never Ending History 1945 - children playing war in a junkyard of broken Luftwaffe aircraft
  • Norway 1943 - an He 111 crash-lands on the coast of Norway after engine failure and a passing German Army vehicle stops to help out
  • Tempelhof 1945 - in the final days, German Army crews raid the remaining aircraft on the airbase for needed fuel
  • The Fallen of the Eagles - Luftwaffe crews stand by their He 219 nightfighter in Czechoslovakia 1945 awaiting their fate as they lack the fuel and spare parts to continue the fight
  • Tirstrup 1945 - a British recon team arrives at the airbase to find a Mistel trainer and its crews awaiting their fate
  • Winners and Losers - US forces stand guard over abandoned German aircraft and vehicles as German refugees stream past
  • Horten 229 (Wood Imitation) - here is a great tutorial on achieving realistic wood effects without using decals

Each of the above dioramas feature outstanding photography to show various features and angles of each scene as well as step-by-step photos of construction, modification, detailing, painting, and weathering of each structure, vehicle, aircraft, etc., used in the diorama. The quality of these dioramas are outstanding and the insight on how they were accomplished provide some great inspiration and education for our own projects. Interleaved within each of these diorama features are period photos used for inspiration/reference for each project as well as brief tutorials on how to develop the skills common to many of these dioramas including scratchbuilding structure backdrops, water effects, customizing figures, working with a variety of materials, and more.

Each of these dioramas tell a story without the need for words or signs. The author does acknowledge that the outstanding figures that are used in these dioramas were produced by collaborators and are not covered here, though the photography shows clearly what can be achieved with a little practice. Having lived in Berlin myself, the dioramas set at Tempelhof and elsewhere capture the feel of Berlin at the end of the war which was still visible in those areas around the Berlin Wall in the 1970s. Nicely done!

As I said above, we've seen many modeling titles come through here, but if I was going to buy only one modeling book this year, "The Eagle Has Landed" is my current choice as it is an excellent reference for modeling aircraft and armored vehicles whether they are part of a diorama/vignette or simply stand-alone features. The author shares his techniques for achieving his award-winning results and this one will remain on by bench for future use.

Definitely recommended!

My sincere thanks to AK Interactive for this review copy!