S u m m a r y
||Hard cover, 244 pages, 8.5 x
USD$50.00 from Icarus
||Excellent in all aspects. 16
pages of profiles, 17 pages of scale drawings and 90 images from the
Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
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first order of business is to clarify, if possible, the terms by which
the subject of this excellent monograph is known. The aircraft was
developed in 1934 by TsAGI (Tsentralniy Aero-Gidrodinamicheskiy Institut
– Central Aero-Hydrodynamic Institute) which was headed by Andrey
Nikolaevich Tupelov. As head of TsAGI, Tupelove was honored by having
all TsAGI designed aircraft designated as ANT; in this case the aircraft
was the ANT-40. Later when Tupelov fell out of favor with Stalin, the
aircraft was re-designated the TsAGI-40.
military, however had referred to it by the initials for its intended
mission SB (Sredniy Bombardirovshchik – Medium-Range Bomber) But with
the second prototype, ANT-40IS (Ispano Syuiza) fitted with Hispano-Suiza
engines, its performance as a high-speed bomber was quickly recognized
and it was given the designation of SB (in this case, Skorostnoy
Bombardirovshchik -High-Speed Bomber). As for the “2”, it refers to two
specific designations were given and referred to the type of engine and
any modifications. It also roughly referred to the year in which it was
put in service. So an SB 2 M-103 referred to an aircraft produced in
1938 to 1939 with a 103 series engines having front mounted radiators,
three bladed prop, external bomb racks, and a rear view-mirror. An SB 2
M-103U would differ in that it was produced in late 1939 and had the
radiators under the engine with a shutter control.
we have that straightened out, back to the monograph itself. This is
the second publication from a relatively small aircraft publishing house
called Icarus Aviation Press, now located in the cornfields of Iowa.
This volume is well written, in English, and printed on fine,
heavy-weight, glossy paper. The numerous pictures are well reproduced
and the quality paper only improves the images.
follows a very logical and well laid out organization, beginning with a
brief overview of TsAGI and the predecessors of the ANT-40/SB 2 bomber.
The first section of the book covers the SB 2 from the first prototype,
the ANT-40RT, using the Wright Cyclone engine (the only radial engine
model), through all the models, clearly setting out the various
improvements and modifications made to the SB 2 and experimental models.
This section also has a brief discussion of the internal and external
painting of the SB 2.
section goes on to describe the development of the Dive-Bomber version,
variously designated as “N” RK, RK, SB-RK and finally known as the Ar-2
(Arkhangleskiy). The “–2” in this case meant bomber, as Stalin had
decided that fighters should be designated with odd numbers and bombers
with even number.
was not only used for military service, it was also adapted for civilian
use as a high-speed transport and mail plane. This monograph provides
excellent coverage in both words and pictures of this aspect of the SB.
primarily a military aircraft, the author then looks at the SB in
combat. He covers its use by a number of different countries in various
wars and conflicts: The Spanish Civil War, the Soviet- Japanese
conflicts of 1938 and 1939, combat service with the Chinese Nationalist
Air Force, with the Czechoslovak Air Force as the license built B-71, in
both VVS and Finnish service during the Winter and Continuation Wars
and, finally, in the Great Patriotic War.
author then provides a technical description of the SB bomber which
includes numerous drawings and pictures taken from the technical and
production manuals. This wealth of information would be most valuable
in modeling and includes excellent drawings and pictures of the well
known, round M-3 turret.
concludes with an excellent set of 1/72 scale line drawing of virtually
every variant of the SB 2 and well done profiles . The profiles cover
nearly 49 different aircraft in the markings of apparently every
operator of the SB bomber – Soviet, Polish, Spanish (Republican and
Nationalist), Chinese, Czechoslovakian, Slovak, German, Bulgarian and
monograph on the SB bomber is one of the finest books I have had the
privilege to review. I must admit however, that given the paucity of
material in English on this aircraft, I may not be aware of major faults
with this volume. But having said that, this still appears to be an
excellent and highly comprehensive work on the subject. I only wish
that the care given to the coverage of the SB 2 by the author would be
given by other authors to other aircraft. I would also like to note
that given the ever rising price of aircraft related books, this volume
at USD$50.00 seems quite a value.
recommend this monograph to any aviation enthusiast, especially those
who are interested in the VVS or twin-engine bombers, or both. My only
regret is that I did not buy the now OOP 1/48 MPM vacform kit of the
early version of the SB 2. Luckily I did buy, and build, the later
final note, Icarus Books is not only a small publishing house under its
Icarus Aviation Press imprint, but it is also an excellent source of
aviation related publications. Their specialty seems to be Russian and
Bob Repich of Icarus Books
for the review
Aviation Press Books and other books on aviation
are available direct from
the publisher, who accepts credit cards (Visa, MC).
Review Copyright © 2004 by
Steven "Modeldad" Eisenman
This Page Created on 09 July, 2004
Last updated 13 October, 2004
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