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Antonov's Heavy Transports:
Big Lifters for War & Peace - Red Star Vol. 18

By Terry Miesle - © 2005

Type: Softcover, 120pp, 200 photos plus 8 pages of line drawings, ISBN: 1857801822, by Yefim Gordon, Dmitriy and Sergey Komissarov
MSRP: $34.95 USD (~$ 43.35 CAN/ 26.94 EUR) available from Specialty Press
Overall Rating: 9 - a treasure trove of visual reference

Antonov has been the leading Russian/Soviet cargo and transport aircraft manufacturer for a long time. Since the biplane An-2 Colt, Antonov has produced durable, capable cargo planes used around the world.

The book covers the development and service life of the An-22, An-124/255 and An-70.

The An-22 grew from the short-lived An-20, and included big conter-rotating turboprop engines. It is very similar in layout to the C-130, but is about half again larger.

The An-125/225 series are massive aircraft. I've had the opportunity to see a 225 at an airshow and it's almost impossible to imagine an aircraft so large. These are used worldwide wherever something really huge must be toted from here to there. For instance, the Buran space shuttle was fitted atop a 225. Numerous other schemes for space launch vehicles were proposed for this aircraft, as documented in the book, and I think they could have made a lot of these work.

The An-70 is a rough equivalent to the C-130 in layout and size. The most novel feature of this aircraft is the use of counter-rotating propfans. These curved blades are not commonly seen on aircraft, and may be harbinger of things to come. This is a new design, official go-ahead was publicly announced in 1988.

Antonov has shown a flair for elegant aircraft with utilitarian ability. The designers never forget how and where their aircraft will be used, yet still manage to design beautiful aircraft.

What is here for the Starship Modeler? In a word, Buran. Another: Inspiration. There a number of good, clear pictures of the aircaft, both with and without the shuttle. There is also quite a bit of good reference in the text.


The authors provide comprehensive information about aircraft development, and include variants and usage. The layout is logical, and easily read. You will enjoy reading the book as much as using it for reference.

Many thanks to the folks at Specialty Press for the review sample.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2005 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 24 January 2005.