Some of the references used for construction of the Ar 196A-3. Not shown: online references, text files, frustration, and Modeling Angst.

Good references are the number one most overlooked factor in creating a good, historically accurate model for Il-2: FB. Historical accuracy is a key goal of 1C:Maddox Games, and inaccurate models will not be accepted for integration into the game. Therefore, it is not exaggeration to say that references are the single most important ingredient in the model-building process. Without clear, accurate references, no model is possible.

Finding Drawings

A common mistake of new modelers is thinking that the Internet is a source of good drawings for building an aircraft. The truth is that Internet is an excellent resource for finding out what books to get a hold of that might have good drawings in them, or for getting good scans of technical drawings from people who have good reference books. Drawings posted directly on the Internet are, almost without exception, of poor quality and effectively useless for detailed historical aircraft modeling. The real key to getting good modeling references is not anonymously authored web pages with inch-wide JPGs of poorly drawn aircraft planforms, but people. It's not a matter of where to look, but who to talk to. The best way to find good reference contacts is through bulletin boards, which can be found at good websites...

Websites vs. Bulletin Boards

Unfortunately, websites themselves often suffer from the same malady that all Internet information does: repetition of inaccurate information. Unbelievably, it bears repeating here: Don't believe everything that's on the Internet. Putting inaccurate information into HTML does not magically make it accurate. Most aircraft data on websites is simply a re-hash of inaccurate information posted somwhere else. There are precious few exceptions to this (for example, the author has noticed that Polish and Czechoslovakian websites often have vital, hard-to-find pieces of information). When dealing with website-posted information, the trick is to sift the information carefully and look for primary sources of data. The truth is absolute, but inaccuracies have endless variations. The easiest solution to this problem is, again, people. The best sources of information are those places where intelligent, mature enthusiasts gather to exchange information. This is the true strength of the Internet. Listed below are the best places to go to find contacts and data that will help in building models for Il-2:

General modeling resources

Allied Aircraft

Axis Aircraft Other Air Forces Publishers and Retailers Institutions Technical References

If readers know of any high-quality websites that are not on this list, please post at Netwings or contact the author.

Reference Issues and Techniques

Here are some randomly collected tips and techniques that might help a modeler with references.