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Found 56 results

  1. German Panzer II A Visual History of the German Army's World War II Light Tank Ampersand Group via Casemate UK The Panzer II originated as a temporary design to field while the larger tanks that were in development were completed, but due to Hitler's use of Blitzkrieg to overrun the majority of Europe, it saw widespread service until the larger Panzer III and more powerful Panzer IV reaches service. It also saw service in heavily modified forms until the end of the war, being used as a gun platform for some Self-Propelled Gun projects, and the more advanced Luchs, which used some technology that would be seen in the later developments. This book from Ampersand by the prolific David Doyle carries on the format of the Visual History series, with 168 pages of great photos from contemporary sources, which by their era are of course all black and white. The book contains over 170 photos in total, with many of them large and highly detailed. The pages are split between the following types with a useful potted history given on both types in the introduction: PzKpfw. II Ausf. a PzKpfw. II Ausf. b PzKpfw. II Ausf. c and A-C Early PzKpfw. II Ausf. c, A, B, C modified PzKpfw. II Ausf. D PzKpfw. II (F) Ausf. A & B PzKpfw. II Ausf. F PzKpfw. II Ausf. G PzKpfw. II Ausf. J PzKpfw. II Ausf. L Luchs (Lynx) While the contemporary photos are in black and white, the preserved examples are photographed in full colour, and the detail in which they are depicted would be an absolute boon to any modeller, especially those wishing to go for ultimate realism. Conclusion Whether you have the models that you intend to use this book for reference, or have an interest in the subject, this book will give you all the reference pictures and some besides, as well as some inspiration for dioramas. Highly recommended. ISBN: 978-1-944367-06-0 Review sample courtesy of
  2. Slybirds A Photographic Odyssey of the 353rd Fighter Group During the Second World War Fighting High Publishing - Via Casemate UK With their black and yellow chequered markings the 353rd Fighter Group was one of the Eighth's more colourful groups. They were assigned to the Eighth Air Force on 7 June 1943. The group flew P-47 Thunderbolts, and from October 1944, P-51 Mustangs; as escorts for bombing missions across occupied Europe, and to strafe targets on the ground. Tactical missions included strafing and dive-bombing targets during the Allied invasion of Normandy, and also during the airborne assault of Holland. For these latter missions, between 17 and 23 September 1944, the Group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation .They were based first at Goxhill, then Metfield and finally Raydon. The group consisted of; 350th Fighter Squadron 351st Fighter Squadron 352nd Fighter Squadron Headquarters (353rd Fighter Group) 2125th Engineer Fire Fighting Platoon The book features over 450 photographs, many unpublished, and some in colour. It features not only the Aircraft, pilots and ground crew, but how they lived, spent their free time, and even pets they had. The book shows aerial victories, aces, and those pilots who were shot down. There is a list of POWs and a roll of honour for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The book has been written by renowned Eighth Air Force Historian Graham Cross and is A4 Landscape in format with a quality printed feel. . Conclusion. The book gives a comprehensive look at the 353rd Group, and a unique look at the men and machines which made up this formidable fighting force, Highly recommended Review sample courtesy of
  3. The 100 Hour War The conflict between Honduras & El Salvador 1969 Helion & Company - Via Casemate UK In July of 1969 while most of the world was looking to the upcoming moon landings the Central American States of Honduras and El Salvador would go to war in what the media would coin "The Soccer War" due to hostilities coinciding with rioting at a World Cup qualifying match between the two countries. On the 14th of July 1969 El Salvador invaded its neighbour Honduras. This was the culmination of long standing land reform in Honduras effecting immigration and demographic issues with El Salvador; there being some 300,00 Salvadorans living in Honduras by this time. Neither side had what could be called a "modern" military at the time with civilian aircraft being used to carry explosives and an assortment of ex US military aircraft being used by both sides such as F4U Corsairs and P-51 Mustangs. After only 100 hours the Organisation of American States negotiated a ceasefire between the two sides. In the 100 hours El Salvador lost over 900 dead most of which were civilians, and Honduras would loose 250 combat troops and over 2000 civilians. The 300,000 Salvadorans living in Honduras would be displaced. Despite peace treaty in 1980 the dispute continues on with further sabre rattling as late as 2013. This book is the culmination of 20 years of research into this little know conflict. As well as the complicated background the book explores the military actions in the air, and on the ground taken by both sides. This was the last time the world would see dog fights between WWII era piston aircraft. As well as an impressive collection of photographs the book features colour profiles and markings of the aircraft used along with maps of the region to show how the fighting progressed. Conclusion. The book does concentrate on the air war, however the ground operations are covered along with the build up, and reasons for the conflict. Recommended if you like researching & modelling the smaller conflicts of the world. Review sample courtesy of
  4. The Normandy Battlefields Bocage & Breakout From the Beaches to the Falaise Gap Casemate UK When many of us think of “Normandy” we automatically think of the battles on the beaches. This however was only the first part of the story. Once allied forces broke out from their beach heads they faced a three month long battle in the French countryside which would result in over half a million casualties. The fighting in the infamous bocage countryside, around the import town of Caen; and upto the strategic port of Cherbourg was heavy brutal fighting which culminated in around 100,000 German Troops being cut of at the Falaise Gap. This encirclement resulted in approximately 10,000 German casualties, with a further 50,000 German troops being taken prisoner. The book deals with the important aspects of the breakout into Normandy; The Cotentin & Cherbourg The First Army in the Bocage The Battle for Caen The Breakout Brittany The Falaise Gap The Aftermath. The book is 192 pages long in A4 format with all pages in glossy print. There are no pages without photographs, and many of these are in colour where possible. Not only are there war time photographs but contemporary ones to show what the areas look like today, and to pick out areas of historical interest. There are many wartime photographs which will be of interest to both the modeller and the history buff. Maps are used to illustrate the battles along with specially commissioned aerial photography which brings home how difficult it must have been rather than just looking at maps alone. Conclusion. I have now had this book for a little while and must confess that once I started reading the book the review has been delayed, as I wanted to give it a proper read through. This was worth the wait as the book is an excellent portrayal of these events following the landings in France. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  5. Scrapyard Armour AFV Modeller Publications via Casemate UK At the end of any military vehicle's life, there's one place where most of them end up, whether they're worn out, destroyed, or somewhere in between. The scrapyard. This is a scene of rust, damage and decay that is seldom topped for extremity, and an ideal example to demonstrate severe weathering, which is the intent of this book. Using a set of photos as a guide, which are reproduced in the middle of the book, three modellers take the challenge and build an example of a tank in its final phase. The book is from AFV Modeller Publications, from the magazine people of the same name, and consists of 116 pages in a portrait format bound in a thick card jacket. The projects are arranged around the central photo shoot of the Russian armour scrapyard, which is a bit of an eye-opener in itself, showing rows of dilapidated and broken T-62s amongst other types, some of which have been torch-cut in places, some haven't. Many of them still sport their ERA blocks around the turret and hull, which can only mean that these are the inactive blocks used for training, unless health & safety in Russia has slipped a little bit! David Parker builds a T-62 that has been cut into three equal sections across the hull, and had its turret removed and laid upside down next to it. He takes you through the process of creating the detailed interior using scratch built parts and some parts from a Verlinden set, as well as using some ET Model fenders to get scale thickness on those areas, which had been cut off in prelude to the main hull cuts. This intricate build takes up a substantial part of the book, and finished on page 47. The photos then take up to page 89, and after that another build from Mark Neville shows a relatively complete T-62BDD model 1984, which is minus its tracks and little else. His article concentrates on the exterior weathering, and the addition of dust and grime in all the right places that lend a realistic feel to the whole thing, finishing off with some minor diorama details at page 101. The final article is by Andy Taylor, who models a Georgian T-55, which has been converted with the addition of cheek armour on the turret. Although the AM is now available from Takom, he used an update set from CMK as the bones of his conversion, and goes further with the weathering due to the old age of the machine, showing panels that have been ripped from place and the interior raided, as well as the ravages of the elements. The level of grime around the hull really is a sight to behold. Conclusion The book has a high quality feel to it, and the content is interesting, with lots of techniques and tips on display for you to refer back to, or aspire to if you have never tried them before. The photographic section is entertaining in its own right, but a few captions to enlighten us to what exactly we're looking at would have been useful to those of us that don't know these beasts intimately. Overall a good read, and a reference work that you can keep coming back to for inspiration. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  6. Hawker Hunters At War – Iraq and Jordan, 1958-1967 ISBN: 9781911096252 Helion & Company via Casemate UK After the Hawker Hunter was retired from RAF service with the introduction of newer, supersonic capable jets, the Hunters were taken back, refurbed and offered for sale to potential customers in the Middle East. Iraq and Jordan were allies of Great Britain at the time, and had already taken plenty of post-war surplus off the British hands, throughout their military establishment, from tanks to aircraft and rifles. Bound in a flexible card outer sleeve in a portrait format, the book contains 104 pages, over 120 photos (some in colour), and 15 colour profiles for the aircraft discussed in the texts. The narrative covers all aspects of the Hunter's service with the Iraqi and Jordanian Air Forces and their service with them both in the next decade or so. It even gives the details of the fates of them all, with a few photos of extant parts that still languished in a dump at the beginning of the new millennium. It documents the missions that the aircraft flew, the outcomes and through some dramatic gun camera shots, the fate of a few unlucky enough to be shot down during the Six Days War, by which time the Hunter was outclassed as a fighter and sometimes fell victim to the Israeli Mirages. The book is broken into chapters as follows: Acknowledgements 2 Abbreviations 2 Special Relationship 3 Crisis of 1958 7 New Start in Iraq 17 First Battle with Mirages 23 June 1967 War 31 Battle for H-3 46 Post-Scriptum 55 Bibliography 60 Notes 61 The author Tom Cooper has extensive knowledge of Middle East conflicts from his time spent there, and has written many articles on the subject. Patricia Salti is the widow of a Jordanian Hunter pilot 1st Lt Muwaffaq Salti, who is considered a national hero in Jordan and was lost in combat with Israeli forces in 1966. She has become a leading historian of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, and due to her unique insights and her contacts, she has written numerous official publications, and has cooperated on other related projects with Tom, such as the Arab Mig books. Conclusion A very detailed history of the Hunter's service after it left the RAF as a fighter that will be of interest to many, although perhaps not quite mainstream due to the subject matter. The wealth of information, data and of course the significant quantity of pictorial information held within the book will doubtless be enticing for any modellers or aviation enthusiasts that are curious as to the fate of those airframes. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. Tigers In Combat III Helion via Casemate UK The Tiger was ordered by German High Command in 1942 after the Panzer IV found its nemesis in the shape of the Russian T-34, and through a relatively short gestation period it emerged soon after as a lumbering behemoth that seemed imperious to enemy fire, and quickly gained a reputation on the battlefield and every Allied tanker that survived being "brewed up" was taken out by a Tiger. This new book from Helion Publishing is the third in a series of weighty tomes from author Wolfgang Schneider, who served in the German army for 41 years, and has written a number of books on armour over the years. He clearly has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Tiger and WWII German armour tactics, which shows through at every turn. The book in this form is hard bound, and runs to over 520 pages in a portrait oriented book. The book centres on the use of the Tiger in the battlefield, including those aspects of the organisation that are often overlooked in less concise texts, such as the infrastructure required to keep them on the field, support and logistics, as well as repair and maintenance. Even tactics and training are discussed at length, with many excerpts from training literature included, which although in German, are described in caption form by the author. The detail given is astounding, and you get the feeling that if you were to sit there and read every single line, study all the diagrams, and perhaps have a little technical German language under your belt, you could imagine being able to mechanic your very own Tiger at least for a while. The various chapters are laid out as follows: 1. The establishment and structure of the Tiger units The establishment dates for the tiger units The stabskompanie Allocation of responsibilities inside the units Early experiences with the tiger 2. Training Leadership training Tank courses at Paderborn Technical trials at Senne Combat operations to the end of the war Training course content Weapons and equipment training Tank firing practice Combat training Tigers in Hungarian service 3. Operating the Tiger Commander's operating tasks Gunner's operating tasks Loader's operating tasks Driver's operating tasks Radio operator's tasks Whole crew operating tasks Establishing states of readiness Peparations for towing and recovery Work on the running gear Care, maintenance and preservation of operational readiness in extreme environmental conditions Schedule related work Camouflage and the application of camouflage paint Operation in winter Submerged driving 4. Deployment The tasks of the commander Tasks of the gunner Tasks of the loader Tasks of the tank driver Radio operator's tasks Crew based tasks Loading for rail transport Transport across water 5. Tactics General combat tactics Marches Reconnaissance and scouting Security measures Types of combat Command and control Collaboration with other weapons The effect of enemy weapons Logistics (including medical services) Recovery and evacuation to the rear Repair and maintenance Employment of the Tiger battalions Propaganda Annex Amendments to Volumes I and II Literature list Reports by individual Tiger battalions List of regulations and manuals Given the huge scope of the book, it isn't surprising that the page count is so high, but it isn't all dry text. There are hundreds of photos and drawings, extending to 1,200 in total, many of which I have not seen before, and most are of excellent quality, with a few exceptions due to the age of the photos. A few 3D renders are also used to illustrate different aspects of the tank's construction, and there are even a couple of bitmapped images present, which although they aren't of the best quality, don't detract from the overall experience. Most of the photos are black and white, but there are a number of pages to the rear of the book that are in colour, which appear to be originally taken in colour, rather than colourised later. The sheer number of photos is exemplary, and they give a complete impression of life as a Tiger crew member, as alongside the staged photos, there are many more that were taken by the crews themselves and some are candid, showing crews working, resting and playing. If you're wondering about the Tiger II, the King Tiger, it does make the occasional appearance through the book, sometimes in the background of photos, but it is also mentioned a number of times through the pages. Conclusion It's a work of almost biblical scope, and coupled with the previous two volumes, that I really must track down, it makes a complete reference for the legendary Tiger. If you want such a thing, then this is for you, and it'll also keep you busy reading for quite some time. Review sample courtesy of
  8. MaxxPro MRAP Ampersand Group The International MaxxPro is Navistar Defence’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and incorporates the latest design in armour technology. Extensively tested by the military and used in theatre today, the MaxxPro features a V-shaped hull and other design features that greatly improve survivability. With so much protection, it’s the vehicle that every crew wants when they’re out in the field. The MaxxPro MRAP is built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, IEDs, and other emerging threats. Its V-shaped hull helps deflect blasts out and away from the crew and its armour can be customized to meet any mission requirement. The book is printed in a similar fashion as the old Squadron Publications standard, in a landscape format with a short, two pages worth development history of the type. The rest of the book is dedicated to the very detailed walk rounds of various vehicles, and when I say detailed, they are really very detailed, with every part of the exterior being covered, even the smallest part of the suspension. Unfortunately, due to the operational nature of the vehicles there are no interior photos, with only glimpses of the interior when the rear ramp is down. There are several types of MRAP shown in the book, with various types of additional armour fitted to them, bar armour, FRAG 6 Block armour or the latest anti-RPG netting. Notes that accompany each photograph are very descriptive and useful for the modeller in identifying what each piece of equipment is. In addition to the equipment usually found on the MRAP there are pictures of the various weapons fits, such as M2 50cal machine gun, or 40mm grenade launcher and other items such as the mine roller system fitted to the front of the vehicle. Lastly there is a small section at the rear on the M1249 MRV, (Mine Resistant Vehicle), which is basically the MRAP cab fitted to a large double axle wrecker crane style body which is fitted with a rotating crane jib. This vehicle is used to lift MRAPs, recover damaged vehicles, and lift concrete barriers or other heavy items in theatre. Conclusion This is a superbly produce and very interesting book. Not only are the photographs clear and sharp, but the information they and the noted provided will prove very useful to the modeller to get even the smallest detail correct on their model. Review sample courtesy of
  9. WW2 Russian Field Weapons & Equipment Helion Company Data File It’s surprising how much equipment the Soviet forces had during WWII and this book brings them into sharp detail. Most people know about the sheer numbers of tanks and men involved in the Great Patriotic War, but there as so many other pieces of equipment used by the soldiers in the field. Much like the book on German Field Equipment reviewed HERE, this book combines interesting facts alongside the very nicely rendered 3D drawings of each piece of kit. I’m sure that not every piece of equipment used is in this book, but there is an awful lot that is. Every from pistols, weapons case, rifles, and sniper rifles, machine guns right the way up to the big guns and tanks. All the drawings on the one hundred and fifty three pages are in full colour giving the modeller good research material for their models and dioramas. Whilst there are the familiar pieces of kit shown, there are also quite a few unusual pieces that I certainly didn’t know about, such as the concrete tanks and the various mobile pill boxes. The In Enemy Hands section is interesting in that it shows what modifications the Germans carried out to their captured Soviet equipment, usually involving the venerable T-34. Conclusion This is another great and very interesting book. Not only are the rendering superb, but the information they and the notes provide will prove very useful to the modeller who wants to get everything just right. Review sample courtesy of
  10. M10/Achilles A visual history of the US Army’s Tank Destroyer Ampersand Group via Casemate UK The M10 was developed on the chassis of the M4A2 Sherman chassis with a rotating open turret carrying a 76.2mm gun, with the name 3-inch Gun Motor Carriage M10. It was lightly armoured, had a poor turret motor which resulted in a very slow 80 seconds to turn completely around, which gave it a disadvantage in rapidly evolving battles, which the crew tried to reduce by hand-cranking it themselves. The open top made it a tempting target for a carefully thrown grenade in close combat, and the crew casualties from air-burst shells were frequent and plentiful. It reached service in 1942 after a redesign of the turret to remove the initial shot-traps that extended all the way around it, and production ceased in 1943, although it soldiered on in dwindling numbers through the rest of WWII. The Achilles is the name given to the 17-pounder equipped variant, which was much more successful against the then-new Panther with its improved armour, which the British used to good effect with their lend-lease vehicles. The extra punch of the bigger gun that went on to equip the Sherman Firefly was a godsend that helped avoid close-in engagements that put the Achilles at a disadvantage due to its relatively light armour. Even so, the driver appears to have been the safest member of the crew, despite being positioned out front in the glacis plate area. After WWII the surplus examples found their way to other countries, and were used by liberated Allies until they could restore their own armed forces after years of living under Nazi rule. The Book This book from Ampersand by the prolific David Doyle carries on the format of the Visual History series, with 128 pages of great photos from sources both contemporary and from preserved or restored vehicles that are now in the hands of collectors. The book contains over 450 photos in total, with many of them large and highly detailed. The pages are split between the A10 and the Achilles with a useful potted history given on both types in the introduction, although the larger part of the book is given over to the more numerous A10, which acquired the nickname “Wolverine” at some point in its career. While the contemporary photos are in black and white, the preserved examples are photographed in full colour, and the detail in which they are depicted would be an absolute boon to any modeller, especially those wishing to go for ultimate realism. The quality of the restorations is exemplary, and the author has documented the post-war additions where practical, such as rear-view mirrors and so forth. Conclusion Whether you have the models that you intend to use this book for reference, or have an interest in the subject, this book will give you all the reference pictures and some besides, as well as some inspiration for dioramas. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  11. German Motorcycles of WWII (9781944367022) A visual history in Vintage Photos and Restored Examples, Part 1 Ampersand Group via Casemate UK The German military machine made perhaps the most use of the motorcycle during WWII than any of the combatants, using it as troop transport, for messenger work, reconnaissance and other combat related jobs, and they had a number of excellent bikes in their arsenal. This book from Ampersand by the prolific David Doyle carries on the format of the Visual History series, with 120 pages of great photos from sources both contemporary and from preserved or restored vehicles that are now in the hands of collectors. The book contains over 250 photos in total, with many of them large and highly detailed. The pages are split between the types with a useful potted history given on all types in the introduction. Covered in the book are the following bikes from two manufacturers: BMW R4 BMW R12 BMW R35 BMW R71 BMW R74 Zundapp KS750 While the contemporary photos are in black and white, the preserved examples are photographed in full colour, and the detail in which they are depicted would be an absolute boon to any modeller, especially those wishing to go for ultimate realism. As noted in the title, this is Part one of this series, so we can expect at least one more volume that will doubtless include other types used by German forces in WWII. Conclusion Whether you have the models that you intend to use this book for reference, or have an interest in the subject, this book will give you all the reference pictures and some besides, as well as some inspiration for dioramas. The preserved examples are of particular high quality, and as close to an in-service machine as you could wish for, although probably a bit cleaner! Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Kübelwagen & Schwimmwagen A visual history of the German Army's multi-purpose vehicles Ampersand Group via Casemate UK The Type 82 Kübelwagen was developed from the nascent "People's Car" that Hitler had ordered from Volkswagen once he took power in the early 30s. It was originally meant to be based on the running gear of what later became the Beetle, but changes had to be made to improve the vehicles handling off tarmac. It was made simple for utility, and had all stamped body panels for ease of construction and maintenance, plus a 1L air cooled engine in the rear compartment, which was increased in size during the development of the Schwimmwagen. The amphibious Schwimmwagen was developed for crossing rivers, and had a specially stamped body that improved water-fastness, plus a flip-down propeller at the rear for propulsion. Both types were built in large numbers, and saw active service in many theatres of WWII. This book from Ampersand by the prolific David Doyle carries on the format of the Visual History series, with 120 pages of great photos from sources both contemporary and from preserved or restored vehicles that are now in the hands of collectors. The book contains over 250 photos in total, with many of them large and highly detailed. The pages are split between the Kübelwagen and the Schwimmwagen with a useful potted history given on both types in the introduction. While the contemporary photos are in black and white, the preserved examples are photographed in full colour, and the detail in which they are depicted would be an absolute boon to any modeller, especially those wishing to go for ultimate realism. Conclusion Whether you have the Beko or Tamiya Kübelwagen, the Tamiya Shwimmwagen in 1:35 or one of the many models in other scales, this book will give you all the reference pictures and some besides, as well as some inspiration for dioramas. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  13. Dragon Wagon Part 2 M123, M123C, M123A1C, M123E2 & M746 Ampersand Group via Casemate 978-1-944367-00-8 Mention the name Dragon Wagon, and everyone that is familiar with the phrase automatically thinks of the WWII M26, with its distinctive armoured cab and huge trailer. Whilst these vehicles did soldier on after the end of WWII as Prime Movers, the American Army were looking for a replacement in anticipation of the heavier tanks and vehicles that were already in design. Mack designed what was to become the M123 Dragon Wagon, with the hope of mating it to a multi-fuel capable engine, but had to compromise and install a diesel instead due to the lack of power that could be achieved from multi-fuel engines at the time. Attention was paid to standardisation of parts to ease the maintenance burden and help reduce the budget, and the type carried on in service long after the original replacement, with the stop-gap M746 8-wheeled tractor being replaced directly by the now standard M911 HET that is still in use today. This new title by David Doyle from the publishing arm of Hobbylink Japan with the tag line of "A visual history of the US Army's Heavy Tank Transporter 1955-1975", giving a big clue to what you'll find inside. If you've read my review of the other books of the series from the same author and publisher (here), you'll know what to expect in terms of formatting and quality. Inside the sturdy card binding are 120 pages on glossy stock in a landscape A4(ish) format, with over 250 illustrations, some of which are contemporary, others from preserved examples in museums. As usual, the format begins with a very short introduction, followed by the aforementioned photos, which have been helpfully broken down between the following variants: M123 M123C M123A1C M123E2 M746 Due to the era of operation, many of the later photos are in colour, as are the photos of the preserved examples, all of which benefit from clear and detailed captions that describe any salient aspects of the photo that may escape the casual observer. Conclusion If Prime-Movers are your thing, this book makes a natural bridge between the WWII Dragon Wagon and the M911 HET, bring you nearly up-to-date with the US Army's heavy lifters. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  14. Dazzle - Disguise & Disruption in War & Art The Pool of London Press Dazzle camouflage, also known as razzle dazzle (US) or dazzle painting, was a family of ship camouflage used extensively in World War I, and to a lesser extent in World War II and afterwards. The original idea Credited to the British marine artist Norman Wilkinson, though with a rejected prior claim by the zoologist John Graham Kerr, it consisted of complex patterns of geometric shapes in contrasting colours, interrupting and intersecting each other. Unlike other forms of camouflage, the intention of dazzle is not to conceal but to make it difficult to estimate a target's range, speed, and heading. Norman Wilkinson explained in 1919 that he had intended dazzle more to mislead the enemy about a ship's course and so to take up a poor firing position, than actually to cause the enemy to miss his shot when firing. Dazzle was adopted by the Admiralty in the UK, and then by the United States Navy, with little evaluation. Each ship's dazzle pattern was unique to avoid making classes of ships instantly recognisable to the enemy. The result was that a profusion of dazzle schemes was tried, and the evidence for their success was at best mixed. So many factors were involved that it was impossible to determine which were important, and whether any of the colour schemes were effective. Dazzle attracted the notice of artists such as Picasso, who claimed that Cubists like himself had invented it. Edward Wadsworth, who supervised the camouflaging of over 2,000 ships during the First World War, painted a series of canvases of dazzle ships after the war, based on his wartime work. Arthur Lismer similarly painted a series of dazzle ship canvases. This book addresses the achievements of the marine artist Norma Wilkinson and his team and includes a series of new dazzle paintings, along with beautifully printed sketches, designs and artworks. The publication has been printed as a lead up to the centenary of the invention of dazzle. The book is well presented and written, with the complete history of dazzle camouflage and the later spin-offs. The book contains one hundred and twenty five pages with eight chapters which are titled:- Norman Wilkinson: The Man Behind the Dazzle The Dazzle Painting Concept The Art and Design of Dazzle in Britain Dazzle in the USA Rivals for the Dazzle Painting “Prize” Return of Dazzle in The Second World War Inspirational and Decorative Dazzle Centenary Dazzle From start to finish this book is a very interesting read, what with the designs, and how they came about, the shenanigans over who really “invented” Dazzle and how the ships were painted and what designs worked best. The fact that the idea was carried over into World War II goes to show that the original concept was still valid, even though the name was changed to disruptive rather than dazzle. The carry through to art and design makes for a fascinating read in itself, but of course, Nature got there first as it usually does. Whilst the Centenary ships, those modern day/historic survivors painted in 2015 brings the book right up to date with some very colourful pictures. Conclusion This book covers an interesting subject, and one which I haven’t seen fully told before. The text is well written, keeping the subject interesting for the reader, and the paintings, artwork and sketches are superb and a great resource to the imaginative modeller who feels they would like to attempt some of the wilder schemes. Review sample courtesy of
  15. Stalins Favourite. 2ndGuards Tank Army Helion and Company Unfortunately this, being the second part in the two book series, we are missing a lot of the early information on the 2nd Guards Division. What we do get, is the combat history of the division from July 1944 to May 1945, taking in the following operations and chapters on nearly 500 pages:- Preface Introduction The Lublin – Praga Operation of Summer 1944 The Vistula – Oder Operation 1945 The Army pivots against the German Stettin grouping In the Eastern Pomeranian Operation 1945 In the Berlin Operation Best practices from the 2nd Guards Tank Army’s wartime experiences and General Bogdanov’s proposals Afterword Appendices Once you get through the photographic references, list of maps, and list of tables, you finally get to the preface, forward and Introduction, you finally get to the first chapter, and first battle. Each Battle or Operation is described in a similar manner as first, The Lublin Operation which consists of a list of Command staff, 3rd Tank Corp, 16th Tank Corps units, 8th Guards Tank Corps units, Units directly subordinate to army headquarters, and additional attached units such as the anti-tank and anti-aircraft divisions and mortar brigade, plus each of the units commanding officers. There are then a series of photographs of the officers, men and equipment. The narrative then goes on to describe the preparatory phase of the operation, the units previous experience in the field, training and other working up exercises. The tactical situation at the start of the operation is then explained, followed by the enemy’s grouping and the correlation of forces, and the terrain. There then follows the build up and the situation the 2nd tank army and 8th Guards army from 18th July to 21st July 1944, followed by the 2nd tank army’s combat actions for Lublin, the combat losses and the combat report to the commander of the 2nd tank army from the 24th July 1944. These sections are in-dispersed with additional period photographs. There then follows additional information on the following:- 2nd tank army’s operations for Deblin and Pulawy The German force grouping on the south-eastern approaches to Warsaw 2nd tank army’s actions to seize Zelechow, Stoczek, and Garwolin The development of the offensive in the direction of Minsk-Masowwiecki 2nd tank army’s approach to Praga from the East 3rd tank corps emerges on the enemy’s communication lines in the Radzymin, Struga, Marki, Wolomin region The 2nd tank army goes over onto the defensive The 3rd tank corps fight to repel the enemy counterattacks on 3rd August 1944 Losses of the 2nd tank army over the period of defensive fighting between 1st August and 8th August. Post action conclusions regarding the 2nd tanks army’s defensive operations. Post action reports Recollections from survivors. Combat decorations There are four appendices post the Afterword which give information such as General Bogdanov’s record, Commanders of the 2nd tank army from 1943 to 1998, the 2nd tank army its Heroes of the Soviet Union, the order of glory of the 2nd tank army, Identification of the 2nd tank army’s subordinate units. Conclusion It’s taken me quite a while to get through this book as there is so much information to take in. Whilst it’s probably not the sort of book you read cover to cover, it’s definitely one you can dip into, read a chapter on a particular battle, or check tank markings for individual units, and it this that will be of interest to modellers rather than just those interested in military history. Review sample courtesy of
  16. IJN Heavy Cruiser Chikuma Kagero Super Drawings in 3D Chikuma was completed at Mitsubishi Nagasaki shipyards on 20 May 1939. After several months as a unit of the CruDiv6 (Sentai 6) of the Second Fleet, she was transferred to the CruDiv8 in November 1939. In addition to taking part in regular combat exercises in Japanese home waters, she operated off southern China on three occasions between March 1940 and March 1941. Chikuma was designed for long-range scouting missions and had a large seaplane capacity. She was extensively employed during World War II in conjunction with an aircraft carrier task force, or as part of a cruiser squadron with her sister ship, Tone. The Tone-class cruisers were originally envisaged as the 5th and 6th vessels in the Mogami class. However, by the time construction began, serious weaknesses in the Mogami-class hull design had become clear following the Fourth Fleet Incident in 1935. As Japan no longer was obligated to abide by the limitations of the London Naval Treaty, a new design was created and new means of construction were utilized. Though the external dimensions were close to the Mogami class, the design was quite different, with all the main battery of guns placed forward of the bridge, reserving the entire stern area as a large sea plane hangar. Unlike the United States Navy, the Japanese did not have a dual role attack/scout aircraft. No reconnaissance units were assigned to the Japanese carriers, and little emphasis was placed on this aspect of carrier warfare. Instead the Japanese reserved all of their carrier aircraft for attack roles. Reconnaissance was left up to float planes carried by cruisers. Chikuma was intended to provide the long range scout planes needed for their carrier Air Fleets. She took part in many famous battles during the war, including the Indian Ocean raids, Battle of Midway, Battle of Eastern Solomans, Battle of Santa Cruz, Battle if the Philippine Sea, and lastly the Battle of Leyte Gulf, during which she was sunk by US navy torpedo bombers. This is the latest book from Kagero in their Super Drawings in 3D, and like the previous books it has a brief history and the ships specifications at the beginning. This includes the following:- Technical Description Fire Control Equipment Modernisations In Service The rest of the seventy three pages are filled with beautifully drawn 3D renderings of every part of the ship. It is obvious that a lot of time has been taken to get the drawings this good and accurate, and there is a wealthy of information for the modeller to use during their build. Every area of the upper hull and superstructure is dealt with. I particularly like the renderings of the interior of the torpedo deck and the inclusion of the loading mechanisms and tubes, with the addition of some crew members showing the operation of the equipment. For even more detail, especially for the rigging, Kagero have included a double sided A2 fold out sheet with a five view on one side, in 1:350 and a ¾ bow view on the reverse, with additional drawings of the ships boats and close ups of the most forward pair of turrets. Conclusion This is a great addition to any maritime modeller’s collection and continues this superb series of books. The detail included is second to none, and the renderings are so clear that they will be a delight for the superdetailers, particularly if build the beautiful Tamiya 1:350 scale kit. Review sample courtesy of
  17. Flying The Icon: Spitfire Fighting High Publishing There is no doubt the Spitfire is an Icon of aviation. This book aims to give the reader an insight into what it was like to fly the Spitfire and what this entailed. Using pilot notes, flight test documents and personal interviews the author pulls all of this together in the book. Starting of with the Prototype K5054, and through to the post war aircraft (F.18/22/24) the book details how it was flown, and what pilots today think of the aircraft. The book is illustrated through out by contemporary and modern photographs of the various marks of the Spitfire. The book is A4 Hardback (Landscape) format with 176 pages. The printing and layout is first class. Conclusion. This book with give the Spitfire enthusiast a feeling of what is was, and is like to fly this iconic aircraft. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  18. AMX-30 Family KAGERO Publishing The AMX-30 served the French Armed forces as its main Battle Tank in the front line from 1966 to 2006, and like many other nations the French used the basic tank chassis to produce other armoured vehicles over the years for the Army. The most recognised of these was the AU-F1 Self Propelled Gun.Other guises included the Bitube 30mm SPAAG, the Roland Alsace SAM System (AMX-30R); and importantly for the French the Pluton (AMX-30P) which was their independent ground based Nuclear weapons system. In common with many armies around the world The AMX-30 spawned a number of Engineer based vehicles, these included; a Bridge Layer (AMX-30H), a combat engineering vehicle (EBG - Enginè Blind du Gènie) with a 142mm demolition gun, dozzer blade and hydraulic arm. The final engineering version was a re-build of the EBG, this had the demolition gun decommissioned and was fitted with a mine clearing carpet system. The book is A4 soft cover with 96 pages, there is a section of detailed photographs at the rear of the book, followed by 6 pages of colour profiles. Conclusion This is an excellent book chronicaling the myriad of vehicles using the AMX-30 chassis. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  19. AMX-30 Char de Bataille 1966-2006 Vol I KAGERO Publishing The AMX-30 served the French Armed forces as its main Battle Tank in the front line from 1966 to 2006, and in other roles it still continues to serve. This book (Volume 1 in the AMX-30 series) concentrates on the design, development and early deployment of the tank. The book is A4 Softcover format with 78 pages. They include information on the design & development of the tank. There are many photographs included as well as technical drawings, orders of battle for the French Arm and plans to sell the tank in Europe, which ultimately did not materialise as it was competing against the German Leopard. There is a section of detailed photographs at the rear and 3 pages of colour profiles. Conclusion This is an excellent book chronicling the early stages of the use of the AMX-30. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  20. Three Days in Hell 7-9 June 1944 Heimdal Publishing The Normandy campaign of 1944 is probably one of the most documented areas of WWII. This new book from Heimdal concentrates on one part of the Normandy landings for a period of 3 days after the landing the 7th to the 9th of June 1944. The area concentrated on is the Canadian landings and the subsequent advance into Normandy which was quite bloody. The book makes valuable use of testimony from both sets of combatants, and the local French population who were caught up in the fierce fighting with no where to go. The book offers a degree of completeness not offered in some publications through the use of this testimony, plans of the battles; and photographs (wartime & contemporary). Also of interest is a short section at the beginning of the book which shows what life was like before the 6th of June for all those involved. The book is A4 softbound with 160 pages featuring maps, colour and Black & white photographs. Conclusion This is primarily a history book covering these 3 days and the fighting between the Canadian and the Germans. It covers this excellently and the addition of testimony from the local French population shows how hellish it must have been for all sides. The photographs will be of some use to us modellers as well. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  21. Camouflage & Markings of Commonwealth & Greek Armor in the Balkans Campaign Armor Color Gallery The Greek & Balkans campaign of 1941 is one of the areas of WWII that seems largely forgotten about, mainly I suspect as it did not go to well in general for the allies. This new book from Armor Color Galley has been researched and published in time for the 75th Anniversary of the Battle for Greece. It looks at the vehicles used by The British 1st Armoured Brigade HQ Squadron, 4th Queen's Own Hussars, 3rd and 7th Royal Tank Regiments and 3rd King's Own Hussars,. The Commonwealth 2nd New Zealand Division, 6th Australian Division; and Greek 19th Motorised Division. The book is A4 softbound format and is illustrated with 148 Black & White photographs, many of which have not been published before. The main pages feature white text on a black background which may not be to everyone's tastes (certainly not to that of the reviewer). There are 7 white pages at the rear of the book which contain colour views of various tanks & armoured Cars; though to suggest as the cover does that there are 24 full colour plates may be considered optimistic. Conclusion Overall this is a good book covering an often overlooked conflict of WWII, recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  22. AMX-30 Char de Bataille 1966-2006 Vol II KAGERO Publishing The AMX-30 served the French Armed forces as its main Battle Tank in the front line from 1966 to 2006, and in other roles it still continues to serve. This book (Volume 2 in the AMX-30 series) concentrates on the later service of the AMX-30. It looks at the modernisation of the tank in the 1980s as the AMX-30B and again in the 1990s with the Brenus AMX-30B2 featuring the addition of the distinctive Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) blocks to the tank, when it was forced to serve longer than planned due to delays in the the Leclerc MBT. There are 87 pages in A4 softbound format featuring many photographs a lot of which are in colour. As well as the details of the tank and the upgrades the book features the use of the AMX-30 in the Gulf War of 1991, and the continued use to this day of the tanks in the FORAD (forces adverses) role often painted and modified to resemble potential enemy tanks. Also included is use the AMX-30 by foreign armies such as Venezuela. Conclusion This is an excellent book chronicling the later stages of the use of the AMX-30. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  23. 251 Half-Track Ampersand Group by David Doyle When you think of a German WWII half-track, most people will automatically conjure up the Sd.Kfz.251 in some shape or form, unless they've fallen for all the 60s and 70s movies where the American Half-Track was substituted with some suitably Germanic paint-jobs, mostly because there just aren't that many of the original left, as evidenced by the high prices they go for in the vintage military vehicles world, unless you fancy cheating and converting a Tatra TO-810 at a fraction of the price. The basic chassis was developed and converted to mount all manner of weapons beyond the original troop transport role, some of which defied practicality and you could argue sanity, as you will see within the pages of the book. It is landscape bound in a hard back with a glossy cover that should stand up to plenty of wear, and has a black card inner leaf to further protect the pages within. There are 168 pages on thick glossy paper, all printed in black and white due to the fact that all the photos are contemporary from either official sources that survived the war, or from personal collections. The book's strapline is "A visual history of the German Army's Sd.Kfz.261 armoured half-tracks", which is a perfect description as you would imagine from leafing through the pages. The introduction briefly details the development of the initial vehicle and its chassis before discussing the major variants in a potted format over the following few pages. For some reason they gave up numbering the variants after 22, but as there was only one following this that was only a semi-official Luftwaffe anti-aircraft conversion. As we've come to expect from this publisher, the quality of photos is high, with only one exception where a large scratch is still visible across the centre of a picture, which could have been Photoshopped out with a little care to leave the reader non-the-wiser. The captions are informative whilst brief, allowing the maximum space to be devoted to the primary reason for this book. The photos. A great reference on this once ubiquitous Wehrmacht workhorse that will both give the reader plenty of detailing opportunity as well as some inspiration for load-outs and diorama ideas. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  24. Luftwaffe In Colour The Victory Years 1939-1942 Casemate UK Once the nascent Third Reich had broken cover and begun rearming in the open during the latter half of the 1930s, their publicity machine went into over-drive to convince their people that they were übermensch, and that their armed forces were the best in the world, in anticipation of their successive land grabs to expand their empire. Colour photography had been available for some time by that point, although it was expensive, but the Publicity Machine run by Dr Geobbels used it to a great extent in their propaganda drive. The resulting stills were printed in the major propaganda organs of the day, such as Signal and Der Adler, but colour photography was sometimes used by those that could afford it during the early years of the war, which has resulted in some really useful colour evidence that was gathered incidentally to the real subject matter of friends and colleagues as they documented their experiences in the war. Colour developing wasn't as exact a science as it is today, so we have to make some allowances for this, and for the possibility that some prints have been reprocessed over the years, but it is still impressive to see, gathered together in one volume. Compiled and written by Christophe Cony and Jean-Louis Roba, the book extends to 192 pages in a portrait A4 format, with a perfect bound cover and quality glossy stock, which is unsurprisingly printed entirely in colour. There are 300 photos within the book, and they are of a wide variety of subjects, varying from candid snaps to posed publicity and unit archive style photos. The book is broken down into sections based upon location and campaigns, as follows: Introduction The Pre-War period From Poland to Sitzkreig Blitzkreig in the West The Battle of Britain and the Blitz Marita & Merkyr: Blitz in the Balkans Operation Barbarossa African Adventure and the Mediterranean Front In the West The Second Line: Schools, Factories and Training Photography throughout is excellent, subject to the limitations of the source material of course, and it is good to see so many of them printed large enough to see the details without squinting! There are all manner of aircraft types within the pages, from the ubiquitous Bf.109s to the Heinkel He.115 float planes and beyond. The final chapter regarding training shows some interesting shots of the gliders that were used initially to circumvent the Versailles treaty embargo on Germany having an air force, and later to test the aerodynamics of such advanced projects as the Me.163 Komet. The next volume in this series will document The Years of Defeat, following the Luftwaffe to their ultimate downfall and near annihilation at the hands of the Allies. Review sample courtesy of
  25. Modelling WWI Tanks Histoire & Collections via Casemate UK WWI AFV modelling is enjoying somewhat of a Golden Age at the moment, with new toolings of kits popping up from mainstream manufacturers in injection moulded styrene, the likes of which we have never before seen in 1:35. As someone that is keen on the subject myself, I think back to when I first built an Emhar Mk.IV and there was so little out there in styrene that it was almost a little depressing. Now we have Meng, Takom, even Hobby Boss bringing out major and minor variants of vehicles such as the St Chamond, the diminutive FT-17 (correctly called the FT), and almost all of the British Marks of tank, even down to the Tadpole and Mark I. Whilst you don't require hugely different techniques to build and finish a WWI kit, some of the methods you will use might be subtly altered to give the best finish, such as sharp demarcations and massive quantities of mud! The book is perfect-bound and contains 128 pages in glossy A4 in portrait orientation, with plenty of text and photos throughout. The author is Frédérik Astier, a talented French modeller, figure sculpter and contributor to magazine Steelmasters, as French language AFV magazine. His grasp of English is excellent, either through his own skills or those of the translator/editor (it isn't made clear), and this is kept up throughout the volume, It aims to help WWI modellers to expand their skillset, as well as assisting them with that often elusive (certainly to me) skillset of creating dioramas. Using a series of set-pieces, the author guides us through the build and finish process of various models, with the added bonus of lots of useful hints and tips about diorama creation on the way. He is clearly unaffiliated with any particular brand of paint, as we see AK Interactive, Tamiya, AMMO, Lifecolor and even Mig productions products through the book. The vehicles he builds are as follows: Tamiya Mark IV Male Takom Mark IV Female Takom St Charmond Tardif Hobby Boss Schenider CA1 Meng Sturmpanzerwagen A7V Meng Renault FT (FT-17) The first two are built as a "face-off" between the two brands to establish which makes the best base for your model, and I'm not about to spoil the outcome of that for you, so I guess you'll have to read it to find out. The result may (or may not) surprise you. Between each section are a couple of pages of period photographs of the subject just modelled, which are informative and incredibly crisp for their vintage. The diorama content is interspersed through the builds, and is incredibly informative, although Frédérik is clearly a master of that particular genre to say the least. Of course some of his techniques would be a little daunting to the novice, but a great many of them are surprisingly simple, and use every day household (or DIY) items. Conclusion Whether you're a WWI modeller or interested in diorama techniques, or both, you should get plenty out of the book, and the photography shows off the author's work to the best and is a real treat for the eyes. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of