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BOOK REVIEW: Challenger 2: Photosniper 30

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Challenger 2: Photosniper 30

by Dick Taylor.

Another fine photo-infused profile of the series covers the British tank in rivet-counting glory. Oversized at 8.3x11.7 inches, the softcover book contains 196 color photos plus six color profiles (four UK and two Omani camouflage schemes).

Text describes the Challenger 2's design and development, from the prototypes up through the deployed tanks. Every once in a while, you get little gems of information that makes a wargamer wonder. For example: "Experience of ammunition fires during WW2 led to the adoption of the policy...of stowing the propellant charges below the turret ring in the hull inside armored containers, meaning that they are much less likely to be hit than if they were in the turret -- which traditionally takes 2/3 of the hits." (p.31)

The book is meant as a photo guide, so no footnote or bibliography, but I wonder about the source.

In any case, you get photos from all sides, including one showing the bottom of an overturned tank. TO&E information for regiment and squadron level is also in there (p.34). All the camouflage patterns you'd expect are inside, including a photo of 'light stone' camouflage (p.72), presumably for the desert.

Tags:  Modern  Tanks 

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BOOK REVIEW: US Army Vehicles Markings: 1944

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: US Army Vehicles Markings: 1944

by Jean Bouchery and Philippe Charbonnier.

If this isn't the definitive guide to US Army vehicles markings in 1944, any contender will be hard pressed to top this collection of 324 black and white photos (handful in color) and 396 color illustrations (for placement purposes on bumpers, sides, tops, etc., with most of these bumper markings paired with photos). Plus, TO&E charts, use and allocation for each type of vehicle, a chapter on camouflage patterns with 41 color illustrations, and a couple of charts that list all organic units (regts, bttns, and some lower level formations) within the US Army by division (but not including temporary attachment units).

For wargamers with a spray can, this is overkill, but for modelers who want to get everything right, at least for 1944 US Army in Europe, this book offers a one-stop encyclopedia of markings. With a little imagination and some of the broader based explanations of markings, you can alter the markings to represent just about any unit in theater. Impressive. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Tanks  Vehicles  WW2  WWII 

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BOOK REVIEW: Chieftain: British Cold War Main Battle Tank - TankCraft 15

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Monday, August 26, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Chieftain: British Cold War Main Battle Tank - TankCraft 15

by Robert Jackson.

Primarily for modelers, this 64-page 8.375x11.75-inch softcover book contains a total of 216 photos and illustrations detailing the tank. Inside, 32 pages cover design and development work, production, contemporary tanks, and a history of use in Europe and elsewhere -- all with 88 black and white photos. The chapter In Service and In Action describes European training maneuvers, and of interest to tabletop wargamers, actions during the Iran-Iraq war and during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that would make a good scenario or two.

The 24-page modeling section contains 96 color photos of mostly 1/35 scale models that have been built and painted with camouflage, plus some 1/72 scale information. A separate 8-page section offers color profiles, with each page holding a top view, side view, front view, and rear view.

If the Chieftain is on your tabletop, here's the book for understanding its insides and outsides. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Cold War Era  Tanks 

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Book Review: Tanks Illustrated # 19: US Tank Destroyers of World War II

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Friday, May 3, 2019
by Steven J Zaloga. This 64-page book contains two or three photos per page with short captions tracing various models of US Tank Destroyers, predominantly the M-10. Captions tell date of photo and the TD in it, but otherwise are almost entirely devoid of data. For modelers, however, photos can be helpful showing what crews carried on the vehicles.

Tags:  reviews  Tanks  WW2  WWII 

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Book Review: Panther Project Volume Two: Engine and Turret

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Friday, May 3, 2019
by Lee Lloyd, Brian Balkwill, and Alasdair Johnson. This 208-page pictorial reference softcover book, sized 8.25x11.675-inches, offers 502 color photos of the Maybach engine and turret of a Panther A being restored to running condition by the Wheatcroft Collection from 2009 to 2018. That's on top of 45 pre-restoration photos, four pages of tank history, and 12 pages of color technical illustrations. The captions explain what you're seeing, some info about how it was assembled, and a little bit about how the crew operated the item. I found the ammunition storage part interesting in how they fit 79 rounds (half AP and half HE) inside the tank. Of these, 27 rounds were in panniers behind the driver and radio operator and three rounds seem to be strapped in under the rotating turret basket (Photo 394 is clearest). Then there's a bin for spent casings, a fan to vent out smoke, and other things that were needed to fire the gun -- think about that when you roll a die. Also of note is the Demolition charge -- a 3.5kg explosive with a nice red knob to pull. The crewman had 60 seconds to abandon tank before the charge went off. In various books, I had read about crew setting a charge to destroy a tank. Now I see what it looked like in a Panther. The main photos show fully-restored, shiny versions of the equipment that took years to rehabilitate, replace, or fashion from scratch. The book doesn't say how much longer this restoration will take, but the end result will be a fully-functioning Panther. Enjoyed it.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Panzer  reviews  Tanks  WW2  WWII 

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BOOK REVIEW: Cromwell and Centaur Tanks: Tank Craft # 9

Posted By Russ Lockwood, Sunday, April 21, 2019
Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2019
BOOK REVIEW: Cromwell and Centaur Tanks: Tank Craft # 9

by Dennis Oliver

Primarily for modelers, this 64-page 8.375x11.75-inch softcover book contains over 200 illustrations -- the vast majority in color. The first 16 black and white pages cover the development of the various versions and then their operations in northwest Europe in 1944-1945. Lots of A couple TO&Es help in creating OBs for wargaming. The historical text skips the central color section to continue with 15 more pages. Altogether, 42 black and white photos of front-line service offer a good reference for modelers.

Ten pages offer 17 color profiles, almost all in side profile, and separate color versions of turrets and hulls with all the camouflage and markings.

The next 22 pages offer close-up color photos of various plastic model kits, from 1/72 to 1/32 scale, in various stages of completion along with specific tips and techniques for the various kits as well as aftermarket upgrade kits and accessories. The last page contains website details for 23 companies mentioned within.

One oversight concerns the Royal Marines version (top model on the cover) with its compass markings around the turret in 10 degree increments. A photo caption on page 53 and the end of page 54 says the compass markings are described on page 19 in the color illustration section. Page 19 says the markings' use is explained in the text. If it is in there, I couldn't find it after several passes through the text.

Although the modeling days of my youth are far behind me, those of you with an eye for detail in your wargaming models, especially the 28mm fans, will appreciate the artistic touches you can include on stock models to personalize your tabletop troops. Enjoyed it.

Tags:  Tanks  WW2 

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