German Early War Armored Fighting Vehicles Book Review
By Ray Mehlberger
|Date of Review||September 2008||Title||German Early War Armored Fighting Vehicles|
|Author||George Bradford||Publisher||Stackpole Books|
|Format||96 pages, softbound||MSRP (USD)||$14.95|
This first volume in a series of books on scale drawings of armored fighting vehicles (AFV’s) of World War II is devoted to German vehicles which appeared in the early years of the war. Many of these vehicles ere either in use or in development from 1936 to 1943, and are shown roughly in chronological order of appearance on the scene. However, there was much overlap in vehicle production, and this makes it somewhat difficult to establish a sequence which is totally perfect.
If you are looking for armored vehicles that came into German service before early 1943, then you should be able to find them in this book. Vehicle encountered after early 1943 up to the end of the war are covered in volume Four “Late WWII German Vehicles” of this series of books. Among the vehicles covered are some of the prototypes that never really saw action, plus some of the vehicles that were just too late to participate in the war. The book covers mainly armored fighting vehicles, but also a few support vehicles that fought along side of them thrown in.
The ultimate purpose of this series of books is to try and present a sequence of WWII military vehicle plan view scale drawings all in one place. Most of these drawings display 4-vie plans, but with some of the smaller vehicles Bradford was able to show more views. No matter how well the plans are drawn, it is always necessary to have sufficient photo reference books as well. There are a great number of “walk-around” and close up view series of books on the market that give super-detailing modelers all the finer detail they could ask for.
Over the years, scale drawings of various armored vehicles have appeared in magazines, and books, but never all in one place where they would be easy for the researcher and modeler to access them. Popular scales of late have boiled down to mainly 1/35th, 1/48th and 1/72nd in the armor modeling world. The publishers have tried to keep the drawings as large as possible with the preponderance of 1/35th scale drawings, supported by 1/48th scale where appropriate, and also for vehicles that are simply too big to fit on the pages comfortably as 1/35th scale drawings. The 1/72nd scale plans are mainly used to fill out a page here and there, and give the modeler more choice.
You will find a chart at the beginning of this book for reducing or enlarging any of these drawings to other popular scales. The quality and accuracy of modern photocopying should make it possible for you to achieve whatever final scale you require. However, in some cases where enlargement is required, you may only be able to squeeze one view onto letter size paper and may have to utilize 11” x 17” paper where available.
The drawing have been created using vector based applications with line weights ranging from 25 point to 1 point, and thus should easily hold the finer detail when copying. The bulk of these drawings were done over a period of ten years, and are currently among the most precise and accurate AFV drawings available anywhere. You will also notice a variance in the drawings as the art style changes slightly over the years, but eventually supports shading in the majority of the later works.
Stackpole Books is based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania USA. This book has a release date of 2007. I first encountered a book by George Bradford in 1971, when I bought his “Armor Camouflage & Markings, North Africa 1940-1943, Volume one. It was published by him also in Ontario Canada. He is also the director of the AFV Association and well known in the armor modeling world.
I make it a point, at least once a month, to visit the Barnes & Nobles store here in town. I usually find a good book about WWII stuff or a neat modeling magazine from overseas there. This recent trip was no exception. I found this new Bradford book and it’s companion book “German Late War Armored Fighting Vehicles”, which I also purchased at the same time.
The book is soft-cover 8 ½” x 11” (stationary size) page format. It contains 96 pages.
The book covers 50 different German early war AFV’s. 72 of the drawings are to 1/35th scale, 10 are to 1/48th and there is a sole 1/72nd drawing. In addition, there are 7 black and white wartime photos of some of these vehicles. Next to 32 of the drawings are comments about the vehicles. The drawings are all black and white line drawings. They show the exteriors of the tanks. The only interiors shown are of the insides of open top vehicles when an ABOVE drawing is done. But honestly, a work on interiors would fill another book or two easily.
At the back of the book is a bibliography, a 3-view illustration of a PzKpfw. IV that has all the parts of its anatomy labeled and named. There is a page that has a list of various modeling scales and what kind of kits are marketed in those scales. Next to these scales is listings of what those scales equal , such as: 1 inch equals =, 1 scale foot =, and 1 scale meter =. The last page has cover arts of the other books in this scale drawing series. “American Armored Fighting Vehicles”, “German Late War Armored Fighting Vehicles”, “Russian Armored Fighting Vehicles”. Forthcoming titles will be “British Armored Fighting Vehicles” and “Other Axis & Allied Fighting vehicles”.
I highly recommend this book to armor modelers and armchair WWII historians alike. At the low price it is a lot of bang for your buck.