This is the third book in Bookworld’s Panther and Jagdpanther Units series of softbacks from the pens of Dennis Oliver and Stephen Andrew. The previous two covered the numbered Army units, while this third book covers “named” units, independent panzer brigades, and SS units.
The 33 pages are crammed with text, some period black&white photos, drawn colour profiles of selected tanks, and several full-page crew drawings to illustrate uniforms. There’s a handy table of contents on the inside cover too. This is all on thick glossy paper, with heavy card glossy covers, in A4 format (297mm high by 210mm wide).
An introduction to the subject of the war on the Eastern Front and the panzer units takes up the first page, followed by five pages on the named HEER formations. Next come four pages on the independent panzer brigades, and a single page on the Waffen-SS. Most pages have a photo taking up a third of the space, with two columns of text. I am not a dedicated Panther researcher so cannot say if the photos are new or already well-known - I know my way around the different types, production history, and units, but can't claim to have seen every photo that’s been printed in the past. Image quality varies from sharp to grainy of course, reflecting the quality of the original battlefield photography.
The colour profiles are the heart of this book, taking up eight pages in the middle. Most are gun tanks, but there are a few jagdpanthers too. Each is based on photos, with some discussion of colours and markings to guide the modeller – definitely the best part of the book for most of us! These are followed by four pages of crew uniforms, but here I have a problem. The discussions accompanying the illustrations talk about black items, but the illustrations all show them as more of a darker olive green instead. This could be a simple case of technical printing limitations when adding “light” to worn-out black uniforms, but the black collar insignia really stand out against the green of the cloth, so I have to wonder if there is a slight mismatch between text and drawing. [Edit: Stephen has sent pictures of the original artwork, and indeed the "dark olive" is meant to be black! Looks like something went awry in the page-layout operation. See below for the correct images.]
Another eight pages on the SS units follows, and then three pages on the Hermann Goering Fallschirm-panzer unit that rounds out this book. There's a lot of useful detailed information in these text sections for the dedicated Panther historian.
This third volume should be of great use to the dedicated Panther modeller. And at only Ł14.99 it won’t break the bank!
My thanks to Justin at Bookworld for the review copy. (No doubt UK modellers will see it soon enough on his Avid Reader book-stand at upcoming model shows!)
Highs: Lots of info. Well-researched colour plates.Lows: Issue of "black" uniforms showing green in illustrations.Verdict: A must-have reference for Panther modellers!
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About Tom Cromwell (barkingdigger) FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM
A Yank living overseas on a long-term basis, I've been building tanks since the early '70s. I relish the challenges of older kits (remember when Tamiya was "new"?...) because I love to scratch-build.