Unfortunately, the Staghound Armored Car hasn't been a particularly well-documented vehicle - neither on the 'Web or in many publisher's catalogues. There ARE exceptions which have followed the release of the models from Italeri & Bronco but nothing which has really gone into the closest detail of its inner workings. That is, up until now...
Staghound in detail is a new publication from Wings & Wheels Publications and is written by Frantiek Kořán, Jan-Willem de Boer, Luc Snyders and Martin Velek. The book consists of 96 pages and is published in a slightly larger format than A4.
At the outset, this book, although following a conventional enough format, does break into ground which many other publishers do tend to shy away from. Normally, this kind of book simply covers the vehicle subject and modelers can take what they will from the coverage. WWP have taken a bolder step by adding some extensive notes for builders of the vehicle.
The book begins with four pages of text and images of the developmental and service history of the T17E1. Some useful notes are included dealing with the production changes. What may surprise the Stag 'un-initiated', is just how many different (and seemingly-unlikely) Nations used the vehicle - a service history which stretched into the 1970s (and beyond).
The next section, of 16 pages presents the familiar 'Walk-round' of the vehicle. These are all modern (color images) of a variety of preserved examples in both museums and in private hands. Some extraordinary detail is presented including excellent views of the .30 Cal mount and the distinctive auxiliary fuel-tanks.
Section # 3 covers External Detail. It begins with the bow-mounted MG Mount and covers areas such as the Side-doors, Exhausts and the Engine Compartment Hatches. Again, every possible angle is presented allowing few areas of doubt.
Due to the relative complexity of its form, the Turret is given an entire section. Hatches, Mantlet, Lifting-rings, etc. etc. are all given detailed images along with complete captions which demonstrate minor production changes and variations.
Now, both the Italeri/Tamiya and the Bronco Staghounds give very complete suspensions on their models. Since the suspension on the T17E1 is a pretty complex series of sub-structures, it's necessary to present these in some detail and separated into front and rear axles. The Chassis is given ample coverage in the last part of this section.
As demonstrated by publishers such as Toadman's Tank Pictures, a phenomenal source for detail images is during any process of restoration. A considerable part of the book covers this process - 10 pages show invaluable detail of the Interior, the engine compartment and many useful areas such as wiring and the various 'User's' diagrams which were attached to the crew compartment.
After the external details, the interior gets covered with the crew compartment, the interior of the turret and smaller areas such as the interior detail of the hatches. A section titled 'Finished Interior' shows everything in place - all internal wiring, driver's periscopes, driver's position and the relatively complex dashboard and dials. The (empty) Engine Space is shown with good detail of the firewalls.
Almost as a Walk-around in its own right are the 6 pages which cover the vehicles (restored) Power-plant. Once again, it's shown complete with all the necessary cabling in place.
The final part of the book deals with the vehicle's scale counterparts. An overview is presented of three 1/35th scale models - Accurate Armour (Resin) and the injection-moulded styrene kits from Bronco Model and Italeri/Tamiya. The first 'yardstick' used is that of the relation between price/quality taking into account basic accuracy of dimensions/correctly reproduced angles etc. This section is pretty detailed stuff and although it involves many factors, between the two (plastic) models, the T17E1 from Bronco is judged as the most accurate. It's a pretty objective look although including a (higher-priced and older) resin model might be considered as unnecessary or a little unfair? That (minor) gripe aside, it does serve as a good 'consumer-guide' in deciding what version to buy and I applaud the inclusion of this section.
I've commented a great deal on the quantity of the photos in the book, now a word on their quality. In a word, superlative. All are of a 'workable' size - you won't find postage stamp-sized images in THIS book. I've frequently commented on the increasing quality of images from a variety of publishers and bemoaned the lack of progress made by others. WWP's editors and authors have chosen well and ensured that the function of this book isn't devalued by muddy or unclear images. IMO, it sets a new standard for publications of this type. Variants. The two (plastic) producers of the Staghound in 1/35th scale have released a considerable number of the principal variants in 1/35th scale. Apart from the Boarhound (which used the same basic components) all the variants used the same basic hull-configuration. Therefore, whatever variant you fancy building, you'll find the majority of the detail you need to be here, in this book. In an ideal world, the book would have contained 296 pages and covered all the other variants. There is though a reality factor. Most people will choose the basic Mk.1 and need (depending on how far they want to go) details of the essentials. I don't think (attractive though they are) that the MK.III or the AA Staghound (never mind the rarely seen Mk.IV) could really justify this kind of detail. So, in this, the publishers are absolutely correct. Perhaps in the future WWP may well publish another book on the Stag.
It's an absolutely excellent book. If you're into super-detailing you'll grab it with both hands. If you're into improving the basic kit(s) then it'll be invaluable. If you're building OOB with little thought of improving two essentially good models then it's possibly not for you. However, it's considerably more useful than the glossy brochure which is included in the Italeri kit and MUCH better value for money...
Highs: Image quality, detail of every conceivable aspect of the Staghound. For those who want to 'tweak' the basic model(s) it's invaluable.Lows: Perhaps too much detail for the 'average' modeler?Verdict: Superlative.
Our Thanks to Wings & Wheels! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...