This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series looks at the Panther Tanks with the German Army and Waffen SS during the Normandy Campaign 1944. These books are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models and items available to replicate the Panther Tank as a scale model.
This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by Dennis Oliver, who is an author whose efforts I have looked at a lot recently. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
The Normandy Battlefield
The 1944 Panzer Regiment
The Army Panther Battalions
Camouflage and Markings
The Waffen SS Panther Regiments
Technical Details and Modifications
Product Contact List
The text in this title begins with a quick look at the events that lead to the birth of the Panther tank, possibly the best tank of World War 2. The text then goes on to provide a breakdown of major events from D-Day through to the 30th August 1944 from the German perspective. A nice inclusion next covers the breakdown of a panzer regiment in 1944.
The reader is next presented with the breakdown of the German Army Panther Battalions present in Normandy over the dates covered and this information is presented in a very pleasing and easy to understand format. The author presents us with a very brief history of each of the unit formations and then covers the actions of each unit during the time period covered in this title. The result of this as far as the modeller is concerned is the ability to place a tank from a specific unit and place them in an historically accurate location and setting.
A section providing side view prints of a good number of Panther tanks is next up. All of the tanks are shown from the left or right side and I will admit that I would have liked to see some front and rear images in the mix. A plus from my point of view is the additions of unit specific identifications and where needed number locations not shown in the side on views. I also like that it is a one stop look at a good number of camouflage patterns, but these would have been further improved by covering more than just the sides.
The modelling section starts with a showcase of finished models that are stand alone only and a list of these can be seen after this chapter. There is a diorama I particularly like and this is a good example of how a well laid out diorama attracts the eye of a viewer and then directs that persons eyes. The section covering the kits available is a great section for the modeller who wants to see where to aim his or her pennies at. Models in 1/72nd, 1/48th and 1/35th scales and covers injection moulded plastic offerings. I have only one regret here and that is that the book was published before Rye Field Model, Meng and Takom entered the Panther field and so is out of date in that regard. A good effort has been made to cover the aftermarket products and I was pleased to see the aftermarket tracks in plastic covered as they tend to be overlooked.
Panther G in 1/35th scale by Lester Plaskit
Panther A in 1/35th scale by Sergey Kovalyov ( A stunning diorama)
Panther A in 1/35th scale by Sheng Hui
Panther A in 1/35th scale by Shin Oikawa
Panther G in 1/35th scale by Du Weijie
The SS Panzer units are next to get some coverage and these have been covered in the same way as the Wehrmacht Panther units were covered previously. As I said earlier this approach offers the modeller a great deal of information in a very short amount of text. I again enjoyed the period photographs and the well written captions that accompany them. The book closes with a look at some of the details that help a person to identify specific Panther types, while it is a short section it is none the less a useful inclusion.
Dennis Oliver is a very impressive writer tackling subjects that are very deep and presenting that information to the modeller in a restricted number of pages. The information is also presented in a manner the modeller would find helpful regardless of where they come in the modelling scale; this means the information is presented in a style that is easy to read and understand and so makes the information appealing. The images and period photographs are well chosen and so represent a pleasing break point to take in the details.
Darren Baker takes a look at one of the Tank Craft series of books covering Panther Tanks, German Army and Waffen SS, Normandy Campaign 1944 from Pen and Sword.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís starting with Airfix kits of mostly aircraft, then progressing to the point I am at now building predominantly armour kits from all countries and time periods. Living in the middle of Salisbury plain since the 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...