One of the biggest challenges for armor modelers and diorama makers is finding accurate historical information about the vehicles, uniforms and equipment used by the combatants, especially clear photos. While you’d think there would be nothing left to write about (or photograph) now, the truth is that many vehicles are either not available in a popularly-priced book, or are included in super-expensive special publications that quickly go out-of-print. So it’s a relief to see the 21st installment of the Allied-Axis series subtitled “The Photo Journal of the Second World War” from Ampersand Publishing, the same company that produces MMiR. The issue comes soft-bound and is 8.5 x 11" with 96 pages printed on high quality glossy paper. The issue is divided into 4 sections covering the Sd.Kfz. 7 8 ton halftrack, Studebaker US 6 trucks, Corbitt & White 666, and Sd.Kfz. 10/4 Flak halftrack.
The focus of this edition is transport and includes two relatively famous denizens of the motor pool (the Corbett & White 666 truck which is instantly recognizable as the common 6 ton and the Sd.Kfz. 7) along with two lesser-known vehicles (the Studebaker truck and Sd.Kfz. 10/4 FLAK platform). The series is based around clear B&W photos with only a small amount of information, but enough for all but the dedicated. Since the photographic record for the Allied vehicles is richer than that for the Axis ones depicted here, hobbyists of Allied trucks will revel in the many detailed close-ups of engines, accessories (like shovels and jerry cans), along with variants, including tankers and dump trucks.
Sd.Kfz. 7: The photos of this hugely-popular halftrack comprise 1/3 of the book (36 pages) and were selected and captioned by Pat Stansell and David Doyle. In my opinion they are unfortunately the weakest portion since some of them are already available on-line and none really show the vehicle in any close detail. There is a nice rear view of the chassis with the body removed showing the winch mechanism that could aid detailing. The research is excellent even in its brevity, including details like the vehicle’s self-lubricating tracks with rubber pads (hard to maintain, but lasting almost indefinitely).
The section shows the Sd.Kfz. 7 all the way from its inception as the KM m ll to its role as an artillery prime mover and a platform for the “Vierling” quad AA and FLAK 36 & 37 cannons. The Sd.Kfz. 7 started out with the KM designation for Kraus-Maffei, the Munich firm that developed it, and subsequent variants carried that prefix proved underpowered for the task of moving around artillery like the sFH 15 or 88mm FLAK guns. The addition of a more powerful Maybach 140 hp motor helped show how to move artillery in the age of Blitzkrieg, given that many German artillery pieces were still being drawn by teams of horses at the start of the war. The Sd.Kfz. 7 proved to be valuable even to its captors: there are two photos of Allied soldiers driving them around with CAP numerical designations (for “Captured”).
Studebaker and REO US6 Truck: These 27 photos were researched by David Doyle and supplemented with some of his own. No modeler could ask for more, as the selection includes interiors, close-ups of fuel cans and shovels, ropes for securing the rear deck, top-up and top-down, and variants that include the dump truck version, tanker, air compressor bed, tractor-trailer, and the US6 U9 engineer version that housed a rolling machine shop under its canvas covering. Two pages of the Hercules JXD 6-cylinder 320 cu.in. engine reveal the many gloss black components, a valuable aid for detailing any model. The Studebaker was ordered initially by the Army, but saw more service with other countries, especially the Soviets.
The 666: Corbitt & White trucks: The 22 pages devoted to this workhorse 6 ton hauler were also researched by David Doyle and supplemented with his own photos. Unlike with the Studebaker U6, the section doesn’t include variants other than the tractor-trailer model, but has a rich 9-page group of detailing close-ups, a cab and dashboard interior shot, a view from down in the “grease pit” showing the universal joint and suspension, and two pages showing the winch in loving detail. If you aren’t satisfied with this amount of information, then the only answer is to find one of these in real life and take your own photos! While this is the vehicle that most of us think of when you say “Army truck,” it was originally intended to be an artillery prime mover and is equipped with a mid-vehicle winch.
Sd.Kfz. 10/4 Flak: This 8 page mini-section compiled by Pat Stansell and David Doyle shows one of the more interesting Flak halftrack variants: the Sd.Kfz. 10 originally designed by the firm of Demag AG (hence it often being referred to by that name). It was rated at 1 ton towing capacity and therefore was of limited value as a prime mover as Wehrmacht weapons grew in size. The chassis was later fitted with a 20mm Flak gun that proved especially devastating against infantry and lightly-armored vehicles. Several variants are shown with tools and accessories piled on the vehicles. None of the photos is close or clear enough to aid in detailing, but are not normally available online or elsewhere.
At $15.95 list price, this book is well worth the price for anyone interested in these vehicles. While a more expensive book such as Sd.Kfz. 7 In Detail by Frantisek and Mostek (which sells used for nearly $100) offers a more-complete view of this vehicle, most modelers will welcome the amount of valuable information in this series in general, and this edition in particular.
Highs: Lots of clear photos, limited but helpful captioning, useful information about important vehicles that might not get their own book. Very good value-for-money.Lows: Limited photos of the Axis vehicles due to the historical record. The dedicated hobbyist might want a more detailed (but more expensive) stand-alone book.Verdict: This is a valuable tool that's well worth the price for anyone who is working on these vehicles.
Our Thanks to Ampersand Publishing! 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.