For those familiar with the Panzerwrecks series of books, the names Lee Archer and William Auerbach are associated with some of the finest photo reference works available for WW2 German armor. Their latest photo reference, "Fotos From the Panzertruppen: The Early Years" aims to provide a purely photographic reference dealing with vehicles and subjects from the early war campaigns in Poland, France, and Russia. In the Introduction, Lee Archer states that "Our aim is to print what are usually very small images at a large size, showing details and nuances often missed in other publications". It is an aim that this volume achieves very well, and the photos all come from the Auerbach and Archer collections picked up over the years in the course of making the Panzerwrecks series. All of the photos have the added bonus of having been taken by German servicemen, hence the title "Fotos From the Panzertruppen".
A soft cover volume measuring 8.25" x 11" and printed on high quality glossy paper, it consists of a total of 65 pages. The binding is durable and the covers have a crease line making it very scanner-friendly. The photos hold true to the overall aim of the volume, providing single full-size photos on each page for the most part. Onlyl 9 out of the 65 pages feature inset photos to provide a different angle or view of the same vehicle or where the photo dimensions didn't permit full-size replication. Each photo is captioned individually and clearly identifies the vehicle and ausfuhrung and the authors credit the Panzer Tracts series for much of the information used in identification of the different vehicle types.
The subjects featured in the different photos cover a very broad spectrum including the Pzkpfw I-A, I-B, Schulfahrzeuge, Kleine Pz. Befehlswagen, Pzkpfw II (a, b, c, A, B, C), Pzkpfw 38(t) (A, B, D, E/F, G), gr.Pz.Bef.Wg.(D1, E), Pzkpfw III (C,E/F, G, H, J), and Pzkpfw IV (A, B, C, D, and Vorpanzer Ds and Es). The photos are extremely well rendered and clear, representing a valuable reference for many of these vehicles. The photos also include clear examples of the pre-war 3-tone camo as well as the early war 2-tone dunkelbraun/dunkelgrau schemes which are hard to pick out in most black-and-white photos.
As a photo reference, particularly for the eary war period, this volume will add significantly to anyone's collection. Lee Archer hints that "If this book is well received we may well do it again", indicating that future additional volumes may be in the works covering later war periods or vehicles. Highly recommended as a photo reference for anyone interested in early war subjects and vehicles.
Highs: Photos are high quality and cover wide range of subjects. Lows: At 65 pages the volume isn't comprehensive but is still a good value for the price. Verdict: A good photo reference to have for the early war enthusiast.
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About Bill Plunk (wbill76) FROM: TEXAS, UNITED STATES
Like many, I started out in the hobby as a kid building airplanes to hang from my bedroom cieling. I took a long break from the hobby, returning in 2001 with an interest in armor inspired mostly by online gaming. WW2 armor, 1/35 scale, is my preferred genre with a special taste for the stranger vehi...