Book Review
ASLAV Military Briefs 4
Australian Light Armoured Vehicle Military Briefs 4
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by: Mick Toal [ HEATSEEKER64 ]


I will begin this review with three disclosures – I edited the text when the book was at the draft stage, I contributed a number of photographs and John Myszka is a long time friend of mine. That stated and out in the open, rest assured I am a professional journalist (if that is assurance of any kind), and this review is written without fear or favour.

Moving right along, this predominantly full colour pictorial 168 page work is one of the finest and most comprehensive reference works on a Family of Vehicles I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.


The fourth in his “Military Briefs” series, John Myszka has really hit the nail on the head with this offering. The picture quality is not only superb, it is also extensive – covering the development of the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle from the first trials vehicles purchased from the United States Marine Corps and the Canadian Army in the early 1990s right through to the eight wheelers serving in trouble spots to this day.

The book is an eye opener to me ... in as much as I accompanied the 2nd Cavalry Regiment on its first ASLAV Squadron’s maiden exercise deployment – Taipan Watch in the Northern Territory in June 1996 – I took some time out from foreign corresponding to work straight jobs for the next nine years and the next time I encountered the vehicles was in Iraq in 2005, by which time they had evolved into very different beasts.

John has documented this evolution comprehensively and succinctly ... indeed, the Defence Minister who signed off on the ASLAV project, The Honourable Kim Beasley, wrote the foreword, in which he states: “This book contains all the military buff would want to know about the acquisition and equipping of Australia’s ASLAV”, which pretty much sums it up.

As well as the historical imagery there is also extremely detailed “walkaround” photographs of all phases of all hull types complete with informative captions. The icing on the cake are detailed cutaways of all vehicle types supplied by General Motors of Canada – the best I have seen! Myszka has called in all the big guns when it came to the photographs – many of the best and most informative images came from the men who crewed the vehicles in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan, and he has also comprehensively research the Australian Defence Force’s photo archive in presenting his stunning array of mostly unpublished pictures.

And as much as the vehicles have been comprehensively covered as never before, Myszka has gone that extra mile to detail the uniforms and equipment worn and used by the crew throughout the era the ASLAV has served in Australia and overseas. There is even an appendix which details the various models available at the time of writing, and their suitability for conversion to ASLAV types. As much as the Trumpeter 1/35 ASLAV is not mentioned, the release of this book is timely indeed for those wanting to super detail what is a very sound kit.


Whether you are a specialist writer, a military vehicle enthusiast or a model builder, as far as reference works go, they don’t get much better than this. Buying this book is a great way of supporting the many “cottage industries” that support our hobby and, as a big bonus, it is also a great read!
Highs: Comprehensive information presented in an easy reading and accessible manner, each of the extensive picture illustration is of the highest quality.
Lows: None.
Verdict: Without doubt an instant classic ... THE ultimate reference work of the ASLAV!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 0 9577586 3 4
  Suggested Retail: $78.00 AUD
  Related Link: Mouse House
  PUBLISHED: May 11, 2009
  NATIONALITY: Australia

About Mick Toal (Heatseeker64)

Journalist and photographer - aka :"scribbler and snapper" - based in Sydney Australia. Been modelling as long as I can remember and it's my great distraction away from work. Regards my career, well every time I think it's slowing down it goes and speeds up again! Check out my blog at: http://heatse...

Copyright ©2021 text by Mick Toal [ HEATSEEKER64 ]. All rights reserved.


Thanks very much for the review Mick. I was a bit hesitant at first when I heard about this book due to the price listed on the MHE site at $78.00 AUD & shipping.....but after reading the review and the level of excellent detail and superb research put into the content I am very much leaning towards adding it to my Christmas wish list. The price should be added to the review when there is an opportunity to do so.
MAY 10, 2009 - 06:15 PM
To tell you the truth, I just had to go to the website to look up the price of the book (as a contributer and reviewer I was sent one) ... yes, the price is getting up there, but it is a limited edition print run and you get a lot of bang for your bucks ... to put it in perspective, a 48 page Osprey New Vanguard book retails for about $35 here in Australia. While the Osprey books mainly use photographs we have mostly seen before (the illustrations in the centre make them worth the purchse price alone IMO), this book offers more than four times the amount of pages and each is crammed with pictures and illustrations that have never before been seen - it's essentially a "Super Osprey" - four times the info (most of it new and exclusive) at twice the price! All that said, with the way the Aussie economy is going, the exchange rate will sweeten the deal for most overseas buyers.
MAY 10, 2009 - 06:54 PM
Hi Mick, I totally agree that the book will have a ton of great info. Any book that has input from folks....such as Jason Miller....that have actually experience on a particular type of AFV bring a whole fresh new flavour to any reference book compared to some books that are just regurtitations of Jane's Defence articles or the Wikipedia version of military technology. I say that books like Military Briefs 4 ASLAV, The Leopard Trilogy books, and Tankograd Militarfahrzeug Specials are all great for modern armour modellers.....Bravo to John at Mouse House Enterprises for making an effort to expand the hobby even more. In these cases the prices of the books are well worth the wealth of information provided. They are investments in the hobby. I think it is great that you provided your preamble to your review about your involvement with the book....nothing wrong with that at all. I think it is far better to hear about the actual content of the book from an informed perspective than from someone that has no personal knowledge of the vehicle. I would not be surprised if a Military Briefs 5 Australian M1A1 AIM Abrams will be a future release from MHE....and very welcomed as well.
MAY 10, 2009 - 07:50 PM
Mick , That was a good review. I did get to have a quick perusal of this book a few weeks ago and I felt the reference material obtained on the aslav was the best I have ever seen . There was so many colour photographs and reference this would be a must for any modeller wanting to superdetail the Trumpeter aslav or any of the current Mouse house vehicles . After having used the Military briefs No3 for the Tamiya Centurion I found there was a dramatic improvement for the modeller. $78.00 is a great price for one of the most comprehensive books in the market. This would be a must for me .Aslav along with the new Figures from Mouse house . Cheers, Michael
MAY 10, 2009 - 11:15 PM

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