Several years ago Jean Tetard contacted me and asked if he could use some of the photographs Iíd taken down at Bovington Tank Museum for a project he was working on, namely a DVD photographic collection of Preserved WWII Italian Tanks Fighting Vehicles. Naturally I said yes as thatís part of what this hobby is all about.
Well, like stowage, you can never have too many reference pictures and Jean has compiled over 5,500 images of a wide variety of Italian Armour and presented them in a very user friendly DVD Disc format.
The images are drawn from museums and private collectors throughout the world. The quality of the pictures varies depending on who took them and where, but all the images I looked at provide excellent reference for modellers, whether they are close up shots of a particular piece of a vehicle or a broader walk-around of the item.
So let's have a look at the content of the disc.
The presentation format that is put together is in a very suitable and user friendly format. One of the first things I did was to upload the disc onto my computer, my CD/DVD driver being somewhat temperamental.
On start up the disc opens with a couple of introductory pages outlining the content and with a Users Guide to get familiar with how to navigate the images.
There is some nice graphics and appropriately military type music to get you in the mood and you can watch or skip the introduction as you please.
The Home Page has two routes of entry, either through the Tanks and AFV Button, or the Miscellaneous Button.
Tanks and AFV
The AFV route has the vehicle types laid out in logical sections as follows Light Tanks, Middle (Medium) Tanks, Heavy Tanks, Self Propelled Guns, Armoured Car and Acknowledgements.
Access to any section is by a simple click of a mouse button. For example, in the Light Tanks Section vehicles covered include the Carro Veloce L3-33, Carro Veloce Lanciafiamme L3, Carro Veloce L3-35, L3-38 and L6/40. One simple click takes you down to the sub folders where images of the vehicles can be accessed.
In general, there are 12 images per page with up to 5 pages of images or more on each vehicle. Where and by whom the images were taken is listed as you enter each section. Images are easily enlarged by a simple click onto the photograph, with forward and back buttons on the bottom right of the screen for easy navigation.
After Light Tanks comes the Middle (Medium) Tank section and here you will find the Carro Armato M13/40, M14/41 and M15/42.
In the Heavy section are images of the Carro Armato P.40
Under Self Propelled Guns are the Semovente DA 4/32, 75/34, 149/40, 75/18 and 90/53 range of vehicles. As a bonus in this section you get references for the Autocannone DA 90/53 Lancia 3RD.
The final choice from the AFV page is the Armoured Cars section which has reference for the Autoblinda AB41, AB43,the 127 and the Autoblinda Lancia. As a bonus in this section you also get reference for the Autoprotello AD 37.
Back on the Home Page youíll find the button to the Miscellaneous section, which was a very pleasant surprise and another useful resource for the modeller.
This section gives access to images of colour plates for a range of vehicles depicted on the disc. It also has a Uniform Section, Motor Vehicle and Registration Section, Plans, Cover DC link and Contact Link. Again access to any section is simple and there are lots of useful stuff contained here, especially for the model vehicle builder or figure painter.
On exiting the DC you come to a graphics presentation depicting the Italian Armoured Units which is a nice touch to end the presentation on.
This is a cracking DVD, not because I made a very small contribution, but because it draws images from around the globe featuring many of the preserved Italian fighting vehicles of WW2 still in existence. With over 5,500 images you certainly get value for money. It covers a broad range of vehicles and is easily accessible and user friendly.
This is a very worthy production whether for the Military Vehicle Restorer, the model builder or just someone who has an interest in Italian Armoured Vehicles.
I found the disc easy to navigate and the content interesting and useful. Italian Armour, a little like British Armour, has played a second role for many modellers. Of late, though, I see a broader range of kits and figures becoming available so if you have even a passing interest you will enjoy and value the information on the disc.
I take my hat off to Jean for his persistence and dedication in compiling this valuable resource which I hope will be enjoyed by many. He has put over 3 years of hard work and research into the production and I wish him every success.
The disc is not available through normal retail outlets as far as I know but you can obtain a copy by contacting Jean by email at:
"Regarding the DVD, for the moment it is just available to my address because I burn and print the item myself. In fact it is an artisanal product.
The DVD contains more than 5800 photos (walkarounds), plans (G. BRADFORD) and colour plates (V. BOURGUIGNON). There are no technical or historical data, just pictures. This is a dynamic presentation with Powerpoint.
Only for Windows system (XP, Vista, Windows 7), not Linux."
Some additional images are shown at the end of the review, thanks Jean