Book Review
GECON – ISAF Graffiti
Personalised vehicle markings during the German mission in Afghanistan
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by: Darren Baker [ CMOT ]


In the UK most Brits in my neck of the woods don’t really think of the Germans as having a sense of humor, and are generally considered to be a very serious in nature. This book, „Personalized vehicle markings during the German mission in Afghanistan“ from Tankograd and „Personalized vehicle markings during the German mission in the Balkans“ also from Tankograd proves that the generalizations are often wrong. These two books take a look at the artwork that could be seen on German vehicles in two areas of service and the humor that was often at play when the graffiti was being added.

Below is the introduction written on this specific title by Tankograd;
„During the time of the Cold War they were exotic exceptions and generally not permitted on a wider scale. Yet today personalized vehicle markings gain more and more ground on vehicles of the modern German Army. From cool nicknames to names of famous TV characters and even comic book superheroes these ‘graffiti’ convert a piece of wheels and metal into an accepted part of the troop, into the steel comrade of the soldiers. This publication is the first ever to deal with the personalized non-regular markings on German military vehicles during the ISAF mission in Afghanistan.“


The book is A4 in size and has 64 pages filled with 159 full color photographs of German vehicles and colorful artwork.


This book is not really laid out into individual sections but there has been some thought put into at as vehicles are lumped together. By this I mean that light wheeled vehicles are all together as are heavy wheeled vehicles and so on. The book starts with four pages of text touching on the history of graffiti stretching all the way back to 4th century BC where inscriptions on lead balls used in slings had words such as “Take That”. The story is covered all the way up to present incidences of graffiti in general and German Military vehicles specifically. An interesting part of this introduction which most civilians would not consider is; how the use of graffiti on military vehicles creates issues for military troop movements and why commanders allow graffiti on vehicles.

To clarify this point the book explains how a crew painting unique markings on their vehicle makes it easy for the enemy to know about movements of specific vehicles, and the risks this causes for military operations. The book also explains that allowing graffiti to be used is a trade off as its use helps the crew and their vehicle become one so to speak. The crew by naming or decorating their vehicle take more care of their vehicle than they perhaps otherwise would, and so a 3 ton truck becomes our truck. I am sure many of those who have done military service may be thinking “Yeah right”, but at the same time have fond memories of certain vehicles that to everyone else was just a tank or a truck.

The pictures in the book start with the light wheeled vehicles of which there are quite a few. The graffiti covers everything from sublime line drawings to some very impressive artwork that some would pay a lot of money to have tattooed onto them. One piece that really caught my eye and that shows very clearly that the Germans have a sense of humor is an ATF Dingo 1 in use by the Military Police which has a wild boar looking very much like a character from the “Lion King” with an MP badge on his arm. I don’t know if it is true for the world over but in the UK “pig” is a derogatory term for the police.

The book slowly moves towards the heavy wheeled vehicles covering both trucks and APC’s. One vehicle which caught my eye in this section is a A8A2 Fuchs wheeled APC which features cameo down one side of various land marks in Germany. The artwork is again nicely varied rather than sticking to the more artistic offerings in the field there is a great mix which I am sure will be used by modellers to personalize their model.

The book now moves onto tracked vehicles but alas no tanks. The Marder gets a look in with a few nice examples but it will be the Berge panzers and engineering panzers that will attract the most attention with some very good examples. The book closes with some images of real heavyweights in the form of two truck born cranes and a forklift truck. I will mention here again that I am impressed with the overall quality of the pictures in the book and the duel language aspect is no real hardship to overcome.


This is another great reference book in general but I suspect it will be the modeller who will get the most from it. I say that as the addition of some form of graffiti to a model makes your piece easily identifiable as yours and perhaps this bears out what was said in the books written introduction. I was a little surprised to see a large number of Star Wars and Transformers art, but I think the one I least expected was Maggie from the Simpsons. While I am a little unsure of who this book is really aimed at I think the modeller of Modern German AFV’s will really find some inspiration between its covers.
Highs: The book has a good selection of graffiti on a wide number of vehicles which varies from the simplistic to the artistic. I also found the written introduction of interest.
Lows: None that are obvious to me
Verdict: Highly recommended for fans of Modern German vehicles.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: Nr. 5041
  Suggested Retail: €14.95
  PUBLISHED: Apr 14, 2013

Our Thanks to Tankograd 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.

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About Darren Baker (CMOT)

I have been building model kits since the early 70’s 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 70’s, I have had lots of opportunitie...

Copyright ©2021 text by Darren Baker [ CMOT ]. All rights reserved.


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