by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
After more than 60 years of service, the name of Land Rover is a synonym for the world's most versatile and reliable standard-issue general purpose vehicle. Various Land Rover models have been used in a military capacity, and this book from Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP) covers number of different Land Rover variants used by the Special Forces.
The parcel from WWP arrived packed in a hard cardboard box, additionally secured inside a bubble-wrap. At first glance the book looks amazing, printed on a high-quality paper, well structured, professionally presented and packed with large full color photos. Here are the basic facts:
Title: Special Operation Landies in Detail
Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
Authors: Jan Willem De Boer, Aleš Kautský, František Kořán
Format: softcover (22x24 cm)
Color: full color
Retail Price: $42 (€30)
The book displays vehicles from private collections photographed during The War and Peace show, the world's largest military vehicle and militaria collectors fair, or during similar shows in Europe. The vehicles featured in the book are:
• SAS Land Rover Series I
• SAS Pink Panther Series IIa
• Patrol Vehicles Series III
• DPV 110 V8
• Recce/Patrol Vehicles 110
• Wolf WMIK
• SOV and RDV
• Czech Army Special Ops
The first chapter of this book is dedicated to history and development of the Land Rover, explaining the origins of the vehicle and many different variants appearing over the course of Land Rover military service. The text is very informative and well structured. The following 6 pages are devoted to early SAS Land Rover Series I, specifically a vehicle of the famous Dunsfold Land Rover Collection. This particular vehicle was produced back in 1957 and was in service until the Series I was replaced by new, longer vehicles - Pink Panthers. SAS Series IIA Pink Panthers are the focus of the next 5 pages. This part of the book features two different vehicles, both from Barry Pocock's collection: one vehicle sports the legendary pink paint, while the other is in the standard European camouflage. Patrol Vehicles Series III follows, spanning over 16 pages. Some of these Series III vehicles were still being used in the 90s and one of the Land Rovers featured in this part of the book is Desert Patrol Vehicle (DPV) Series III "Anubis", from Aleš Kautský's collection, restored to its condition from the Gulf War 1991. The next chapter, dealing with 110 DPV V8, is the longest in the book. It consists of 40 pages and depicts several slightly different vehicles nicknamed "Jus Moochin", "Wild Thing", "The Boys are Back in Town" with Milan launcher, "Heavy Metal", and couple of others. A comprehensive walkaround of "Heavy Metal" is included, showing detailed photos of both the exterior and interior of this particular vehicle. The book continues with the Land Rover 110 model, with 8 pages showing 110 Recce/Patrol Vehicles. Although very similar, these Recce and Pathfinder vehicles feature slightly different setup to the DPV. The latest variant of military Land Rover is depicted next - Defender XD Wolf is based on a 110 chassis and feature the Weapons Mount Installation Kit (WMIK). The Wolf WMIK chapter spans over 16 pages, and shows several WMIKs in slightly different setup. Since I have a Wolf WMIK model and always like to get as close to the real vehicle as possible, I wish the reference photos were a bit more dedicated to details instead of giving general views of these vehicles. Next up is 12 pages long chapter on SOV and RDV, two right-hand steering vehicles designed for US Special Forces. The Special Operations Vehicle (SOV) prototype featured in this book comes from Barry Pocock's collection, while the Rapid Deployment Vehicle (RDV) was photographed during Eurosatory show. Both vehicles are depicted in detailed form. The following 15 pages are dedicated to weapon details, showing GMPGs, SAWs and Milan ATGM as well as their Land Rover mounts, radio kit details, and crew kit stowage usually seen hanging on Special Ops Landies. A very welcomed addition to the book, depicting how these vehicles look "in action". The last part of the book spanning over 12 pages encompasses Czech Army Special Ops Land Rovers, based on the SOV and RDV. These vehicles combine their WMIK kits with Russian made machine guns, giving them a very interesting look. Czech Caiman RDV is portrayed in detail, inside and out, with several photos of the engine as well.
I have several different Land Rover models in my collection, which makes this photo reference book a great companion for building and finishing these models. I particularly like the fact all the vehicles depicted in this book are shown "in action" (or as close to the action as possible on vehicle shows such as The War and Peace) with stowage and crew kit. As with all WWP titles, this one is again full of high-resolution, large color photos showing various Land Rover variants, from the early SAS Series I built in 1950s, to the modern vehicles currently serving in the Special Ops. Not all variants are depicted in the same amount of detail, probably because some of the vehicles were not accessible to the general audience. The information supplied on the Land Rovers is kept short and concise; the intro gives interesting details on the origins of the vehicle and series of its modifications, while the brief captions provide a very informative read, explaining various details presented in the photos.
I was really looking forward to receiving this title as up-gunned Special Ops Landies are my favorite soft skinned vehicles and I needed reference photos for my upcoming Land Rover model builds. The book feels professional in absolutely every aspect, from the high-quality paper and clear presentation to the incredible amount of large full color photos. Although primarily a photographic reference book covering various different Land Rover variants, it also contains very interesting info on the vehicle.
So, if you have 1/35 scale full resin Land Rover kits from Accurate Armour, or plastic offerings from Hobby Boss, Tamiya, Italeri or Revell, this book is definitely a photographic reference title I would highly recommend.