Nowadays not only kits and aftermarket products appear in unbelievable quantities but also the amount of information available on the real vehicles that were used during the Second World War is increasing. That information includes new previously unseen images and declassified archives. All together they provide valuable and exciting insights into history of AFVs and serve as a great basis and inspiration for an accurate model. However, as amount of information grows in geometrical progression it can be hard for non-expert on a particular subject to keep up with that flow. Therefore, publications that gather necessary information under one cover are very useful.
PeKo Publishing originates from Hungary and was established in 2013. Within a very short time they gained a very good reputation among hobby enthusiasts thank to their titles in the series called “World War Two photobook series”. 5 volumes have been released previously and those were dedicated to T-34, StuG III, KV, Panzerwaffe and now they focus on one of the most iconic tanks (some claim it was the best one) Panther. All these books are bilingual (Hungarian/English) and feature images from private collections of the owner of the company (Kocsis Péter) and other contributors. While some of them you might have seen on the eBay auctions and Internet in low quality here we have reprints of the original photographs in high resolution.
The “Panther on the battlefield” book has a hard cover and starts with foreword (acknowledgement) which is followed by a 2 page introduction that gives the reader sufficient amount on the history of the development of Panther tank and modifications produced (Ausf. D, A and G). Some might think it is not enough, but I believe this is exactly as much as needed as the most important differences between the variants are explained and information on different production factories is present as well. After that, the most exciting part of the book begins – large, full landscape page photographs of Panther tanks which remind me Panzerwrecks book series. In total there are 105 images and they are depicting Panthers in action and Panther wrecks left on the battlefield. The reader gets a lot of inspiration from these images for modelling as diversity of the paint schemes and weathering effects is impressive. Here we have plain dark yellow tanks, factory specific camouflages, various white-washed tanks, burnt out, rusted, worn, chipped, and muddy; with Zimmerit and without. The size of the photographs gives the possibility to enjoy all the scratches on the side skirts or worn whitewash during last days of Axis tank units. Moreover, Panther in Bulgarian army is also in that book. I’ve never heard about something like that!
Each image is accompanied by bilingual caption that gives information on the place where image was taken and unit ID. Specific features of the vehicle that identify a particular production factory and modifications (if any) are also described in it. Overall, the text is clearly written and I didn’t notice any major errors in it.
Highs: high quality production, plenty of interesting images for modellers and other enthusiasts.Lows: A couple of images are a bit blurry.Verdict: very highly recommended.