Introduction: In praise of Polish Publishers...
On a recent vacation in Poland, I was fortunate enough to pick up a number of publications covering a variety of vehicles and subjects.
This particular series of books - Armor PhotoGallery
, currently has 12 titles in the series covering a variety of vehicles all in broadly the same format. Fortunately the publishers in Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia are now beginning to get the coverage they deserve. These countries have a considerable number of publishing houses who are producing the kind of material which the modeller has been crying out for for years - at a price which makes them accessible for all modellers.
M4A2 Sherman Part 1 (Armor PhotoGallery #11)
, written by Wojciech J. Gawrych
is an A4, soft-cover book consisting of 80 pages, 201 color photos, 74 black and white photos and 7 pages of scale drawings. Despite it's 'Polish' Pedigree, the book is written in English throughout. The subject of the book is the early/middle production 75mm M4a2 with the 56° hull. Future volumes will doubtless cover the 76mm M4a2.
The book is divided into three distinct sections:
- Consists of very detailed photos of a series of preserved vehicles throughout the world - Sweden, France and Canada. Each photo helpfully comes with a tiny flag to indicate its source as there are some slight detail variations. Interspersed are details from the original technical manuals which serve to accentuate a particular detail or variation. The (always) complex subject of suspension variations are covered in some depth - again comparison is a keynote. Another noteworthy addition is a small (highlighted) graphic at the top of each page which shows what area is being covered - mantlet, tracks etc... The fighting comparent comes in for special attention as does the engine compartment and power plant - vital for those who want to go the 'whole-hog' and model the engine convincingly.
Is the Scale Drawing section. As I mentioned previously, plans are provided in both 1/72nd and 1/35th scale. The former is particularly useful as making a copy of the former and increasing it by a factor of 50% gives one a set of 1/48th scale plans. Four vehicles are covered in the plans:
British Sherman III Command vehicle (early production)
M4a2 Early Production
Sherman III (Intermediate production)
M4a2 (later production)
The final section, Part 3
consists of 22 pages of 'contemporary' photos showing the M4a2 (or Sherman III) in service, under construction and on the proving grounds. The 'in-service' photos cover a considerable number of vehicles with the emphasis very strongly on Polish vehicles although there are a number of interesting photos of New Zealand vehicles as well. Each of the photographs has a well-considered commentary, pointing out detail variations and explaining the situation where the photo was taken.
The drawback of this book lies not in the superb work done by Wojciech J. Gawrych
, but rather in the limitations imposed by the kit manufacturers. To date, no manufacturer has seen fit to produce a plastic kit of the '56° hull' M4a2 in 1/35th scale and to produce one, it inevitably necessitates turning to one of the AM Manufacturers for the correct hull... We can but hope that this book is now in the hands of the design section of DML, Trumpeter
These 'drawbacks' aside, this is a superbly executed book and bodes well for future titles in the series. The quality of the images is sharp and clear, the use of the original manuals is a useful touch also. The section of contemporary photos is absolutely invaluable (particularly for those like myself who have become recent 'converts' to Polish Armor!). At first the layout does seem a touch chaotic until the logic of the compilation is understood. The use of three different vehicles is an interesing idea as sadly, too many authors use 'single-source' - anyone who has gone 'into' the Sherman in any detail will rapidly come to the conclusion that variation within vehicles of the same designation was the rule rather than the exception. I confidently predict that this 'series' within a series will find its way onto many modellers shelves in the coming months and years and whilst few titles will substitute Hunnicutt as a primary source, the publishers of this series deserve real success with this, and future books....
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
M4A2 Sherman Part 1 (Armor PhotoGallery #11) By Wojciech J. Gawrych
is published by Model Centrum Progres, Warsaw, Poland
Their website, listing this and the other books in the series, can be seen HERE
My copy was purchased directly from JadarModel
in Warsaw who have this and many other superb publications available for world-wide mail order.