This offering from Pen and Sword as part of their Tank Craft series looks at the T-34 Russia's Armoured Spearhead. These books are I feel an attempt to offer the modeller a combination package covering both reference on the vehicles and a look at the models. The after market items available to replicate the T-34 Tank as a scale model have not been looked at in this title..
This offering from Pen and Sword is authored by Robert Jackson, who is an author who has written a large quantity of books covering armour and aviation subjects. This is a soft backed book with a good card cover protecting 64 pages of semi gloss paper. The contents of this title are laid out as follows:
Development and Design
The T-34 in Detail
Camouflage and Markings
Into Service and into Action
The T-34 in Action after the Second World War
The text in this title starts with a look at the tanks that came before and is followed by the adoption of the 'Christie' suspension system and eventually a look at the T-34. I have an issue with this book and that is that the T-34 changed greatly over its life and even at the same time depending on who built the tank. It is due to these huge changes that I feel this area of the text is trying to do too much in a limited space. There are some nice bits here such as the period black and white photographs and the well written captions.
A section providing prints of a good number of T-34 tanks is next up. All of the tanks are shown from the left side which I find limiting. Something I was not expecting to see here are black and white period photographs that do lift the section as it helps to put together the detail in the prints with those of the photographs.
The modelling section starts with a showcase of finished models that are all stand alone only and a list of these can be seen after this paragraph. The section covering the kits available is a fair section for the modeller who wants to see where to aim his or her pennies. Models in 1/76th, 1/72nd, 1/35th and 1/16th scale are covered, but there are quite a few missing here. unusually none of the after market products are covered here and I find that a shame after the other titles in the series.
T-34/76 1942 in 1/16th scale by Brian Richardson; this is covered over 5 pages and provides a good look at the detail on this impressive model.
T-34/76 Berlin 1945 in 1/35th scale by Philipp Gross; this is covered over 4 pages and while I was initially so so about it I found it growing on me.
T-34/76 1942 in 1/35th scale by Gary Riley; this model sows some very nice colour modulation in the paintwork.
T-34/85 1943 'David Asaunski' in 1/35th scale by Byeol Han; this model has a very nice weathered white wash finish that brings some life to the model and I was pleased to see some figures on the engine deck.
The book then returns to the T-34 doing what it was designed for 'going to war'. Both the T-34/76 and T-34/85. These two sections I found far more enjoyable due to the fact that the changes in the T-34 tanks were not as important in the manner that these sections are tackled. The result was a well presented area of the book that I enjoyed.
I am afraid I felt a little let down by this release in the Tank Craft series of book; I don't know if that is due to it being written in an alternate style with a different mindset, or the fact that I have become comfortable with the approach taken by Dennis Oliver. I suppose it could also be due to the fact that the T-34 had so many nuances that an effort to cover it in one title is too big a challenge. On the plus side I did enjoy that more of each model got shown.
Darren Baker takes a look at one of the Tank Craft series of books covering T-34 Russia's Armoured Spearhead from Pen and Sword.
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About Darren Baker (CMOT) FROM: ENGLAND - SOUTH WEST, UNITED KINGDOM
I have been building model kits since the early 70ís 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 70ís, I have had lots of opportunitie...