In the UK most Brits in my neck of the woods don’t really think of the Germans as having a sense of humour, and are generally considered to be a very serious in nature. This book, „Personalised vehicle markings during the German mission in the Balkans“ from Tankograd and „Personalised vehicle markings during the German mission in Afghanistan“ (reviewed
) also from Tankograd proves that these generalisations 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 personalised 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 personalised non-regular markings on German military vehicles during the IFOR, SFOR and EUFOR missions on the Balkans.“
The book is A4 in size and has 64 pages filled with 139 full color photographs of German vehicles and colorful artwork. The text in the book is as usual with Tankograd books both in German and English, which if you are unfamiliar with is German on the left side of the page and English on the right.
This book is not really laid out into individual sections but there has been some thought put into it 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 three pages of text touching very lightly on the history of graffiti stretching all the way back to cave paintings which are the earliest form of artwork known of. This book however unlike the “Personalised vehicle markings during the German mission in Afghanistan” book goes into the story of graffiti far less and concentrates more on providing the reader an insight into the Balkans conflict and German participation in it. It is because of this the two books mentioned here make for good companions in your reference library.
This book as with its partner starts with the light wheeled vehicles such as the Mercedes Benz off road vehicle, this vehicle is very similar to pick up or the British Land Rover to look at and can be I understand fitted out in different ways depending on mission requirements. Both canvas and hard top versions are included in the five examples in the book. We then drift into UNIMOG territory which is a 2 ton truck. There are again five examples provided showing a nice mix of communications, general transport, and ambulance configurations.
The book then starts to pile on the weight with a good mix of trucks in the 5 to 10 ton weight bracket, there are a broad selection of tasks that the tracks are shown deployed in with an 18,000 liter fuel transporter catching my eye as a great guide to weathering and featuring a polar bear with “MY TOY” on it. The real heavy weights then make an appearance in the form of 15 to 25 ton articulated trucks, with FAUN heavy equipment transporters being very well represented. Most of the FAUN transporters only bear names on them such a “DUMBO and SHORTY” however there is one depicted with a very good elephant painted on the left hand side of the bumper.
The Fuchs armored personnel carrier then makes a very big appearance in the book with several examples covered, I again was drawn to the vehicle being used as an ambulance if for no other reason than the red cross in a white circle being very eye catching. This section such as it is closes with a small number of Spahpanzer 2 A2 Luchs making a showing, however they are unfortunately only decorated with names, this will still however all the modeller to build an accurate and identifiable personal vehicle. The book comes to a close with a real mix of vehicles such as cranes, forklifts, and a couple of tracked vehicles; the Waffentrager Wiesel makes an unexpected showing, however the best of the bunch in my opinion are the Bergepanzer 2 recovery vehicle and the Pionier Panzer 2A1 featured at the very end of the book.
This book has some very good reference pictures for us as modellers all of which are fair to very good quality. The mix of vehicles is also good which also show the same vehicle performing various tasks. The graffiti shown on these vehicles is not as colorful as the previous book reviewed consisting mostly of names having been added, however the Bergepanzer 2 recovery vehicle and the Pionier Panzer 2A1 more than making up for that in my opinion. The other book mentioned at the start of this review does make for a good companion to this, and as a pair should be a must for fans of building modern German AFV’s.