This is the Zvezda Panzer IV Ausf. H in 1/72 scale, kit number 5017 released in 2018. I replaced the hull Schürzen with sheet plastic and I added Zimmerit made with Mr. Surfacer 500. A nice kit and loads of camo schemes to choose from. Decals are from Kagero Top Colors 32 and depict a Panzer IV from the 116th Panzer Division in Normandy, August 1944. I found the mixed camo patterns of the hull Schürzen and the rest of the vehicle interesting.
Tigers in the Mud, The Combat Career of German Panzer Commander Otto Carius
By Otto Carius, translated by Robert J. Edwards
Softcover, 231 pages plus documents, appendices, and index; illustrated
Published by Stackpole Books, 2003
Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.0 x 1.1 inches
Otto Carius began his war as a loader on a Panzer 38(t) in the 21st Panzer Regiment at the start of operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Sadly only the first few chapters are devoted to his time with the 21st Panzer Regiment. The narrative mainly focusses on events after January 1943, when Carius returned to Germany for officer’s training and eventual assignment to Schwere Panzer Abteilung 502, a Tiger unit.
There Carius was a platoon commander in the 2.Kompanie. He was often right in the thick of the action, as the Tigers were used to bolster defensive positions against attack or to counter Soviet penetrations of German lines. The Tigers were almost always outnumbered but seldom out matched, their superior armor making it quite difficult to put one out of action permanently. But with the armor protection came weight, and the Tigers had to be driven carefully to avoid becoming mired in unsuitable terrain or suffering mechanical failures. Both problems were common.
While scouting the terrain for his Tigers Carius’ motorcycle was ambushed by Soviet infantry and he was shot several times, his life being saved only by his speedy evacuation to a field hospital. During his convalescence he was awarded the Oakleaves to the Knights Cross by Himmler. Subsequently he was assigned to the 512th Battalion in the West which was equipped with the massive Jagdtiger tank destroyer. By this time the war was coming to an end and the situation was hopeless for Germany.
This book is regarded as a classic account of German armor on the Russian Front, and rightfully so. First-hand accounts are very interesting, Carius writes well and recounts a detailed description of life in a Tiger platoon. The time in the 21st Regiment’s Panzer 38(t)’s is only given the most basic recounting which is a shame. The reproductions of award documentation and after action reports are an interesting bonus. Carius is highly critical of how poorly Germany treated its former soldiers after the war, he alludes to this several times throughout the book, something which I had not considered – sad, but not entirely surprising in retrospect. A very interesting memoir which I recommend highly.
The Tank Book: The Definitive Visual History of Armored Vehicles
Softcover, 256 pages, profusely illustrated
Published by Dorling Kindersley 2019
Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.9 x 12.1 inches
The Dorling Kindersley publications are billed as “visual histories”, they are large format books which rely on large numbers of photographs with either short texts or captions to tell the story. Each double page spread introduces a variation on the general topic in a short and easy to comprehend segment.
In this case the subject is tanks, although the term is applied in its broadest sense. There are several variations of armored vehicles which are not technically proper tanks, such as engineering vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, wheeled troop carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, etc. These are grouped to allow the reader to compare contemporary vehicles of several nations or to show the evolution of one particular nation’s vehicles. A wide variety of subjects are illustrated with clear color photographs of either restored museum examples or types which are in active service.
Of interest to modelers are the spreads which focus on individual vehicles which are photographed from several angles. These show many useful details themselves, and are frequently accompanied by photographs in a “walk around” style depicting internal and external equipment.
I normally don’t pick up broad-topic survey-type books, but this one caught my eye. The quality of the photography is exceptional, and there are many close-up pictures which may well prove useful. I found this copy at Half Price Books for $10, a bargain. A great browser, I only wish my copy was in hardcover as I can see myself returning to this book frequently.
By Łukasz Gładysiak, Tomasz Idzikowski, and Marek Jaszcolt
Kagero Photosniper Series Book 13
Paperback, 80 pages, profusely illustrated, eight color profiles, three isometric
Published by Kagero November 2014
Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.3 x 11.6 inches
This is an interesting book for what would at first appear to be a simple vehicle modeling guide. It starts off with a brief history of the development of the Sturmgeschütz IV design, which was an amalgamation of the StuG III superstructure and the Panzer IV chassis. This is accompanied by the expected tables of specifications and a few period photographs.
The narrative then shifts to the recovery and restoration of a StuG IV from the river Rgilewka, near Grzegorzewo, Poland. The vehicle had broken through ice on the river during the German withdrawal in 1945 and had remained sunken in the mud in the riverbed ever since. A team from the Museum of Armoured Weapons in Poznan, Wielkopolska recovered the Stug IV in 2006. Remarkably, they were able to completely restore this assault gun to running condition and it is currently the only running StuG IV in existence today.
There are several photographs of the recovery of various components from the river and their restoration, culminating in the finished and fully restored vehicle. The bulk of the book, and the part most interesting to modelers, is an extensive “walk around” style presentation of photographs of various details. These are reproduced in large full-color spreads, usually two or three photographs per page. These show both interior and exterior views of the vehicle and constitute the majority of the book, 48 pages in total. This is followed by a short discussion of crew uniforms and paint colors. A strength of Kagero publications is the computer rendered artwork, in this book we have three vehicles shown in isometric illustrations and eight others in the more usual side profiles.
This is a quality publication which contains a wealth of useful information for modelers or anyone else interested in the details of the Sturmgeschütz IV. There are some rather cryptic text passages which have suffered during the translation from Polish to English, but the meaning of most can be determined. In any case the value of this book lies in the photography and illustrations, which are of high quality and well reproduced. Recommended.
This is the Trumpeter StuG III Ausf. G, representing a late-production machine with cast steel return rollers and Saukopf gun mantlet with co-axial machine gun. The Schürzen brackets and “fencing” around the engine deck were added with Evergreen strip and Tequila bottle foil. This is a nice kit which goes together quickly.
Another Plastic Soldier StuG III, this time with the Saukopf gun mantlet and concrete armor added to the front of the fighting compartment. The concrete armor was added to some StuGs late in the war. The Schürzen armored plates were designed to offer protection against the Soviet PTRS-41 and PTRD 14.5 mm anti-tank rifles which were produced in great numbers and proved capable of penetrating the side armor of the StuG III. The skirts also proved useful against hollow-charge weapons such as the American Bazooka.
This is a Plastic Soldier Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G Assault Gun. These kits are intended for the wargaming market and come packaged three kits to a box. I built this one to represent a StuG III on the Russian Front during 1943 / 44. I replaced the overly-thick Schürzen which also helps hide the rather basic running gear and added various other details to spruce it up a bit. The commander figure is included with the kit.
The Sturmhaubitze 42 was a variant of the Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. F or Ausf. G which replaced the 75 mm anti-tank gun with a 105 mm L/28 howitzer. The choice of gun options is provided in the Plastic Soldier StuG III kits although this is not explained in the kit instructions. My StuH 42 also carries Zimmerit anti-magnetic mine paste made from Mr. Surfacer 500.
WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS (LIFE,LIBERTY,AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS) IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, AND TO INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT― Thomas Jefferson