The Panzer IV Ausf. D from the Tank Museum in Bovington (England) is possibly one of the best known restored Panzer IVís in the world. There are plenty of pictures of the exterior in circulation, and some pictures of the interior. There are many books written about the Panzer IV, but this new book by ModelArt leaves them all behind where it concerns detail photography. The interior has been photographed from every conceivable angle, and the exterior pictures show in detail all those little nooks and crannies that are usually lost in bigger pictures.
a look inside
This book was created with only one purpose in mind, to show as many pictures as possible. Written in both Japanese and English, no more than three pages are wasted on the introduction, which briefly charts the history and development of the Panzer IV up to the Ausf. D. There are a number of notes for modellers to watch when building this version, as well as some notes on modifications the re-fitted Ausf. Dís were subject to. This book is firmly aimed at modellers, as what little text there is relates almost exclusively to modelling.
After two pages of 1:35 scale drawings (which look to be right, but which I have not yet measured) the contents consist of photographs, high quality, colour photographs, most of which are given captions, but some do not. It seems that the writer assumes a certain degree of knowledge of the subject, not unreasonable with a specialised publication like this.
The book has been divided into 12 chapters, each of which deals with a specific area of the vehicle. - Front hull 6 pages
- Superstructure 2 pages
- Left side hull 4 pages
- Splash guard 1 page
- Right side hull 2 pages
- Hull interior 8 pages
- Turret exterior 10 pages
- Turret interior 6 pages
- Lower hull 5 pages
- Engine deck 1 page
- Rear hull 4 pages
- Underside hull 1 page
The Bovington Panzer IV has a re-painted exterior, but the interior is much as it was 60 years ago when it was captured at a German Training School. Apart from missing rear mudguards and aerial the tank is complete, and the interior shots provide a wealth of information, both with regards to the colour of parts as well as to the wear and tear of the paint in a used vehicle. Speaking of wear and tear, an interesting observation can be made with regards to the road wheel tyres. Some of these are rather beaten up, including chunks missing, but there is still a mould seam in the middle of the tyre. Something to contemplate next time before you get out the sand paper.
The engine is only shown from inside the fighting compartment, presumably because the access covers on the rear deck are inoperable. It means that not much detail of the engine bay can be captured, but we do get a few shots showing the radiator, auxiliary engine (two-stroke, for turret traverse) and a general idea of the position relevant to the vehicle.
Each chapter ends with a short summary of items that modellers might want to take aboard when building the Ausf. D. Regular mention is made of the ĎDragon kití, and although not specifically mentioned in the introduction, I think that this book has been put together with the Dragon Panzer IV Ausf. D Ď3-in-1í kit in mind. As is often the case in these Japanese-English books, the English translation tends to be briefer than the (original) Japanese text, concentrating on the photographs, rather than the extra info. Speaking of translations, although the summaries are well written, without spelling mistakes, the same cannot be said of the photo captions. Frequent spelling mistakes are made, and on several occasions the captions get right and left confused. As an example, a photo shows the left hand side sponson ammunition storage, but captions it as being the right side. Even though the right side stowage is shown (and correctly captioned) above these photos.
- 57 pages
- Soft back
- Full colour
- 500 photographs
- 2 1:35 scale plans (8 drawings)
- Japanese and English text
This is without doubts a reference source nobody building a Panzer IV Ausf. D should be without. Virtually every corner of the D has been photographed, and the quality of the photographs, and the production, is superb. Indeed any Panzer IV builder would find this a usefull addition to their reference library, as it would be for anybody with an interest in AFV's. Apart from a few slip-ups the captions are clear, and the added tips for modellers are a nice bonus.
Very highly recommended.
Good interior photographs of WWII AFVís are hard to come by, and are usually confined to grainy B/W photographs, which leave much to be desired. Whether you are scratch building an interior, or using an after-market set, you need as many clear, detailed photos as possible to ensure an accurate result. Apart from that itís nice to sit down with a beverage of choice, and to leaf through a book to relax. ModelArt from Japan have started to publish a series of books with just this in mind. This is the first in the series, and shows in great colour detail the ins and outs of the Up-Gunned Panzer IV Ausf. D from the Tank Museum in Bovington.