Wings & Wheels publications is well known for their 'In Detail' photo reference books. Written specifically for modelers, the publisher obviously takes great pains to capture details that most modelers seek. This book was #37 in this series and was originally published in 2006. The fact that WWP is providing it to us for review in 2010 is likely indicative of the books popularity or a potential re-print. The book is 144 pages and was authored by Frantisek Koran (the publisher), Frantisek Sykora, and Martin Velek. The book is full-color throughout (with the exception of the interior cover pages). The text and is broken down into two distinct sections. The first (which runs from page 4 to page 119) covers the German Sd.Kfz. 251/1 ausf. D and the second part (pages 122-144) covers the OT-810, a Czech post-war continuation of the original German vehicle.
Sd.Kfz. 251/1 Ausf. D
The 251/1-D photographed in the book is part of the Vladimir Lehar collection. The vehicle was restored between 2003 to 2006 and one can assume that Mr. Koran had exclusive access to the vehicle during it's restoration to amass the sheer number of photos taken of the various stages of reconstruction. What this provides (vs. the many other photo reference books out there likely don't) is almost a 1:1 scale photo guide to putting together a full-sized vehicle. You see the frame (sans any running gear), then slowly the entire armored half-track comes to life in color pictures.
In addition to these reconstruction photos, the authors provide a written historical overview, walk around photos (both full vehicle and up close detail shots). Need photos of the visors? No problem. Eight are included at close range. With over 100 pages devoted to the 251/1 the book really does provide a lot of details that most reference books would not cover (or at least not in this level of detail).
The second section of the book covering this post-war cousin is much smaller obviously. The same overview text and specs are included. There are half-a-dozen or more photos of vehicles being used with historical re-enactors (which is kind of neat). In addition to those photos there are the typical walk-around photos as well. The vehicles shown in those photos is from the Czech Museums & Military History Clubs Collections and look to be in unrestored original condition (or at least haven't seen restoration recently). Many of these photos also show key areas of the OT-810 and obviously some relate well to the war-time version as well. The seat covers shown in some of these photos for example are of the padded variety (vs. the wood plank style on the restored 251/1).
With so many quality photos and in the situation of being there during the rebuild process, this seems a good addition to any German AFV enthusiasts library. While it won't serve as a one-stop reference for all things 251 series, it has good value for the price range it's in.
Highs: High quality color photos and high-grade printing.Lows: Soft-cover format may need more love and care.Verdict: All in all a very good reference book for modelers looking to gain insight into seldom seen areas of the 251/1 and OT-810.
About Jim Starkweather (staff_Jim) FROM: CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
I started building models in 1971 when I was 6. My first model was a 1/32 P-40 Warhawk. Revell I believe. From there I moved onto the standard cars, Apollo spacecraft, and other kid orientated kits. I don't know what got me started on Armor. I must have seen a Monogram tank kit one day and said "Mom...