by: Carlos Martin [ ]
The new book from Accion Press is the second volume devoted to profiles of the German Army tanks during WWII. This one deals with vehicles between 1943 and 1945, a period when Dunkelgelb was introduced as the base of the camouflage. It was complemented later on with green and brown. The end of the war saw some interesting variants of this scheme, which are also depicted on the book.
The book is a softcover of 104 pages, obviously at full colour. It is printed on a thick, glossy paper of very good quality. The size is A4 in landscape format, allowing two good-sized profiles per page -the Tiger hull is almost 19cm on the side profiles.
Approximately 2/3 of the profiles are side views of the tank, while the rest show four views of it (frontal, rear, side and top).
The main part of the book, as you may expect, are the colour profiles. Each one is identified by the type of vehicle, unit, date and place.
The book is focused on three types of tanks: Pz.Kpfw. V Panther, Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. E Tiger I and Pz.Kpfw. VI Ausf. B (commonly known also as Tiger II or Konigstiger). For easiness I will refer to them as Panther, Tiger I and Tiger II. No other vehicle is shown, like late Pz.Kpfw. IV, Jagdpanzer 38(t) nor even variants of the main types like the Jagdpanther or Jagdtiger.
However, the three types are extensively covered and show their subtypes like Panther Ausf. D, Ausf. A and Ausf. G, different features of the Tiger or Henschel/Porsche Tiger Ausf. B.
The profiles also cover both Eastern and Western Fronts.
The first section is a brief history of the evolution of German camouflages from 1943 onwards. It deals also with the base beneath the primer, the primer and zimmerit. The authors also explain the method for identifying the colours from the original Black&White photos.
Then the main part of the book is divided in three sections, for the Panther, Tiger I and Tiger II respectively. Each one occupies 30 pages with two profiles or different vehicles or four of the same.
All profiles are based on real photos, and as such they depict the specific features of that particular tank, like version, accessories, tow cables or boxes.
There are also small samples of the colours identified for the tank, with the name and RAL reference where available.
The side views are often complemented with small drawings of specific markings carried by the vehicle, to allow an accurate representation. It is common to find throughout the book images of the rear turret with numbers or glacis with unit markings.
It is worth to note also that the profiles show weathered vehicles with dust, mud, scratches and even impacts.
There are some interesting findings, like the use of Efelbein (Ivory shade intended for the interior) on the exterior of the vehicles, as Dunkelgelb was not available at the factory, or the light grey coat below the primer that was sometimes revealed.
The profiles section ends with two pages of alternative interpretations of four tanks. Recognizing the problems of knowing the real colours from B&W photos, these are examples of how they may look using one or another option.
The book closes with a list of the bibliography used, more than 50 volumes with very well known names as Thomas Jentz, William Auerbach, Wolfgang Schneider, Walter Spielberger among others.
This is a useful volume full of inspirational drawings, although limited to Panther, Tiger I and Tiger II. The weathering effects on the vehicles are a nice touch, and the four views will make easier to represent the camo on a model.