Nuts&Bolts has produced a new volume on the 18ton Sd.Kfz 9, commonly known as "Famo". There was already a previous volume (nº 12) on this vehicle, but on their own words, "we had decided to release a completely new edition on this fascinating vehicle, instead of a reprint.
The author and the team have been able to collect so much new and interesting material from the archives and during visits to private collections, that it was unnecessary to copy any drawings, photographs or even text from the original volume 12."
So we have here a book that can be read independently from the first, as it has all information. Itd will appeal also the owners of the original volume due to the new content.
The book has the usual features of the series, that is, a softcover A4 portrait size with satin, good quality paper. There are 232 pages with main sections for historical information, contemporary photos, drawings, colour profiles, museum preserved vehicles and models. Text is bilingual in English and German.
All variants of the Sd.Kfz. 9 are covered.
The first part spreads for 60 pages and is mainly text, with photos related to it, and covers the development, Technical description, study of variants, Production plants and series production, colouring and tactical signs, and Operation and experience reports.
Apart from a detailed description of the vehicle's history and technical features, the text is well complemented with photos (for example the engine alone), tables with changes during production and more.
The different variants are covered in their own sections, namely the 9/1 with a 6ton crane, the 9/2 with a Demag crane, the 9/3 with a 40ton winch and the carrier for a 8.8cm flak gun.
It is interesting to read the different features of each vehicle, and the specific changes required to accommodate each equipment.
Then the production is explained in detail, with the different factories involved, Army production requirements, repairing program and other information.
The colouring and tactical markings section is quite small and does not provide new information, as the Famo received all standard camouflages depending on the time.
On the other hand, the Operation and experience reports section is a very interesting reading, with details of the different heavy guns that were towed, or diagrams with the standard vehicle allocation to batteries.
There is also a subsection here devoted to the Sd.Ah. 116 trailer.
Finally, there are two pages of modelling information, with the experience of Vinnie Branigan and Darren Thompson building the kits, and a list of models and aftermarket items available for the Famo.
The next 84 pages are of Contemporary Photos. There are two or three photos of good size per page, making well over 200 photos. They all have detailed captions, providing as much information as possible.
The photos are clear and crisp, and without being an expert I can say that almost all were new to me.
They are sorted by variant, starting with the prototype, the K3 gun tractor, Artillerie body (a rarity of which two photos are included) and so on.
The photos of the 9/1 and 9/2 crane variants provide good inspiration for scenes, showing several of the tasks that these vehicles could carry on.
There are also photos of the Famo in Finnish service, and with a wood gas generator.
After the war, the surviving vehicles were put in good use, which is shown in a couple of pages of photos as well.
Finally, there are four pages of photos specifically for the Sd.Ah. 116 trailer, which was often paired with the Famo.
The drawings section has again all variants shown, including F3 early, mid and late, 9/1, 9/2 and flak. And there are plans for the Sd.Ah. 116 trailer.
All of them have been made by Lieven De Coninck. The main variants have nine views, the traditional front-rear-top-right-left plus four 3D views. All the standard, plain, views are at 1/35, which is useful to check models against plans or for adding details.
Then come the colour profiles by Laurent Lecocq. As usual on the series, all profiles are accompanied by a thumbnail of the photo used and the page where it can be found full size. Despite this is a detail easy to add, very few books take advantage of it. It is a big plus because there is no need to blindly trust the artist interpretation or imagination, the real photo is there for checking.
There are several interesting camouflages, and the authors have wisely selected a good range of what can be found on these vehicles, from Dark Grey brown to Dunkelgelb or white wash.
Next big section is about preserved vehicles and parts. Ten different units have been used here, with attention to detail.
Captions are long and detailed, pointing both right and wrong restorations in case needed.
There are also several photos of two different models of Bilstein cranes, that were used with the Famo, and one Flak37. As no vehicles are preserved mounting these components, they are shown separated for reference.
As contemporary photos often lack fine detail, these series are very helpful for modellers wanting to improve kits.
Finally, the last 10 pages are a gallery of models. Given that at the time of writing the book (and this review, in fact) the only 1/35 kit available is from Tamiya, they have included a 1/72 model as well, so as scratch built conversions of the 9/1, 9/2 and Flak37 carrier.
Despite all photos have captions, there is little information on building or painting processes and only 3 or 6 photos per model so this is mostly a mere gallery.
Nuts & Bolts has produced again an excellent reference for the Famo which should satisfy everyone, either modeller or history fan. In a single volume you will find the history and development of the vehicle, its operational use and lots of new, clear photos from wartime. The Sd.Ah. 116 trailer is covered as well.
The preserved vehicles are well shown and provide great help for the smaller details, while the rest of the sections of the book round up the information.
Highs: Detailed and comprehensive information. Large number of clear photos from wartime and preserved vehicles. 1/35 drawingsLows: None noticedVerdict: A highly recommended volume for anyone interested in the Famo.
Our Thanks to Nuts & Bolts! This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.
About Carlos Martin (varanusk) FROM: SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, SPAIN / ESPAñA
My main interest is German vehicles and guns, and I like spending time researching the vehicle and the options for the camo once I have chosen a subject. Sometimes I go for specific and rare vehicles, of which only two or three photos are known so it takes me a lot of time to figure how everything w...