by: Scott Espin [ ]
Introduction“Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F” is the 7th in the AFV Super Detail Photo Book series from Model Art. This book focuses on both the Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. C (despite what the title says) and the Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F . There is a lot of information here regarding the history and development of the Pz.Kpfw. II as well as detailed explanations and photos of the features of both the Ausf. C and F. The book consists of 96 softbound pages measuring 11.75 by 8.25 inches. The book is mostly photographs consisting of 17 Black and White, 524 Color, 7 color profiles, and a set of 1/35 scale line drawings.
ReviewFeatured in the book museum examples of a Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F located in The Tank Museum (U.K.), an Ausf. F from the Kubinka Tank Museum (Russia), an Ausf. C located in Lenino (Russia) and an Ausf. F in a private collection. There is a color coding system used with the frames around the photos to make it easier to identify which vehicle the detail shots are coming from so they don’t have to repeat that information in each caption. Each section of the book focuses on one particular area of interest and provides many close up detail shots in color, often from several angles, which are very helpful to those researching this tank.
The book starts off explaining the history and development of the Pz.Kpfw. II from pages 1 through 6 and includes a set of line drawings on page 7. The text is written in both Japanese and English in two columns on each page. Those wanting to read this book in English will immediately notice that the translation is “chunky” to say the least. For example, here is a long run on sentence from the history section on page 6: “The armour was increased in almost all areas and the hull design changed significantly as was the upper hull most notably the drivers front plate was now much wider extending across the full width of the tanks body with no rebate on the right hand side as common to all other type of Panzer II exempting of course the Ausf d & Ausf e.” My goodness……
Much of the English text is awkward and suffers from having been translated by someone who’s original language is clearly not English. The vocabulary, grammar and flow of the information is difficult to follow at times and may require you to read a sentence two or three times to understand exactly what is being said. In the future, I would suggest that the publishers have a native English speaker massage the translation for clarity and grammar, including rewriting those annoyingly long run on sentences. Ultimately however, most readers will be able to figure out what the author is trying to explain. The history and information provided is useful and does a decent job explaining the development of the Pz.Kpfw. II.
The true value of this book is not in the written text but in the wealth of well done detail shots photographed from the four Pz.Kpfw. II vehicles. The photo detail sections are organized into the following sections:
Front Hull pg. 8-14
Fighting Compartment pg. 15-22
Rear Hull pg. 23-27
Fender pg. 28-49
Engine Deck pg. 50-55
Engine Room pg. 56-60
Turret Exterior pg. 61-73
Hull Interior pg. 74-81
Turret Interior pg. 82-90
Running Gear pg. 91-95
There is more dual language text in each of the above sections elaborating on the design nuances, features, development , and differences between the Ausf. C and Ausf. F for the particular area being focused on. There are black and white period photos included amongst the text for each section along with many well done detail shots of the various bits and pieces. Some of the photos don’t have captions but this isn’t a problem as they are usually just a picture of the same area but from a different angle.
The photographers have positioned a ruler in some of the photos to aid in determining the dimensions of a particular feature. It is a nice gesture, however the ruler is often impossible to read in the photograph defeating the purpose of including it in the first place. The photographs do an excellent job in showing all the features of this tank both inside and out. Many readers will be especially pleased with the numerous interior detail photographs, especially of the engine and breach of the 20mm Cannon. Of particular help are the photos of the rear lights, fender details, running gear, suspension and tracks.
ConclusionI found this book to be an excellent photo reference and found myself referring to the photos constantly to help clarify the assembly and painting of the details while building this vehicle. The color profiles are nice, however there is only 1 included for the Ausf. F, the other 6 are for the Ausf. C. Curiously some of the profiles are labeled “Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. A~C”. In spite of the translation issues from the Japanese text into English, this is an excellent reference book on the Pz.Kpfw. II Ausf. F (and Ausf. C). If you need detailed photos of every feature of this tank both inside and out, this is a must have in your reference library!