authors: Stanisław Jabłoński, Jacek Pasieczny, Arkadiusz Wróbel
22nd June 1941 was the date when the largest struggle of World War 2 began: the war between the Third Reich and Soviet Russia. The German attack plan was coded as "Fall Barbarossa". I think we can say that the most significant type of armament in this conflict were tanks, or maybe in a bit wider meaning the armoured fighting vehicles. Of course we have to remember about infantry and air force, I do not try to minimize their effort in the struggle, but I think that tanks became the symbol of the German successes in the first months of the conflict.
Amongst the visitors of Armorama the vehicles used by both sides of this conflict proves to be a very popular topic of many build-blogs or campaigns. To make the lives of these “few” modellers a bit easier Kagero Publishing have recently released the new book in the miniTopcolors series dedicated to the vehicles of operation “Barbarossa”. In this series of Kagero publications we can find a collection of large side profiles of specific machines. In the “Barbarossa 1941” title we will find together 18 different painting schemes, 15 of them showing German AFV's and 3 of Russian tanks (two T-34's and one KV-2 captured by German troops and probably used as a road sign).
Amongst the German vehicles we can find the following: kl.Pz.Bef.Wg. Sd.Kfz.265, two 15cm s.I.G 33 Sfl auf. Pz.Kpfw.I ausf. B, six Pz.Kpfw. III (one ausf. G, one ausf.H and four ausf.J), two Pz.Kpfw. IV (one ausf.D and one ausf.E), one Sd.Kfz.250/3, one Sd.kfz.221 and two Pz.kpfw.II ausf.C (shown on the back cover page of the book). As I stated previously, each machine is shown as a side profile, of course in full colour. The profiles are supported by the small original pictures (or just part of the pictures) and drawings showing the location of the particular markings or emblems of the depicted AFV.
The authors of the drawings are Jacek Pasieczny and Arkadiusz Wróbel, well known and highly talented artists. Drawings includes the weathering effect of the real machines so it may be used not only as a reference for colours and markings but also as a good inspiration while finishing your model (as the final vehicles appearance is not extremely overdone on the pictures). Description of the particular machines are very brief, just about type of vehicle, unit, time period and colour used for painting. Descriptions are bilingual: polish and english.
A very important part of the publication is the decal sheet which can be found inside the books. On the nearly A4 format decal sheet you will find all the necessary decals for each AFV depicted in the book. The decals are made in three most popular scales: 1/35, 1/48 and 1/72. They're printed by a very well known company: Cartograf, this should say everything about quality. For those who have never worked with the Cartograf decals I'll just say that decals are great. Lines are straight and sharp, colour are vivid and authentic and you cannot see any misalignment of print. The carrier film is very thin without an excess around the printed areas. They work good with most popular decal agents, so I do not expect any problems while placing them on the model. The publisher have given us a few more decals as a bonus. These additional decals are dedicated for the Su-152, Su-85m, T-34/76 and T-34/85 (definitely “post-Barbarossa” vehicles), a few balkenkreuzes, two polish eagles, and few emblems of 11th and 18th Panzer Divisions. Due to the layout of decal sheet there are more bonus decals in 1/48 and 1/72 scales than in 1/35.
Generally the publication is quite useful and the publisher have certainly taken care of the editorial side of the book. High quality and nicely printed drawings, good quality of paper, superb decals produced by a well known and respected company. These are certainly the “pros” of the publication. When I got the book I thought, and had the feeling judging by the cover and title, that the content would be more balanced between German and Russian vehicles. In this book though, the publisher have put the balance definitely on the German side. Such as it is, I think that the book will be much more useful for Panzerwaffe than the Russian Steel enthusiasts. However you can easily use these decals while making a diorama. For example the KV-2, as the descriptions says, was captured by the 7th Pz. Div but have the 12th Pz. Div. emblem with the big arrow painted on the turret (as a road sign showing the direction of the division route). Add some tank or any other vehicle of 7th or 12th Div. passing by and you have a diorama with at least two vehicles.
To sum up, I think it is a good publication which will certainly be useful AFV-modellers.
NOTE: the sample pictures were purposely unfocused to prevent any illegal copying. In fact, all the pictures and drawings in the publication are perfectly sharp.
I would like to thank Kagero Publishing for providing the review sample.
Highs: Very nice drawings, great sheet of decals in three scales, 18 painting schemes, a few bonus decals that will be useful in other builds.Lows: Balance placed on German vehicles, just three Russian tanks reproduced on profiles.Verdict: Very good publication, useful both as a reference and a big source of decals with emblems and markings, although rather for Panzerwaffe enthusiasts.