by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP) is a small publishing company from Czech Republic. The idea behind WWP's portfolio is to produce photographic reference books for modelers, packed with large and detailed images showing every aspect of a particular vehicle. WWP's range is broad, covering everything from military tracked and wheeled vehicles, artillery, airplanes, helicopters, to guns and accessories. This review covers one of WWP's latest titles: RG-31 MRAP in Detail (part 1).
The book arrived safely packed in a hard cardboard box and additionally secured inside a bubble-wrap. At first glance the book looks amazing, printed on a high-quality paper, well structured, professionally presented and packed out with large color photos. Here are the basics:
Title: RG-31 MRAP in Detail (part 1)
Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
Authors: Ralph Zwilling
Format: softcover (22x24 cm)
Color: full color
Retail Price: $30 (€21)
The book covers two slightly different versions of the RG-31 MRAP: Mark 1 and Mark 3, with the Mark 5 book (RG-31 MRAP in Detail (part 2)) in the WWP pipeline. Ralph Zwilling, the author of the book, is a professional military photographer and a technical consultant for various model companies, but also a very talented modeler himself, with some of his works displayed here on Armorama. Therefore it is no wonder Ralph knows exactly what modelers need for their builds; all of his books feature large photos of superb quality covering vehicle details from different angles.
The book is organized in 7 chapters:
• History and Development (002-007)
• Mark 1 Walkaround (008-025)
• Mark 1 Interior (026-031)
• Mark 3 Walkaround (032-049)
• Mark 3 Interior (050-055)
• Mark 3 with SPARK (056-065)
• Mark 3 with VOSS (066-072)
The first chapter is dedicated to RG-31 history and development, explaining the South African origins of the vehicle, its use by the US Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, and also giving some technical data on the RG-31 family of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The RG-31 Mark 1 walkaround chapter is 18 pages long and shows the complete exterior of the vehicle: left side with the interrogation arm battery and various integrated storage boxes, right side featuring the spare tire and the mounts for the remote controlled interrogation arm, and finally the Fassi interrogation arm details with and all the hydraulic lines and flexible hoses mounted on the arm. This chapter also includes engine details, as well as extensive showcase of wheels, frame and suspension. The next chapter spans over 6 pages and shows Mark 1 interior, with details of driver's compartment, C4ISR rack, air-conditioning unit and details of the crew compartment. I like the fact these pictures actually show how much the space is limited inside the vehicle, especially when crammed up with personal equipment and additional gear needed for the mission. Next up is the RG-31 Mark 3 walkaround chapter, 18 pages long, covering the exterior of this RG-31 version. It shows the bonnet details and the massive front bumper with the integrated winch, left and right side plus the spare tire mount and the two firing ports integrated into the rear crew compartment ballistic windows, rear side with the armored door, as well as the roof details with the weapon station. The Cummins QSB 6.7 liter 6-cylinder 275 hp diesel engine is presented next, and finally the details of the wheels, frame and suspension. The chapter on Mark 3 interior follows, with the driver's compartment almost identical to its older Mk1 counterpart, but with several noticeable differences in the crew compartment like the steel tubes holding the gunner's footrest. This section also shows C4ISR rack, details of the seats and crew compartment roof. A big plus are the chapters on RG-31 Mark 3 with SPARK (Self-Protection Adaptive Roller System) with ample details of the system itself and the mount attachment device, and RG-31 Mark 3 with VOSS (Vehicle Optic Sensor System) featuring details of a multi-spectral optronic sensor mounted on a telescopic mast.
This is the second book from WWP I'm reviewing for Armorama and it seems I found my favorite photo reference publisher. The RG-31 MRAP in Detail (part 1) features 164 photos which are absolutely amazing; large and clear color photographs show all the intricate details of the vehicle, inside an out. Some details are even depicted from different angles to display the vehicle as best as possible. Although this is primarily a photo reference book, the information given in the text is very interesting. The introduction gives details on the origins and use of the vehicle, while the brief captions explain various details presented in the photos. All together, this book is a very enjoyable symbiosis of high-quality large photos depicting the RG-31 in detail, and concise but interesting info on the vehicle. With the second book on the RG-31 in the WWP pipeline, the fans of this vehicle really have something to look forward to.
I'm thoroughly impressed with this book. It features tons of high-quality large photos showing two slightly different versions of RG-31 MRAP (Mk1 and Mk3) in detail, inside and out, and also gives short and concise information on the vehicle. If you are modeling a RG-31, this is a perfect photo reference book for you.