From the recently formed ‘The Oliver Publishing Group – Firefly Collection’ comes a new publication Combat Camera 1 Cromwell & Centaur by Ian Carter: ISBN 987-098065923-2-0.
If you include the front and rear cover the books consists of 36 pages of information on the Cromwell and Centaur tank. The front and rear of the book are in colour with the remainder in B & W. On the front is a well known tank: the Centaur Mk IV ‘HUNTER’ from H Troop No 2 Battery 1st Armoured Support Regiment Royal Marines. The back of the book shows a further 5 vehicles and gives colour markings, WD numbers and paint schemes for those documented vehicles.
Open the Cover – What’s inside
The inside of the front page contains acknowledgements and a publishers note. On pages 1 through 6 you get a potted history of the Cromwell and Centaur covering: Development, Variants, and Organisational Deployment covering the Unit distribution of the vehicles with, 7th Armoured Division, 11th Armoured Division, Guards Armoured Division, 1st polish Armoured Division, 1st (Czech) Independent Armoured brigade Group, Royal Marines Armoured Support Group and 6th Airborne Division.
There are brief sections covering camouflage and markings. There is good useful information in the opening pages that will allow you to get an understanding of the who, what, where and why of the vehicles usage.
Pages 7 through 32 provide a wide variety of black and white pictures showing the vehicles in development and deployment. Each page contains 2 or 3 black and white war time images, some I had seen before, others were new to me. The images cover the vehicles deployment from design in England through the major campaigns of World War II. As much known information as possible has been provided in the picture captions covering such things as marking and AOS. This should be very useful to the modelling community at large.
On Page 10 are some establishment charts for an Armoured Brigade and the Royal Marines Support Group, again useful information.
Page 33 has Unit Insignia and Arm if Service Markings 1944-45 but unfortunately this is in Black and White and therefore not as user friendly as one would like. It also contains a breakdown of the establishment of an Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment as at June 1944.
Although short, it should prove a very useful reference for modellers who wish to build either the Centaur or Cromwell. It is easy to read and a good reference and will be helpful for those who wish to learn more about the vehicle and its variants. The book concentrates on the Gun Tanks, both the 6pdr and 75mm version and the CS 95mm.
The pictures are of good quality and there is something in there covering all the units mentioned above. The pictures have a matt appearance, but are of good quality none the less. They are of a decent enough size to be useful with either 2 or 3 pictures per page.
I would have liked to have seen page 33 in colour for ease of reference and although colour reference pictures are included on the back-cover of the book again I would have liked to have seen a slightly broader range of coloured marking options displayed within the book itself. However, there should be sufficient data to assist in building any type of gun tank you desire contained with the pages.
Highs: A concise and handy reference book, easy to follow and containing very easily read data that most should find helpful. Decent size photographs with informative captions attached.Lows: A few more colour pages of marking options would have been useful.Verdict: I would have no hesitation recommending this book. It conveys accurate information in an easy to read and informative fashion.
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About Alan McNeilly (AlanL) FROM: ENGLAND - EAST ANGLIA, UNITED KINGDOM
Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...