The number of vehicles produced rarely is reflected in the reference material available on the subject. A good case in point is Tankograd's book on Soviet trucks, which were produced in extraordinary numbers. The major styrene manufacturers have not been overly generous towards Soviet softskin enthusiasts over the years. There have been a few of the more basic vehicles, but most suffer from the same deficiencies, including the age of the tooling and frequently the details are speculative rather than factual. The AM companies have helped to improve the accuracy. although the main option is to re-work the models; if a more unusual version is required, then some pretty serious conversion work is necessary. However, before any of this can take place, a good 'primer' on the subject is vital; in this, (once more) Tankograd may have a solution...
Nr. 2007 - Soviet Trucks of WW2 in Red Army and Wehrmacht Service is jointly written by Jim Kinnear & Jochen Vollert. The book has a total of 64 pages, and is illustrated with 138 black & white photos, 3 colour photographs, and 4 pages of 1/35th scale drawings.
The format of the book is in the same one clearly established by Tankograd Publishing in the majority of their publications: a brief introduction over two pages that provides a concise overview of the subject. Roughly half the book covers two of the more-typical (standardized) Soviet medium trucks of the period— those produced by Gaz and Zis. In this section, the GAZ-AA & MM series are covered along with the ZIS-5 & ZIS 5V.
Beginning with the GAZ series, a page of text is dedicated to briefly explaining the development, along with the principal differences between the Pre-War (GAZ-AA) and the Wartime -MM. Six pages of (broadly) chronological photos are given showing a series of excellent shots which cover detail remarkably well. The final four pages of this chapter are devoted to some excellent 1/35th scale plans, along with (where appropriate) drawings of details such as the spare wheel mount, dashboard or cab interior. As there were significant differences in the MM, three profiles show the cab from its initial form (open), the version with wooden cab doors and finally (in its 1946 incarnation) the all-steel cab.
The next section covers the ZIS-5 & ZIS-5V. As the story is a little more complex, two pages are dedicated to its development history, along with five pages of photos, plus a further two of scale plans showing the vehicle's evolution.
Obviously, ZIS and GAZ weren't the only truck manufacturers. The chapter “Other Makes & Specialized Variants” covers variations on a theme, along with reference to the YuG vehicles, and the long-wheelbase ZIS and the GAZ-AAA. Artillery Prime-Movers, half-track conversions, AA and (inevitably) multiple rocket launchers are all referred to and covered within the 13 pages of photos, along with such items as fuel bowsers, sound detectors (now,there’s a conversion project!) and some oddities like propaganda trucks.
The final part of the book is inevitable, considering the numbers captured, and covers Soviet trucks in German service. Rather than simply compiling a collection of captioned photos, the authors have presented the GAZ-AA, the ZIS-5, the GAZ-AAA and ZIS-6s in separate sections. Markings, camo schemes and conversions are all shown in good detail. Artillery Prime-Movers, ambulances and radio vehicles are all there in a wide variety of settings.
There are quite a number of comments to be made about this book, so I'll put my thoughts in separate sections.
Photo-Quality: For a long while now, Tankograd have been setting the standard for books of this type. The reproduction and scanning of contemporary images has, in my opinion, been the best in current military publishing. This book is no exception. Soviet subjects have not been tremendously-well documented (in terms of photo-quality), but this book shows what CAN be done.
Captioning: Obvious really, but important. The photo captions are concise and clear. When the subject is obvious, they simply talk of the content; when more information is available, this is expanded. The reader's attention is drawn to changes in the variants and modifications-- small details which modellers require.
Breadth of Coverage: As the authors have to work within the limitations of the series format (60 pages), it becomes a challenge to include as much as possible without overloading or limiting the coverage. This is a publisher who get the maximum amount possible within their various series, and this volume is no exception. There might be a tendency to use smaller images to get more in, yet the editors of the series have the good sense to keep the photos as large as possible. My only doubt is whether it might have been better to do two books— one on Soviet trucks in Soviet service and another on captured Soviet trucks in German service. Coverage of both is superb, but there might have been more room for details about the lesser-documented subjects?
For the Modeller: Three categories of modellers should get something from this book. Firstly, the softskin enthusiast. There are a lot of possible conversion projects using existing kits, and two spring immediately to mind: the sound detectors and the propaganda vehicles would both make real “show-stoppers.” The dioramist will also find much to consider. Many of the photos just lend themselves to translation to a diorama. Finally, a group we don't always consider: aviation modellers. There are a surprising amount of images of aviation fuel bowsers which would really help in airfield settings.
Finally, it's an excellent book full of superb images, which will really help you “get creative” with the (few) Soviet Truck kits which are out there. Well-presented, graphically-superb and loaded with detail, this is another winner from Tankograd.
Highs: Image quality, concise captions; general presentation is superlative. Lows: Perhaps the size of the subject could have justified two seperate books? Verdict: An excellent book which will fill yet another gap in the market. You want ideas on "sexing-up" a GAZ? This is the book for you.
Our Thanks to Tankograd Publishing! 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 Jim Rae (jimbrae) FROM: PROVINCIA DE LUGO, SPAIN / ESPAñA
Self-employed English teacher living in NW Spain. Been modelling off and on since the sixties. Came back into the hobby around ten years ago. First love is Soviet Armor with German subjects running a close second. Currently exploring ways of getting cloned to allow time for modelling, working and wr...