Thursday, August 11

Read n’ Reviewed: Nuts & Bolts Volume 36: Bussing's Schwere Pz.Spahwagen Pt 2:

The eight wheeled Bussing's Schwere Pz.Spahwagen is an iconic vehicle of the German forces in WWII – especially in the early years where these seemed to be used in high numbers. Today Paul gets his hands on the copy of Nuts & Bolts new book that irons out pretty much all you need to know about these – let’s see what he thought about the book…

Read n’ Reviewed: Nuts & Bolts Volume 36: Bussing's Schwere Pz.Spahwagen Pt 2:
-       schw. Pz.Spahwagen (7,5 cm) (Sd.Kfz. 233)
-       Pz.Fu.Wg (Sd.Kfz.263)
-       Panzermesskraftwagen
Author: Holger Erdmann, Martin Block
English and German text
208 pages, photos, scale drawings, and colour plates
Price 29.90€  - directly from Nuts & Bolts Website

The Nuts & Bolts series now hits volume 36, and with volume 35 being Part 1 of Bussing's Schwere Pz.Spahwagen, it should be no surprise that volume 36 is part 2 of the same vehicle. For those familiar with the Nuts & Bolts series, it is more or less a case of if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The book comes in the standard Nuts & Bolts glossy softcover format and covers the three non-turreted versions of Bussing's Sch. Pz Spahwagen, with one of each, portrayed on the front cover. The schw. Pz.Spahwagen Sd.Kfz233 is the version armed with a short barreled 7.5 howitzer, the Pz. Fu.Wg Sd.Kfz 263 is the command version, and lastly, the Panzermesskraftwagen which I'll admit that I didn't even know existed is a vehicle used by artillery for measuring distances. Unfortunately, none of the Panzermesskraftwagen's survived the war.

The first half of the book is more text heavy, and each page is written in two columns, one in English and the other in German. The first section covers the Historical/ Technical development & production of the vehicle and covers all three vehicles. However, there is not much else presented on the Panzermesskraftwagen in the following sections.

The next section is called the Organisation and Structure of Reconnaissance units which are fairly self-explanatory. Occasional diagrams of unit structures help break up the dry nature of the text and give a nice visual of the composition of the reconnaissance units these vehicles served in.

The next section covers the History of Reconnaissance Units, and then Camouflage, and Markings. Again, all quite self-explanatory, and again, the text is broken up by the occasional photograph, and there is a small illustration of the assorted markings that were often on these vehicles.

There is then a Conclusion which is a brief evaluation of the vehicle in service, and then it is followed by the build notes for the models of the SdKfz233 by Tony Greenland, and the SdKfz263 by Vinnie Brannigan. This ends the text intensive section of the book and then moves onto the section more interesting to modellers with more photographs of the vehicles themselves.

A Technical View of the SdKfz233 is covered first and pictures are in black and white and generally of good quality. There is some accompanying text to each of the pictures and very helpful for pointing out the minor differences in production vehicles.

The SdKfz263is presented next and again, good quality black and white photos of the vehicle in use with accompanying text about the differences in production vehicles.

There is also a page on the Panzermesskraftwagen with three pictures but the fact that only one was ever captured, and didn't survive the war makes this quite a rare vehicle.

The next sections are again mostly composed of photographs with accompanying text and cover the vehicles in service starting from 1937-39 Pre-War time, through the war in the various campaigns and fronts, and finally the end of the war in 1945.

The pictures are in black and white but are of good quality including some of the SdKfz263 in North Africa and Southern Front.

There are some good pictures of SdKfz233's on the Eastern Front with some interesting camouflage schemes that may not necessarily be accurate to be airbrushed on your model if you are building that particular vehicle.

A few more similar schemes appear at the end of the war although the pictures are not as clear but still have some good inspiration for diorama or vignette potential.

Line drawings of all three vehicles are presented in the next section with the Panzermesskraftwagen being of the most interest.

There are some colour profiles of various vehicles that appear in the book, although they are only on the left side of the vehicle, but there is the occasional extra image of the hull front or another area of interest.

The next section is a walkaround although they focus more on the particular differences these vehicles had compared to the standard vehicles of the previous volume, being the 7.5cm howitzer of the SdKfz233 and some of the antenna and radio of the SdKfz 263.

Some very in-depth pictures of some great original parts will help modellers

The final section of the book features more pictures of the models of the SdKfz233 by Vinnie Brannigan and the SdKfz263 by Tony Greenland.

Overall, pretty much the same from Nuts & Bolts, but as I said at the start, if it ain't' broke don’t' fix it. So why would Nuts & Bolts need to deviate from a formula composed of good research and good pictures that have served them so well? Definitely a good follow up to Part 1, and highly recommended.

Paul Lee

You can get your own copy of this latest issue and all previous issues of the Nuts & Bolts series from their own website, or from distributors around the world.