Thursday, July 27

Read n' Reviewed: New Nuts & Bolts - Vol.38 Jagdpanzer IV Part 2: L/70 (Sd.Kfz. 162/1)

We have our hands on the second part of the two volume series on the Jagdpanzer IV from Nuts & Bolts. After our review in the first of the two books covering the complete history of this vehicle, now part II covers the VOMAG and ALKETT versions. We thought we would give you a review of what is inside the second part...

Read n' Reviewed: Nuts & Bolts
Vol.38 Jagdpanzer IV Part 2: L/70 (Sd.Kfz. 162)

Authors Joachim Baschin & Martin Block
208 pages A4 approx.
393 photos/160 contemporary, most of them previously unpublished
214 colour photos of restored vehicles
19 colour photos of the three models
65 pages English / German text,
20 pages of scale drawings
Price 29.90€ at this link...

This issue - Volume 38 Jagdpanzer IV Part 2: L/48 (Sd.Kfz. 162)
Volume 38 is the latest book in the series of two books from Nuts & Bolts. Both of these issues are devoted to essentially the same vehicle, the Jagdpanzer IV. However, the first book, which we looked at in our review a few months ago captured the early versions of Panzerjäger IV, from chassis No.V2, right up to the leichte Panzerjäger IV with the 7.5 cm Pak 39 L/70. 
This, the second edition in this brace of books about the Jagdpanxer IV with the bigger gunned versions with the 7.5 cm Pak 42 L/70 and the Einheitsfahr- gestell, the VOMAG and ALKETT versions of which we found out nine hundred and seventy were made in just eight months of production from August 1944 to May 1945 - so there are a lot of vehicles to be covered, and more than enough reasons to split the coverage of these books into two volumes.
Physically, this book is in the usual format we have come to know from Nuts & Bolts. the A4 portrait softcover with a glossy thick card and bright highlighted colours are familiar. the text is in dual German and English side by side, and the sections are broken down between historical, reference, restoration pictures, museum vehicles, in action, drawings and modelling are in the same format you might like also. This particular book weighs in at a healthy 208 pages, which makes this a considerable effort on its own, but when combined with the first volume, there surely can't be much left uncovered about the Jp.IV? Let's look deeper chapter by chapter to see...

We start off with a tribute to the former draftsmen for all Nuts & Bolts books up until this time, the very talented John Rue. RIP Sir.
The heavy text of the development, history and alterations to this vehicle, the organisation of the units that fought with this vehicle and where the camouflage and markings along with the unit histories as they fought with the Jagdpanzer IV make for some serious reading. Take into not that these first fifty-nine pages are very much for the historian in us, but you can easily become interested in the stories surrounding the how, when, why and who of this vehicle.  
Historical photos and drawings are included in this dual German/ English text heavy sections of the book. I was very interested to know the only minimal changes they needed to make to up-gun this tank, the differences between the nomenclature of the "Lang" and Lang (V) variants. The differences in the armour profiles between the regular and the higher topped versions of the tank.  We also look at the (E) versions and their development as well as the many variations that were int he works for the future including an interesting VK9.03 ( World of Tanks is calling. 

We then look at the organizational break up of the Jagdpanzer IV units, the support structure and numbers allocated to the anti-tank units are shown and discussed. This is a regular section and a helpful guide for all the types of units for the different variants of late Jp.IV.

The next part of the book is for real spectrum splitters, it features the stories of each of the Panzer divisions who used the Jagdpanzer IV, including SS, Panzer and lots of other types of units that operated the type, and this section includes a helpful table to illustrate the text. 

These are Interesting stories in themselves, though these are more for a historian than a model maker, but there are, however, parts for all of us in this book it seems, because soon after this text heavy section, we get into the surviving tanks in museums around the world as well as hint at the rest of the book with a comprehensive textual round up of the model kits of the Jagdpanzer IV and aftermarket sets. More on this later.
 This next section, falling roughly sixty pages into the book features the historical evidence pertaining to this tank and its types. There are fifty-odd pages of every type of late variant on many different theatres in all types of conditions. There are usually three pictures to a page, which makes them not so lush as you might see in a "Panzerwrecks" book, but there is a LOT in here. 
 With just every different scenario, captured, trophied, in action, at rest, on the advance and the retreat and being transported here in these pages. All with dual German and English text captions to put you inside the frame of each of the images. One of the best parts of the book in my view.
 I like this section so much because it almost takes you back to the spot, time and conditions of the picture. It gives me, with a modeller's mind, a lot of inspiration for my own ideas in the future. The fact that these pictures are of the original vehicles, of their original parts in period shots - adds great weight to this section of the book's worth.
 With the regular feature of the scale line drawing profile duties we see the late John L Rue at his usual top. with side and front elevations as well as isometric views of each of the variants in 35th scale so you can use them on your own models.
 The A series with higher hull is included of course as well as the Vomag vehicles with different types of sideskirts and mesh, as well as those without them, command vehicles as well as line drawingss of details like side skirt brackets, suspensions and road wheels, track tensioning and tow bar set up.
 Another favourite of mine is the colour profiles of these vehicles, with full camo pattern illustrated by Laurent Lecocq (great name) and great profiles, there are two to a page over the next nine pages. the profile also includes the pictures of each of the vehicles depicted in the book in the earlier historical section. It would be handy to have a page number on each of these for quicker and easy reference.
 We go on tour in the next part of the book. Taking into account all of the Jagdpanzer IV's that still exist in museums around the world, we look at the nine versions (one only partial) around the world. As we go from the front of the vehicle to the back, these tanks form a full colour visual guide of the tank in its several forms and conditions of repair and disrepair.
  we look at every part of these vehicles, and a good part of how it is done, with so many different vehicles to choose from, gives us a lot of choice in the condition, degree of restoration and how much it changes (or doesn't) the appearance of each vehicle. A good example of this is below - with many of the same parts looked at and the slight differences you need to know about.
 Another good part is the often overlooked view of the interiors of these tanks. With all of these new kits coming out with full interiors, the bar is being raised, and I like the fact that the insides of each of these is included here.
 Lastly, we have another favourite feature of these books. The modelling section. We see Tony Greenlands excellent Vomag and Anklett versions of the Dragon kits, three in all in this short section. IT is a shame that this is not too detailed in a step by step build for each, but I suppose at 208 pages this book is big enough.
 So that is it for this volume - a lot of pages and a lot of information to take in. One can not complain, however, that their particular interest, be it historical, vehicle fanatics, mechanical nuts, unit histories, comouflage and marlings, design drawing achitects, museum nuts and just plain tank afficianados need are more than met here.  
Although there is not a great deal in the modelling section, there is a great deal of info in this, and its companion volume to warrant most people finding exactly what they want to know about the Jagdpanzer IV in these very nice books. There is a lot here, and all of it is quality.

Adam Norenberg

Nuts & Bolts - Vol.38 Jagdpanzer IV Part 2: L/48 (Sd.Kfz. 162) is now available at the Nuts & Bolts website for 29.90€ at this link...