Sunday, January 27

Get on your 3D bikes and Ride!

Kagero continue with their latest in their series of revamped books with Photo-sniper no:6 – this book is on the BMW motorbike – with the focus being on the iconic R 75 – often with a sidecar this bike has become something of a must have in the modelling world – can this edition with the 3d graphics enhancements help a modeller? Let’s find out..

By Wojciech Niewęgłowski, & Łukasz Gładysiak
English text + walkaround +Archive photos + 3D Renders
Format (size):A4- 205x275 mm
56 pages - Matte coated paper - Soft cover binding
Available from Kagero Directly

Confession - I love bikes with sidecars – this isn’t a Wallace and Grommit thing – but more of an Indiana Jones thing - I just always envision them with a machine gun on front chasing someone. The Bikes and sidecars the Third Reich used had a much more serious job to do than be in movies – they served as communications and reconnaissance vehicles that were imperative to the war effort and have lived a life long after the war because of their many admirers – The new Photosniper series of all angles looks at military machines has made BMW and most notably the R-75 the focus of their latest title - we will have a look at this book from Kagero on the BMW R-75 to see what we think of it.
The book comes in an A4 portrait view with really nice quality softcover and paper inside – this feels the right thickness and looks glossy enough – comprised of text, then archive pictures – walk around of an R-12 and then digital 3D like renders of several different types of R-75 – let’s go through the text first.

The text takes us through BMX’s first beginnings and early years from developing aero engines in WWI through to the end of WWII. The company symbolised by the blue and white spinning propeller are often referred to as “the company from Munich” – well the BMW motorcycles from the first R4 through to the R75 type are mentioned in some small but sufficient detail in thirteen pages of English – accompanied by archival pictures of the earlier types – it is late into the tale when we start to talk about the R-75. The build-up though is worth it, and the developmental discussion makes you understand how this popular bike became what it was.  All of the way through you are given many tables showing all of the BMW’s bikes and sidecar’s specifications and performance, but just when you are thinking it is a little technical for you then you go onto the next developmental step in a new machine. The text - although one or two grammatical errors (no worse than my own writing I am sure) is really informative and helpful. The text to accompany the pictures is also useful.
You do go straight into the story in this book – I found out a few things in the epilogue that I think should have been at the introduction of the book. Also the footnotes would not have hurt to have been in with the text as they were informative and not distracting. Other than those few picky qualms by this reviewer (who must think he is an author himself sometimes) the text was very good.

The walk around is what the Photosniper series is famous for and is delivered in the form of an immaculate BMW R12 Gespann (sidecar) from the people of the AA7 re-enactment Association of Poland. The bike is seen from all angles and you are given a rare treat in these pictures because of the amazing condition of this bike.
Books are funny things now- days – you can find walk arounds within a few seconds anywhere on the internet. Historical data and pictures – well Google and image search find them pretty quick - but not in my research experience have I found anything like the 3D renders in this book and indeed the other new publications offered by Kagero. This next section of the book is broken up into a life like walk around of several R75 bikes. Indeed it is hard to tell where the photographic walk around stopped and the 3D computer generated stuff started.

The back to basics R-75 painted in Panzergrau and marked up just like it came out of the factory. Freshly painted, we see the bike in close-up and with and without several parts around the bike. We see the R-75 without the sidecar so you can look at the frame and in close to the engine. This is a really revealing look at this bike and it’s workings.
We go on to see several pages of this bike in more of a portrait view of the bike in several liveries – a “desertised” bike from the Afrika Korps, a Luftwaffe and a bike from the French western front in 1944 as well as a white washed bike from the eastern front. Text is supplied to describe and point out the peculiars of each bike – always interesting this is a most welcome addition.
These renders certainly get the modelling juices flowing, and although I have made several of these bikes before I wanted to change the colour schemes of the bikes I had already made to something approximating these excellently detailed three wheelers.
Yes I love bikes and sidecars as I was saying – I never would have thought about buying a book on the R 75 until now. I think this book adds enough to the genre with particularly it’s 3D renders to make it well with the purchase. Surely the Zundapp bikes will come into focus now after this book – I would love to see them as well if the treatment can be so well executed. A great book!

Adam Norenberg

These magazines are available from Kagero Directly or from their distributors worldwide – including Squadron MMD in the states, Casemate in the UK and Jantarpol in Australia