Wednesday, October 11

Read n' Reviewed: Ammo's Panzer DNA: German Military Vehicles of World War II, Camouflage,

Ammo's take on emulating some of the great reference boos of the past continues with a new title - "Panzer DNA" written by Daniele Guglielmi and Mario Pieri, it is full of a lot of information and much sought after details on what made up the Panzers of WWII. Paul has read it, see what he thinks about it in his review...

Read n' Reviewed:  Panzer DNA: German Military Vehicles of World War II, Camouflage, Markings Organization
Authors: Daniele Guglielmi and Mario Pieri
MPN: A.Mig-6035
ISBN: 978-84-16949-13-7
Hardcover 139 Pages A4 Portrait
English version
Available from Ammo of Mig Jimenez distributors
As much as modellers will often complain about it, there is just something about German subjects that just makes them popular in the modelling world as evidenced by the constant stream of German military vehicles of WWII in the new release schedules of model kit manufacturers. Modelling references are a second element to the hobby, and while the internet is abundant with information at your fingertips, it can be hours of going through search results, and more often than not, contradictory information.
Ammo by Mig Jimenez has come to the party with this beautiful volume called Panzer DNA, combine the two aforementioned aspects of German Panzers and reference material on the various elements of what makes up a panzer tank.
The book comes in a hardcover portrait layout printed on 139 glossy pages, with a variety of coloured illustrations, black and white photos as well as some colour photos throughout providing plenty of modelling inspiration for purchasers of this book. A glossy bookmark with a list of Heer Panzer Division unit markings throughout the war is also included with the book to obviously help you find your spot in the book.
The introduction starts off by talking about the inspiration for this book, which is the old Panzer Colours series, and how this book is not trying to disrespect this well-known series by saying it is incorrect, but acknowledging that information is complex, and confusing and that this is their take on the subject. It then goes into a brief summary of each chapter, and I did notice that the English is a bit awkward at times, but that is sometimes the weakness when the original authors are not necessarily fluent in English and is understandable. A pair of photos perfectly illustrates the difficulties of picture references with one image showing what can easily be identified as a Bergepanzer, however, a photo from the other side of the vehicle reveals it to be a Panzer IV with its turret blown off.
Chapter One is broken into four subsections covering The Balkankreuz, its Beginnings, Evolution, and Implementation and Use. The chapter is not text heavy which makes it easy to read and has illustrations of the various types of Balkankreuz that appeared during the war, and a lot of photos of various vehicles with different types of Balkankreuz. While these are typically provided in kits and decal sets, it is useful to those who wish to use various crosses from the spares box and not sure on how appropriate it is.
Chapter Two is more about the Panzer Units themselves, and covers the Composition of Military Units, Armoured and Mechanized Infantry Divisions, and Waffenfarbe which is the colour coding of collar patches and straps of uniforms, and you are given colour chips of the various Waffenfarbe to help get those parts of the uniform right.
Chapter Three is a longer chapter, covering Markings, Tactical Symbols, Divisional Insignia, Armoured Fighting Vehicles Numbering, License Plates, and Other Markings. Again, these markings are often provided as decals in model kits and this chapter does a good job of explaining what they mean which is useful when you’re thinking of applying that decal to your latest project. 
The chapter is well balanced with illustrations of the various markings, text sections explaining the markings and how they evolved during the war, and photos of the markings appearing on various vehicles throughout the war.

Chapter Four is the longest chapter of the book, and is probably the one of most interest to us modellers covering the Colours and Camouflages, Principles, Pre-War Period, European Front 1939-1942, North African Front 1941-1943, European Front 1943-1944, European Front late 1944-1945, Snowy Lands, Interiors of Vehicles, Miscellany, and Final Considerations.
Once again, the text makes the point that colours are an extremely complex topic, and that the book is not exhaustive, but this is their interpretation of their research. The chapter tries to explain the meaning behind the German names of the different colours used, and is accompanied throughout by many b&w photos, but there are also some coloured photos including this King Tiger with the tentacle scheme seen in the Academy release of the King Tiger.
A small section of colour chips of the RAL colours is provided, as well as a chart of the various colours and their Ammo-Mig paint equivalents, which is not surprising given that this is an Ammo publication.
Chapter Five covers Zimmerit, its Origin, and Application. Of interest was the table of nine apparently “common” Zimmerit patterns, also accompanied with the usual array of photos illustrating the wide variety of Zimmerit patterns that was applied to German tanks, well beyond the vertical and horizontal lines we often see portrayed as Zimmerit modelled on German tanks.
Chapter Six covers Ranks and Honours, as well as a Comparative table of Ranks. The comparative table is particularly helpful because German ranks are not always translated, and quite often used liberally as if Oberscharführer is part of the English vocabulary and everyone will know what it means.
Chapter Seven covers Signalling, Signalling by Means of Flags, Signalling by Means of Semaphore, Flags and Pennants for Command Vehicles, and Poison Gas Detection Panels. The signal flags will be a useful addition to a diorama or vignette, but the section on Semaphores showed the meanings of the various positioning of the two circular discs and will give that figure in the diorama/vignette you are working on just that little bit more accuracy.
The appendixes give you a costing of German equipment during the war, as well as a table of German military terms, their abbreviations, and English translations. I thought the picture of the German crew swabbing out the barrel of the giant K5(E) railway gun was great diorama inspiration.
It is ironic that for a book that tries to explain a subject, but only manages to illustrate how complex this topic actually is. However, that doesn’t mean this is a bad publication because it is very well researched with some excellent photos to inspire your next build, and will be an excellent addition to the library of any military enthusiast. While the book goes well beyond the needs of the average modeller, it does offer a good insight into the theory behind how you paint your next panzer project. Highly recommended.

Paul Lee
Thanks to Ammo of Mig Jimenez for sending this book to read and review.