Sunday, July 28

Read n' Reviewed: PeKo Publishing's 40M Nimrod Tank Destroyer & Armoured Anti-Aircraft Gun

PEKO Publishing has brought us many titles of WWII vehicles and fighting units, often German orientated, but occasionally there is something from their native Hungary that is featured in amongst the StuG's, Panzers and Tigers. The Hungarian 40M Nimrod Tank Destroyer & Armoured Anti-Aircraft Gun is the subject of this new book from PeKo - see what we thought about it in our review...

Read n' Reviewed: 40M Nimrod Tank Destroyer and Armoured Anti-Aircraft Gun

From PeKo Publishing
Author: Attila Bonhardt
Language: English
Pages: 120
Photos: 100+ black & white photos
Physical: Hardcover, 295mm x 210mm, landscape
ISBN: 9786155583148
Price: €28.95
Product Link on the PeKo Books Website

The latest release from PeKo Publishing is a book collated and written by author Attila Bonhardt. IT features a vehicle of the WWII era that many modellers are intrigued with, the very cool looking ( and we hear quite effective in combat) 40M Nimrod Tank Destroyer & Armoured Anti-Aircraft Gun. Although this is an esoteric subject, I was interested when I saw the book was in the making.

The book in its physical form:
It is an English language book (we could not see it on their website in Hungarian) of one hundred and twenty pages, filled with a paragraph of text to support the large-format pictures that dominate each page. The landscape A4 format supports these 100+ black & white photos inside the book quite well, and it affords an aspect that naturally suits photographs taken with a regular camera.  The hardcover has a matte finish, and it already hints at what is inside with large-format pictures on the front and rear cover.  
The book is broken up into three real parts. The first of them being a ten-page block text section, the second - a four-page breakdown of the vehicle properties and statistics of each type of Nimrod and it's related vehicles. The main and third section is just over one hundred and ten pages of one large-format picture and text to support it. OK, that is the description out of the way - now I will take you through the book as we go and sum up what I thought about it at the end of this review.

A walkthrough of the book...
The first ten pages are a little bit of a read, no pictures to be found here, the author describes the history of the Nimrod, and where the design had its origins - with relations to Sweeden's L-60 and the needs of the Hungarian Armed forces that affected the development of the tank. The author talks us through the controversies surrounding the design of the tanks, the orders of the vehicle and the service record of the Nimrod. A troop carrier variant of the Nimrod called the Lehel was proposed, and we follow the story of that failed development also in these pages. I almost feel that some of these pages could be split up with a few of these pictures later shown through the book to break up the text. However, this section was not a chore to read at all, and it gave me a lot more understanding of the Nimrod.

Next, we see four pages of vehicle statistics and specifications of four different vehicles - each of them related to the Nimrod. The L62 tank Hunter, the Nimrod, the "armoured Personnel carrier on Nimrod Chassis and the 43M Lehel armoured Ambulance and personnel carrier. In each of these tables, we see dimensions, track specs, weight and engine power and performance of each vehicle. Kinda dry really, and these could again be integrated into the story along the way perhaps instead of all together in a group at the start of the book? Maybe these could have been put in with the block text where appropriate?

At page sixteen we are into the main meat and potatoes of the book, and the part that most readers I think will like, the pictures with text to support them. The photographs are sometimes familiar to me, but for 90% of this book, I have not seen before.  I would expect the majority of the photographs to be of a previously unpublished nature. Four pages of the original design are grouped together here, the L-62  tank hunter is seen in the snow from all angles but looking very new. Basically, the L-62 was the Nimrod before the new turret that we all know was fitted.

Photos of the vehicle in design and those taken by the makers of the Nimrod show off neatly inside the main part of the crew section which I had not seen before and I think a lot of modellers might want to have references of. The Nimrod is seen in isolated photos that really show of the vehicle from right in front, behind, to each side and from above, we see the driver at his station, the gun from close up, and brand new Nimrod's at the delivery ceremony. These pictures of pristine Nimrods are great for reference.

We see some of the early vehicles with their crews in training and on manoeuvres with some very fresh looking crews to match the vehicles. The text from the author neatly describes what is going on in each of the photographs, and although it is mostly kept to a brief few sentences, the osmosis of information seeping into your bones about these vehicles and their peculiarities was becoming more interesting to me.

The crews of these vehicles are included heavily in the study of the tank. Seeing these Hungarian crews at rest and in action in their vehicles gives the modeller a story and a physical connection to these vehicles as objects in a man's world, It is rarer to see Hungarian soldiers in WWII studies, and I really like to see crews near the tanks in this book. 

With pictures of the tank in both ant-tank and AFV mode with the gun pointed straight ahead, the crew other buttoned-up behind all of the closed armour hatches or exposed standing up in the tanks, or alternatively the tanks are seen with guns aloft, in pictures like this one below with them in full FLAK mode hunting for aircraft formations to shoot at.

The pictures in the book follow a loose historical narrative,  with the soldiers by the middle of the book in action on various battlefields. The vehicles and soldiers looking more battle-worn as the terrain around them is captured also. Although it is rare to see a tank going so fast in pictures like the one in the picture below on the right it is nice to see the tank moving and not just in formation with other vehicles.

More pictures of new Nimrods, with crews inspecting them and on manoeuvres are interspersed throughout this book. They afford us neat views like this one below of the gun in close up from top-down, giving a crewman's perspective out from the vehicle.

There are also some pictures sourced from private collections not previously seen before and I do not think published at least. Shots that show the soldiers of these vehicles close to their machines in quieter times are interesting, as were shots like this below right that show the Nimrods as part of the display for St Christopher like this one.

Later on in the war some Nimrods were delivered in a plain Olive Green, and we see some of these, as well as camouflaged versions,  painted and then, versions covered with foliage as below these pictures illustrate.

As the war nears the ned we see soldiers manning their Nimords heavily camouflaged and even at rest, we see some destroyed and being played on by children, and then captured by the Russians and in possession of them as trophies in Moscow as well as at their premier tank museum Kubinka. We see the last image of a Nimrod in 2013 - it is the best-preserved/restored version in the world. 

There are a few pages of the failed designs of the Lehel and the ambulance variant of the tank that I would not have known about before reading this book.

So that is the whole book wrapped up for you.

An interesting and somewhat obscure subject for some modellers, the Nimrod has a bit of a cult following and so I am sure this book will get plenty of interest. The fact that PeKo follows their own well-proven formula with this book (much like the "On the Battlefield" series) will make a lot of readers feel at home straight away with this format.

The pictures are great as well as the text to explain the context of the photos. The subject is an interesting one - so to me I like this book, even though I knew not a lot about it before - I know a lot more now after reading it. I would actually like to make a model of this tank now I have come to appreciate it through this book.

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to PeKo publishing for sending me this book to read and review - you can purchase it if you like what you saw from the PeKo Website of from their Distributors worldwide.