Monday, October 28

Read n' Reviewed: The Iran Iraq War 1980-1988 Modern Conflicts Profile Guide Vol. IV from AK Interactive

Clayton loooves those profile books - so when AK Interactive brought out their new book on the Iran-Iraq Wars with a book packed full of profiles and pictures of these vehicles in the desert battles who better to read and review it? See what he thought in our story today...

Read n' Reviewed: The Iran Iraq War 1980-1988  Modern Conflicts Profile Guide Vol. IV
From AK Interactive
English Language. 
140 pages. 
Softcover, A4 Portrait format
Price: 27,95€
In this fast-paced world, it seems everything is just a click of a button away. Mind you, that one ‘click’ can open a Pandora’s’ box revealing a load of rubbish and flood of useless information. How often have you gone to research a particular subject and are then hit completely irrelevant pictures of cats playing keyboards? Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a cat on a keyboard as much as the next guy, but when I want to learn about a tank or look for inspiration for a paint scheme, this is a distraction I just don’t need. 

I know most of us are of the age where we remember the days of browsing the pictures in the old Tamiya catalogues and dreaming of what could be. You would then get to the end and start all over again. Inspiration on a page and a constant source of reference (or sorts). 

But oh my…haven’t times changed.

Today I am lucky enough to have the most recent release, Volume 4 from AK Interactive in their line of Modern Conflicts Profile Guides. The A4 (210mm x 297mm) sized book is nicely presented with a high gloss softcover and consists of 140 pages. Zachary Sex is the man at the helm and has done a wonderful job compiling an array of interesting vehicles from the Iran-Iraq conflict of 1986-88 as well as vehicles witnessed right up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The book consists of 190 researched colour profiles, but even better than that, the profiles are backed with a reference photograph…So not only do you get to see an artist’s impression on the vehicle, but you actually get to see how it is weathered a worn in the real image. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the content. 

The book is built around 4 chapters. Chapter 1 features vehicles and artillery pieces from The Islamic Republic of Iran Army, Chapter 2 The Iraqi Army, Chapter 3 People’s Mujahedin of Ian Forces and Chapter 4 is Al Taji Scrapyard.
The opening pages of the book (not pictured) give the reader a reasonably comprehensive insight into the Iran Iraq conflict (something I knew very little of). It sets the scene and the groundwork for the vehicles that were to follow in the book. 

Chapter 1 covers some of the vehicles of the Islamic Republic of Iran Army. The chapter also covers some of the vehicles of the Revolutionary Guards. As you can see from the opening chapter, the layout and design of the book look very sleek. I have a graphic design background, so I probably pay a little more attention to that type of thing more than most. That said, it is very obvious when the design looks wrong, but this looks great and has clearly been thoughtfully designed and set. 

The profiles are a mix of vehicles from all over the World! US, British and Russian. If you can’t find something of interest here, you are not trying hard enough. 
Nothing like a tank on the back of a Mack truck! Anyone inspired yet?
Three T-55s’ and a T-62. Russian armour was used in vast numbers during the conflict and present every modeller with interesting painting and weathering opportunities. 
Here you see a mish-mash of vehicles and weaponry, again providing some interesting ideas for the modeller looking for something a little left of centre. 
Chapter 2 is based around vehicles from the Iraqi army. The introduction gives you some insight into the chaotic history of Iraq and touches on the conflicts the army has taken part in. 

As an interesting start to some of the profiles we see a ZiS-485, or for want of a better term…a reverse engineered DUKW-153. Who would have thought the Iraqis’ would have had one of those in their service!
Essentially the Iraqi arsenal consisted of Russian equipment but scattered amongst the ranks we see some captured Iranian vehicles, hence throwing the US-made equipment in the mix. Now doesn’t that help make the old Tamiya M577 look like an interesting subject for your next build?
Jumping now to page 145 we see one of the most important tanks of the Iraqi army, the T-72. The T-72 proved very effective and was used in large numbers during the final years of the conflict with Iran.  Also shown in an eclectic mix of support vehicles.
Chapter 3 – People’s Mujahedin of Iran Forces. Described as a cult by many, the organization started life as a left-wing revolutionary group. Also known as the Mojahedin-e Khakq Organization (or MKO), the groups' ideology was based around a strict Islamic belief.

The group was forced into exile after Ayatollah Khomeini refused to share power with them and they were viewed as being traitors by many Iranians. The group was later re-established in Iraq at the request of Saddam Hussein himself. The MKO and the NLA (National Liberation Army of Iran) fort side by side with the Iraqis’ and were armed with a great deal of Iraqi equipment.

Although not pictured there is a vast array of interesting vehicles. Chieftains, T-55s’, T-72s’ and even an M109 Howitzer. (guess you will have to buy the book to take a closer look!) 
 The final chapter of the book is a collection of reference photos taken at the Al Taji Scrapyard, a former Iraqi Republican Guard base. There are vehicles from every side of the conflict and provide an excellent, real-life reference into how the vehicles weather and wear in the harsh desert conditions. 
The colour images span over 25 pages and were generously supplied by a Hungarian Service person who runs a Facebook page called – Exclusive Military Hardware.
I make no secret of the fact that I really love this style of profile book, and I really like this one. The Iran/Iraq conflict wasn’t something I was particularly interested in or knew much about until I started reviewing this book…Now I find myself looking for a T-55 I can build and weather in one of the schemes outlined on the pages in the book. Maybe even throw it on the back of a Mack truck and trailer…(Does that even exist in 1/35…??)

As mentioned earlier, not only are the profiles excellent, but the fact there is an actual of the vehicle included is a really helpful piece of information for the modeller to draw from. 

This publication is beautifully presented and is consistent with its design. The mix of vehicles presented is as interesting as it is vast. 

I can highly recommend this book and I will be going out of my way to try and get my hands on some of the other publications in this series. Inspiration on a page.

Clayton Ockerby 

This book is now for sale on the AK Interactive website... Thanks to them for sending this book out to Clayton to read and review...
See more of Clayton's work on his excellent website Workbench Hobbies.