Sunday, December 6

Read n' reviewed: 1944 German Armour In Normandy – Camouflage Profile Guide from AK Interactive

Our man Clayton LOVES his profile books! Every time one pops up we know we will get the call - so when AK Interactive's book on the German armour in Normandy in 1944 was announced, we knew what we had to do! He as read the book and presents his thoughts about it in his review...
Read n' reviewed: 1944 German Armour In Normandy – Camouflage Profile Guide
From AK Interactive
In either English or Spanish languages. 
112 pages. 
Softcover, A4 format
Price: 19,95€
OK, so I have to admit. I’ve been a little slack with this one. Actually, not really slack, I just plain forgot about it. No excuses...

I was given this book from AK Interactive, "1944 German Armour in Normandy" a few months ago to review and pass on my thoughts of the publication. As it happened, once it hit my lap, the book was thoroughly studied from front to back, multiple times, over and over. With every turn of the page my brain would work out what kits I had in the stash that would be suitable for each and every scheme. Then if I managed to hit the jackpot with a kit that matched, the mental gears then started turning on how I would actually go about achieving the paint scheme shown on the pages in scale.
I’ve made no secret in the past my love of these colour profile books. For me it doesn’t really matter what the subject is. WW2, Modern, the Arab Wars and everything in between. They provide plain and simple inspiration on a page. The unfortunate part of that is the fact that it often leads to my wallet bleeding cash at the local hobby store. I know what I’m in for, but I keep coming back for more.

So, given I was always going to be a fan of this one, let’s actually take a look and see what’s inside the cover.

AK Interactive describe the book as follows –
English / Spanish. 112 pages. Soft cover.

The book's blurb from AK Interactive:
"This new lavishly illustrated title in our Profile Guide series takes you on a journey through the German armoured vehicles which took part in combat in Normandy after the Allied invasion launched on June 6, 1944. Discover the plethora of different camouflage patterns depicted on 190 colour profiles, and read the informative captions which give further explanation on the colours and markings used by various units that fought with the Allies during the summer months of 1944, as well as their organization and equipment. This is an essential publication for the fans of German vehicles and an endless source of inspiration and knowledge for any modeller".

The obligatory advertising is present on the inside cover and we then come to the credits. Fernando Vallejo is credited with the ‘Original Idea’ and the book was  coordinated by Carlos de Diego Vaquerizo and Maciej Goralczyk.

This is followed by the Index that offers a glimpse into what is to follow.
Illustrations were created by the talented Slawomir Zajaczkowski under the Art Direction of Tomek Wajnkaim. Layout and Design is credited to BMS Designs and AK Interactive.

The introduction tells the story of the Battle of Normandy and highlights the units involved and the finer details about the colours used and the methods that were used to apply them. Some high-quality images adorn the pages and offer the modeller some interesting reference material and a hint of some of the profiles that are to follow.

Now… to my pet hate. I appreciate English is not the writers’ foreign tongue, but the writing and the way the sentences are constructed through the introduction make the content incredibly difficult to read. Basic ideas and concepts are conveyed but the ‘non-English’ English is a tough read.

I find the same issue with a lot of these publications coming out of Europe. It is a crying shame there isn’t one more name on that credits page thanking the ‘English translator’. I would think these translations would be an easy fix for a very small investment before the book went to print. However, I digress! Does anyone really care about the introductions? The big pull of these publications is the pretty pictures, and this one has plenty!

Chapter 2.1 covers the Medium Tanks of Normandy. Panthers everywhere with an array of camouflage to choose from. 28 unique profiles in total should be enough to satisfy the die-hard Panther builders.
Hope you have stocked up on putty and your Zimmerit tools because you’re going to need them as every Panther in Normandy had it (as well as a lot of the other tanks!).
Still on the Medium tanks, we move to the Panzer IV’s. 28 schemes in total. 
Both long and short barrel versions are showcased as well as a good selection showing examples with and without the Skirt armour.
Chapter 2.2 sees the big boys come out to play. Everyone loves a Tiger, right ? 20 in total, and again…get that putty warmed up because you’re about to be making some Zimmerit!
Everyone has to paint a Wittmann 007 once in their life don’t, they ?
What comes after the Tiger 1 ? A Tiger II of course. Here we get to see a selection of 14 Kings. One of the profiles is clearly from one of the images from the introduction. The ladder along the side of the tank is a really unique detail and can’t be missed in the picture. An interesting modelling subject no doubt!

Both styles of King Tiger turret were represented during the battle of Normandy. 
Chapter 2.3 moves on to cover the Assault Guns. The German Workhorse, the STUG is the first cab off the rank. 10 x StuG IIIs and 2 x STUG IV’s. The chapter also features a couple of Sturmpanzers.
Different Zimmerit patterns can be clearly identified in the illustrations and offer interesting variations of the paste for the modeller to draw inspiration from.
Anti-Aircraft vehicles now take the stage. A selection of Flakpanzers follow. A number of them are so heavily covered in foliage it’s impossible to see the schemes, but I guess the Illustrations were taken from actual images, so identifying the schemes would have been guesswork at best.
Other Tanks – Guess it was the best description for them? Reconnaissance and captured vehicles played their part in the battle. 6 profiles in total here.
Chapter 2.4 – Here we find ourselves amongst the Tank Destroyers. Sounds cool doesn’t it? Not sure the crews in these open top fighting machines would agree! 

Marders, Jagdpanthers, and some modified captured vehicles offer some interesting subjects.
Self-Propelled Artillery starts on page 76 and offers us a few Wespes’ and Marders.
Some of the heavy weights carried really interesting camouflage schemes – The Lorraine schemes in particular appeal to me.
Chapter 2.5, and we are in the home stretch – The Armoured Cars – 16 in total.

Pumas, 4, 6 and 8 wheelers as well as a truck with an anti-aircraft setup in the tray is featured. (Maybe that one should have been in anti-aircraft…?) I’ll let it slip 👀
The good old German Halftrack is always a fantastic subject to model. There are so many options when it comes to kits, and they covered a plethora of roles. With 26 schemes presented, if you can’t find something in this section that takes your interest you aren’t trying hard enough.
Many styles of the halftrack are presented. Not just the stock standard 250 and 251 versions, but some of the more unique setups are included.
I know I was a little hard on the poor translations. I am because I think it would be such an easy thing to avoid, and if that was corrected then this book would be close to perfect. In saying that, how many people read the articles and how many are buying these things for the pictures ? Sounds like a familiar scenario doesn’t it?

Would the broken English stop me from spending my money on this book? No way. Quite frankly I would have bought it no matter what language it was written in. It’s all about the drawings and the inspiration that comes from them.

There is often conjecture with these type of profile books around the interpretation of colour derived from often obscured Black and White photographs. For me, I really don’t care. If its plausible and looks right based on the information at hand, then I am OK with it. There are some stunning illustrations and a heck of a lot of research gone into this book and I absolutely love it. I know it will be a constant source of reference for me over the years and has become a valued addition to my library.

If you are a modeller and you have a soft spot for WW2 subjects, then go and get yourself this book while you can. It’s a ripper.

Clayton Ockerby

You can find out more about AK Interactive's products on their website - thanks to them for sending this book to Clayton to read and to review...
See more of Clayton’s work at his website “Workbench Hobbies” or join him on his Facebook page