Tank Power Volume VI - Sd Kfz 251
is published by the Polish publishing house, Wydawnictwo Militaria
and is number 215 in their armor vehicle series. The book is bi-lingual, Polish/English and all the essential details are translated.
In my earlier 'period' as modeller and wargamer, I was somewhat obsessed (as any good modeller should be) with particular vehicles. One of those 'abiding' passions, was the series of vehicles which became known as the 251 Series. Over the years I have built a good number of them in both 1/72nd and 1/35th scale. Only recently, did I re-kindle my interest with the DML
releases of this most fascinating of vehicles. This is my third in a series of connected
reviews of reference material for the 251 series, a series which will no doubt keep expanding. It is also useful at this point, to ask why so many references are needed for a vehicle which has been so well kitted in 1/35th by both AFV Club & Dragon
. Simply, it is due to the complexity of the subject. Around 80 variants existed of the 251 (based on 4 different hull configurations) so with this vehicle (as with many other) we need a form of Clarification....
Sensibly, Wydawnictwo Militaria
, have not attempted to deal with each of the 23 possible variants within the book's 68 pages. Rather they deal with the variants 251/1 to251/10 which are:
251/1 - Personnel Carrier
251/2 - 8cm, sGrWr34 Mortar Carrier
251/3 - Communications Vehicle
251/4 - Artillery Tractor
251/5 - Engineer vehicle
251/6 - Command & Communications Vehicle
251/7 - Engineer Vehicle with a small bridge
251/8 - Ambulance
251/9 - SP Gun armed with the KwK 7.5cm 37 L/24.
251/10 - Platoon Commanders vehicles armed with the 3.7cm Pa Ger�t 910
The book begins with a historical and developmental overview of the 251. The first of many 1/35th scale plans are presented with all showing the side views and many showing front and rear views along with a number of overhead views (vital for demonstrating internal configuration). The text, as I mentioned earlier is in both Polish and English. This, unlike other books, gives the non-Polish speaker, the same text, not just photo captions. the book is presented according to variants, e.g. 251/1 covers the four 'Ausfs' in a logical manner, although perhaps they could have been better sub-divided with chapter headings... Interspersed with the plans and text are a number of contemporary photos of the vehicles. Many have been seen before however this takes little away from their utility as a number of those (vital) overhead views are also included.
The two final sections are color illustrations and photographs. The penultimate is no less than EIGHT
pages of a 251/7 Ausf. D which was photographed at the Samur Tank Museum.
The last section consists of TEN
pages of color profiles (three to a page) covering Ausf A to D and the 251/1 to 251/9. As an added bonus, three more profiles are given on the inside cover. All show variations in color/camouflage schemes although lacking some of the more 'extravagant' schemes that are frequently seen...
This is an extraordinarily concise book although, inevitably, not the last word on the subject. The book does need the companion volume to be a more complete work than it presently is. Again, I have to say this is a 'workbench' book. There are a lot of details which some reference is required on the AFV Club & Dragon
kits - this book will assist the 'super-detailer' and the average modeller enormously. The scale plans are a superb selling point for this book, although perhaps a book consisting of nothing but scale plans would also be useful. As indeed, would a book consisting of nothing more than a collection of (re-scanned) contemporary images. At the price it represents extraordinary value. The quality also demonstrates that Poland is right at the forefront of producing first-rate, affordable reference material and in particular, the extraordinarily, complete list available from Wydawnictwo Militaria
Details and availability
After much searching, finally purchased a copy from Military Book Centre
in England, whose service has to be congratulated. I ordered the book on a Thursday and had it the following Monday - an impressive service.
Wydawnictwo Militaria's Website
can be accessed through this link...