Monday, 4 January 2016

Armorama review of Peko book

Some extract form a generous review:
"authored by Craig Ellis, also known to internet community as “8wheels-good”, a dedicated researcher on Panzer IV. Craig collected an enormous amount of photographs and was able to do a very good research through years credited by various Axis subjects expert including author of Panzer Tracts Hillary Doyle." 

"The introduction is very well written and covers the background of Panzer IV development……although the text here is only 2 pages long it has an excellent narration and you can feel the attitude and passion of the author to Panzer IV’s." 

"with 4-5 sentences in the image legend that focus on the features observed. Here we can appreciate the knowledge of Craig Ellis as he points attention to very specific details corresponding to particular version of Panzer IV or unit where it is important." 

"One can appreciate the authors focus on specific elements like stowage and markings again, especially when it comes to z.B.V. 66, unit that was supposed to invade Malta, but then was transferred to the Eastern Front. The photographs dedicated to DAK tanks got my attention as I did a model of Panzer IV Ausf F2 in 2015 and many of the images presented in the book are new to me." 

"Second half deals with Ausf G, H and J. Many of those images can be a great start for a model, including crew uniforms. A diversity of zimmerit patterns, battle damages and camouflages are worth checking as well."

And in conclusion:

"I think this is another winning title from PeKo publishing. Panzer IV is one of the favorite subjects for modellers and Craig Ellis is a great narrator for those images. There are plenty of tanks in different versions presented and one can have a very good read and inspiration from that book."

The full review can be seen here:
armorama review

The Modelling News review of Peko book

"PzKpfwIV on the Battlefield" has now started to generate reviews from the modelling websites:

Some extract from a positive review - many thanks!

"Each page has one picture on each with a deft description in precise detail of the type of vehicle marque, the series and production factory quite often along with any vehicle details that you may or may not for the most part noticed."

"The author has confessed to searching the internet daily for information on his interests… and it shows in his texts that he knows his stuff."

"This text in introduction gives a nice overview sets us up as a preface to better understanding the precise detail of each vehicle explained in the captions later in the book."

"Lucky for us we are told on most pages what the sometimes very slight differences are between these early versions of the tank. Often you would have no idea unless someone in the know like the author told you so."

"Well number ten hey? Who would have thought that in a pretty congested market like we have that a new(ish) publisher could do ten volumes and keep it looking fresh? Well PEKO keep on doing it. This is a great book that I learnt a lot from and it was a pleasure to read. My compliments to the author and publisher – keep them coming like this!"

You can read the full review here

Writing for Peko publishing

Through working on the ordering and characterisation of PzKpfwIV image in the Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC), more on that later, I was approached by Peter Kocsis the owner of a new Hungarian armour publishing company, Peko Publishing.

They have been producing a series of bilingual, hardback photo books on WWII vehicles and were looking for someone to write a volume on the PzIV, I jumped at the chance.

order from Facebook
order from panzer wrecks
oreder from

The brief was to write a book that dealt with the complete history of the tank covering all Ausfs. Not something I have done before and actually the discipline of dealing with the breadth of an idea like this within a limited space was harder than I had expected.Very different from the detailed targeting I have been used to. Nevertheless an enjoyable challenge and like a kid in a sweet shop I started receiving files full of images.  My initial plan was to use as many new images as possible but also some old classics if I could find a new take on them, plus use the format to pair up images when ever possible. It was also a balancing act to create an overview that would be helpful for beginners but still interesting for the more experienced.

So bit by bit over the last calendar year I have been juggling photos that Peter sent me and I found in the AMC with text ideas until it was completed in August, ready of the Xmas market. It is 112 pages including 100 full page B&W images from private collections including a few of my own, hopefully some of you woke up to find it under your tree :)

Friday, 4 September 2015

high level validation

During a discussion on the Missing-Lynx forum about the forthcoming 1/16 Trumpeter PzIVJ Hilary Doyle joined in to pass on information about an unexpected please of a new Panzer Tracts volume on the PzIV Ausf H/J. When asked if he was aware of info in Update 3 etc he gave this reply:

"I have to strongly recommend the books produced by Craig Ellis, I have them all. Craig has been doing some very good research and his books, being photo rich, just like Nuts & Bolts and Panzerwrecks make a great companions to the technical stuff we present in Panzer Tracts. 

You can be sure that I have incorporated all of the latest results from the research over the 22 years. In this Panzer Tracts No.4-3 there is space that was not available previously so there are drawings of Pz.Kpfw.IV Ausf.H from the three different assembly firms and covering a variety of configurations depending on the date completed plus some important component drawings at 1:10" 

 I have had a few brief email conversations with Hilary in the past but for him to so publicly support the work was very generous of him and more than a bit humbling

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

PzRgt 27 - 1941 supplement finally uploaded

After sitting gone the back burner for over the year I have finally got round to focussing on this book and making its publication a priority.

Consisting of 90 pages that include 89 period black & white photographs, many published for the first time and often showing the same vehicle from different angles. It concludes with a 6 page section on modelling a 1/35 PzIV from the 6th Kompanie. This section includes 15 full colour photos (more below) that show the building and correcting of Dragon's PzIV Ausf E VorPz kit.

You can find the Blurb detail on the sister blog

where a link will take you to all the paper and e-book options.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A third character ?

I came across a third vehiclethat may well be in the same location as below. This time a very characterful Stug III with additional concrete and plate armour.

The rear of a JgdPz IV can be seen behind it and the rubble also seems to match. On the extreme left of the image behind the cart is a disk like object, which can be seen behind the JgdPz IV previously posted.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Interesting scene

These two images of late PzIV variants maybe  quite well known but I am not sure if the connection through location has been made before:

The house in the background is the key similarity.

For some reason it is unusual for the two types of vehicle to be seen together, I'm not sure if they are from the same unit. This could be a good comparative scene for all the ambitious diorama builders out there.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

"Factory Production (G)" review at

Thomas Hartwig at has posted a review of Update No3.

Here is a direct link for those of you able to read the original German text

Monday, 23 February 2015

Ausf Gs from PzRgt39 showing factory differences

There was great collection of images of TachPz Ausf Es from PzRgt 39, 17th PzDiv on ebay recently see:

and at the end of the listing was this small group showing crews who had survived Barbarossa and were using long barrelled Ausf Gs during the Winter of 42/43 through to the following spring.

This group of images is interesting in light of the new information from Update No3 as it is now possible to differentiate these vehicles production factory.

The first image possibly shows them during the winter of 42/43. This could have been taken around the time period when they were involved in the unsuccessful attempt to break the siege of Stalingrad.

From the direction of the tracks and the style of gun cleaning rods we can ascertain this final vehicle was produced at Krupp. Note the fire extinguisher has been moved to the rear fender, which may indicate that the unit might still have been storing items (such as jerrycans) on the front fender as they did in 41.

These three images show a vehicle from Krupp. There are a couple of features evident that help this identification. The combination of the angle of the aerial deflector and the twist in the Bosch headlight cable were specific to this factory. The bar still being used to fix the hull front track links dates this production to before Feb 43

 Note the triangle on the turret side in the final image. This has also been seen in the book "The War Diaries of a Panzer soldier" and must be a Kompanie or role indicator within the unit.

The next one is from Vomag production. The solid guide horns visible on the spare track links and the straighter, nearly vertical  Bosch cable in conjunction with the square foot on the jack are specific to that factory. The "T" style fixings holding the hull track links replaced the bar after than Jan 43 in Vomag production.

Note how both of these have a rubber hose wrapped around the left Bosch headlight. This was most likely the refuelling hose which was usually tucked between the turret and the stowage bin.

Although a lot of detail is obscured by the camouflage the "backwards" tracks and the smoke candles on the turret cheeks are clear indicators of Nibelungen production from Jan - Mar 43.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

update no3 reviewed in AFV Modeller

Squeezed into their always busy New Release section is another glowing report

"Another release in the Panzer IV series of books that are available from on-line 'print on demand' service, Blurb. This series is a great example of how publishing and printing technology can share the knowledge of someone with great enthusiasm for a subject. This update volume is as detailed as it gets, delving into the three factories that produced F2 to G and the various subtle differences in another unique look at the author's collection of Psnzer IV images. We're shown details right down to the vehicle's chassis number highlighting production features, modelling gold if you're looking fo the ultimate in accuracy Ruth. Selection of tables and diagrams to collate the information into msnageable visuals. Craig's text is very easily read and has a nice informal feel considering the in-depth subject matter! As always the photos are the focus with another superb selection, if Oanzer IVs Stroud thingyou may already be collecting this series and this is a addition you'll certainly not wang to miss. Available from the Blurb website now. Thanks to 8 wheels-good for our sample."
That's after 106 likes on their Facebook page when they posted about receiving the book in Nov ��

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Third Update (Factory production guide) finished

I have managed to finish and uploaded the latest Update to the "PzKpfwIV at the front" series. This update is a guide to factory differences through Ausf G and into early H production. For the first time the differences between vehicles produced by all three factories are described in detail. 

Click on the the cover image or the link below it to go to the Blurb website:













      PzKpfw IV at the front: UPDATE No3 - factory production guide (G) by from the collection of 8wheels-good
      Make Your Own Book

      PzKpfw IV at the front: UPDATE No3 - factory production guide (G) by from the collection of 8wheels-good
      Make Your Own Book
 I have also set it up as an ebook, which can be accessed through this link:

I have been able to identify a number of features that can enable a differentiation between vehicles of a similar time period. That is, if you can see certain elements you can now ascertain, with relative confidence whether the vehicle was build at the Krupp, Vomag or Nibelungen factory. These features range from new observations on small details to realigning features that were previously thought to be date specific alterations to factory specific styles instead.

The key to this research was an investigation into new and existing images of vehicles with their Fgst Nr (chassis number) visible (I have managed to gather 43 such example, 12 of which are documented photographically in the book) and relating them to a chart built around info on factory specific contracts, see this old post

I have split it into the following four periods:
Early F2(G) - where the differences are harder to spot (including info on long & bendy aerial deflector)
Mid G - where they become quite distinct (including new info on the implementation of changes to Bosch headlights, smoke candles, tool stowage and the new roof/cupola)
Late G - where other distinguishing feature are added (including diagram showing new info on schurzen variations)
Ending with a short intro to Very early H, which will conclude in a future update along with Ausf J.

This Update is longer than previous at 102 pages and now contains a total of 139 original period photos covering the early 1942 through to mid 1943. As usual the majority of them are previously unpublished. There are also 9 diagrams, three tables and multiple thumbnails introducing specific details in each of the chapters. 

The final appendix of the book covers applying this new information to modelling using the Dragon Ausf G kits. It includes three models of mid production Gs illustrated with 11 photos showing in detail how to accurately produce one from each factory from a similar time frame.

Stealing the Panzerwrecks style here are some of the questions answered in this Update:

How many ways can you mount a fire extinguisher? How many styles of long & bendy aerial deflector were there and who had an interim style between long & Bendy and short? Who mounted the short aerial deflector horizontally? What’s the difference between the mounts for gun cleaning rods? Who fitted their tracks backward? Who was last to mount Bosch headlights? When was the bar across tracklinks on the hull front first deleted and by whom? Who was first to mount smoke candles on the turret sides? Who plugged the hole for the smoke candles and when? What does field-applied turret schurzen look like? What distinguishes additional armour fitted in May? Only one factory actually fitted 3 track links to the rear plate, who was it? How do you distinguish between schurzen fitted by the different factories? Who was the last to fit S-hooks?

Overall I am extremely pleased with the brand new perspective this information gives a familiar old friend.