Friday, 29 October 2010

"An essential reference for axis armour modellers"

AFV modeller 55 - review of Barbarossa Stowage

"This is the fifth book on the PanzerIV using archive pictures from the private collection of "8wheels-good" and it is for me probably the best of the series. For the first time the author has attempted a study of "unit specific" stowage from the invasion of Russia in 1941. What he admits began as something of a folls errand soon began to make sense with systematic methods of stowage being introduced by different units in a way that had not been seen during the campaigns in the West. The book is therefore divided in sections for each unit and begins with an overview of the key characteristics of the stowage practice and those of individual Kompanies. Photographic evidence is then provided with most images printed at a good size, and all photos captioned. a useful appendix is also included with diagrams showing not only the stowage arrangements for each unit but also the markings for those units. For the modeller this is an invaluable reference as it seems you cannot just presume to load up stowage on your tank as you wish, and often it seems that other vehicles types in the regiments followed similar stowage arrangements. Once again the vast quantity of previously unpublished pictures makes the study a visual treat and potential modelling subjects leap out of virtually every page. The author is to be commended not only for pulling together such a great collection of images but also for making sense of the confusing jumble of apparently random stowage configurations. An essential reference for axis armour modellers".

Once again I would like to thank David Parker and AFV Modeleller for the on going and generous support.

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Thursday, 28 October 2010

incoming Barbarossa review

The Barbarossa Stowage supplementary edition will be reviewed in AFV modeller 55 which is the Nov/Dec issue.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Barbarossa Stowage - online

The book is finished and available now at Blurb. 150 pages, 125 images, 10 pages of diagrams.

This preview is full just now but will be reduced to a partial review after a month on the website. Click on the link to be taken to the books page on the website.

I have another blog running for this book and I will continue to post images there that filled gaps and confirmed information that I was unable to get from my own collection during the research but also add new and interesting stuff that continues to appear and if any errors appear correct them.

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Wednesday, 25 August 2010

models for the TauchPz supplement

The two models are nearing completion, with most of the major additions and corrections done.

The idea is just to undercoat them for the close up diagrams and then finish them off as vehicles from specific units. I think I'll add a review of the accuracy/inaccuracy of each kit as an appendix, as you can see there are very few of the Tauch elements from the Dragon kit used.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Supplementary Editions take shape

Both supplementary editions have taken shape over the summer. The BARBARROSA stowage one taking off and nearing completion it should be available on Blurb soon.(click on image for clearer view)It may have already been up but for the decision to add diagrams to help the reader collate the heap of complex information I am trying to get across in this publicaton. I had always thought the book needed this but until my copywriter Bam persuaded me I had thought it was too much work for me and too expensive to source out. It turns out I was right! Each Kompanie has 4 elevations and there are 49 different Kompanies to illustrate!!!

Most of the summer has been spent tweaking, correcting, shrinking and enlarging the diagrams to get them to fit the book. They are bit small for those of us with diminishing ocular prowess but I will make digital versions free so they can be blown up. This is due to the proportion of the books available at Blurb. The delay however has allowed me time to solve a few unknowns and a couple of helpful images have turned up. It is now 150 pages in total and more comprehensive than I could have imagined when I started it only a year ago. I am confident to say there is nothing else out there like it and any one who has or is thinking of modeling a PzIV from Barbarossa will need a copy. I have, where ever possible, selected images that not only show the relevant the detail but give a feel for the landscape and environment that this epic and brutal conflict took place in.

The next supplementary edition is the TauchPanzer one. it has been on the go the longest. In fact I started it before any of the regular "PzKpfw at the front" volumes. It has seen a slight change in direction for me in that I have asked a number of other photo collectors I have come across to share their images with me to fill some gaps. As the TauchPanzer is my favourite vehicle I wanted to produce a monograph worthy of it. The few yawning gaps in my own collection left me frustratingly close to this goal but no cigar. They have been generous in their donations and the book nears its completion.Information covers wider use of the vehicle than the initial crossing of the Bug river. Each unit is described down to Kompanie level in terms of markings and stowage, in the same way as the Barbarossa supplement. In addition there is a section on vehicles pre-Barbarossa and an appendix of images with helpful details of the TauchPzIII.

I have decided to illustrate the details that I have discovered but are not clear in my own images with a pair of 1/35 models. Using the excellent Tristar Ausf D and the not so excellent Dragon Ausf E as the starting points. It has been a while since I have modeled on this scale but again these two projects are nearing completion.

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Friday, 20 August 2010

Free postage ! !

GOOD NEWS for a limited time only though.
Fom now until Aug 31st Blurb are offering free shipping, see this link

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Volume 5 under way

With the four main PzIV volumes finished I can turn my attention to the fifth one and to the supplementary editions. The fifth volume will cover the wide range of variants that used the PzIV hull and versions of it.

The collection is now in such a position that I am to be able to start it. I have something in there that covers the most important vehicles and some rarities that will make it worthwhile. Scanning is complete and resizing and minimum image cleaning commences as the layout takes shape.

The nature of these vehicles is such that photographs coming up that I could add to my collection are just about as rare as their original subjects. This makes the process of collecting them slow and considerably more expensive than the everyday tank. I have provisionally set the publication date for this for next Spring to allow for other images to appear that will enhance the quality of what is already there.

Meanwhile as I slowly add to this Volume the first two supplementary editions near completion with the BARBAROSSA stowage volume nearly completed and the TauchPz coming together with illustrations to add.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Vol 2 in AFV Modeller

Vol 2 reviewed in AFV Modeller, No. 53 July/August by David Parker.
A similarly positive review to the one he gave in a previous issue for the other volumes.

" This is the fourth release in this series of books devoted purely to archive images of the Panzer IV and its bound to be welcomed by modelers because just like the previous volumes, this contains almost entirely previously unpublished images. This new volume covers the Ausf E and D vehicles as well the Tauchpanzer wading variants, Voepanzer and other hybrid vehicles with a mix of components. This book is divided into sections for each of these and mostly with one big photo per page. The key identifying features or production changes for each Ausf are clearly described and the book also includes a useful chart which lays out some sixty four different design characteristics, relating them to Ausf model and production date. Also included are some smaller reproductions of certain images and examples of original caption information for some of the images. Panzer Iv fans will find plenty here to excite and inspire and whilst as you might expect there are one or two blurry images the majority are excellent as are the captions where the author clearly shows his huge knowledge of all things Panzer IV. At a time when many will be tired of seeing the same limited selection of images reproduced a book like this packed with fresh material should be celebrated and the author commended for sharing his collection of Panzer IV pictures with us. Excellent stuff!!"

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Thursday, 24 June 2010

A second + review

I was approached by Thomas Hartwig to review the books on his German language model resource website under the "Tipps des Monats" section.

Again an overwhelmingly supportive review. Here is a translation;

"Our latest book-recommendation is something really special. It concerns a series of 4 books, which were produced by Craig Ellis. What is remarkable is that all the photos were purchased by Craig Ellis over the last years from different national ebay auction sites. It is most pleasing that these photos have now been made available in such outstanding quality.

The photos are to a large extent printed to fill the entire page, and with the inclusion of captivating details, these clear photographs are ideal for model builders. What pleased me personally however, very, very, much, are the captions. Here it shows that the author is intensively involved with the subject – that he is able to recognize and describe the pictures by detail, markings, version differences is phenomenal! All the text is naturally written in English, but is easy to understand.

In particular with the early Panzer IV he refers to detail differences, which are only noticeable to the eye after particular references, such as the different castors, the different length of exhaust pipes, special markings, etc. also retrofits and hybrids are exactly described and explained and offers therefore a rich resource for model builders.

Most importantly, it is a true joy, how many qualitatively good photos of the early versions A-C are presented. Another plus of these books is that with each version there is a page of introductory text, which deals with the version differences and the approximate date of the introduction of innovations. Here also the model construction amateurs will rub their hands!

In volume 2, as well as the Ausf.D and E, there are also photos of diving tanks and the genuinely rare photographs of the Panzer IV with Vorpanzer, as well as some rare hybrids such as Panzer IV Ausf.E chassis with Ausf.C turret. A further highlight in this series is a large table, which presents all versions of A-F with the short gun, all detail changes and their date clearly indicated! So that one can recognize in an instant which features can be found on which version.

Volume 3 continues on from the previous volume and begins with the short gun Ausf.F and then continues with the F2 (G) and early G. Very good photos with helpful captions are also here. There is a clear table for the three versions here with F, F2 and G and appropriate detail differences in the introduction.

In the last volume 4 there is then the remainder of the Panzer IV range, i.e. the versions G, H and J. and again the selection and research of the photos is excellent. And on to the Ausf.H/J there are some beautiful photographs, sometimes with, sometimes without side skirts, and sometimes with Thoma skirts.

And there is again the wonderful overview table for the Ausf.H and J listing the respective changes … one may be surprised by all the details that were added/changed in the lifespan of the Ausf.J !

Result: Crazy! An ingenious publication on the subject of Panzer IV. Rare and excellent photographs, which every Panzer IV enthusiast and model builder should own. Also because there are not often pictures of parades and of the barracks, as well as the frontline! The books are not sold at a snip, however are absolutely worth the money! The best thing is that the books are only printed with Blurb on order for the author - one has the choice between a reasonable softcover and a somewhat more expensive hardcover. The individual volumes cost in softcover approx.: Vol.1.: 38 euros, Vol.2: 32 euros, Vol.3: 32 euros, Vol.4: 32 euros.

An absolute must have purchase. And I am anxiously awaiting volume 5!"

Review by Thomas Hartwig

For those interested and able to read the German original it can be found here

Friday, 4 June 2010

AFV review

Here is the review of Volumes 1, 3 & 4 by David Parker, published in AFV Modeler No 50 in January 2010.

"As many of us know, the advent of ebay has seen an explosion of trade in archive photos. One collector of these images going under the nom de plum of 8wheels-good and specialising in PanzerIV has now released a series of books devoted to his speciality and sharing the considerable contents of his collection. To date there are 3 volumes available of 5 with two supplementary editions planned. Each of the samples we have ranges between110 to 120 pages and are extremely well produced with big images supported by captions and valuable tables documenting production changes along with other interesting background information on the original photos in the collection. I cannot recommend these books highly enough as they are packed with a wealth of previously unseen images. In the three sample volumes we have I counted only 6 images in total that I had seen before. The author also really knows his subject and this is reflected in the captions and additional information. There are more images of the early Panzer IV’s in Volume 1 probably than in the total of all my other references on the vehicle combined. Unusual and distinctive vehicles abound and for the modeller this material is pure gold. The books have not been published in the conventional sense but through the Blurb website whereupon it is printed and sent out to you and the quality of publishing is absolutely first rate. The author picked this route as it allows for easy updating of the books as well as being a convenient way to make his collection public, something we applaud. It is rare to find one or two fresh images in most books so to have these volumes containing nothing but fresh images makes them absolutely essential to your reference library".

I feel quite humbled to get such a glowing review.

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Tuesday, 1 June 2010

With one positive review under the belt I have posted out a series of parcels to other magazines and websites to see if more reviews will generate a similar spike in views and sales at blurb. A few other interesting offers have arrived from the modeling world that i will be exploring in the near future.

With the 4 main PzIV volumes out of the way the supplementary volumes now take centre stage. I am really excited about these as they cover some new and original ground. They will be the first really in depth studies of both the subjects; Tauchpanzers and the stowage systems on PzIVs during Operation Barbarossa. As I said I am very excited by them and am now that I have made some connections and looked back through other images I am discovering apparently fresh information with every photo that I examine. Exciting times!

I plan to start parallel blogs for these 2 subjects.


Saturday, 29 May 2010

Vol 4

Partial preview.

There are 3 diagrams crammed into this volume covering the vast number of changes that occurred over the later stages of the war. Image cover the various changes during G production H and J up to very late production. One colour image, Ostkette being worn. New information covered includes the change of roof armour during AusfG production.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Vol 3

Partial preview.

There are a number of annoying typos in the last few pages I added before publication. Although these are relatively easy to change on blurb I don't want to get into the habit of constantly tweaking the books as each time i do that all the links disappear, this is why I now have a proof reader on hand.

This volume covers my favourite time in the vehicles life, evolution struggles to keep up with demand and a whole range of minor improvements and economic drivers overlap. Previously undiscussed items include early recuperator shape, markings for PzRgt 201 and deletion of the rear smoke discharger unit. A number of subjects are covered by more than one image.

Vol 2 (widget heaven)

This new widget feature on blurb is great

Complete preview.

Volume 2 has some real close up shots of tanks and crew that reveal some previously undiscussed details, I am particularly pleased with this book. Of special interest are: a number of hybrids discussed and illustrated through photos, this breadth of this is new to any previous discussions of the vehicle, a series of images showing white wheeled PzIVs from PzRgt 8 in North Africa.

Thursday, 27 May 2010


Partial preview.

Volume 1 has one of, if not the, biggest collections of Ausf A images gathered together in one publication. It also has in depth cover of Ausf B & C with images from Poland, France, the Balkans and Russia. This volume has turned into the longest of the 4.

One thing that came up while writing this and during discussions with Bam (my proof reader) was the nature of the auxilliary exhaust on Ausfs B and C. The perceived wisdom was that this exhaust was significantly shorter on the B. Photo evidence in this book show that this is maybe not as clear cut as current diagrams show. Unfortunately reaching a clear designation for this item is not yet possible. Also a type of tyre specific to Ausf A is identified.

new reality

It's nearly a year since i last posted and things have changed a lot and moved on at pace. I have re-edited the first two volumes finished and added some new images to them and got volumes 1 & 2 out as well. I have got a proof reader now and look back at those first two efforts as a real learning curve - no matter how well you know your stuff you need a bit of distance to look at your own text. I also acquired ISBNs for the series and have laid down a more serious platform for "8wheels-good publishing"s future.

The response to this fresh start has been very promising and overwhelmingly positive. In January they were review in AFV Modeler. This glowing review has lead to a good amount of sales ever since. A number of other magazines and websites have also asked to review the books. I will post the review and other comments I have had soon. Until then here are the new links.

Vol.1 Ausf A-C
By from the collectio...

Volume 2: Ausf D-E...
By from the collectio...

Ausf F, F2(G), ear...
By 8wheels-good

Volume 4: mid-late...
By 8wheels-good