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.

All books available @

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.