Panzer IV 1939-1945
Tank Craft 6
64pp plus covers
This is number 6 in a relatively new series of books that combine some basic information on the real vehicle, including markings and colours, with information on the various model kits available and all in a relatively compact format.
Published in colour and black and white in A4 format on nice matte paper stock, this books starts with 16 well illustrated pages outlining the development of the Pz IV and its service throughout the war. Next up are 14 pages of colour profiles of all the major variants, including SPs and SPAA vehicles. There are two pages discussing Zimmerit and camouflage colours and then ten pages of colour photos of four well built models. Five pages of mini reviews of ten models are followed by six pages detailing many of the self propelled weapon variants. There are four pages dedicated to the various German armoured units that used the PZ IV along with where and when they served throughout the war along with which regiments were attached to each division. Finally there are 6 pages dedicated to listing and briefly describing the various main production variants of the Pz IV.
If this sounds like a lot of information to squeeze into 64 pages, it is. To attempt an adequate job on one single variant of the Pz IV in 64 pages, given the length and breadth of the vehicle's service during the war would have been challenging, but to attempt the entire PZ IV series, including the SP variants and over the entire war, this is a task to difficult for the format of this book.
Each of the sections of this book are entirely too concise to offer more than the briefest outlines on the subject. The section of model photos is, unfortunately, just that, photos of models. No description of the techniques used and no photos of the unpainted models to assist in building each kit. The section on Zimmerit patterns is a single paragraph, that is quite unhelpful, and a graphic image with a combination of the well known and some rather unlikely patterns and no guidance of where any of them might have been used.
The kit review section has, frankly, several quite misleading reviews, including praise for the "realistic appearance" of the ancient Monogram 1/32 Pz IV. The list of 10 kits reviewed is nowhere near complete and, does not provide terribly useful advice for anyone looking to buy their first Pz IV kit.
All in all, the photos are relatively clear, though not always. The text is well written, if not always the most helpful. And the subject matter is covered, if generally too thinly to be of much use to anyone beyond the beginner. Any modeller or amateur historian with any existing reference material on the Pz IV will already have more than this book provides.
Recommended, with reservations, only for the Beginner. Advanced builders will get far more use from more detailed reference works.
Thanks goes out to Pen and Sword Books for this review sample.
Reviewed by Paul Roberts
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