MODEL ART PUBLICATIONS
AFV Profile 3, Sturmgeschütz III Long Barrel. Soft covers, 7.25 x 10-inches, 139 pages, plus covers. Contains 497 color photos, 49 B&W photos, one chart, 11 pages of color plates, 16 pages of war-time technical manual images plus seven individual field manual images, 32 pages of line drawings, two sets of four-view 1/35th-scale line drawings, two sets of five-view 1/35th-scale line drawings, five profile 1/35th-scale line drawings and modelers section.
Any one who has been visiting Time on Target will probably understand by now that I really like the StuG.III and Pz.Kpfw.III. So, whenever a new kit variation or a new reference book comes along I am always quite pleased to have a sample come my way. Japans Model Art Company recently started a series called AFV Profile, which features a specific AFV in detail, combined with modeling articles related to it. Following their recent book on the Tiger I (soon-to-be-seen here at ToT) and their older book on the Pz.Kpfw.IV/70 (previously-seen here at ToT), they have released a title devoted to the long-barreled Sturmgeschütz III.
It covers the Ausf.F, F/8 and Ausf.G in their many guises using a combination of detail drawings, scale plans, archival photographs and images of preserved examples, much like the Achtung Panzer series did. It adds several modeling articles as well as a number of color plates to its titles in order to differentiate itself from Achtung Panzer. In this respect, it can sometimes replace that series (for those who may not be able to acquire copies), but what it really does is complement it, with some extra attractions. So, those who may, like me, have all the AP books nevertheless may still wish to consider adding this series to their reference library.
The book, which is nearly all in the Japanese language, begins with a specification table, followed by a total of 57 color photographs (including several on the covers) that profile the recently-recovered December 1942 version of the Ausf.G. This immediately differentiates this title from the Achtung Panzer book, which could not cover that version in such a manner. Next in line is the color plate section, featuring excellently-rendered art-work. The plates cover two Ausf.Fs, one Ausf.F/8 and 15 different Ausf.Gs, from initial- to final-production variants. Many are accompanied by details in thumb-nail fashion, mostly eliminating any guess-work. A separate page, further back in the book shows colors and markings for seven different ammunition rounds and includes a B&W image of a single-round stowage tube.
The next segment begins with three profiles of various Sturmgeschütze, probably for comparison purposes. They are an Ausf.A, Ausf.F and an Ausf.G on the Pz.Kpfw.III chassis. Nine pages of Japanese text, interspersed with archival B&W photos and field manual images presumably presents a developmental and operational history of the Sturmgeschütz III. It is followed by a table whose meaning I cannot fathom and a two-page spread of cartoon-like art. One page probably talks about leading Sturmartillerie personalities (I am sure one character is von Manstein); the second page shows the vehicle strength of a StuG-Batterie with ten guns, as well as rough sketches of various unit insignia.
Next comes 34 pages that combine detail drawings (done in the Achtung Panzer style), Japanese text, and B&W archival images with B&W images of currently-preserved Stuggies, in order to show the evolution of the various production changes. This is a most useful approach, since the modeler does not have to turn from a page with a drawing of a particular item, to an entirely different section of the book to see a photo of said item. Both visual representations are on the same page. A 32-page segment covers the details of various Ausf.Gs, including some interior stuff. This is the first place where the English-language is encountered, mostly as brief descriptions of what is depicted.
Thirty pages of modeling articles now follow showing with 140 color photos (and describing, in Japanese text) the building of an Ausf.F/8, an initial Ausf.G, an early Ausf.G and a very late Ausf.G, all using the 1/35th-scale offerings from DML and Cyberhobby. The Tamiya kit of the Finnish Sturmi rounds out the coverage. This is followed by a section using pages from a TM, showing how the suspension system was worked on. In particular, it shows how to break-track and dismount the various wheels. Interspersed throughout the book are several sets of scale plans. These include: Ausf.F/8 early (five-view), Ausf.F/8 late (five-view), Ausf.G initial (four-view), Ausf.G early (profile), Ausf.G final (four-view) and Ausf.G late (profile). The last thing seen, prior to several pages of hobby-related advertisements is a two-page section, in the English-language, that talks about various detail differences between the Ausf.F, F/8 and Ausf.G.
In a nut-shell, this book is a fine offering, if, of course, one can get past the almost-all Japanese-language presentation. It has some unique features going for it, such as the fine color plates and some of the first published images of the recovered December 1942 Ausf.G. Certainly, those modelers who have the Cyberhobby kits will find this particular part of the book rather enticing.
Frank V. De Sisto
Model Art books are available from DragonUSA at: www.DragonUSAonline.com.
Note: Since May of 2005, I have been writing books for Concord Publications, a sister company to Dragon USA, Model Arts North American distributor. The reader may wish to take this into consideration. For my part, I will attempt to maintain an objective viewpoint when writing these reports.
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EDITED: note this book also has photographs of the Filzbalgfilter (air pre-cleaner) mounted on a StuG.III. I believe this is a first.
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