ARM: Review - AJaKS Books - T-34 Vol 1 and 2

Book Review: Model Fan Encyclopedia No. 5: T-34 - Stalin's War-Horse by
Przemyslaw Skulski and Jacek Jackiewicz; AJaKS Military Books, Warsaw, Poland
2003; 84 pp.; price about $25 (ISBN 83-914521-4-X)
Model Fan Encyclopedia No. 6: T-34 In Combat - Volume II by Przemyslaw
Skulski, Jacek Jackiewicz and Robert Sawicki; AJaKS Military Books, Warsaw,
Poland 2003; 84 pp.; price about $25 (ISBN 83-914521-5-8)
Advantages: nice, new books on the history of the T-34 and provide amazingly
detailed coverage for the modeler
Disadvantages: half of the text is in Polish (direct translations are
supplied), history is focused on Polish use of the T-34 so Soviet fans may be
disappointed
Rating: Highly Recommended
Recommendation: to all WWII armor fans, T-34 fanatics, and Soviet and Polish
forces fans
I first heard about these books last November at "Panzerfest 2003" in Livonia,
Michigan, when Mark Klutchko of Michigan Discount Models sold me a copy of No.
5. This year at AMPS 2004 he had No. 6 with him, and I picked it up
straightoff.
The title of these books is a bit disconcerting, as they are NOT related to
Japanese or German publications with similar names. The authors and publishers
are all Polish, and they not only wrote and translated the text into English
(something the Russians still have not grasped ? books will sell far better
in English or with English split text than in the native language) but did the
excellent drawings of tanks inside.
The first volume covers the development of the T-34 from its inception as a
complete makeover of the BT series tanks in the late 1930s. Half of the book
covers the development of the tank and also includes a section on available
T-34 model kits (at the time it was written). The second half covers a large
series of drawings and plans of T-34 variants, to include the following: the
A-20 prototype, the A-32 prototype, 1st version of the A-34 prototype, 2nd
version of the A-34 prototype, T-34 Model 1940, T-34 F-34 gun testbed, T-34
Model 1941, T-34 Model 1941 (STZ) in four variants, and T-34 Model 1941 from
Factory No. 112.
The book then provides 3/4 views of 33 different variations on the early tank
designs showing evolution and the factories which produced them, and ends up
with nine full color paint and marking schemes for various tanks.
The second volume expands on the first one, but it is more suited to the
history of the Polish 1st Armored Regiment and 1st Armored Brigade, including a
lot of detail provided over 20 years ago by the late Janusz Magnewski. This
covers the first 30 pages of the book.
Following that, it goes on to provide a continuation of the evolution of the
T-34 series. Plans are provided for the following vehicles: T-34/ZIS-4 gun from
Factory No. 183; T-34 Model 1942 ("hardedge"); T-34 Model 1942 (final variants
of Model 1941 tanks); T-34 Model 1943 (with commander's cupola); T-34 Model
1943 with pressed steel turret from Factory No. 112; T-34 Model 1942 from the
ChKZ; T-34 Model 1943 from the ChKZ; T-34 Model 1942 from Factory No. 174; T-34
Model 1942 from UZTM; and minor prototype vehicles including a Factory No. 112
tank with 85mm S-53 gun.
The book then provides a wealth of details on T-34 tanks including wheel types
and track sets, and then continues the 3/4 view "cheat sheet" to various models
of T-34 with another 27 tanks identified by model and factory.
Lastly is a new section on modeling to update the earlier one and also 19
color side views and a selection of color photos of the interior of T-34s
showing the colors of the various items found there.
Overall, these are great books for the T-34 fanatic and can be recommended to
all.
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