"Armed Fist 1932-41"
Reviewed by Ian Sadler
In its 80 pages this book manages to cram in 144 high quality photographs mainly two or three to a page. The main body of the text is in Russian but all the captions to the photographs are bilingual. It is presented in soft bound portrait format on very high quality gloss paper. Similar in style to Armada's series of books, it has 80 pages full of black and white photomontages of early Russian tanks. No colour illustrations at all, which is a great pity.
I often think back to about only ten years ago. A book of this quality would have been a dream.
The information in the photographs are just what modellers require. Clear high quality photographs and in the correct chronological order. It covers nearly all the Russian tanks from the very first T-26 to the early T-34 and KV-I. With over 95 % of the photographs new to the west, it once more adds to our information about those early days. The markings and camouflage are of particular interest and will need many hours of careful study to bring out the best of the information it contains.
I can only hope that the title means similar books on the mid-war years and later are to be published in the future.
To illustrate the new information it contains I have picked up on one photograph of a T34 Stalingrad production. In the middle of Page 30 it shows appliqué armour bolted onto the side of the hull and the front edge is dovetailed into it. Personally I would love to see more on this Stalingrad Tank series.
For the figure painters and sculptors the book illustrates better than any words the types and styles of uniforms worn at that period.
I would have liked some of the photographs to be published in a larger size. In several cases even a full page would have just about done them justice.
If only the Russian publishers would realise that English is the international language of model makers and researchers it would dramatically increase their sales world-wide.
I congratulate the authors and publishers for such an original and interesting book.
If I can make one suggestion for a future title, esp. now that the kits are available. "Gaz or Zil Trucks of all types in WW2".
If like me you are into Russian tanks and in particular the early stuff, as it is limited to a world-wide number of 3000. If you do not buy a copy now, you will miss out on many hours of interesting new and original reference material.
Review Copyright © 2000 by Ian Sadler