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Soviet Armor in Foreign Wars Book Review

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Soviet Armor In Foreign Wars

Egypt – Iraq – Libya - Vietnam - Afghanistan

Inside The Armour Publications

Reviewed by Glen Broman

Normally I’m not a big fan of junkies. They lure you in with something that makes you feel good, start feeding that Jones with ever better stuff and boom, you’re hooked. I say normally I’m not a big fan of them, but the folks at Inside The Armour (ITA) have got me hooked in a good way. In fact, I’m mainlining their books these days. Yes, it’s an addiction, but the side effects are enjoyable reads and better models. What’s not to love? ITA’s latest covers Soviet Armour, all under new management. Talk about a rich subject, the Russians are the Bargain Bob’s of new and used tanks, purveying their wares across the continents, “Such a deal I have for you”. No matter where the Army sent me, at some point or another, I’d run across Russian made equipment, in some cases, in greater quantities than I was comfortable with. They have served under many flags, with some really epic paint jobs.

This is a high quality book with a solid card cover and very good production values. The quality and quantity of the photos are excellent. Since this title covers Russian subjects, I am reminded of the philosophy of Comrade Stalin “quantity has a quality all its own”. In this case, you do get both, so no worries. It’s also quite large, running to almost 200 pages. There are 8 build articles, a chapter on painting figures, a photo reference of Afghan Armour and a chapter titled “Extras” with instructions on using the decal and PE sheet. Wait, did I forget to mention that the book also comes with a decal set for all the builds, plus a Voyager PE set? Now you see why I’m addicted? Resistance is futile.

The book has an interesting construct in that the models are generally built by one person and painted and set in dioramas by another, it’s truly an international cast, including Chris Meddings, who does a number of the builds, Ivan Cocker, Jose Brito, Ken Abrams, Andy Taylor, Alex Long and the reference chapter from Patrick Winnepenninckx. Congratulations Patrick, you just killed my spellchecker. The qualities of the builds are uniformly excellent with some great paint and weathering techniques. The subjects cover a burned out ZSU-23-4 in Iraq, a Libyan T-55 and T-72M1, a North Vietnamese T-54, and NVA BTR-40A, an Egyptian T-54 and an Afghan BMP-1. As I mentioned earlier, the decal sheet covers all these builds. The PE set is for the T-55. Those guys at ITA are really considerate, can you feel the love?

For the most part, the books covers build and paint step by step, with informative captions for each photo. I found Ken Abram’s chapter on the BTR-40A illuminating. He took a different approach to the paint and weather narrative as he added a bit of his personal philosophy that I found both interesting and enlightening. An interesting point he makes covers what he describes as the difference between “the ease of making a purchase and the understanding of what is being purchased”. Those that are relatively new or are returning to the hobby will find this discussion useful. I think it’s also useful to those of us who have been building for years, but get bogged down doing the same thing over and over.

I certainly found that useful, as I occasionally get bogged down deeper than the 7th Panzer Division on the Russian Steppe.

Sprinkled throughout the text are some really useful drawings and photos of the subject matter. The ZSU article has drawing reprints from Russian manuals covering the turret, hull and engine. There are some photos of the Libyan and Vietnamese T-55s, showing them doing what tanks do. There is also a short walk around of a T-55 monument in Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, as my generation knew it. The Afghan Armor section is interesting and a valuable reference. The figure painting chapter is also good, especially if you are new to the genre and wish to start populating your tanks with something other than closed hatches and tons of stowage. Mea Culpa.

Overall, I highly recommend this book; especially if you are looking at doing Russian armor in something more than your bog standard green. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but an all-black T-55? I’m getting all tingly inside just thinking about it. Just a warning on ITA publications, you may get hooked; their books are harder to put down than a half full bag of chips.

I purchased my copy from Dave Youngquist at www.LastCavalry.com.