T-34-85 After WW2 - Camouflage and Markings 1946 - 2016
This volume from MMP Books is in their Green Series, and joins numerous outstanding books which have been very well received, including one covering the T-34-85 in 1944-1945. The overall structure and appearance of the book is similar to the others:
Softback A4 size, 112 pages.
150 illustrations, including B&W photos, colour photos, and superb colour plates (artwork).
Published June 2018, distributed in the US by Casemate Publishers
The book continues the story of the T-34, covering the whole post-war period, and looking at the extensive use by many nations across the World, in the majority of conflicts where equipment from the Soviet Bloc was employed. A few venerable T-34's managed to make an appearance in the very latest battles, even being pulled off museum plinths and rolled into combat in Ukraine, 2014. It is a testament to this tank that it was still being used 70 years after being first put into service!
The book opens with a few pages describing the production of the T-34 in the late '40's and 1950's, the majority being in Soviet satellite states since Russian production quickly shifted to T-54 and T-55. The text describes some of the relatively minor modifications developed by each nation, but I think we are still waiting for the definitive book on the T-34 to explain all of the factory variations in WW2 and afterwards.
The next dozen or so pages describe the main conflict areas where the tank was used, including Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the Bay of Pigs. Each region is covered briefly, emphasising the role played by the T-34.
The next part of the book, some 70 pages, look in detail at the camouflage and markings used by each nation, supported by photos, many in colour, and superb side-view profiles of the relevant vehicles.
While all of the book is excellent, this section is a real gem. The artwork is superb, with accurate rendering of colours and the markings are closely matched to photos of a particular individual tank:
The many colour photos do a lot to illustrate the vehicles. There is a lot of scope to show colour in the post-war period, while obviously the majority of WW2 photos would have been B&W in the earlier MMP book on the T-34. The photos are sharp and clear, and are very carefully selected to show key details.
The final chapter looks at a number of preserved 'modernised' vehicles in Europe, with around ten photos of each, pointing out some of the different features.
This book really fills a gap, and for me it was an eye-opener, with lots of information that was new and interesting. For anyone interested in the history of this tank, this will prove invaluable. For modellers, this book would work well in conjunction with other resources, as possibly there is not enough detail on any particular nation or particular vehicle to allow a modeller to convert and paint a T-34 with total confidence. That is not in any sense a criticism of this superb book, which is wide-ranging and covers the topic excellently and accurately.
I only spotted a couple of small errors - on page 18 the two tanks are clearly the same one, with the lower picture taken at a later date. And on page 22 the Cypriot tanks were based at Kyrenia, not Keryneia (which is in Greece).
I would have no hesitation in buying this book at the prices that can be found on Amazon (as low as £10 in the UK), but the US list price of $53 does seem a little steep in my opinion for any book of this type. That said, I absolutely recommend this book 100%, and would rate it very highly in all respects.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Advanced builders.
Thanks goes out to Casemate Publishers for this review book.
Reviewed by Chris Lloyd-Staples, 2VP (International)
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