Pen and Sword - Jagdpanther Tank Destroyer
Pen and Sword recently launched the "Tank Craft" series. This interesting concept combines historical background/development, technical description, operational history, color plates, model reviews and built models all in one book.
It's an interesting idea, and comes at a very affordable price. I think the concept is sound. We've reviewed several books in this series, and I think it's fair to say that the execution of this idea has been uneven. With this particular volume, on the German Jagdpanther, we have a very solid introductory-level resource for modelers. The operational aspects of the book are confined to fighting on the western front.
The book is 64 pages, 8.3 X 11.5 inches, of high quality paper. There are over 200 illustrations, including black and white photos of real Jagdpanthers, color model photos, kit photos (including aftermarket items) and color plates.
As a resource aimed squarely at those buying their first (and possibly only) Jagdpanther book, this is pretty hard to beat. More advanced modelers who are seeking much greater depth might want to dive deeper into other research, but the model reviews section is still quite good regardless of your knowledge level.
Good example of an early Jagdpanther with a bit of damage!
The author starts with a very brief background section on German self-propelled guns, moving quickly into Jagdpanther development and deployment of the first unit in France in June 1944. This sets the stage for a strategic overview of the western front in 1944-45, given as a lengthy diary of major events right through to May 1945. After this high-level view, we are treated to short histories of each battalion that was equipped with the Jagdpanther. This is very well detailed for a relatively short book. This section includes some great in-action photos and tables of organization and equipment.
Table of Organization for a Jagdpanther unit.
Numerous high quality color plates are provided to guide modelers on paint schemes for various units. For me personally, this was the most valuable part of the book. There are some interesting schemes here. They are generally accompanied by a photo for backup.
The middle sections of the book are a series of model builds, many quite impressive, and reviews of kits and aftermarket accessories. Most of the models are in 1/35th, but one each in 1/48 and 1/72 are also presented. Unlike some of the other books in this series, the kit and accessory reviews are pretty good quality.
This Jagdpanther is 1/72 scale! Very impressive for its size.
The reviews of aftermarket accessories such as this PE set are useful.
Oddly, the final section of the book comes back to unit histories and small technical changes executed in production and in the field. I think this section probably should have come before the models.
Pros: Really interesting concept to combine historical, technical and modeling content in one book. Nicely illustrated. Good selection of paint schemes tied to specific units and periods; good kit and accessory reviews; good, brief unit histories.
Cons: Odd organization of content; overview of the western front 1944-45 is really far beyond the scope of the book; this space could have been better used for other Jagdpanther-specific content.
My take: As a first Jagdpanther book for modelers seeking an economical source on models, accessories and paint schemes, this is valuable. More advanced modelers will want to dig deeper, but there's definitely a niche for this book.
Highly Recommended for Beginner to Intermediate builders.
Thanks goes out to Casemate for this review sample.
Reviewed by Danny Egan
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