Volume 39 of Nuts & Bolts series is devoted to the Sd.Kfz. 6 5 ton Zugkraftwagen, a mid size half track built by Büssing Nag that was in production from 1934 to 1943 -although it remained in service until the end of the war.
The three main variants were the Sd.Kfz. 6 for carrying and towing Engineer troops and their equipment, the Sd.Kfz. 6/1 that was intended for towing artillery pieces and the Sd.Kfz. 6/2, mounting a 3.7cm Flak 36 or Flak 37. There were also variants within these types and some other minor versions, all of them explained in the book.
For those who own previous volumes of the Nuts & Bolts series, they will find the familiar structure and quality content.
Written by Dr. Nicolaus Hettler and edited by Heiner F. Duske, Tony Greenland and Detlev Terlisten, the book is a softcover with 224 pages (one of the longest of the series) in A4 portrait format, and printed on thick, gloss paper.
As usual, the printing quality is excellent, with clear and easy to read text, good sized and crisp photos and detailed scale drawings and profiles.
All text is bilingual, in English and German.
The book can be divided in five main sections:
- A history of the vehicle, with description of features and changes, production and organization.
- A collection of (pre)war time photos with detailed captions
- Drawings at 1/35 scale and colour profiles
- Detailed photos of preserved vehicles
- Models of several Sd.Kfz 6 available at 1/35
Let's see in detail what can you find on each section, which comprises other sub-sections on the index.
This section spreads over 28 pages and extensively describes the development of the vehicle, starting with the prototypes.
It goes on detailing the different variants, when did they appeared and the differences, plus the story of less common variants like the Diana, the Panzer Jäger or the V2 control vehicle.
It is nicely written, being a story easy to read and both interesting and informative.
The text is profusely supported with photos, tables and drawings that help identifying the variants through details like the roadwheels or the radiator, conveniently shown together.
The tables detail production by type, year, factory, etc. and dimensions and engine features.
There is a separate part for the organization, again with detailed explanations and charts of vehicle use within units. It includes information on the different equipment that was towed either by the engineer or artillery variants.
Also, the K.St.N are presented in a graphical way, which is easier to understand. It is worth to note that the author has included all vehicles assigned to a company, not only the Sd.Kfz 6, which is the object of the book, but also trucks and motorcycles. This will be helpful for modellers looking for a suitable companion of the Sd.Kfz 6 on a diorama.
This part ends with an overview of the different kits currently available of the Sd. Kfz.6 and their strong and weak points.
This is the biggest section of the book, with almost 100 pages and each one with two or three photos.
While the average quality of the photos is excellent, there are some that really stand out for the crisp detail, being so clear that one could easily think they are black and white versions of modern photos.
The pictures are sorted by variant and sub-variant, and are carefully captioned.
Some of the photos have zoomed-in details when it is worth to show some interesting feature like a unit symbol or tactical marking.
All variants of the Sd.Kfz. 6 are covered, from prototypes to the Diana
Panzer Jäger, the V2 control vehicle and the Pz.Sfl. II auf fahrgestell m. ZgKgSt, of which only three were built and two of them fought in Africa.
The last five pages are filled with exceptionally clear photos of the NL 35 and NL 38 TU engines, assembly at the factory and cross-section technical drawings from the manufacturer (Maybach).
This section contains drawings of all production models. Each one is represented with at least five views (left, right, front, back and top), plus other perspectives for the main types.
The 6/2 antiaircraft version is shown in both transport and firing modes.
There are also twelve colour profiles, side views, that represent a food selection of variants and camo. Again all production vehicles are shown, with all the main camo types used, from pre-war three tone to dark grey to dark yellow in 1943.
A nice touch is that every profile includes a thumbnail of the photo it has been based on, and reference of the page where the full size photo can be seen. This is not often seen and is definitively a plus, as it allows to check the source without blindly relying on the illustrator.
Finally, this section closes with two pages of illustrations of common divisional and tactical markings used.
There are over 40 pages of crisp, colour photos of three vehicles preserved in private collections or museums: A BN 5 and two BN 9b.
The photos show both general views and close-up details of relevant parts. Underside and winch photos are there as well. This section is specially useful for detailing, as many small features are hard to see on contemporary photos.
It is important to mention that this is not a mere collection of good photos, as all of them are captioned, highlighting details and commenting them. Sometimes restorations are not completely reliable, and the authors do a good job here pointing out missing or wrong details.
The book closes with 14 pages of beautiful Sd.Kfz.6 models by Tony Greenland and Vinnie Brannigan. The most representative variants have been chosen: The Diana, Artillery and Engineer versions and the Flak 36 armed Sd.Kfz. 6/2
They have been skilfully built, painted and weathered and surely will be inspirational to many modellers. Unfortunately, few clues are given of the methods used to get such a nice finishing. Personally, I would have sacrificed a couple of photos against having some text other than the captions about the painting and weathering.
This book is an essential guide to the Sd.Kfz. 6 in any of its known variants. It covers in detail any aspect needed for a modeller to build, detail and paint a kit, from its history to information on what can be towed, literally hundreds of photos both from war time and of preserved vehicles, colour profiles, models built by renowned authors and more.