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Book Review
Topcolors 12
Topcolors 12 Eastern Front Part 1
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by: Jeremy Hengest [ VONHENGEST ]

introduction

This bilingual publication and decal set from Kagero covers vehicles used by Polish People’s Army units operating on Eastern Front 1943-1945.

As with other titles in this series each marking option is printed in multiple scales. In this case 1/72, 1/48, and 1/35 to cover the popular scales for AFV modelers.

The Book

The first page of this book is only in English text and provides an in-depth description of the paints used on the vehicles this publication covers, as well as application methods and other related information. Those familiar with Soviet armor of WWII will find the basic painting guidelines very familiar:

4BO Dark Green
(6K and 7K spots)
Type B whitewash strips over base color.
Grid of 4BO lines over whitewash stripes for more complex camouflage patterns.
Whitewash mixture of 50 percent plaster, 43 percent chalk, 2 percent lime, 5 percent glue derived from packaged powders.

The rest of the contents of the book are purely color profiles with bilingual descriptions given in English and Polish. Each vehicle is represented in the classic orthographic LH side profile, with various profiles and/or partial profiles added as needed. The list of vehicle options is impressive to say the least, totaling in at 44 unique vehicles being represented. Vehicles are also depicted with unique traits, most notable being the variations of the T-34/85 tanks. Of note, all of the T-34/85 tanks represented are from Factory No. 112.

Pages 4-6 consist of color profiles for IS-2M heavy tanks:
• “410” of the 1st Company, 4th Independent Heavy Tank Regiment, 1st Polish Army. Pomerania, March 1945.
• “414” of the 1st Company, 4th Independent Heavy Tank Regiment, 1st Polish Army. Western Pomerania, March 1945.
• “424” of the 2nd Company, 4th Independent Heavy Tank Regiment, 1st Polish Army. Germany, April 1945.
• “431” of the 3rd Company, 4th Independent Heavy Tank Regiment, 1st Polish Army. Pomerania, March 1945.
• “434” of the 3rd Company, 4th Independent Heavy Tank Regiment, 1st polish Army. Germany, April 1945.

Pages 6-7 consist of color profiles for the ISU-122 self-propelled guns:
• “703” 1st Battery, 25th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Corps. Neisse River crossing, April 16, 1945.
• “710” 25th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1st Polish Armored Corps, serial number 40975. Near Prague, May 1945.
• “721” 25th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1st Polish Armored Corps. Neisse River crossing, April 16, 1945.

Pages 8-9 consist of color profiles for the ISU-152 self-propelled guns:
• “1212”. Karelian Front, Petrovka, June 25, 1944.
(Was captured by Finnish troops.)
• “122”. Soviet unit. Summer, 1944.
• “331” 3rd Batter, 13th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1st Polish Army. Germany, April 1945.
• “65” 338th Guards Heavy Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment. Konigsberg, April 1945.
(White on red numerals. White script on hull.)

Pages 10-12 consist of color profiles for the Studebaker US-6 cargo trucks:
• nr F-O-33-69. Jastarnia, February 3, 1945.
(Equipped with winch installation.)
• nr G0-05-21 2nd Polish Army. Czechoslovakia, May 1945.
(Outside RR wheel is removed.)
• R-0-28-75 1st Polish Armored Corps. Germany, April 1945.
• Ж-4-32-15. Jastkσw near Lublin, September 10, 1944.
• Ż-4-18-97 4th Infantry Division. Lublin, July 1944.
(White script on bed side “ARTYLERIA BΣG WOJNY” (artillery – the god of war),
Number “Ż-4-18-97” stenciled on back.
)

Pages 12-13 contain color profiles for the SU-122 self-propelled guns:
• First production block, serial 5234, 5th Guards Corps. Voronezh, August 1943.
• “7” second production block, Fourth Army. Russia, September 1943.
• “908” second production block, 1434th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment. Volkhov Front, winter 1943.
(Numerals in red, red star in white outline, whitewash with simulated trees painted in green.)

Pages 14-17 consist of color profiles for the SU-76M self-propelled guns:
• “507” serial nr 407102, 1st Battery, 27th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1st Polish Armored Corps. Germany, April-May 1945.
• “511”, 27th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment. Warsaw, May 9, 1945.
• “516”, 4th Battery, 27th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment. April 1945.
• “203”, serial nr 403062, 1st Battery, 2nd Self-Propelled Artillery Squadron. Chelm, July 1944.
(Serial number on back)
• “307”, serial nr 403513, 2nd Battery, 3rd Self-Propelled Artillery Squadron. Praga section of Warsaw, September 1944.
(Front view: Chelm, July 1944.)
(Front view: Chwala Zdobywcom Berlina (hail the conquerors of Berlin) Military Parade, Lublin, summer 1945.)
• “403” Niech żyje Wojsko Polskie (long live the Polish Army). 1st Battery, 4th Self-Propelled Artillery Squadron. Jastkσw near Lublin, September 10, 1944.
(Slogan painted freehand across glacis plate. No markings on side of vehicle.)

Pages 18-21 consist of color profiles for the SU-85 self-propelled guns:
• “L-05” Manufactured 1944. Eastern Front, Ukraine, 1944.
• “612”, 24th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1st Polish Armored Corps. Germany, April 1945.
• “213”. Captured and repainted by Germans. 5th SS Panzer Division “Wiking”
(Large Balkenkruez on hull sides, smaller Balkenkruez on RF glacis plate and rear engine access hatch.)
• “311”, 1st Battery, 13th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1st Polish Army. Germany, April – May 1945.
• “312”. East Prussia, 2nd Belorussian Front, January 1945.
• “330”, 23rd Battalinon, 13th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 1st Polish Army. Poland April 1945.
• “801”, 28th Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment, 2nd Polish Army.
• Kapitan Otacar Jaroš, 1st Czechoslovakian Armored Brigade, 1944
(Slogan in white on hull side.)

Pages 22-26 consist of color profiles for the T-34-85 medium tanks:
• “1000”, serial 4080305, Factory No. 112, Col. Matulin, CO 1st Polish Armored Corps, Spring 1945
• “242”, serial 412693, Factory No. 183, 2nd Motorcycle Battalion, 1st Polish Armored Corps, Lublin Summer 1945
• Factory No. 112, 119th Tank Regiment, Ukraine March 1944
(Slogan: David Sasunski)
• Factory No. 112, 38th Regiment, Eastern Front February 1944
(Bears name: Dmitry Donskoy)
• Factory No. 112, Berlin May 1945
(Bears name: Vladimir Mayakovsky)
• “12”, Factory No. 112, Ukraine Summer 1944
• “2312”, Factory No. 112, 4th Ukrainian Front Summer 1944
• “24”, Factory No. 112, Eastern Front Summer 1944
• “262”, Factory No. 112, Ukraine Spring 1944
• “2322”, Factory No. 112, 1st Polish Armored Corps, early 1945

I’m not sure how I feel about the inclusion of a German unit in this set, but that seems inevitable with WWII AFV subjects. Thankfully there is just one, and to me feels rectified perhaps by the inclusion of the Finnish unit. I do not understand why the vehicles are organized in the book the way they are. I would think that logically the organization would have been in the order of something similar to this: Studebaker US-6, SU-76M, T-34/85, SU-122, SU-85, IS-2M, ISU-122, ISU-152. However this is just my opinion and others may feel different. The good news is that each vehicle type is organized into blocks rather than being randomly inserted and forcing the modeler to hunt them down and possibly end up missing options. I did find one error on page 26 where the English description for T-34/85 no. “2322” was largely omitted.

The Decals:
Two decal sheets are provided with the book, one for 1/35 markings, and the other for 1/48 and 1/72 markings. Dotted black lines section off the markings by vehicle type for each scale and the name for the intended vehicle type is printed in black within each section for clarity. The decals are printed in what appear to be very opaque colors (very important being that most of the markings are white or yellow) on a thin film and should settle nicely without problems and should respond to standard setting solutions well. The markings are all printed well within register with minimal border film and appear to be true to scale. Curiously, the decals label the US-6 is misspelled as “Studebacker”, while the name is spelled correctly in the accompanying book.

Conclusion

I do not have enough information to determine how accurate all of the color profiles and markings are, but they do appear to look the part and should satisfy most people. I also do not read Polish, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translations within the book. However the English text was free of common grammatical errors so my confidence in the translations is reasonably high.

All in all I think this is a great value for anyone who is avidly interested in Polish ground forces of WWII, as well as anyone looking for something different. This set should provide the modeler with plenty of interesting projects to enjoy, and styrene kits of each subject should be readily available in 1/35 and 1/72, with the SU-122 and T-34/85 readily available in 1/48 as well. My only concerns now would be historical accuracy of the color profiles and the ability of the white decals to withstand bleed through, of which both issues will be addressed by me at least partially in the near future.
SUMMARY
Highs: High quality decals accompanied by detailed color profiles and text. Unique subject matter.
Lows: Somewhat obscure subject matter makes determining historical accuracy of markings difficult. Subject matter may not be to most modeler’s interest.
Verdict: This seems to be a very high quality offering, and I am looking forward to further research and product testing.
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 15012
  Suggested Retail: $32.99
  Related Link: Kagero
  PUBLISHED: Jan 10, 2011
  NATIONALITY: Poland
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 88.75%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 88.31%

About Jeremy Hengest (vonHengest)
FROM: TEXAS, UNITED STATES

I've always had an avid interest in history, machines, art and learning. Scale modeling seems to be a natural conduit for bringing these things together, and I strive to further broaden my knowledge and skill bases as I inevitably continue to discover more throughout my life.

Copyright ©2019 text by Jeremy Hengest [ VONHENGEST ]. All rights reserved.



   

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