by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP) is a small publishing company from Czech Republic producing photographic reference books for modelers. WWP's range is broad, covering everything from military tracked and wheeled vehicles, artillery, airplanes, helicopters, to personal weapons. The main feature of all WWP titles are tons of large and detailed images showing every aspect of a particular subject.
"In Detail Special" is a series of WWP books in slightly larger format than their Green or Red line publications, usually covering the subject in extremely detailed form. The last "In Detail Special" from WWP is dedicated to the M4 carbine and its larger sibling the M16, main service weapons of US troops for more than 40 years.
The book arrived safely packed in a hard cardboard box, additionally secured inside a bubble-wrap. At first glance the book looks amazing, printed on a high-quality paper, well structured, professionally presented and packed full with large color photos. Here are the basic facts:
Title: M4 & M16
Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
Authors: Ralph Zwilling
Format: softcover (24x29 cm)
Color: full color
Retail Price: $54 (€38)
Ralph Zwilling, the author of this book, is a well-known name among modelers. As a freelance journalist and professional military photographer, Ralph authored numerous photo reports and books on military technology. Ralph is also a technical consultant for various model companies and a very talented modeler himself, with some of his works displayed here on Armorama. Therefore it is no wonder Ralph knows exactly what modelers need for going an extra mile with their models; all of his books feature large photos of superb quality covering the subject in great detail.
The first chapter of the book is dedicated to M16, giving the short introduction to the weapon historical origins, as well as explaining its operation cycle. The development of M16A2 variant is described and its modifications to the original weapon briefly explained. This chapter is 8 pages long and includes photos of M16A2 only.
The next chapter deals with M4/M4A1 carbine. Spanning over 84 pages, this is by far the longest and most extensive chapter of the book. It gives an introduction to the compact version of the M16A2 and its current modular weapon system version with Picatinny rails which are used to accommodate loads of accessories. After several pages showing the M4 carbine in use by the US Army soldiers, with most of the photos taken during the training exercises thus featuring MILES kit, the chapter lays out a gallery showing various M4 weapon configurations, briefly describing each one. The M4 carbine details are featured next: upper and lower receiver, as well as Rail Adapter System (RAS) handguards. All the weapon accessories are also depicted in detail and described briefly: optical sights (BUIS, ACOG, Comp M2, Comp M4, Leupold Mark 4, EoTech 552, EoTech 553, AN/PAS-13(V)1), laser target pointers (AN/PEQ-2A, AN/PAQ-4C, AN/PEQ-6, AN/PEQ-15, AN/PEQ-16), weapon flashlights (M951XM07 and M3X), grips and bipods (GPS02 Grip Pod, HBLS Harris Bipod), 3-point and 1-point slings, buttstocks, FAB Grips, PMAG magazine with Magpul, as well as M203 Grenade Launcher.
The 10 pages long chapter follows, showing soldiers of Eagle Company, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment "Cougars" and Ghost Company, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment "Wolfpack". The chapter portrays the soldiers on the training exercise in 2010, and shows their equipment in detail. The Land Warrior Manchu system, KDH Plate Carrier system and Land Warrior Strike system are documented in detail, with accompanying text describing each system in brief.
The short chapter on IDF M4 carbines is up next. It is 2 pages long and it shows some examples of Israeli soldiers fielding a M653, an offshoot of the M16A1 sold in large numbers to Israel during its Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Finally, the last chapter displays a M4 & M16 gallery. This 12 pages long part of the book shows various different variants of the weapon, from older versions used in Vietnam War to the state-of-the-art weapon systems currently used by the US Special Forces.
As with all WWP titles, the first thing one notices in this book are the photos: 300 color detail and full page photos are of the highest quality possible, showing detailed views of various different M4 setups, as well as "in action" (actually, in training) photos. The rail interface is described well, and all the possible weapon accessories are extensively covered. I wish M16 was given equal attention, especially M16A4 variant currently used by the US Marines. Although primarily envisioned a photographic reference, the book also gives comprehensive info on both M16 and M4, and the weapon accessories. The chapter showing two Cavalry Regiments is definitely a plus, adding some details on the most current equipment in the US Army.
Due to my fascination with M16 family of assault rifles, I had to have this book in my reference library. With the extremely professional presentation and the incredible amount of large full color photos, as well as the information given, I think it really is one of the best photographic reference titles on the weapon.