Tankograd Publishing and Carl Schulze are two names that should be quite familiar with modellers and enthusiasts of modern military subjects. The former is a German publisher of high quality and extremely useful photo reference books, while the later is a particularly talented German photo-journalist, whose work has been frequently featured in Tankograd's publications. Proselytizing aside, the newest collaborative effort from Tankograd and Carl Schulze is a photo reference book entitled British Next Generation Armour. This new offering is number nine in Tankograd's series of books devoted to British military subjects (termed British Specials by the publisher).
The new title is presented as an A4 size card cover book (trade paperback) containing 64 pages of high quality colour photographs and explanatory text (in both German and English); this format should be familiar to readers of past Tankograd titles. This book is intended as a follow up to the earlier Tankograd title, also by Carl Schulze, entitled British Armour Evolution (British Special 9005). Due to changing operational environments and challenges, the inventory of vehicles used by the British Army has evolved at a break-neck pace. Many new vehicles or protection kits have been rushed into service to fulfill Urgent Operational Requirements for protected patrol and logistics vehicles.
contents in detail
This book endeavours to cover the new vehicles and/or equipment brought into service in the year since British Armour Evolution was released. Most of the pictures in this book are of vehicles on operations in Iraq.
In a nutshell, the vehicles featured in this book are as follows:
• a small selection of soft skins (Land Rover Snatch, Foden IMMLC DROPS)
• the MAN ERF family of support vehicles just now entering service
• Challenger 2 with RWS and Dorchester Level 2F appliqué & acute; armour
• Challenger ARRV with Rafael Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)
• Warrior IFV with WRAP 2
• FV-432 Mk.3 Bulldog with Rafael ERA and Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System (MCS)
• Oshkosh Heavy Equipment Transporter
• Oshkosh Wheeled Tanker
• Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicle (PPV)
After a brief introduction, the book delves into a series of pictures of soft skin vehicles. Existing vehicles such as the Foden IMMLC DROPS are featured to demonstrate the appliqué armour packages being fitted in operational environments. Immediately following is a series of photos of members of the new MAN ERF support vehicle family, which will replace the outdated fleet of Bedford, DAF Leyland and Foden trucks currently in service. While coverage of the MAN vehicles is not exhaustive, the pictures are representative of the types of MAN trucks currently entering into service. It is worth noting that all of the MAN trucks featured in this book had been fitted with the Fortress Appliqué Armour System, which consists of the Adaptive Protection Kit (APK) and Enhanced Protection Bar Armour (EBPA), both provided by Maschinenfabrik Ausgsburg-Nürnberg AG.
The next chapter deals with the Challenger 2, with its ever changing array of protection and armaments. Eight pages of pictures and text serve to describe the recent modifications and additions to the Chally, which would include;
• the Selex Enforcer Remote Weapons Stations (RWS)
• a modified version of the Dorchester Level 2F appliqué armour (the front ERA elements have been replaced with a Chobham block)
• Caracal Driver's Night Vision System 3 (DNVS-3)
• IED Electronic Counter Measure (ECM) suite
• Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System (MCS)
The configuration of the appliqué armour system currently in use with the Chally 2 is essentially the same as that detailed in the previous volume British Armour Evolution. The pictures in this section primarily focus on the new RWS, ECM and other equipment added since then, as well as several photos of markings that should keep aftermarket decal producers busy (are you reading this Mr. Lawrence Goh).
The author explains that Challenger 2's in Iraq had been prepared for the fitting of a new explosive reactive armour system from Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited of Israel that will consist of ERA elements identical to those currently in use with the Warrior IFV WRAP 2 package (which coincidentally is covered later in the book). Several pictures have been included which illustrate the base mounting structure for the new Rafael system but with the legacy Chobham blocks fitted; it is not known when the ERA elements will be fitted to vehicles so modified.
Following in a natural progression is a series of photos of the Challenger ARRV fitted with an explosive reactive armour kit designed and manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited of Israel. Like the MBT Challenger 2, the ARRVs featured had also been fitted with IED ECM suites and the Caracal Driver's Night Vision System 3. The pictures presented in this book illustrate all of these new additions, although not quite well enough to enable one to accurately scratch build the modifications (only 4 pages of photos are devoted to the ARRV).
As hinted earlier, the Warrior IFV fitted with the Warrior Reactive Armour Plating 2 (WRAP 2) is featured prominently in this book, with 9 pages being devoted to this topic. All Warrior section and C&C vehicles serving under Operation Telic 11 were fitted with the new WRAP 2 protection kit. This protection package is also provided by Rafael, and is shown off in a series of comprehensive photographs. Individuals planning to tackle the Cromwell Warrior WRAP 2 conversion set will find this content to be extremely helpful. Individuals planning to tackle the Cromwell Warrior WRAP 2 conversion set will find this content to be extremely helpful.
Many of the pictures in this section are of the walk-around type, and were clearly taken with the modeller in mind. In my humble opinion, this type of coverage of subject material is what sets Carl Schulze apart from many other commercial photo-journalists, and makes his work so useful to detail conscious modellers.
While the volume British Armour Evolution mentions the FV432 almost in passing (only 3 pictures), this book devotes 11 pages to the Mk.3 Bulldog APC. An excellent selection of pictures shows the Bulldog fully kitted out with the Rafael ASPRO-HMT appliqué armour on operations in Iraq, and two very interesting photos of vehicles at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany. Coverage is devoted to the Bulldog equipped with the Selex Enforcer RWS (with some beautiful shots of the wiring harness) as well as the Platt MR550 MG turret. Other new Bulldog gear covered includes the IED ECM system, Bowman radios, a new two periscope driver's hatch and the Indirect Vision System.
I was personally happy to see the attention given to this vehicle, as I have the Cromwell resin RWS Bulldog currently sitting on my workbench. The pictures kindly selected by Mr. Schulze will allow me to add the few little details not included in the superb Cromwell kit (such as headlight wiring and the wiring harness for the RWS).
Just in case you're thinking that book is devoted only to armoured fighting vehicles, do not despair. The Oshkosh 1070F tractor and the GTS100 trailer that together comprise the Heavy Equipment Transporter are the featured next in seven pages of photos and text. Enhancements such as the Eaton VORAD EVT-300 Collision Warning System (try saying that five times fast), crew cab add-on armour and the now ubiquitous IED ECM system are expertly photographed and explained by the author. As a parting shot, three photographs of the EPBA equipped HET as unveiled at the DVD 2008 exhibition are included as a harbinger of things to come.
A natural follow-on to the Oshkosh HET is the wheeled tanker from that same vendor. The British Armed Forces received a total of 357 of the wheeled tankers between 2005 and 2006, and 10 pages of this book are devoted to this critical logistical asset. Again, most of the pictures are of vehicles on operations in Iraq, and as such most are fitted with cab armour kits and counter IED systems. Several pictures are included of the tanker wearing the visually appealing Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System.
The books final chapter is devoted to the Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicle (PPV) with a total of 8 pages of such content. While new to the British Army inventory, the hostile environments of Iraq and Afghanistan ensure that we will be seeing a lot of this vehicle in the years to come. As Cromwell seems intent on releasing resin kits of this series of vehicles, any pictures of operational vehicles are appreciated.
All of the Mastiff PPVs pictured are fitted with enhanced protection bar armour, counter IED systems and the Indirect Vision System. Most of the vehicles pictured were on operations in Iraq, though several photos were taken of training vehicles at Hohenfels. The Hohenfels based vehicles were not fitted with full EPBA kits or IED ECM systems, which allows one to clearly see what is behind some of that bar armour. Modellers of this vehicle will particularly appreciate the detail pictures of the armoured MG ring mount.
As is typical for Tankograd titles, this book is heavy on pictures with explanatory text where necessary. The pictures are geared towards the modeller, with a focus on details that will leave even the most finicky rivet counter satisfied. The many walk-around type photos are well balanced with overall shots of vehicles that illustrate the wear and tear and weathering that these vehicles undergo on operational deployments.
In the opinion of this reviewer, British Next Generation Armour is an extremely useful reference for modellers of modern British subjects. I for one will find this book extremely useful as I build and detail the Cromwell Bulldog kit, and builders of their Warrior WRAP 2 conversion set will similarly benefit from having this book in their possession.
Highs: A good selection of subjects, superb quality photos, helpful and accurate captions, a good balance of detail and overall shots. Lows: Only 64 pages in length (there is no such thing as too much reference material), coverage of the Challenger ARRV was a little scant.Verdict: A must-have for fans of modern British subjects - highly recommended.
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