by: Mario Matijasic [ ]
Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP) is a publishing company from Czech Republic, producing photographic reference manuals for modelers. WWP's range is broad, covering everything from military tracked and wheeled vehicles, artillery, airplanes, helicopters, to guns and accessories. All WWP books are full of large and clear images showing a particular vehicle in great detail. This review covers one of WWP's latest titles featuring two Soviet Modern Self-Propelled Howitzers: Gvozdika & Akatsiya in Detail.
The book arrived safely packed in a hard cardboard box and additionally secured inside a bubble-wrap. At first glance the book looks absolutely amazing, printed on a high-quality paper, well structured, professionally presented and jam-packed with large color photos. Here are the basics:
Title: Gvozdika & Akatsiya in Detail
Publisher: Wings & Wheels Publications (WWP)
Authors: Jan Horák, František Kořán
Format: softcover (22x24 cm)
Color: full color
Retail Price: $39 (€28)
I must admit I didn't know much about the subject of the book, but the short introductory was enough to get me interested in the Soviet large-caliber self-propelled artillery systems. The main representatives of these artillery systems were the self-propelled howitzers 2S1 Gvozdika (Carnation) and 2S3 Akatsiya (Acacia), introduced into service in 1970s. Both vehicles are amphibious and airportable, with Gvozdika housing a variant of the D-30 122mm howitzer, and Akatsiya a variant of the D-20 152mm howitzer.
The book is organized in 8 chapters:
• History and Development (004-007)
• 2S1 Gvozdika Walkaround (008-045)
• 2S1 Engine and Transmission (046-055)
• 2S1 Hull Interior (056-061)
• 2S1 Turret Interior (062-081)
• D-30 122mm Walkaround (082-093)
• 2S3 Akatsiya Walkaround (094-101)
• D-20 152mm Walkaround (102-106)
As with all WWP books I reviewed so far, the first chapter is dedicated to history and development of a particular vehicle. This time the introduction encompasses Soviet modern howitzers, explaining their origins and adding some technical details on 2S1 Gvozdika. The technical details on 2S3 Akatsiya are given in the Akatsiya walkaround chapter. The next chapter, 2S1 Gvozdika walkaround, spans over 38 pages and begins with several photos of restoring an old vehicle in Hungarian service to one in former Czechoslovak People's Army. The authors witnessed the restoration process and managed to take photos of all the Gvozdika details. This particular chapter covers vehicle exterior in great length: hull, chassis, wheels and tracks, turret and barrel. The 2S1 engine and transmission chapter is 10 pages long and shows insides of engine and transmission compartments, but also complete engine and transmission taken out of the vehicle during the restoration process. The following chapter deals with 2S1 hull interior, with details of driver's compartment filling up 6 pages. Next up is the 20 pages long chapter on 2S1 turret interior, featuring details of gun breech, semi-automatic loader, commander's compartment, gunner's compartment, loader's compartment, ammunition and ammunition boxes, as well as turret basket. This part of the book includes number of drawings and diagrams as well, explaining the layout of the interior in even more detail. The D-30 122mm walkaround follows on 12 pages, showing the howitzer which served as a basis for2S1 Gvozdika SPH. The photos in this chapter show details of just about every aspect of the howitzer: the three-legged carriage, cradle, breech, front gun shield and the massive muzzle brake. The rather short chapter on 2S3 Akatsiya walkaround comes next, just 8 pages long. It features photos of vehicle hull and turret details but I wish authors expanded this part of the book with some additional interior images. Finally, D-20 152mm walkaround wraps up the entire volume. The last chapter is 5 pages long showing some details of the howitzer.
This is an exceptional photo reference book for anyone interested in Soviet SPHs. It features 327 fantastic, detailed color photographs and 16 drawings. Both 2S1 Gvozdika and D-30 122mm howitzer are shown in amazing detail, inside and out, and I think even the most demanding rivet-counters would enjoy these photos immensely. After all, over 90 pages in this book are dedicated to those two artillery systems. 2S3 Akatsiya and D-20 152mm howitzer are, however, shown in much less detail and leave a lot to be desired. The information about the vehicles is given in a short and concise form; the history and development of each artillery piece is described in the walkaroud section of that particular piece, while the brief captions explain various details presented in the photos. Although this is primarily a photo reference book, the information given in the text is very interesting.
This book is marketed as a photo reference manual for modelers. As far as I know, the 1/35 scale Gvozdika model is produced in plastic by Skif and Trumpeter, while the resin version was once manufactured by Pit Road, now OOP. Skif and Trumpeter also produce 1/35 scale D-30 howitzer. 2S3 Akatsiya and D-20 are produced in 1/35 scale by Trumpeter, with Tank Mania manufacturing Akatsiya in resin. If you are into braille scale, Gvozdika is produced by Ace Models, D-30 by Military Wheels, and Akatsiya in resin by Balaton Modell.
Once again, WWP has released an extremely useful photographic reference book. It features tons of high-quality large photos and drawings showing two Soviet SPHs, 2S1 Gvozdika and 2S3 Akatsiya, as well as two howitzers these vehicles are based upon, D-30 122mm and D-20 152mm. The amount of details on Gvozdika and D-30 is absolutely amazing and most of the book is dedicated to those two artillery pieces. Akatsiya and D-20 are covered in much less detail. The text is kept to a minimum, but still provides a very interesting read.