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Book Review of

"Land Rover: Military Versions of the British 4x4 "

 

By Glen Phelan - Dublin, Ireland

 

Basic Item Information

Title

Land Rover: Military Versions of the British 4x4

Author

Ben Skipper

Publisher

Pen & Sword Books, Ltd.

ISBN

9781526789730

Media

Soft Cover Book

Number of Pages

64 Pages
Number of Photographs Approximately 200 color & black/white photos and illustrations

Text Language

English

Retail Price

$28.95 USD

Reviewer

Glen Phelan

Review Date

May 12, 2021

Photos

           

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The review copy was provided by WarWheels sponsor Casemate Publishers.

This review is of 'Land Rover: Military Versions of the British 4x4' (Landcraft #7), one of the most recent titles from Pen & Sword. Like other volumes in the 'Landcraft' series it covers: design, development, military application, schemes/markings, detailed walkarounds, built models and model product references. In fact, it follows a familiar layout which most of the Landcraft books do. Itís a proven design, so there's no harm in that regard. While some titles in this range (I have several, most of which were purchased at modelling shows), can be a little Ďhit or missí, I found this particular volume one of the better examples in the range. While a cursory glance online, or in relevant sections of book stores, reveal a few existing titles covering the Land Rover, there are not as many as one may think. So, I was happy to receive this book for review, and fill a gap in my references.

There are 64 internal pages, between two attractive soft covers, well bound, that feel great in the hand, yet durable enough to resist continued handling. I counted at least 86 photos of Land Rover variants, or parts thereof, amongst dozens more of kits, accessories, and a modest build gallery.  In addition, there are some attractive full colour illustrations showing eight (8) variants, though none are accompanied by photographs of the actual vehicle depicted. Speaking of build galleries, there are four (4) featured builds, all of good quality, three (3) by Brian Richardson and one by the author himself.

In relation to the above content, I do have some minor criticism. While the picture count is high, I would like to have seen bigger pictures included, even if that meant there were fewer.  Many provided are small, particularly from a modellerís mindset.  In addition, the build gallery only covers four examples Ė an Australian SASR Defender in Afghanistan circa 2009, an SAS Series III gunship, a 109 LWB general service vehicle with IFOR circa 1995-96 and finally a Series IIa ambulance in the UK circa 1995. Although a nice selection, Iíd like to have seen one or two more included, and in a scale other than 1/35; perhaps 1/72 or 1/48? Finally, the text is on the small side, although not an issue personally, but maybe for some.

All of that said, there is much more positive than negative about this book, as itís crammed with information. It details the Land Rover from concept to prototype, utilitarian replacement for the Jeep to mainstay of the Armed Forces.  It covers its service at home and abroad, from Europe to Korea to Afghanistan, and its future as it continues to be an intrinsic part of the UK Armed Forces, as well as the many export users. This title really stands out in how it charts development and growth of the Land Rover into a versatile military platform, highly regarded by all who used it, and those that went up against them. Not only are the better-known General Service and heavily armed WMIK types covered, but so too are the myriad lesser known types, including (but not limited to) Ambulance, Fire Tender, Signals, Armoured, SOF and Forward Control variants, be they Long or Short Wheel Base. I found the development of the military truck types fascinating, and how these, as well as changes and improvements to other types, were driven at Unit, Corps and theatre level within the military.

Be you a hobbyist or military vehicle enthusiast (or both like myself), there's an abundance of information here, quite an impressively comprehensive reportage on the topic altogether. While I may have complained about only four model builds being included, they are well done. The pictures of those contrast with those in other sections in the book, in that they are large and detailed. I also liked that the modelled examples covered a range of kit manufacturers; Hobby Boss, Tamiya and Italeri/Revell. Lastly, the section dealing with available scale kits and accessories is, much like the rest of the book, quite comprehensive and covered well. I have no doubt that this will be a popular title, both with modellers and military 4x4 aficionados. Now, where did I put that Airfix 1/48 Snatch Land Rover? 

 

Thanks to Casemate Publishers for the Review Sample.

 
Copyright: Glen Phelan - May 2021