One of the 'minefields' that exist in the collation of reference material of this type, is the huge market in reproduction (and deliberately falsified) uniforms and equipment. The intention of the authors, was to produce a book using 'validated' i.e. ORIGINAL uniforms whose 'provenance' was established. This was, logically, a major undertaking and with the amount of material in the book, they have done an admirable job.
Waffen SS (camouflage) uniforms were varied in the extreme. Unlike the traditional image of the Field-Grey uniformed 'Stormtrooper' there were a large quantity of uniform styles which varied according to time period and even the season they were designed for. Unlike other armed forces of the period, standardization was somewhat lacking, creating a nightmare for the researcher and an incredibly rich vein for the figure painter...
Waffen SS Uniforms in Colour Photographs - Europa Militaria Nº 6,
is a softback, 66 page book published by Crowood Press
and written by Andrew Steven
and Peter Amodio
. The book's chapter headings are as follows:
Field Grey Uniforms
Greatcoats and Surcoats
Armoured Crew Uniforms
1943 Drill Camouflage Uniform
1944 Herringbone Camouflage Uniform
1937 Style Camouflage Tunic
Reversible Padded Winter Uniforms (Grey/white uniforms)
Camouflage/White (reversible) Uniforms
Miscellanea: Prisoners and Paratroopers
The keynote of the book is inevitably the color photos. As I mentioned in the introduction, the authors have chosen to present the uniforms using actual (original) examples with a series of 'models' wearing them in some fairly convincing scenes. Although, not billed as such, this is primarily a book for the figure modeller with a VERY heavy emphasis on multiple and detail views of both equipment and the uniforms. The use of ancilliary equipment such as the assault pack (rarely seen and even more rarely modelled) or the engineer's packs is extremely useful indeed and well considered. Another useful 'detail' item is the continual coverage of helmets and their covers along with other headgear.One other value of this type of photograph is just how the equipment 'hangs' depending on the pose of a particular figure - most apparent (and often forgotten) is the degree of flexibilty of the canvas ammunition pouches for the MP38 and the MP44...
The quality of the images is in general very high although perhaps not quite to the standard of some other (and much more expensive) publications. The size of the photos is also more than adequate - too many publishers seem to have a 'mission to frustrate' by publishing images which are too small to be of much practical value..
One thing which WOULD have been useful, were some color charts showing the 'map' of the various camouflage schemes although these are reasonably easy to find in other publications.
Although the emphasis is on the photos, it would be unfair not to give some coverage to the text as well. The photos are not captioned, rather the authors have given a detailed description of each item within the text of that page. At first, the book seems a touch uncoordinated, but after 20-30 minutes study, it becomes apparent that the book is VERY well structured indeed - the amount of detail in the text is invaluable with the use of German nomenclature in addition to the English translation.
One of the more 'controversial' sections is undoubtedly at the end with a page devoted to the SS Fallschirmjäger uniform. Many have their own opinions as to the 'authenticity' of this variant although the authors, while not laying the debate to rest, do give a short but concise evaluation of this most debated of subjects. The conclusion is that they WERE produced, whether they were ever actually issued remains one of the great 'imponderables'...
By no means could this be described as the last-word on the subject - nor, would I imagine, was that the intention of the authors. What Steven and Amodio have produced is one of the most accessible books on a complex subject I have yet seen. As an incredibly useful 'primer' on the subject, I can think of few others which come close. For those who do the occasional figure (in any scale) or a working in 1/35th scale with AFVs or Dioramas, there is little on the market which packs so much into it's 66 pages. As price is often a factor in buying decisions as well, it would be the perfect complement for a book such as Calvin Tan's Modelling Waffen SS Figures
(see below for a link to a review of this book). Essentially the value in this book is a portrayal of how uniforms and equipment would (typically) be worn. It also serves to clarify the (frequent) confusion which many modellers have with the complexities of various styles and variants of camouflage. The book is little more than the price of a pack of DML's Generation 2 figures or a 1/35th scale resin figure...
Can you REALLY afford NOT to have decent reference material?
VERY Highly Recommended
My copy was purchased from Amazon (U.K.)
who provided their usual rapid and efficient service.
The review of Modelling Waffen SS Figures
, can be seen: HERE!!
Website/On-line Store, can be accessed: HERE!!!